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Is It Safe to Dye Your Hair 12 Hours After Washing It?

You’re ready for a new look, and you’ve just washed your hair to prep it for the hair dye. But wait, can I dye my hair 12 hours after washing it?

Hair gurus get asked this question almost daily, as there’s some confusion surrounding why it’s safe or unsafe to do so. We’ll explore the topic further so you can make an informed decision.

Can I Dye My Hair 12 Hours After Rinsing It?

Although it is possible to wash and dye your hair on the same day, you should NOT dye it 12 hours after rinsing it.

There are several risks associated with applying hair dye after a fresh wash, and many hairstylists advise against it. Your overall color result may not turn out how you like, and your hair and scalp may get damaged if you choose to dye it anyway.

What Risks Are Associated with Dyeing Hair Immediately After Washing?

Risks of Dyeing Hair Immediately After Washing - Uneven Color

For starters, you need the sebum (natural oils) that come from your scalp to protect it during the dyeing process. These oils can prevent irritation like rashes, itching, and that burning/tingling sensation that usually happens when the chemicals in hair dye touch your scalp.

If you were to wash your hair right before you dye it, you would boost the chances that you’ll experience this type of reaction to the chemicals, especially since washing usually involves some form of scratching the scalp to break up dry skin and buildup.

Uneven Color

When washing our hair, the hair cuticles become more porous and rough. Therefore, if you wash your hair almost immediately before applying color, some parts of your hair will absorb the color better than other areas. The result can be blotchy, and no one wants that!

Keep in mind that your hair should be completely dry before you dye it. Wet hair doesn’t absorb color as readily, which can also lead to uneven patches throughout your head.

Air drying is best, as you don’t want to go from applying heat to your hair, which can be damaging (use a heat protectant!), to dyeing it with chemicals that are also damaging. However, if you’re in a rush, use the “cool” setting on the blow dryer to get the job done.

I Accidentally Dyed My Hair 12 Hours After Rinsing, What to Do?

How to Fix Accidentally Dyed Hair 12 Hours After Rinsing - Moisturize

Before you hit the panic button, if you happen to wash and dye your hair on the same day, you’re not doomed to watch clumps of hair fall out in the shower!

It’s not the worst thing in the world that you can do to your hair, we’ve seen far bigger mistakes, but you’ll want to be aware of what you could experience in the days to come after doing so.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!

Make sure you keep your scalp and hair sufficiently moisturized after you dye it. It might be feeling sensitive, a little irritated, and in need of some light oils to soothe the skin. Don’t apply products that are too heavy, especially if you’re prone to an oily scalp.

By applying just enough to keep the unwanted side effects at bay, you can ensure you don’t end up with dry, flakey, itchy hair that causes you to feel like you need to rewash your hair, which would mess up the color you just applied.

You should be fine, even if you washed your hair and went right in with the dye. Still, it’s best to wait a couple of days to be on the safe side.

How Long Should I Wait to Dye My Hair After Rinsing?

Generally speaking, you should wait at least 48 hours after washing your hair before you apply hair dye.

After this period, the oils from your scalp will have been restored enough to make the process safer. You might have to wait longer if you have a really dry scalp, but for the most part, two days is a safe bet. If you don’t have the time to wait that long, 12 to 24 hours is also suitable, but beware of increased irritation.

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So, Is It Safe to Dye Your Hair 12 Hours After Rinsing?

Again, technically you can dye your hair 12 hours after rinsing. However, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Ideally, you want to wait a full 48 hours after washing hair before you expose it to the harsh chemicals in hair dye.

Otherwise, you risk having an uneven color job or more irritation to the scalp than is necessary because the natural oils in your hair haven’t had a chance to build up again to form that protective barrier. Good luck!

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W. Anthony

Meet Watson Anthony, a skilled and experienced barber based in Alaska. As the go-to stylist at Northern Lights Barber Shop, Watson has built a loyal following among the local community, thanks to his unique and creative approach to haircuts.