Black hair dye is great for making a statement or a major change, but you need to know how long it will last before committing to the color.
Depending on the type of dye used, black hair dye lasts anywhere from 2 weeks to 9 weeks before fading. This timeline depends on the previous condition of the hair and upkeep during that time.
In this article, we dig deeper to understand how long you should expect black hair dye to last and how you can make it last longer. If you would rather dye it once and let it fade out, we also look at what to expect from that process.
On average, black hair lasts:
- 3 weeks on gray, white, or bleached hair
- 4 to 6 weeks before fading on brown hair
- Up to 9 weeks before fading completely
This timeline is affected by several details, including the previous condition of your hair and what your lifestyle looks like. Black hair dye will also lose its shine long before the pigment starts to fade, and you need a different approach to keep it looking healthy and vibrant.
Renewing black hair dye is often necessary before the color disappears completely, especially if you have black dye on a lighter base color.
If you have gray, white, or bleached hair, you will need to cover up your roots about every 3 weeks.
For medium toned hair, most stylists recommend renewing your black hair dye around 5 or 6 weeks. This is about the time that the black hair dye starts to lose its shine, and the color lacks uniformity.
To regain the even tone, apply black hair dye all over, including the roots and the length of your hair.
While all black hair dye will fade at some point, there are a few things you can do to make it last longer.
These basic tips include:
- Choosing permanent black hair dye over semi- or demi-permanent
- Maintaining your hair’s moisture
- Avoiding prolonged sun exposure
- Washing your hair less often
- Using high quality, color-safe hair products
By doing this, you increase the longevity of your black hair dye and keep it looking shiny and healthy for a longer period.
Your first line of defense for maintaining black hair dye is choosing a product that meets your expected timeline. While semi- and demi-permanent dyes are not as harsh on your hair, they do not last nearly as long as permanent hair dye.
Permanent dyes use oxidation to open up the cuticles and remove existing pigments, depositing the new color to your hair.
Permanent hair dyes work well with weaker developers, so this permanent color is not as hard on your hair as others.
The dying process dries up the follicles of your hair, potentially leading to hair breakage and other issues. If your hair is not healthy, it will not hold pigment as efficiently, and your black dye will fade faster.
It is important to use a moisturizing agent to help balance out the downsides of hair dyeing processes. If you don’t want to sift around trying to find a formula that works for you, start by applying hydrating oils like argan or almond oily to the ends of your hair.
Not only do these oils smell great, but they’ll improve hair health and help it hold on to black dye longer.
Dying your hair black does not mean you need to avoid the sun completely, but you should know the fading effects that occur because of excessive exposure. UV light strips color from the hair and makes it appear more dull.
Try to wear a hat when you are outside and your activities permit. You can also look for hair care products that offer UV protection.
Washing your hair daily is one of the worst things you can do for dyed hair. Many hair dyes and stylists explain dye longevity in terms of how many washes it can withstand.
It may take some time to adjust to this wash schedule, but most people find that their hair looks and feels better after 2 to 4 weeks. Look for dry shampoo products designed for dark hair to hold you over.
Most black hair dyes last 28 washes before they start to fade.
If you wash your hair daily, this means you only get a month out of the color before it begins to fade. You also lose out on the natural oils your hair needs to grow long, strong, and healthy, and this could cause the timeline to speed up.
By cutting back to washing every 2 to 3 days, your hair dye will last twice as long.
Your stylists should be able to point out high-quality salon products that:
- Reduce fading
- Increase black hair color longevity
- Keep your color shiny and vibrant
- Improve hair moisture
While you can find “color-safe” products on drug-store shelves, there is no regulation to prove the worthiness of these products. The ones in your local salon are more likely to maintain proper pH, prevent color stripping, and keep your hair happy.
Black hair dye fades to a variety of colors depending on:
- Your original hair color
- The undertones of the black hair dye
- The permanency of the black hair dye
In most cases, a true black hair dye fades to brown and loses its shine. If you have blonde or bleached hair, you may notice more orange tones as it fades that require blue toner to neutralize.
Many black hair dyes, especially box dyes, feature green, blue, or purple undertones that provide more dimension and shine. The dye leaves these undertones behind as the black fades.
Semi- and demi-permanent dyes are rarely a true, flat black, and they fade to these green, blue, and purple undertones in about 6 weeks.
Black hair dye lasts longer than most other colors, but it can fade faster if you:
- Do not allow it to process long enough
- Wash your hair too often
- Use hot water or hair tools
Insufficient processing time is common with at-home dye kits, but it can occur in a salon setting. If the color does not sit on the hair long enough, it will not bond to your hair properly.
This happens often with gray hair because the cuticles do not open as quickly to absorb the hair color.
As previously discussed, washing your hair too often strips the color and natural oils needed to keep your hair healthy. Try to wait at least 24 hours before washing freshly dyed hair and go as far in between as possible to prevent fast fading.
Heat is another main reason that black hair dye fades so fast. Love hot showers? Keep in mind that hot water will lift the outer cuticle layer that holds the black in. Rinsing with cold water has the opposite effect of sealing the cuticle (and the color).
Heat damage from curling irons, blow dryers, and straighteners also leads to faster fading. Without proper precautions, high heat damages the cuticle and causes the black dye to fade faster.
Like any other color, black hair dye washes out. Non-permanent black hair washes out in about 6 to 8 washes, while more permanent options can last up to 28 washes before you notice fading.
Black hair dye washes out faster if you use incompatible hair products. Making sure you use shampoo and conditioner formulated for black color-treated hair increases dye longevity.
Be wary of clarifying shampoos or products containing bleaching agents, sulfates, or alcohol. These are too harsh for dyed hair.
Using these products may be useful if you want to wash out your black hair dye to get closer to your original color.
Keep in mind that black hair dye has superior staying power, and you need to do more work to get rid of it completely. It will keep your hair dark months after it starts to fade, and it can take at least 4 bleaching sessions to get the black down to a medium brown.
Work with a stylist to come up with a plan to strip the color from your hair completely. They have the knowledge and tools to get you as close to square one with minimal damage.