Can You Dye Your Hair When It Is Greasy?


by Ramona Sinha

Well, it depends. Extra dirty and greasy hair may not allow proper color distribution and give uneven results. However, a little grease does not affect the color payoff.

The process of bleaching or dyeing your hair at home is easy. Some hair care experts suggest dyeing greasy hair instead of freshly washed hair. The question is, how do you evaluate the condition of your hair? How dirty and greasy your hair should be before you can dye it? Will it give better results?

This article attempts to understand how unwashed, greasy hair affects the dyeing process and whether it gives a better color payoff or not. Keep reading.

Can You Dye Greasy Hair?

Yes, you can! Believe it or not, greasy hair can benefit your tresses during the bleach and color process.

The sebum or natural oils keep the hair healthy and moisturized and shield it from external damage caused by harsh chemicals. You can dye your hair after two days of washing it. In these two days, the scalp will produce some natural oils, and this will not affect the color payoff.  However, avoid dyeing excessively oily and greasy hair. But how greasy should your hair be before you color it? We explore the answer below.

How Greasy Should Your Hair Be Before Dyeing It?

Your hair should be a little greasy before you color it. Ideally, you should apply hair dye about 24-48 hours after hair washing. However, if you have not washed your hair for 3-4 days or more, it will become excessively greasy, and dyeing such greasy locks can be challenging.

However, it does depend on the concentration of the developer that you use. The hair dye is combined with a developer to give better results. The concentration of the developer is mentioned either in percentage (%) or units of the volume. A higher number indicates a stronger concentration.

If you are using a developer lower than 20 vol., your hair needs to be clean. These developers are not as strong as their counterparts and require fresh strands to produce effective results.

On the other hand, developers over 30 vol. are strong and give good results on unwashed and greasy hair. Also, the excess oil shields the hair from damage caused by the chemicals in the product.

But before you dye your greasy hair, keep the following pointers in mind to minimize the chances of scalp and hair damage.

Things To Remember Before Dyeing Greasy Hair

1. Do A Trial

Coloring your hair can be quite disastrous if not done right. Often, you may not get the desired results on greasy hair.

To avoid these issues, practice your application techniques on a clean head of hair with a semi-permanent hair color. This will give you insight into the final look, and you can improve your application techniques to get better results with permanent dyes.

2. Do A Patch Test

You should test the dye on a small patch of greasy hair to:

  • Gauge the greasiness of your hair and evaluate the final result. If the color does not catch properly, you have to clean your hair and do another patch test to assess the effects.
  • Evaluate your scalp strength. A patch test will reveal whether your scalp is sensitive to the bleach and hair color or not.

3. Ensure Your Hair Is Healthy Before You Dye

The chemicals in the hair dye can damage your strands. Hence, ensure your hair is healthy before coloring it.

Deep condition your hair at least once or twice a week to nourish and moisturize your tresses. Use a clarifying shampoo once in two weeks to remove product buildup. This will help prevent any damage.

In the next section, find out how you can dye greasy hair at home.

How To Dye Your Dirty And Greasy Hair At Home

Step 1: Wear The Correct Clothes

Dyeing your greasy hair can be messy and can stain your clothes. To avoid this, wear an old T-shirt that you can afford to stain or throw away.

Step 2: Wrap A Towel Around Yourself

Wrap a dark towel around your shoulders to minimize any stains.

Step 3: Remove The Tangles

Brush your tresses to remove any knots and tangles. This will make the dyeing process easier and give a better and even finish.

Step 4: Prep Your Skin

Apply oil or petroleum jelly to your forehead, behind your ears, and at the nape of your neck. This will prevent skin stains.

Step 5: Wear Gloves

After prepping your skin, put on a pair of gloves to prevent finger staining.

Step 6: Mix The Dye

Mix the hair dye and developer as per the directions. Follow the exact ratio mentioned in the package for better results.

Note: Do not use metal bowls as it may react with the dye. Use only plastic or glass bowls.

Step 7: Section Your Hair

Divide your hair into four sections with a rat-tail comb. Clip each in place.

Step 8: The Application Process

Start by dividing the first section into smaller sub-sections and apply the dye from the tips to the roots. The roots process the hair dye quicker and should be colored last to ensure even results. Run a comb through your hair to ensure even distribution. Repeat the process in the other sections.

Step 9: Let Your Hair Process The Color

After dyeing your hair, cover it with a shower cap and leave it on as per the instructions provided.

Step 10: Rinse And Blow Dry

Wash away the color with water. Once the dye is removed, blow dry your hair and style it however you like. Do not shampoo immediately. Do it after a day or two.

Voila! You now have a brand-new look!

Wrapping It Up

A little bit of dirt and grease will not affect the color payoff. However, excessively greasy hair cannot hold on to the color pigments. Hence, if you haven’t washed your hair for 3-4 days or more, you need to do it before coloring. Take care of your hair – nourish and moisturize it properly at least a week before coloring. Also, do a patch test. This will help minimize hair damage and allergic reactions.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can you dye your hair with hair products in it?

No, products like gels and sprays prevent color absorption, affecting the color payoff.

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
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