How Long Does It Take for Hair Dye to Fade Out Completely

Gorgeous young woman with dark brown permanent hair color on her healthy hair strands.

Nothing beats the bold vibrancy of freshly dyed, day one hair. But the cold, hard truth is that all hair dyes eventually fade, and they do so at different rates.

If you’re looking to find out how long your new color is going to last, we’ve got the information you’re looking for! This article will tell you how long each type of hair dye lasts and give you tips on preserving or fading your color. 

How Long Does It Take for Hair Dye to Fade

The length of time it takes for your hair color to fade depends on which type of dye you use. To help break things down for you, here is how much time semi, demi, and permanent hair dyes take to fade. 

Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Fade Time

Semi-permanent dye is a low commitment, temporary hair coloring product, so it’ll start to fade after your first or second wash. Typically, your color will last for about 8 to 10 washes in total.

Unlike other hair dye types, semi-permanent color sits on the outside of your strands, and this is why it fades so quickly. However, starting with lightened hair or using highly pigmented formulas will result in increased color payoff and longevity.  

African American female recovering from hair cuticle damage after incurring problems from bleached hair.

Demi-Permanent Hair Dye Fade Time

The developer you use with demi-permanent dye slightly penetrates your strands and leaves you with longer-lasting color than semi-permanent dye.

Demi-permanent hair dye starts to noticeably fade after the first month, although some colors will last for an impressive 12 to 24 shampoos. For most people, this works out to be six to eight weeks. 

Permanent Hair Dye Fade Time

Permanent dye requires developer, typically at a much higher concentration than what you’d use with demi-permanent color. This helps the dye pigments fully penetrate your hair, leaving you with a beautiful shade that lasts for several months (up to 6).

Still, most people go for a touch-up after 6 to 8 weeks, when their newly grown roots are noticeable.  

Note: Keep in mind that other factors like your natural hair type and hair care routine will also make a difference in how long your color lasts. 

Millennial female with a dark brown natural color on her type 4A curly hair strands.

Which Dye Colors Fade Quickest?

When it comes to shades that fade quickly, red is the worst offender. That is because the molecules that give red pigment its color are much larger than those found in other shades.

As a result, red hair dye has a harder time penetrating your strands and is much more likely to wash away when you rinse your hair. In addition to red, light and pastel shades fade faster than other colors. These formulas are less pigmented, so you have less color to lose. 

A cute young black lady wearing a colorful sweater that's experiencing hair shaft damage after using hard hair dye.

Which Dye Colors Fade Slowest?

When it comes to shades that stick around, brown and black dyes tend to last longer than their lighter counterparts. The darker and more richly pigmented the dye is, the more slowly it will fade. Dark dye pigments have small molecules that easily penetrate your hair, leaving you with long-lasting color. 

Do Dyes Fade Completely? 

Semi and demi-permanent dyes are deposit-only, so they will eventually fade completely. While permanent dye doesn’t last forever, the developer you use with it may permanently lighten your strands.

Developers contain hydrogen peroxide, which lifts your natural pigments from your hair. Although the hair dye fades completely after a max of 6 months, your hair color won’t return to normal if you use a developer stronger than 10-volume.  

An African American female showing off her natural hair after permanent hair dye penetrates her dark brown strands.

How to Slow Down Dye Fade

Now that you know how long your dye should last, we’d like to give you some tips on extending the life of your new hue. Here are some ways you can keep your color and slow down fading. 

  • Wash your hair less often – Overwashing your hair will suck the life out of your color, so try to wash your hair three times a week or less. Also, don’t wash your hair for the first 72 hours after dyeing it to give your hair cuticles a chance to close and seal the pigments inside. Need a touch-up between washes? Sprinkle a little dry shampoo onto your roots to absorb excess oils and refresh your scalp.
  • Keep your hair healthy – The healthier your hair is, the longer your dye will last. Keep your strands in good condition by treating them intently and using the right products for your hair type and porosity. It also helps to protect your hair from direct sunlight.  
  • Avoid heat – Heat styling with tools like flat irons, curling irons, and curling wands will cause your dye to fade more quickly. Air dry your hair and limit heat styling as much as possible to keep your shade vibrant. If you can’t avoid it altogether, keep the temperature low and apply a quality heat protectant. 
  • Use products that are formulated for dyed hair – There are two major categories of products that cater to dyed hair: color-safe products and color-boosting products. Color-safe products contain gentle ingredients that combat fading and keep your color intact. On the other hand, color-boosting products deposit pigments onto your strands and create a bolder shade. Both are great for keeping your color vibrant. 
  • Protect your hair before you swim – Saltwater and chlorine can zap the vibrancy from your strands and leave you with a drastically faded color. Before you take a dip, put on a swimming cap or soak your strands with fresh water. 
  • Pick a longer-lasting shade – As we mentioned earlier, the shade you choose impacts the longevity of your color. Pick intensely pigmented formulas and dark colors if you’re concerned about fading. 
  • Get a showerhead filter – Most American homes have hard water, which is rich in dissolved minerals that contribute to fading color. A hard water filter eliminates the minerals, preventing buildup and keeping your color vibrant for longer. 
A cute black female with healthier hair after she stopped using harsh chemical processes on her natural curls.

How to Speed Up Dye Fade

While dyes fade on their own, you don’t have to wait. There are several things you can do to speed up the process. Keep reading for some easy, effective tips you can try right now! 

  • Soak up some sun – As we mentioned before, sunlight fades and lightens your hair color. So, if you want to fade your color fast, go outside more often. Just try to limit your time outside to a maximum of 30 minutes a day, and don’t skip your deep conditioner sessions. 
  • Wash your hair with a stronger shampooClarifying, anti-dandruff, and thickening shampoos have a relatively high concentration of cleansing ingredients. They can cause your color to fade much faster than if you use regular shampoo. Deep cleaning shampoos are drying, so make sure you compensate for the moisture loss with plenty of hydrating hair products and moisturizing treatments. 
  • Rinse your hair with hot water – While washing your hair with cold water preserves dye, cranking up the heat has the opposite effect. Hot water opens your hair’s cuticles, which means more dye pigments can exit your strands.
  • Try a fading treatment – Looking for a way to completely fade your hair overnight? Targeted treatments can dramatically lighten your color in a matter of minutes. There are a number of different methods you can use, including a:
    • Vitamin C mask – 10 crushed vitamin c tablets and ½ ounce of shampoo with a ½- to 1-hour processing time. 
    • Color remover – Follow instructions on the color remover packaging. 
    • Dish soap/shampoo wash – 1 part dish soap and 1 part shampoo with a 5-to-10-minute processing time. 
A positive young black woman with jet black hair wearing a fun, colorful holiday sweater.

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To sum things up, the length of time your color lasts varies depending on your shade, routine, and the type of dye you use. We hope this article has helped you understand the fading times of various dyes and shown you how to manage your color on your terms.

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