Can I dye my wet or damp hair? Or is it better when it’s dry?

semi permanent hair dye

Definitely yes, you can apply dye to damp hair, but it will all depend on what type of dye you use.


I am smiling because you are probably thinking that the answer isn’t black or white, but it’s that life is full of grays, thank God.

And all of your grays have an explanation.

I asked the same question.

Can I use the box color on my wet hair?


Over the years, I have changed the brand of dye that I use many times.

 And although I knew the procedure by heart, I always read the instructions that came on the box before coloring my hair.  

Most of them explain in detail how to do it.

But very few talk about the preliminaries.

And one day, an existential doubt came up, could I apply the dye on my damp hair?


I read the instructions forward and backwards, and nothing.

I hate existential doubts that come up just before doing something.

So, I started doing some extensive research.


And after, ultimately, I applied the dye to my wet hair.

Do want to know how my hair reacted?


I’ll tell you right now.


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What type of dye is best to apply to wet hair?

it is more fragile

Maybe you don’t know it but there are two types of dyes: permanent and semi-permanent.

This is a very important difference if you want to know if you can color your hair when it is damp.

 You will only be able to dye web hair with semi-permanent dye.  

And permanente?


Don’t be impatient. We’ll get there.

But for now, let’s continue with damp hair and semi-permanent dyes.

Semi-permanent dyes don’t contain peroxide or ammonia, for the most part.

 Even though I always recommend reading the labels carefully, because some brands can be a bit devious and include the minimum percentage of peroxide. 


In addition, the pigment molecules of semi-permanent dyes are bigger and are absorbed into the external layers of the cuticles.

Meaning ,the structure of the hair fiber doesn’t change.

Because the hair isn’t modified and the cuticle isn’t raised, if the hair is dry, the color can’t completely penetrate into the hair.

That’s why it is recommended to apply semi-permanent dye to damp hair.


 Now, it’s important to stress that I’m talking about damp hair, not wet. 


How to apply semi-permanent dye

wet hair

Before anything, you should wash your hair. I recommend using a sulfate-free shampoo.

Don’t use conditioner, because this will prevent the pigments of the dye from acting.


Wrap your hair in a towel that isn’t very tight, so as to not damage you’re your hair.

Remember that damp hair is always more fragile and you can break it.

Leave the towel on your hair for twenty minutes, as if you had moved to the land of turbans.


After, simply apply the dye as the coloring kit indicates.

Also, it seems important for me to point out that semi-permanent dyes fade with washing, so, the vibrant color will last less time than permanent dye.


What are the best dyes to apply to dry hair?

At this point, I think you can guess.

Permanent dyes should always be applied to dry hair.

Simply for the fact that its components and how they act are completely different.

Permanent dyes contain peroxide and ammonia which cause the scales of the cuticle to rise so that the pigments of the new color penetrate the hair fibers.

Our scalp secretes sebum, meaning oil that protects it from the damage of the chemicals in the dye.


 If you wash your hair before applying it, you are also stripping out the natural oils that act as a natural defense. 


Any moisture in the hair, also, will dilute the permanent dye which can produce sections of hair where the color looks different.

Because the water acts as a filler in the hair, limiting the levels of dye that can be absorbed.


Now that I explained to you the difference between the dyes and how each one works on wet and dry hair, I want to tell you a secret.

Before any type of recommendation, I would like to try things on my hair.

That’s why I decided to do a test.


Comparing the results between the application of the dye on damp and dry hair

Last month, I dyed my damp hair with a semi-permanent dye.

And yesterday, I used a permanent dye on my damp hair.

Do you want to know what the results were?


 Applying the semi-permanent dye on my damp hair was a complete success. 

I’ll repeat again what I said before, my hair was damp, not completely wet.

The color was absorbed evenly, and in addition, I noticed that my hair showed fewer signs of dryness.


Now, when I applied the permanent dry on my damp hair, things changed a lot.

It’s not that I couldn’t go out in public, but I noticed that in some sections of my hair, the color wasn’t even.

There were small stains, that even though they weren’t as bad as a dalmatian, they also didn’t look very pleasant.


 Nonetheless, this can be fixed with a new color, which I would do in twenty days, to not punish my hair as much.  

Also, I noticed that my hair ended up more straw-like, so I immediately applied a deep conditioner to even out the moisture level.


Ultimately, I can be sure that in damp hair, you should only apple semi-permanent dyes.

Now, I think it’s best to understand a few more things about applying dye to the hair.


Before coloring your hair, pay attention to these 3 things

Something that we should understand clearly is that a professional will always be the best alternative if you are thinking about coloring your hair.

Because even though it seems like a lie, a few variables are involved in this process which a lot of times we don’t keep in mind when we color our own hair at home.

Start to observe your hair and get to know it.

And keep in mind:


  • Porosity

The way in which your hair absorbs and retains the moisture will determine the color that is deposited in it.


If it has low-porosity, it can be difficult to process the color because the stalk of the hair isn’t as receptive to chemical processes. This means that if you use a box kit, it is possible that you won’t get the same color result as you see on the box.


If you have high-porosity, you should be careful not to over-process the hair, since the chemicals of the dye process almost twice as fast in this type of hair.


On the other hand, permanent dyes increase the porosity of the hair because it penetrates the cortex which makes it difficult for the hair to maintain moisture.


That’s why it felt dryer.


  • Texture

Thick hair generally takes more time to absorb the hair than thin hair. This means that the processing time can vary with respect to the time that the instructions given on the coloring kit recommend.


  • The natural color of the hair

 If you have level one or two hair, meaning black or very dark brown, you won’t be able to get to light blondes or shiny reds without one or two bleaching sessions.

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