When do you start timing hair dye? When you finish preparing the mixture or when you finish applying the dye?

  • If this is your first time coloring your hair or doing a total makeover, you should start timing your hair dye once you have covered all of your hair with the color mixture.
  • If you’re just touching up your roots, you should start timing when you’re done applying the mixture to your roots.


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Today I finally understood those “existential doubts”. I don’t mean philosophical questions. No. We’d better leave that to the great philosophers like Socrates or Plato.

What I am referring to are those daily doubts, almost insignificant ones, whose answers we take for granted, even if we are not completely sure of the answers.


For example, in hair questions, a recurrent doubt is whether to dye or straighten hair first. However, there is an even more popular question. Hardly anyone says one aloud.

Do you want to know what it is? The winner is… “When to start timing hair dye?”


 Yes. Believe it or not, I receive that question every day from many women who don’t know exactly if they should start timing the dye as soon as they start applying it, once they mix the peroxide and the dye, or once they’re done with the application. 

Do you have the same existential doubt and find yourself with the dye in your hand, ready to start preparing the mixture?


Then, wait; take a few minutes to read what I have to tell you. Your color may finally look radiant.

Today, I will tell you:

  • When you should start timing your hair dye
  • Correct application of the dye, minute by minute


Today, you will leave behind all those doubts that, although insignificant, can become a real headache.

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When do you start timing when dyeing hair?

To talk about times, we must talk about situations. It is not the same to dye your hair, to touch up the roots, or to make a total color renewal.

There is something that is common to all situations, and that is that the processing time should not exceed 35 minutes. All color manufacturers generally recommend that time.


Also, be careful. It’s very important that you respect the time that the color will be in contact with your hair because, otherwise, you will end up with dull hair. What’s worse, you’ll damage the hair fiber.

After all, don’t forget that hair color contains chemicals such as peroxide and ammonia.


Do you have gray hair? Tell me the truth; have you ever left the dye for longer because you were afraid the grey hair wouldn’t take on the dye completely?


Thank you for your honesty but let me tell you, that’s a myth.

If you have stubborn gray hair, you can use a gray hair softener, to ensure full coverage, but never leave the dye in longer.


Having clarified these points, which are also very important, let’s move on to answer our existential question.

When should we start timing the hair dye?


 The processing time of a dye should not exceed 35 minutes counting from the moment we finish applying it. After that, the mixture oxidizes and loses its effect. 

Now, is processing time the same for all color cases?


Definitely not.

If you apply a tone-on-tone hair dye for a gentle coloring, you must time since you finish applying the dye to all the hair. You must never leave it on for more than twenty minutes.

If you leave it on any longer, you run the risk of darkening your tone too much.


 If you want to do a root touch up, you will obviously start applying the dye to the roots and growth. Then, you will start timing the dye, which, in this case, it will be twenty minutes. 

You don’t need to apply the dye to all your hair because the mid and ends are already colored.


 If this is the first time you’re going to color your hair, you’ll need to time once you’ve finished applying the dye to the entire surface of your hair. 

This is all about when to start counting the processing time of the dye. However, in coloring, even the speed of application is important.

Do you know why?


Because, when the oxidant is mixed with the dye, oxidation begins. The color molecules slowly begin to increase in size.

If you delay the application of the dye, those molecules will not be able to pass through the layer of our hair to make the color change. What will happen then?


If you take longer than fifteen minutes to apply the dye, it will not cover completely and will not be absorbed into the hair fiber, resulting in a duller, more opaque tone.

Do you want to know how to avoid this? I’ll tell you.


Correctly applying the dye minute by minute

with paintbrush

To prevent the dye from “losing its strength”, I recommend that you prepare smaller portions of the color mixture.

For example, if you always start by preparing forty grams of the dye, try mixing only twenty grams with the correct proportion of peroxide.

Then, if you need more dye, you can prepare a new mixture.


It is also important that you respect the exact times of application of the dye. If you leave it on for less time, you will notice that, where you applied it first, the tone will be more intense.

This will happen because the color oxidation period could not be completed. So, many pigments did not even penetrate the core of the hair fiber.


Hair dyes have a color curve, during which they slowly generate color change in the hair. If you do not respect the processing time, the color molecules do not increase their size. Therefore, they cannot make the internal change in the hair.



When applying a dye, every detail counts, and the processing time is much more than a detail.


  • You should always start timing the dye from the moment you finish applying it.

If you apply it to the entire surface of the hair, once you’ve made sure to cover each hair fiber, start the clock. Don’t exceed the time indicated by the manufacturer.


  • If you want to touch up your roots, the processing time will start when you finish applying the color on roots and growth. You should only leave it on for twenty minutes.

Now that you know when to time the dye, prepare the mixture, apply and control the clock. That’s what your future color will depend on.

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