Can You Dye Dirty Greasy Hair or Should You Wash It Before Dying?

You may assume that clean hair allows for more dye to set it or rather, dirty greasy hair will obstruct the dyeing process. But that’s not the case.

Pro colorists recommend that you don’t wash your hair before dyeing as this can make the process difficult. Furthermore, the dirt and grease in your hair protect your hair cuticles from damage, breakage, and irritation. The oils in your hair are needed for the process and they don’t interfere with the actual color payoff.

Following is a detailed look into some of the common questions about dyeing with greasy hair. Keep reading to find out more.

How Dirty should My Hair be when I Dye it?

Before you dye your hair, you should allow for dirt and oil to build up for about five days up to two weeks. The more dirt and oils present in your hair, the safer the dyeing process will be.

Can I Dye My Hair with Styling Product in it?

This is a two-fold question as it merely depends on the type of styling product you have on your hair. There are different types of styling products including gel, hair sprays, mousse, plus many more products.

They contain multiple ingredients that may or may not interfere with the dyeing process.

Dying hair with styling products
Hair styling products

So the question is, is your styling product oil-based or water-based?

Hydrogen peroxide in the dyes works by opening up the hair cuticle to allow for the absorption of hair dye into the strands.

Oil-based styling products can easily block the peroxide from penetrating the hair cuticle, hence you won’t be able to dye the hair evenly.

This, therefore, means if you have an oil-based styling product, wash it off from your hair before you dye it.

That being said, also avoid dry shampooing your hair or hair sprays that cover up grey roots. They are thick and won’t allow for the peroxide to penetrate through.

Also, avoid hair products with these ingredients as they too can make the dyeing process more difficult;

  • Silicones
  • Mineral oils
  • Petroleum oils / Petrolatum
  • Polymers

Ensure your hair has the right balance of natural oils and moisture. This will give off the best results.

Water-based products such as some hair sprays can be left on the hair during the process as they rarely interfere with the dyeing of your hair. They don’t block your hair cuticles and hence safe

Can you Dye Greasy Hair?

Yes, you can dye greasy hair. In fact, it’s highly recommended that your hair should be greasy to minimize hair damage and breakage that may be caused by the chemicals during the process. However, the grease in your hair shouldn’t be too much, only natural oil build-up.

Oily and greasy hair
Oily Hair

Greasy hair products prevent the hair from absorbing moisture. The lack of moisture in your hair can ruin the hair in the process. Hence, grease from product build-up should also be washed off your hair as you would with oil-based styling products such as mousse.

These greasy hair products will act as hair modifications that limit and obstruct how the dye is absorbed into the shaft, more especially with temporary ones, semi or demi-permanent hair dyes. As a result, the grease will cause the hair hue to come out as uneven and unattractive.

Another way to look at it is by checking the pH of the dye. Because the grease dilutes the effects of the color and lowers the pH of the dye, that can be a good thing for light dyes and bleaches. =

Lighter bleaches can be accentuated with greasy hair hence leaving the grease on the hair can work to your advantage.

Another benefit of dyeing with greasy hair is that the overall appearance may seem more glossy.

During the coloring process, hydrogen peroxide mixes with the dye to form an alkaline solution. This will further open the cuticle of the hair making it feel dryer. The grease will be absorbed into the hair making it look shinier.

However, that’s the only benefit of greasy hair which doesn’t outweigh the benefit of non-greasy hair. The key here is to ensure the hair is soft but not sticky, slimy, or slippery.

How to Dye with Greasy Hair

If your hair easily builds up on its natural oils, it’s recommended that you wash your hair a day or two before dyeing the hair. This way, the hair doesn’t have enough time for you to produce oil production. The natural oil build-up will be just enough to protect the hair without creating a barrier that prevents absorption of the hue.

Other tips you can use include;

  • Conditioning the hair a day earlier – the conditioner will keep your hair strands healthy and protected from harsh chemicals.
  • Add in baby powder in between the hair’s oily strands. Just divide the hair into sections and sprinkle in a little powder. The powder should be able to take in a little oil from the hair.

Can you Dye your Hair the same Day you Wash it?

No, you shouldn’t dye your hair the same day you’ve washed it. You’re advised to leave the hair at least two days for natural oils to build up in your hair and scalp. This will ensure the oils neutralize the possible harmful effects of strong chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide.

How to Prepare for Hair Coloring

To get the best results from your dyeing session, your hair has to be ready. Here are a few quick tips to get you the right results.

  • Make sure your hair is healthy before you dye your hair. Ensure you have been using the right products that introduce and help retain the moisture in your hair. Moisture, volume, and shine are essential before dyeing.
  • Do a hot oil treatment a day or two before your dyeing process. The hydrogen peroxide will be harsh in your hair, but oil will be to your advantage. Using hot oil treatment coats the hair with essential oils to protect it from damage.
  • Don’t wash the hair or shampoo using a clarifying shampoo. Such shampoos have strong sulfates that will strip your hair of its natural oils. This will require you hair days to recover back. This is especially vital for those using high volume dye.
  • For shades that are two tones lighter or darker than your hair, you can easily do that at home. For stronger shades probably get a professional to do it as the risks are higher.
  • Avoid going to the gym the same day you should be dyeing your hair as an exhaustive workout requires you to clean up after yourself including washing your hair as it will be more oiling and watery. That isn’t a good combination when prepping for hair coloring.
  • Always shampoo your hair after swimming. The chlorine present in swimming water can interfere with the dye during coloring. You don’t want an uneven hue. Then again wait a few days before dyeing.
  • If you choose to shampoo before dyeing, don’t scratch the scalp. Gently rub with your palms. Those tiny scratches from your nails can irritate the dyeing process.
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