What Happens If You Leave Hair Dye In Too Long: A Fun Fact

Having the curiosity to know what happens if you leave hair dye in too long? Read the article to find out the most appropriate answer to this question.

Dyeing your strands at home is a good choice for saving your time and money.

However, if it is your first time doing the hair dye yourself, you may wonder, what happens if you leave hair dye in too long?

In most cases, the longer the dye is on your hair, the worse it will be damaged. The following article will provide you with useful tips and instructions on the suitable dyeing period based on different types of hair.

Let’s get started!

What Happens If You Leave Hair Dye In Too Long? 

With Semi-permanent Hair Dye

Unlike other types of hair dye, the semi-permanent dye doesn’t contain many harmful chemicals, such as ammonia, resorcinol, etc., in its ingredients.

That’s why you don’t have to worry about what happens if you leave semi-permanent hair dye in for too long.

Shampoos Hub x
Shampoos Hub

The semi-permanent option will only change the color on the external layer of your strands. Your internal hair’s structure is not affected by this treatment.

However, if you don’t follow the recommended time, it will produce a darker shade than expected.

The reason is that semi-permanent dye doesn’t contain developer and chemicals for lighting up your strands, making it difficult to keep the light shade.

With Permanent Hair Dye

Due to the characteristics of permanent dye, it is an entirely different matter.

If you forget about the permanent dye on your hair and don’t wash it away after 45 minutes, it will get you into trouble.

Brittle strands are a foreseen scenario. Strong chemicals included in permanent dyes will get rid of moisture and natural oils in your cuticles.

The longer time you leave dye on your strands only makes things worse, leaving your locks in broken and dry condition.

Black Permanent Hair Dye

Black dye is one of the easiest options for you to do at home. This color can go well with any based hue, giving you a new look with black hair after a short time.

If your current hair is too bright, you will expect up to 45 minutes to get your permanent black dye option. If you keep the dye on your strands for more than an hour, the dye won’t become darker. It only results in the dry condition of your strands.

Blonde Permanent Hair Dye

If you have already bleached your locks, it will be a piece of cake to go for permanent blonde dye. However, if your present tint is dark, the time it takes to get the desired color will be unpredictable.

It is a matter of whether or not you are using a bleach-blonde dye over the present hue. If you cannot get the right color on the first try, you may end up giving it a second, even a third try.

It is advisable to seek help from professionals if you find it difficult to handle it yourself when it comes to a bleachy one. If not handled carefully, dyes containing bleach will cause severe damage to your hair.

See also: Can You Dye Your Hair After Bleaching On The Same Day?

Blonde Dye Color
Blonde Dye Color

Reddish Permanent Hair Dye

Your natural hair color will determine the final result. If you leave the reddish dye on your strands longer than recommended, it may produce a darker shade of red.

The reddish tone is a difficult color for dyeing, causing you more time and effort to get the best outcome. It is normal to receive a dye that is too dark or too bright, not to mention the situation when it doesn’t work at all.

Reddish Dye Option
Reddish Dye Option

Dark Permanent Hair Dye Over Bleached Hair

When you have bleached hair, it is likely to be a high porosity type. It means you can expect a shorter time of leaving hair dye for its greater absorption.

Leaving the dye on your strands for a long period will cause discomfort and itch on your scalp. The reason is that bleached hair is easily prone to damage for its fragile and broken strands.

It would be best to call for help from a hairstylist. A professional will know how to tackle the problem at once without causing more damage to your strands. You can rely on the expert to get back your beautiful locks.

How Long Should You Leave Dye In Your Hair? 

The average time for hair dyeing is between 30 and 45 minutes. Neither less than 30 minutes nor more than 45 minutes are good for your locks.

A 30-minute process is necessary to complete a full circle of dyeing your strands. The first 10 minutes will help open the cuticles, making it easier for the dye to take effect.

The second 10 is a suitable amount of time to deliver the pigment to change your present color gradually. The last 10 will allow the pigment to absorb and settle in your strands for the best result.

If you have thick strands or gray hair, you will need up to 45 minutes of processing time for the dye to work well. Never rinse your dye sooner than 30 minutes.

So, what happens if you don’t leave hair dye on long enough?

Wasting the product and having the final color different from your expectation are unwanted scenarios.

You will also suffer from uneven color since the dye doesn’t get enough time for penetrating every single strand.

Suitable Amount Of Time For Hair Dye
Suitable Amount Of Time For Hair Dye

The Factors Affect The Time Of Leaving Hair Dye 

Hair Thickness

The width of strands will determine your hair thickness. Typically, there are 3 ranges: fine, medium, and thick.

Fine hair comes with tiny strands that are vulnerable to damage. While dyeing this type, pay attention to the number of chemical layers and the suitably shorter time for the process.

Medium thickness is an easy option to deal with when you want to dye your tresses. There’s nothing much to be concerned about the medium type because all you need to do is dye it within the recommended time.

You will need more chemicals and more time to ensure they get into your strands if you have thick strands.

Hair Porosity

Whether your hair soaks up moisture well or not points out the condition of porosity. You are lucky to have high sponginess hair since it will take in the dye and keep it without difficulty. You will save more time thanks to the quick process.

In contrast, if your tresses have low porosity, you will end up waiting for a longer duration to allow the dye to absorb completely.

Amount Of Gray Hair

Gray hair is a matter of aging or genetics. The more gray strands you have, the longer you need for the thorough hair dye. You had better let the dye take time to cover all the gray strands.

Covering gray roots is not a permanent option since gray strands will keep growing after months. There’s no point in expecting a permanent dye for your gray strands, even if you leave the dye longer than recommended. A permanent dye will only help prolong the time between your current dye and the next one.

Signs Of Gray Hair
Signs Of Gray Hair

Natural Color

Before starting with your hair makeover, it would be helpful to consider the natural color of your tresses.

If you have never done any color treatment on your tresses before, you will find it difficult to get the right color. It is advisable to bleach your strands and increase the dyeing time to ensure the color will come out well.

If you don’t want to dye your hair for a long period for fear of damaging it, you should opt for shades that are close to your original color.

Hair’s Present Tint

Acknowledging your present tint is a must for the best dyeing process. It will directly affect the choice of hair dye color and the final result.

For example, if you want to switch to a darker hue on your currently bright tints like yellow or pink, you had better leave the dye on your hair for a maximum of 45 minutes. It will require a longer time than dyeing dark shades on the original dark strands.

Can You Leave Hair Dye In Longer Than Recommended?

Some people think that the dye will give you a more beautiful color if they leave it longer than the suggested time.

Much to your surprise, however, leaving hair dye longer than recommendations will result in harmful damage to your locks such as hair fall.

If you leave the dye for longer than 45 minutes, it will cause damage to your locks, making them dry and brittle. The dyed color also can be darker than expected, giving you an unsatisfactory experience.

If leaving the dye for more than 45 minutes is a terrible decision, you think what happens if you leave hair dye in overnight?

The obvious consequence you can predict is dry and highly-damaged strands. The chemical components in the dye will make it difficult for you to rinse since they stick tightly to your tresses after a night.

Never Dyeing Your Hair
Never Dyeing Your Hair Longer Than Recommended Time

How To Fix Your Hair After Leaving Hair Dye In Too Long? 

There are some great solutions for you to save your locks when you accidentally leave hair dye for too long.

  • It is an effective way to nourish your damaged tresses by steaming with heavy creams or oils like shea butter and coconut oil weekly
  • Decreasing the frequency of washing your hair will save you from the problem of hair loss
  • After washing your hair, apply hair serum or leave-in conditioner to lock in moisture and create the best shield for your strands.
  • Avoid using your heat-styling appliances like a curling iron or flat iron. They will only make the situation worse, causing more serious damage to your strands
  • If you find it hard to deal with your hair condition, meet professionals to have the most suitable method to recover your shiny locks
Avoid Using Heat On Your Locks
Avoid Using Heat On Your Locks


After reading the article, we hope that you will have the best idea of what happens if you leave hair dye in too long. It’s best to keep the duration from 30 to 45 minutes.

You should carefully consider your dyeing option and the condition of your strands before starting the dyeing process.

Don’t make your hair dyeing experience an off-putting memory whenever you look back. Make sure you deeply understand the whole process and allow a suitable amount of time for the dye to work on your strands.

See also: Can You Dye Your Hair Twice In One Day? What Will Happen?

Edna Feber

I’m Edna. I'm here to guide you about hair products and maintenance tips. You'll fine here product reviews regarding hair tools, hair color, hair care and more along with tips to keep your hair healthy!

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