The hairdresser left the color on too long… is it serious? What can I do?

Angry woman points to her watch

  • Don’t worry. If your hairdresser left the dye on longer than necessary, nothing serious will happen to your hair.
  • However, even though your hair won’t fall out, you shouldn’t leave the dye in for too long.
  • This could dry out your hair and lead to frizz and split ends.
  • So, if you’re sure you’ve had the dye in longer than indicated, you should moisturize your hair very well.


If you want to find out the 6 tips to repair hair damaged by overexposure to hair dye, click here


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Do you think that the hairdresser left the dye in for too long?


  If it’s been a long time since you have the color in: don’t lose your cool.  

Nothing serious will happen if you spend more time with the dye in your hair.

You won’t break your hair or get bald.

Nothing like that.


The dye indeed has an exposure time that should be respected. Hairdressers know the consequences of leaving the dye on longer or shorter.

So don’t panic: I’m sure your hairdresser didn’t forget about you.


Maybe your hairdresser had an urgency, like washing bleach (yes, it’s urgent to wash bleach to prevent hair damage). Alternatively, the hairdresser may consider that leaving the dye longer is necessary.

Also,   they may respect the time indicated by the manufacturer.  

The truth is that nothing serious can happen if you leave the dye on for too long. So, you can relax.  

Are you more relaxed now?


Read on to find out if you really had the dye on longer than necessary and what you can do to solve it.

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Are you sure it’s been too long since your hairdresser applied the dye?

Gloved hand passing dye over lock of hair

Did you know that the exposure time of hair dye is between 25 and 45 minutes?


That’s right.

This depends on the brand of dye and the manufacturer, but that’s usually the average time.

Now,   maybe your hairdresser applied some dye first on the ends, then on the roots, and left it on for a few more minutes.  Alternatively, it may be first on the roots and then on the ends.


So, if this is your case, the exposure time may be about to expire in a few minutes, then you just have to keep waiting.

On the other hand, if the dye has been on your head for more than an hour… well, don’t wait any longer. Find your hairdresser in the salon and let him/her know to rinse the dye!

If it’s too late and you’ve had the dye on your head for too long, the following will interest you.

¿Did you know that the exposure time of hair dye is from 5 to 45 minutes?

Woman looking at her dull hair

As I said before, nothing serious is going to happen, but you shouldn’t extend the exposure time of the dye. Let’s see what could happen if your hairdresser leaves the hair color on longer than indicated:


  • The dye stops working after 45 minutes, but it still has chemicals that will dry out your hair. So,   the longer you spend with the dye on your head, the drier your hair will be.  
  • Your hair will become weaker, and the ends will look split, as the hair continues to absorb the chemicals.
  • You could have more frizz in the coming days due to the lack of moisture caused by the dye when left on too long.
  • You might see unwanted tones in your hair, especially if you dye your hair blonde.
  • The color could look dull.


You should know that   permanent dyes work by opening the cuticle to deposit the color and, after 45 minutes, they no longer work. However, the cuticle remains open.  

The hair then begins to absorb everything within its reach, be it good or bad. As a result, it becomes weak and brittle.


If you had semi-permanent hair dye, the damage is much less, as it doesn’t penetrate the cuticle. However, it’s also not advisable to leave it in the hair for too long.


What do I do if I have spent too much time with the dye in my hair?

When I say “too long,” I mean spending an hour or more with the dye in your hair.


  If it’s been more than an hour since the dye was applied to your hair, then your hairdresser has probably miscalculated the time   and you should let them know. Ask them to pay more attention next time.

Although it’s not serious, if you go to a professional, you want to avoid this type of situation, like leaving your hair damaged because you left the dye on longer.

Here are some tips to help you recover what was damaged by having the dye in your hair for too long.


6 tips to repair hair damaged by overexposure to hair dye

Woman ironing her hair in salon

  • Ask your hairdresser to give you a hair restructuring treatment.

You won’t be able to ask him/her to do it for free, but at least offer you a discount.


  • For a while, you should avoid flat irons and excessive heat.

If you’re going to blow-dry your hair anyway, don’t forget to apply a heat protectant. Also,   you can use the cool function on your hairdryer.   This is a good way to dry but without using heat.



  • If you can, buy a nourishing treatment to apply at home and use it once a week – it’ll be great for you!


  • Every time you wash your hair, use a moisturizing conditioner.


  • You can also add coconut oil (my favorite for these cases). Leave it on for 40 minutes, wash your hair, and that’s it! Shine is guaranteed.


I tell you a story of a client who brought her stopwatch to the salon to measure the exposure time of the hair color

Woman controls time with hourglass

A few years ago, I had a client, Ana, who would come to the salon to color her hair. She always brought a timer. After 40 minutes, he would tell me.

  Ana would get desperate if we took a little longer to remove the dye from her hair.


The truth is that she had such stubborn gray hair that sometimes we had to touch them up later.   The dye couldn’t cover them in such a short time.

Why am I telling you this story?


It’s to remind you that all hair is different. As I said before, hairdressers usually comply strictly with the exposure times of the dye and other treatments.

So, if your hairdresser left your hair color on longer, it’s because he or she needed to cover some gray hair.

Also, if you’re not satisfied, you won’t go back to that salon. And of course, no hairdresser wants that to happen.


Conclusion: If the hairdresser leaves the dye on for longer, it’s not so serious, but you should get a nourishing treatment

As we saw in this article,   your hairdresser may leave the dye on longer for a reason, such as to even out roots and ends or to better cover some gray hair.  

Whatever the reason, don’t leave the salon without getting a good nourishing treatment.


Nothing serious will happen if you leave the dye in your hair longer, but the result won’t be the best. I hope I’ve put your mind at ease and let you breathe a sigh of relief. Everything has a solution!

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