Does dying your hair without bleach damage it? Check these 4 factors before

dyeing hair caramel after bleaching

  • If your hair is healthy, you dye it once a month following the manufacturer’s instructions and exposure times, and you apply a weekly hair care routine, the damage will be minimal or almost unnoticeable.
  • If your hair was damaged before coloring it, or you plan to dye it two or three times a month (even if you don’t bleach it) the damage will be greater or even irreversible.
  • Therefore, before coloring your hair even without bleaching it, you should evaluate four factors to determine if your hair will end up damaged. I’ll tell you the details below.


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There’s only one universal truth when it comes to permanent hair dye.

Here, “it all depends on the color of the glass through which you look at it” doesn’t count.


That one universal truth is that   all permanent hair dyes damage the hair.  

Never mind what dozens and dozens of Influencers say.

Don’t count on magical YouTube tutorials either.


At least, disregard those who say permanent hair dye is as harmless as a soap bubble because it’s not.

At least, it’s not as harmless as it seems.

Do you know why?


Because hair dye contains chemicals that are corrosive to hair.

Of course,   the damage is minimal compared to the damage caused by bleaching and coloring.  


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However, even if it’s minimal, there are four factors to consider, and you can’t look at them lightly.

At least, you shouldn’t if you’re interested in keeping your hair colored and healthy.


Having minimal damage that can be fixed by trimming your hair is different from completely ruining your hair.

It may take months to repair it, and you’ll have to give up many more centimeters of your mane.

So, are you really willing to take the time to analyze whether your hair will stand up to the hair dye even if you don’t bleach it?


High five, and let’s get started with the analysis!


Factor 1: You must assess the condition of your hair before coloring it even if you color it without bleaching


Permanent hair dye damages your hair, but the damage is minimal if it’s healthy.



Because permanent hair dye contains chemicals such as ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. During bleaching, the cuticles are opened so that the color can penetrate its core and set thanks to the ammonia.

  Therefore, if your hair is damaged, the hair dye could break it and generate frizz, split ends, and dryness.  


Although the application of a hair dye seems easy, it’s actually complex.

That’s why suffering minimal damage is always possible


  In most cases, applying hair dye to damaged hair is a sure way to damage it even more.  

So, before coloring your mane, and even if you do it without bleaching, you should assess your hair’s condition.


Ask yourself these five questions:


 If you answered yes to most of the questions, your hair is damaged, and you shouldn’t color it. 

You would change the color of your mane but at the cost of its health.


So by now, you know that your hair won’t be damaged if you dye it without bleaching as long as it’s in good condition to withstand the chemical process.

Got it?


You should repair your hair with nourishing treatments with aloe vera or coconut oil for twenty to thirty days. You’ll notice that your hair will be stronger, and you’ll be able to color it without any risk.


Factor 2: If you apply the hair dye frequently enough, you won’t damage it

toner and developer mix

If you plan to dye your hair without bleaching just once, your hair won’t be damaged as long as it’s in good condition.

Now, if you plan to dye your hair two days in a row or twice in a week like so many people do with the boom of box dyes, you’ll end up damaging it deeply.

So, do you plan to dye your hair just once with permanent hair dye?


Very well.   Then, between each application of permanent hair dye, you should wait at least four weeks.  

Why four weeks?


Because that’s how long it takes for the pigmentation of the permanent hair dye to start to wash out.

In short: you can’t dye your hair several times in a month but you don’t need to dye your hair once a year either.


You can dye your hair once a month and touch up the hair dye every four weeks.

During those four weeks, you can nourish it with moisturizing treatments. We’ll talk more about that later.


For now, let’s get on with the analysis. That brings us to hair color application, which seems like a simple thing to do.

Do you have any idea how many people ruin their hair by not coloring it correctly?


Factor 3: If you apply the hair dye correctly, you won’t damage your hair

toning brassy hair at home

Hair dyes have a very specific application method. It must be strictly followed because every variation in the steps can change the result.


If the hair dye you choose has to be in the hair for 20 minutes, you should leave it on for 20 minutes.

If it says 25 minutes, you should leave it on for 25 minutes.

Not a minute more, not a minute less!


Most permanent hair dyes have a total exposure time of 45 minutes.

  • If you leave it for less time, the color won’t set.
  • If you leave it for longer, the chemicals will dry your hair out.


It’s a myth that you’ll get a more intense color if you leave the hair dye in longer.

  If you leave it on longer, the only thing you’ll achieve is to saturate your hair with pigments and chemicals that you’ll expel with each wash.  



  • Read and follow the instructions of the hair dye you buy.
  • Don’t avoid any of the steps of the process.
  • Strictly respect the exposure times.


That way, you won’t damage your hair.

So we know that if your mane is healthy, you dye your hair with the right frequency, and you follow the instructions, you won’t damage your hair when you dye it.

So what’s left?


The last factor: hair care before, during, and after coloring.


Factor 4: If you take care of your hair before and after coloring, you won’t damage it

remove hair dye

The hair coloring process can be divided into three stages: before, during, and after.


Before the application

It’s important not to wash your hair 48 hours before coloring.

If you can wait for 72 hours, it’s even better. The scalp releases natural oils that moisturize your hair from the root.


  If you apply the hair dye on your freshly washed hair, you run the risk of drying it out even more.  

Some hair dyes such as L’Oreal include a pre-color treatment based on moisturizers. Use them! It’s not a waste of time nor does the brand want to justify the price of the hair dye. Those products are designed to protect your hair.


During application

We talked about it before. But I think it’s a point worth repeating: respect the instructions.


If it recommends leaving the hair dye on for forty minutes, leave it on for forty minutes.

If the instructions indicate that you should start at the roots, leave it on for ten minutes and then continue with the application. Follow the instructions.


After application

Apply the post-coloring treatment included in the hair dye.

This treatment will seal your cuticles and provide nutrients to your hair. It’ll also help to prevent frizz.


Once your hair is colored, and you achieved the color you wanted without bleaching, you should also continue to take care of it.

You can use several products to repair your hair:

  • Leave-in conditioners
  • Moisturizing masks
  • Natural oils (jojoba, coconut, rose)
  • Homemade masks (aloe vera)
  • Solid shampoo


You can also go to the salon for nourishing treatments such as hair botox or keratin shock to nourish your hair immediately.


Finally, a further thought.


What are your expectations for the results after coloring your unbleached hair? In other words, what color do you want to achieve?

de castaño a rubio

Coloring hair without bleaching has its limitations. You won’t be able to go from dark hair to extra light blonde, for example.

What colors can you go to without bleaching, according to your current hair color?


  • If your hair is black 1, and you color it without bleaching, you would go to a dark brown 3 at most.
  • If your hair is brown 4, and you dye it without bleaching, you would reach a maximum of a dark blonde 6.
  • If your hair is blonde 7, and you dye it without bleaching, you would reach a maximum of a very light blonde 7


So, if your desire is to go platinum blonde in one day, with just one application of permanent hair color and no bleaching, I’m sorry to tell you that you won’t get there.



Your hair must be healthy to resist the hair dye even if you don’t bleach it. It’s also important that you respect the frequency of use and application instructions.

If you keep all this in mind, you’ll be able to dye your hair without ruining it and achieve the color you want without bleaching.

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