How Long to Leave the Red Hair Dye in? From 45 to 60 minutes

woman dyes her hair red in the bathroom

  • The red dye should be in for 45 to 60 minutes as suggested by your box dye brand.
  • For example, Clairol Nice’n Easy recommends leaving it in for up to 60 minutes. Garnier Nutrisse, in turn, recommends 45 minutes maximum.
  • As a professional colorist, I recommend leaving it in according to the manufacturer’s instructions. That way, you’ll prevent the color from fading after the first few washes.


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Yes. Red is a very special color.

I would say that it’s the most special one.

It has an infinite number of tones, from cherry-red to burgundy red. Also, not many women dare go for it.

Most women who dye their hair red take their skin color and features into account. Even nowadays, when you can sport green, blue, and bubblegum pink hair.


Red hair dye is also very special because of its composition.

The red dye molecules are larger than the color molecules of a brown dye, for example. Therefore,   they take longer to penetrate the innermost layer of the hair.  


For that reason, as a colorist, I recommend you leave the red dye in for the maximum time indicated by the manufacturer of the brand you choose.

Usually, my clients complain that their red hair gets dull after four or five washes. I advise they protect it with a red hair gloss.

Remember that the red dye loses intensity quickly due to the large size of its molecules.


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  To prevent your color from fading after a few washes, you should leave the dye for as long as the manufacturer recommends.  


If you’ve bought a red dye, and the instructions recommend leaving the dye in for 45 minutes, then go for it!

Start counting the minutes from the moment you finish applying it.

Furthermore, to show off your red hair for longer, you should know how to take care of the color during the following days.

Today, we’ll reveal all those mysteries.

Let’s start with what can ensure the success of your red hair color application.


The red dye should be in for the maximum exposure time recommended by the manufacturer

application red dye

So, my first tip is to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

How long does the manufacturer recommend leaving the dye in?

  • GARNIER NUTRISSE, for example, recommends 45 minutes.
  • SCHAWARZKOPF KERATIN COLOR,  in turn, recommends a maximum exposure time of 45 minutes from the moment you finish the application.
  • CLAIROL NICE ´N EASY, recommends 45 to 60 minutes after application.

What do these products have in common?


They have two things in common:

  • They’re permanent hair color brands.
  • They recommend   you start counting the exposure time once you finish applying it all over your hair.  

In the case of red hair dye, this isn’t a minor issue.
You shouldn’t start counting the exposure time from the moment you start applying the dye..

What you should do instead is apply the dye on your head. Then, start counting from the moment you finish covering the last strand.


If you start counting the time from the moment you cover the first strand with the dye, you’ll give the chemical reaction less time to change your hair color.


Let’s see what I mean with an example.

  • Let’s say you choose a red dye from Garnier, which recommends 45 minutes.
  • You prepare everything to start the application. As soon as you cover the first strand of hair, you start timing the 45 minutes.
  • However, covering all your hair with red dye takes 10 minutes.
  • When your timer reaches 45 minutes, you rinse your hair.


Do you think you’ve made a mistake?

Of course, you did!   You rinsed out the red dye before the 45 minutes recommended by the manufacturer.  The manufacturer recommends rinsing it at 45 minutes after finishing the application.

You rinsed it out 35 minutes from the time you finished applying it all over your hair.


So, the red dye will probably fade in the first few washes.

So far we know two things:

  •   The red dye is left to act for the maximum time recommended by the manufacturer,   which can be between 45 and 60 minutes according to the brand.
  •   You should time that time when you finish covering all your hair with the red dye.  


How do you take care of your hair to extend the duration of the red dye? I’ll tell you about it below.


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How to care for freshly dyed red hair

woman with deep red hair

Once the exposure time of the red dye is over, rinse your hair with plenty of cold water

You should let the cold water run through your hair until it runs clear. Rinsing properly will determine how long the color will last.
The cold water will close the cuticles and your hair will retain the red pigments longer.

Don’t use shampoo to rinse out the dye. You can use the post-color treatment included in the coloring kit.


Wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner 72 hours after coloring your hair

This way, your hair will finish absorbing the red dye. That is an internal process in your hair.

You should also wash your hair up to three times a week using shampoos and conditioners without sulfates because they remove the color from your hair.


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Use red toning shampoo once a week

Red toning shampoo will add color to your hair with each wash and extend the intensity of the red until the next touch-up. Most manufacturers recommend leaving it in for a maximum of three minutes.



Before applying red dye to your hair, read the manufacturer’s instructions. In the case of red hair dye, you should always leave it on for the maximum time indicated by the manufacturer.

Remember that the exposure time of the red dye starts the moment you finish covering all your hair with it.

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