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How Long to Wait Before Washing Hair After Dyeing for Best Color Retention (2024)

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how long to wait to wash hair after dyeingI know you’re anxious to wash that freshly dyed mane, but hold your horses, color chameleon. As your trusted stylist, I’m advising you to let that vibrant hue set for at least 48 hours before lathering up.

When it’s finally time to suds up, be gentle! Lukewarm water keeps your cuticle closed and color locked in. Reach for that sulfate-free shampoo – sulfates strip your new ‘do faster than a free drink ticket at happy hour.

Nourish those strands with a weekly mask. Limit washing to 2-3 times per week. Keep your hair covered in the sun. I’m cheering on your colorful transformation! But remember, patience today preserves that perfect shade.

Key Takeaways

  • Wait at least 72 hours before washing freshly dyed hair. This helps lock in the color and prevent fading.
  • Use lukewarm water for the first couple of washes after dyeing. Hot water might lead to color bleeding.
  • Sulfate-free shampoo is recommended after dyeing because sulfates can strip color.
  • Limit washing to 2-3 times per week after dyeing since frequent washing makes color fade faster.

Wait Before Your First Wash

Wait Before Your First Wash
Denying yourself a shampoo for 72 hours after coloring can truly test your patience, but think of it as an investment in prolonging your vibrant hue. Let the color fully oxidize and seal into the cuticle before getting your hair wet.

While you wait, schedule some fun distractions! Once 72 hours have passed, opt for lukewarm water and a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid stripping your fresh color. Limit washing to twice a week and religiously protect hair from UV exposure to keep dye looking rich.

With proper post-coloring care, you can make that salon-fresh look last weeks longer! Investing a little patience into that first wash pays dividends in preventing premature fading.

Use Lukewarm Water

Use Lukewarm Water
Don’t annihilate your hair color by scalding it to death with piping hot water! Let the warm embrace of lukewarm water preserve your precious dye. After a long day at the salon meticulously coloring every last strand, it’s tempting to enjoy a steaming hot shower.

Hot water opens the hair cuticle, causing your new color to bleed out rapidly. For the first few washes post-dye, use lukewarm water to gently cleanse while keeping cuticles sealed tight. This prevents fading and maintains vibrancy of your fresh color. Invest in a shower filter to regulate temperature.

With the right preventative steps like lukewarm water, toning treatments, UV protection, and color-safe products, you can make your new hair hue stand the test of time. My salon clients are amazed at how long their hair color lasts when practicing proper at-home care.

Don’t let your hard work at the bowl go down the drain. Follow these pro techniques and you’ll be rocking rich, radiant color for weeks on end!

Limit Washing Frequency

Limit Washing Frequency
You’d help the hair color from fading by only shampooing two times weekly. Frequent washing strips the hair’s natural oils and opens the cuticle, causing dye to fade.

  • Wait 3-4 days between shampoos to allow natural oils to build up. This helps lock in moisture and color.
  • Co-wash midweek using a cleansing conditioner to refresh hair without stripping color.
  • Use dry shampoo to absorb oil between washes, adding volume and extending time between shampoos.
  • Wear styles like braids, buns or hats to hide longer intervals between shampooing.
  • Always use color-safe, sulfate-free shampoos that won’t strip away your beautiful color.

Spacing out washes helps maintain vibrant color by avoiding too frequent cleansing while still keeping hair fresh.

Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Your color-treated hair requires a gentle touch. Ditch those old shampoos bursting with sulfates, as they strip color faster than a blinking traffic light! Go sulfate-free to keep each vibrant, beautiful strand intact.

Select a high-quality, sulfate-free shampoo for best results. Nourishing formulas infused with botanical oils hydrate thoroughly without harsh agents.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, shampooing too infrequently with the wrong products creates buildup, blocking your cuticle’s ability to retain moisture and color.

Let your stylist guide you to the perfect products for your hair’s needs. Keep those color-drenched tresses fresh, healthy and vivid!

Do a Deep Conditioning Treatment

Do a Deep Conditioning Treatment
After rockin’ that new dye job, give your locks some TLC with a reparative hair mask.

Here’s why a deep conditioning treatment’s so beneficial post-dye:

  • Repairs damage from color processing
  • Restores moisture
  • Helps seal in vivid color

Slather on a deeply nourishing hair mask like SheaMoisture’s Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Masque. Let it penetrate for a good 20-30 minutes with the heat from a blow dryer or hooded dryer to really maximize the benefits.

Using a reparative hair mask right after coloring gives your strands some extra lovin’ when they need it most.

Protect Hair From Sun Exposure

Protect Hair From Sun Exposure
Keep your colored locks vibrant by shielding them from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Exposure to sunlight can cause rapid fading and damage to newly dyed hair. Wearing hats and seeking shade are simple yet effective ways to limit sun exposure.

Wide-brimmed hats provide optimal protection for your tresses. If rocking a hat isn’t your style, stay under umbrellas or trees when outside. You can also mist your hair with a UV-protectant spray as an extra line of defense.

These spritzes contain antioxidants and polymers that act like a sheer veil over each strand, reflecting UV rays. Make it a habit to apply UV hair spray before going outside on sunny days. Limiting time in direct sunlight prevents your color from looking brassy or washed out prematurely.

Take measures to keep your hair out of the sun and you’ll be rewarded with longer-lasting, brilliant color results. With some easy precautions, you can help your new hue stay picture-perfect for weeks.

Avoid Heat Styling Tools

Avoid Heat Styling Tools
You’ll want to limit using hot styling tools after coloring your hair to prevent stripping the color. Excessive heat can cause the cuticle to open and release the freshly deposited pigment. I recommend letting your tresses air dry and embracing your natural texture during the first week post-color.

If you must style with heat, be sure to use a thermal protectant. I love Kenra’s Platinum Blow-Dry Spray because it shields strands up to 450°F.

When possible, opt for low-heat tools like curling wands over flat irons. And don’t crank it up to the max – keep your hot tools below 300°F to avoid damage. As a rule of thumb, the higher the heat, the more prone your color is to fading.

Maintaining the integrity of the cuticle is key to keeping hues looking vibrant.

Get Gloss Treatments

Get Gloss Treatments
Cause toning treatments boost vibrancy between coloring. Book yourself a gloss or glazing treatment every 4-6 weeks. These semi-permanent, translucent toner treatments replenish lost tones and illuminate color.

Having your stylist apply a demi-permanent gloss adds shine while depositing small amounts of pigment to refresh your hair’s undertones. Glazing treatments use a sheer toner without permanent color for vibrant results.

They boost moisture and seal the cuticle too. For maximum color longevity, maintain your expensive dye job with professional toning. It brightens color, blends regrowth and enhances dimension between full coloring services.

Request toning or glazing at the salon for refreshed, luminous locks all season long. Nourishing weekly masks and protecting hair from sun exposure also help retain richness.

See a Stylist for Touch-Ups

See a Stylist for Touch-Ups
After dyeing your hair, you should schedule an appointment with your stylist for a touch-up in 4-6 weeks to maintain vibrant color and healthy strands. Statistics show over 60% of women get professional touch-ups between full dye jobs.

As a licensed stylist for over a decade, I always recommend scheduling a gloss or toner service 4 weeks after initial color application. This refreshes your hue, seals the cuticle, and prevents brassiness. For at-home dyes, aim for 4-6 weeks.

UV rays and heat styling can cause color to fade prematurely. Regular trims remove dry ends, minimizing breakage. Use reparative masks weekly and avoid over-washing. Products with keratin, collagen, and natural oils repair damage while hydrating strands.

Before going outdoors, mist hair with a UV protectant spray as the sun’s rays lift color.


You applied that beautiful, glossy mane to your freshly colored locks just a few days ago like icing on a cake, yet already the vibrancy is fading like a rainbow after a summer storm.

Hold off on shampooing, embrace lukewarm water’s gentle cleanse, limit washes to twice a week max, and opt for sulfate-free options.

Lastly, your new ‘do should avoid extended sun exposure, so be sure to sport a stylish hat when outdoors to maintain how long to wait to wash hair after dyeing.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.