Why won’t your virgin hair take color? 5 possible causes and solutions


Your virgin hair won’t take color for any of these five reasons:

  • Reason 1: You haven’t left the dye in your hair long enough.
  • Reason 2: You used the wrong developer.
  • Reason 3: You applied a fantasy color dye on your dark hair.
  • Reason 4: Your hair is too porous.
  • Reason 5: Your hair is too oily.


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Is Virgin Hair Easier to Dye?


Have you dyed your virgin hair? When you rinsed it out, did you notice it didn’t take the color?


Before I start, let me clarify something for you.

Virgin hair is hair that hasn’t undergone  any type of chemical treatment , such as dyes, perms, highlights, or straightening.

So, if your hair has gone through any of these processes, it’s no longer virgin hair.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on.


I can imagine what you must be feeling.

 You finally decided to dye your virgin hair.  You wanted a change, to freshen up your look… you went through the whole process to dye your hair and… when the moment of truth arrives, surprise!

Your hair didn’t take the color and it’s almost the same as before.

What a disappointment, right?


But don’t worry, there is a solution. We’ll find it in this article along with the  5 reasons why your virgin hair doesn’t take color. 

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Reason 1: You haven’t left the dye in long enough

Tools for applying hair dye

It’s often the case that when you color your hair at home, you make some mistakes.

For example, you see that  10 minutes after applying the dye, it changes color and you think it’s time to rinse it out. 

But this doesn’t mean that your hair has taken on the color. Why not?


Because what you see is just the oxidation of the dye.

If you remove it too long before the manufacturer’s instructions, it’s likely that the dye will only  open the cuticles without depositing any color .


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You should reapply the dye. This time,  leave it on for the time indicated on the package. 

Perhaps it’s also a good idea to wait 1 or 2 days to dye your hair again. That way you’ll avoid irritating your scalp and damaging your hair.


Reason 2: You used the wrong developer

Product and brush for hair dyeing

The developer or oxidizer, however you call it, is super important to get your hair the color you wanted. Check out these examples:

  • If you have gray hair and use a 10-volume developer, the dye won’t even tickle those gray hairs.  You will need a 20-volume developer  to cover them up.
  • If your hair is dark and  you want to dye it 3 shades lighter,  you will need a 30-volume developer. With a 10-volume developer, you won’t see any changes in your hair.
  • If your hair is light and you want to dye it a dark color, maybe  a 10-volume developer will suffice. 



You will need to  recolor your hair in a few days.  When doing so, keep the following in mind:

  • The 10-volume developer deposits the color.
  • 20-volume developer lightens 1 or 2 tones.
  • The 30-volume developer lightens 2 or 3 shades.

If you have some doubts, the best thing to do is to go to a professional hairdresser.


Reason 3: You have applied a fantasy hair color and your hair is dark

Young woman with purple hair smiles

This is one of the most frequent situations where many clients come to my salon and tell me that their virgin hair didn’t take the color.

It may seem like an obvious problem to hairdressers, but we forget that  there is too much false information on the internet. 

They just tell you to apply the dye and that’s it, you have beautiful pink hair, no bleaching, and on a black base! Wow!


But of course, that’s not true, and  it’s not that easy to dye your virgin hair a fantasy color,  especially if you have dark hair.

For fantasy colors, you need a previous bleaching (unless your hair is very light blonde).



If you want to have that pink, blue, violet, or any fantasy color you like, go to a salon. They will bleach your hair first.

Maybe you can do  a few color highlights to show the change but without damaging your hair so much.


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Reason 4: Your hair is too porous

low, medium or high porosity

Your hair may be virgin, but it can still be porous.

This may be natural or because of  chlorine from the pool, the sun, or using low-quality products  like shampoo with salts and sulfates. Or if you subject your hair to high temperatures on a daily basis, with straighteners or hair dryers, it can also become porous.


All these things damage the hair cuticle, making it harder for the dye to penetrate the hair strands.

Also in this case,  your hair may take the color at the roots,  but not from the mid-lengths to the ends, leaving two different colors. And we don’t want that!


The best thing to do in this case is to go to a salon. Nowadays, there are many options to improve porous hair and then be able to dye it so it takes color.

Confidence. Your hairdresser will know exactly what to do. Plus,  they’ll take care of your hair so it doesn’t end up breaking. 


Reason 5: Your hair is too oily

girl with very greasy or dirty hair

Your hair and scalp produce natural oils simply to protect you.

These oils also help when you color your hair, as they create a natural barrier,  preventing the chemicals from irritating your scalp.

However, if your hair is too oily, that barrier becomes impenetrable, and therefore the dye may simply slide off and not penetrate the hair fiber.


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If your hair is too oily,  you should wash it 12 to 24 hours before coloring.  This way you make sure it will take the color when you dye it.



There are different reasons why your virgin hair won’t take color. However, as I mentioned,  they all have a solution. 

So don’t give up if you feel like doing something different to your hair.


When in doubt, it’s always best to go to a salon when it comes to hair color and especially when you’re looking for a big change!

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