10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Dyeing Your Hair

Rachel Adler
10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Dyeing Your Hair
Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Most of have never been shy about changing it up with a new haircut—because, hey, it is hair after all, and you can always wear a hat or cry a little and stock up on Biotin until it grows back out. What happens when you dye your hair, however, is a bit different. When you start dyeing your hair, a lot of other things come into play.

Since we’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to changing our hair color, we’ve learned a thing or two about what goes into it. We’ve done just about everything to our hair (trust us when we say this—our hair has seen it all), and we’ve learned what works, what doesn’t, and how to tweak it along the way. Below are 10 things that no one tells you (but should) about dyeing your hair.

1. Your hair texture could change

Whether you’re simply adding a gloss or dyeing your hair platinum, adding a dye to your hair could change the overall texture. Glosses in themselves make your hair softer and shinier (at times making the hair straighter or less frizzy, normally a good thing) but when you drastically change your hair color, by going platinum for instance, it can lessen the curl you may have had.

MORE: The Best At-Home Hair Dyes That Cover *All* Grays

2. Don’t wash your hair as often

This is something that you hear all of the time—if you want healthy hair, you should skip days in between washes. But, when it comes to colored hair, it’s especially true. To maintain the vibrant color you want to wash less frequently, because every time you wash you’re essentially washing away just a little bit of that great dye job, no matter how long-lasting it is.

3. The color you have in the salon will be gorgeous (hopefully!) but it will be a pain to keep it that way

Following up on the above, that initial color that you saw in the mirror in the salon is unfortunately the best it’s going to be. Or, if you don’t love it that bright—don’t worry—wash it a few times and let it fade out! The Achilles’ Heel of every color-obsessed person is the fact that great color always fades. The trick is learning how to keep your color from fading.

4. You will become obsessed with “color protecting” products in all shapes and forms

You no longer care as much about those “straightening” shampoos and conditioners in the beauty store. Your eyes are peeled for every product that says “color protection” on the label and have suddenly started to wear hats in the sun to protect your hair from fading.

5. You also no longer get your hair wet when you go swimming

Chlorine is your worst enemy: Why would you bother mixing another gross chemical with your hair dye? You wouldn’t. You can enjoy the pool without getting your hair wet—that’s what top knots were invented for.

MORE: How to Get Hair Dye Off Your Skin: What to Know When Coloring Your Hair at Home

6. Once you start dyeing your hair, you may never stop

Once you start experimenting with hair color and find your “perfect” shade, going back to your original hair color may not be so easy for you. Plus, can you even remember what it was?

7. Never take your hair from black to blonde by yourself, at home

Many people like to dye their hair themselves simply for the cost benefits and the convenience (no appointments necessary). But, if you’re looking for a major hair change, go to the salon. Taking your hair through multiple color changes, like from a dark black to a light blonde for instance can cause a lot of damage if it isn’t done properly. You’re better off getting it done right first rather than having to get it fixed later.

8. Conditioner (and more importantly, deep conditioner treatments) will become your best friend

Like we said earlier, your hair texture could change when you start dyeing your hair. One thing that will definitely change though is the fact that the dye will make your hair more dry. This can be fixed by upping how often you deep condition your hair—start doing treatments twice a week.

9. Use less heat

When you’re already damaging your hair more than normal just be coloring it (it’s the harsh truth) try to let the dryers and straighteners rest on certain days and just air dry your hair, or prolong your blowouts, for healthier hair.

10. Everything can be fixed

If you try out a color you hate or the dye is left on too long—freak out for a few minutes (it’s okay, you’re human)—but then realize that it’s hair, and it can be fixed. Everything can be grown out or re-dyed and it will all be okay.

Originally published January 2014. Updated July 2017.