If I Dye My Hair, Will My Highlights Go Away? Not as you imagine…

woman doubts about her hair highlights

  • If you dye your hair black or dark brown, your highlights will go away. However, the highlighted areas will fade faster.
  • Alternatively, the highlights will go away if you dye your hair light brown or dark blonde. However, after a few washes, bright orange may appear where you had highlights.
  • Also, if you dye your hair blonde, the highlights won’t disappear because the dye will only cover them. Therefore, you’ll still have different tones of blonde.
  • As you can see, if you want to dye your hair to eliminate the highlights, my professional advice is to ask a colorist. I’ll tell you why.


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How soon after highlights can I dye my hair? Wait at least one week; here’s why


As you can see,   your highlights could disappear MOMENTARILY or stay there according to your chosen color.  


So, you should ask yourself,

Why do you want to color your highlights? Two possible answers come to mind:

  • You want to dye your highlights because you’re tired of the maintenance, and enjoy an even color. You imagine you can get rid of the highlights that way.
  • You want to dye your highlights to replace the toner, which fades too fast.

toner results on highlighted hair

Whatever your situation, I’ll be honest:   applying a dye on highlighted hair is a coloring job that a colorist should do.  


Applying dye on highlights isn’t simple, and you need advanced coloring training.

Before you make a mistake and regret coloring your highlighted hair, read on. I’m sure that you’ll make the right decision.


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Why should you ask a colorist to dye your highlighted hair?

hairdresser applying dye on highlights

As you know, highlights are bleached hair. Bleached hair never returns to normal. Both the structure and the color of the bleached strands undergo a permanent change.

Therefore, applying hair dye on highlighted hair isn’t the same as working on virgin hair.   The dye process is different in each case. 


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I’m sure you think that dark dye will make your highlights disappear and it’s partially true.

  Your highlights will disappear, but momentarily.  

What do I mean?

  •   If you apply dark dye,   it’ll fade faster in the highlights area. Bleached highlights are more porous and lose color more quickly. Therefore, after a few washes, the uniform color of your hair will be gone.
  •   If you apply a medium hair color,   such as light brown or dark blonde, the highlights will also disappear momentarily. After a few washes, the unwanted oranges will appear in the highlighted strands. Therefore, your color won’t be even either.
  •   Finally, if you apply a light blonde dye over the highlights,   they’ll take on the color of the dye, but the rest of your hair will keep the color of the unbleached hair.

unevenly colored hair after applying dye over highlights


So, there are two ways to choose.

  • The shortest way is to go to a salon and have the colorist do a color filler. This way, she’ll apply a dye and the highlights will disappear.
  • The longer way is   to lighten two or three levels every time you touch up your color until the highlights are gone.   This means that you can start with a dark brown on the first application, apply a dark blonde the next month, and finally dye your hair light blonde. Finally, you’ll be filling in the bleached strands with pigments to get to the color you want.


  You’ll do a color filler process in any of those cases.   As it’s a complex technique, I advise going to a professional.


If you want to dye your highlights because the toner fades too fast, you can replace the toner with a toning shampoo

purple shampoo falling to a hand

Maybe you want to apply a dye to get rid of the highlights.

I hear you. The toner fades with washes. So, you’re at the salon to apply toner every three weeks.

But in this case,   if you really got tired of going to the salon for the toner application, but want to keep your highlights, you can use a toning shampoo. 


The toning shampoo can be applied at home in the shower, containing neither developer nor ammonia. Therefore, it doesn’t strip the hair of moisture.

I have to be honest though. The toning shampoo does fade with washes. But all you’ll have to do is wash your hair once a week with the toning shampoo to maintain the color of your highlights.

That’s a lot less money and work than going to the salon to apply the toner.


So,   if you want to keep your highlights, but want to avoid toner,   a toning shampoo is a better option. The dye doesn’t cover highlights evenly and the color fades quickly.

  • If your highlights are too yellow, use purple shampoo.
  • If your highlights are too orange, use blue shampoo.



Applying a dye to cover highlights isn’t a good idea. You need to do a color filler beforehand so that the dye sets and the color doesn’t fade quickly.

The color filling requires advanced training in colorimetry. Therefore, I advise you to go to a salon if you want to get rid of the highlights for good.

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