What happens if you leave brown hair dye in too long? Nothing good!

woman dyeing her hair brown
If you leave brown dye too long in your hair some of these things could happen:

  • The most serious thing is that by leaving the dye in too long, you could irreversibly damage your hair.
  • The least serious thing that could happen if you leave the dye in longer than indicated is that the color will fade in just two or three washes.


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To be clear and precise, you should leave brown dye in your hair for 45 minutes. And those 45 minutes start from the moment you finish covering all of your hair with the dye.


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Also, brown hair dye is a strong, intense color that gets absorbed quickly. Therefore, you don’t need to leave it on for more than 45 minutes.

Now let me become the devil’s advocate and ask you a couple of questions.


Why do you want to leave brown dye in your hair for so long?

  • Do you want the color to get darker?

That won’t happen. If you want the brown to be darker, you can’t choose a light brown. You must choose a dark brown.


  • Want the color to last longer?

That won’t happen either. You can make your color last longer if you use specific products for color-treated hair. And even then, you should always renew the brown dye after 45 days.


Therefore,  leaving brown hair dye longer than the manufacturer’s recommendation is just a bad idea. 


Because permanent dye contains chemicals that dry out your hair fiber. That’s why it’s essential you respect the exposure time.

The chemical reaction that changes the color of your hair opens the cuticles of your hair fiber so the color is fixed. And this process takes 45 minutes.


Want to know what would happen if you left brown hair dye on for 50 or 60 minutes instead of 45? Read on.


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If you leave brown dye in your hair too long two very bad things could happen

revlon brown dye

And the first one, or at least the one you should be most concerned about, is that  you will damage your hair. 


Why? Because the chemical reaction that changes the color of your hair ends after 45 minutes.  If you leave the dye in for even five minutes longer, the developer and ammonia will start to degrade in your hair. 


And as the hair cuticles remain open, your hair will continue to absorb these degraded chemicals, until it becomes saturated.

Then the worst will come. Your hair will dry out from the roots to the ends and become brittle. Which will increase hair loss.

Obviously, it’s not a good idea to leave brown dye in your hair for too long because it will ruin your hair.

brown hair ruined by dye

But if you think your hair is indestructible, let me tell you something else.


 If you leave the dye in too long, within a few washes the brown won’t even be noticeable,  because your hair will have an overload of pigments.

With the first wash, you will start to notice your brown fading. In two or three washes it will be completely gone.


Because hair can absorb only a certain amount of pigment. So even if you leave the dye in your hair for two or three hours, once it absorbs the maximum amount of pigments, the rest will disappear down the drain in the rinse.


In other words, you will have left the dye in your hair for two hours without any good reason.

Here’s another thing that happens when you leave dye in longer and the color becomes saturated. Your hair expels twice as much color as it normally would. This happens because the hair fiber is too full of color.

Leaving brown dye in longer will not make the color more intense or longer-lasting, quite the opposite. To achieve this goal you should follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the hair dye you have chosen.



You should never leave brown hair dye in your hair for too long. Manufacturers recommend leaving it on for 45 minutes.

If you don’t want to ruin your hair and you want the color to last longer, I recommend you follow the instructions included in the dye kit.

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