Can you dye your hair while it still has hairspray, gel, or another product in it?

at home

Have you ever wondered if residue left over from hair products could interfere with the effectiveness of hair dye?


Well, I had the same question.

And to figure out the answer, I conducted an experiment with one of my best friends.

If you’re curious about what I found out, keep on reading!


 Spoiler alert: leaving in hair products before dying your hair is not a good idea. If you’re planning on dying your hair, it’s best to wash it two days beforehand. 

But if you’re curious how I came to that conclusion, keep reading.


As I said, I decided to conduct an experiment with one of my best friends, Pilar.

We both dyed our hair at the same time, using the same brand of hair dye and the same color: dark brown.


Generally, Pilar uses mousse to create defined, frizz-free curls and keep her hair hydrated.


As soon as I could see my roots growing out, we decided it was time to dye our hair.

So, we got together and broke out the hair dye.


  • While I normally use gel throughout the day to keep my hair neat, I had just washed my hair the day before, so not a trace of the product remained.
  • Pilar, on the other hand, had not washed her hair, so there was still some mousse in it.


We began to dye our hair,

and the only “product” (if you can even call it that)  I had in my hair was a few drops of coconut oil because I heard it helps protect your hair from the chemicals in the dye.

Together we applied the dye, waited the normal amount of time, and rinsed.

The moment of truth had arrived.

What do you think happened to my friend Pilar?


If you’re thinking it didn’t come out well, you’re right.

As Pilar had left traces of mousse in her hair, it had not absorbed the dye evenly. It wasn’t anything to freak out over, but the color was uneven in areas, especially near the roots.

My hair on the other hand, which didn’t have any product residue, had perfectly even color.

Even with the drops of coconut oil.

Maybe you’re wondering why hair products affect hair dye.


If you are, then don’t move, because here you can learn:

  • Why leaving in hair product inhibits hair dye
  • If and when you should you wash your hair before applying hair dye


Tabla de Contenidos


Why leaving in hair product inhibits hair dye

without removing spray debris

Most hair styling products, such as mousse, gel, or hairspray contain chemicals that can interfere with both semi-permanent or permanent hair dyes.


You probably already know that hair dye contains hydrogen peroxide, which opens the hair cuticle to allow the strands to absorb the hair dye.

If there’s hair product residue still in your hair, it blocks the peroxide from saturating the hair evenly, and the hair dye, therefore, cannot color the strands evenly.


 This is why Pilar had such different results. The hair dye didn’t color her hair in areas that still had product residue, while other areas took the color nicely.

Which begs the question, why didn’t the coconut oil do the same thing?


The answer is pretty simple.

So long as it’s organic, coconut oil doesn’t contain artificial chemicals and acts like the oils naturally produced by your scalp.

Therefore, it doesn’t interfere with the hair dye. What it does do is form a protective barrier that reduces the damage done by the hydrogen peroxide.


So, hair dye will still work with hair product residue. But you will likely end up with an uneven color.

And most of us want a uniform, even color when dying our hair.


But it left the most interesting tidbit for last.

When should you wash your hair before dying it?

Keep reading to find out!


When to wash your hair for the best color results

I would like to clarify something.

No matter whether you wash your hair two days before or the say you dye your hair, the color result will be the same.


  The difference is, waiting two days after washing your hair gives your scalp time to create naturals oils that neutralize the harmful effects of hydrogen peroxide. 

Peroxide is a chemical and as such, will remove the natural moisture of your hair.

Which is why it’s always best to wash your hair two days before dyeing it.

One last trick: guess what a friend of mine -who has hair down to her waist-does?


To get the most out of her hair dye, she gets her hair damp before applying it, especially the middle and ends.

Note that she only gets it wet, without applying shampoo.

Using this trick, she only needs two boxes of dye to color her veritable mane of hair.


After our experiment, the small imperfections in Pilar’s hair didn’t bother her much, as her curls made them very hard to notice.


But now we know that it’s best not to leave any product residue in your hair, no matter it’s hairspray, mousse, or gel, before applying the dye to ensure an even color.

Do you have other tricks to dying your hair at home that help you get even and beautiful results?

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