Can you dye greasy hair? Quick hair Qs!

Do you have the kind of hair that gets oily in minutes of washing? Struggling with a sweaty hairline and dry ends but want to try out a whole new hair colour? We’re here to help. If you’re wondering, ‘can you dye greasy hair?’ we can tell you everything there is to know.

In this article, we’ll explain why it really isn’t a good idea! And what you should do instead.

Let’s start by talking about what makes your scalp oily in the first place! Ready? Here goes!

Can you dye greasy hair?

The short answer is yes! But we wouldn’t recommend it!

The long answer is that hair dye works by penetrating the hair shaft and reacting with the protein molecules within the hair.

So it’s no surprise that having oil or grease on your hair could result in an unsatisfactory outcome and it would be best to wash your hair before dyeing it. It depends what kind of oil you have on your hair, though.

If your scalp is oily from shampooing too often or from an excess of sebum production then it may be difficult for the colour molecules to stick onto the strands.

However, if you’re just dealing with some natural oiliness due to hormones or climate change then it should be no problem.

What is making my hair greasy?

If your hair is oily, it can be a real pain.

Greasy hair doesn’t look or feel good and it can make styling difficult. It also means that your scalp might be producing too much oil – which isn’t great for the health of your hair.

It’s time to get scientific. Meet sebum: an oily substance that lubricates and waterproofs hair and skin.

It’s produced by sebaceous glands in your hair follicles and this is what causes your hair to feel greasy.

It’s normal for everyone to produce some sebum but too much can be problematic for those with fine or thinning hair.

A build-up of sebum can cause your hair to look dull, feel heavy and drag or weigh down on your scalp.

It may even start to get knotted and tangled too!

Common reasons for greasy hair.

  1. Shampooing too often can strip your scalp and hair of natural oils that keep it clean and shiny.
  2. Too much product buildup on the scalp or hair shaft can cause oiliness.
  3. Hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause may cause an increase in production in natural oils from sebaceous glands which leads to your hair becoming oily faster than usual.
  4. Certain medications such as antibiotics used for acne treatment may lead to increased oil production.
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How to stop greasy hair.

If you’re experiencing greasy looking locks then try one of these tips!

Change your shampoo

Try a clarifying shampoo that will help eliminate excess oil and product build up, leaving your hair feeling light and fresh without stripping out natural moisture.

Clarifying shampoos are designed to cut through residue left behind by other hair products.

Stop over-washing

If the problem is that you’re just over-washing then a bi-weekly shampoo should suffice.

Stick to a schedule

Try to stick to washing your hair around every other day, rather than everyday, as this could lead to greasier locks too.

Greasy or not – daily shampooing removes natural oils from the scalp which can affect the production of sebum and result in an oily scalp.

You can always invest in dry shampoo which you can apply on the second day to soak up any excess grease!

Shake it up

If you’re prone to greasy hair then try cutting back on products with alcohols, pore clogging ingredients and synthetic fragrances – these are all contributing factors for oily or greasy hair!

Beware of products like mousse and gel as well, which can lead to heavy build up on the scalp.

Only apply these products to the mid-lengths and ends of your locks for a more weightless finish.

Get it checked

If you’re worried about your greasy looking locks then it might be worth talking to your doctor who can perform a patch test to check if your scalp is producing too much sebum for any medical reason.

Is it better to colour your hair when it’s dirty or clean?

Since hair dye needs to penetrate the cuticle of your hair and grip onto the strands, it’s important to ensure your hair is clean and free of styling products.

If your hair is dirty, the problem you’ll face is that your hair will take in colour unevenly, leaving you with patches of different colours instead of the deep, even colour that you might want.

The solution here is to wash your hair well before dyeing it!

Ask the experts: Should hair be clean or dirty before dyeing?

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Is it good to have greasy hair before dyeing it?

It used to be thought that having slightly oily or dirty hair would protect your hair from harsh colouring processes. This is why colouring your hair was often done at the hairdressers before you had washed it.

Nowadays, not all hair dyes use harmful chemicals like ammonia and there are far gentler ways of colouring hair, so greasy hair isn’t necessary for protection!

If you are planning on bleaching your hair, however, not having freshly washed hair can be an advantage – natural oils can protect your scalp from the bleaching process.

How dirty should my hair be before I dye it?

If your hair is dirty, it will affect the colour of the dye. If you’re trying to go lighter, then make sure your hair is as clean as possible before applying any shade.

Dirty strands can also result in unwanted tones and shades after dyeing. We recommend shampooing your locks beforehand to avoid this problem.

Also remember that when using box dyes or bleach kits, there should be no oil on the scalp or hair in order for these products to work properly!

For hair dyes that use ammonia in particular – so permanent hair dyes – you’ll need to wash your hair very thoroughly the day before colouring.

You don’t want your hair to be dirty to dye it but you want it to be dry. Damp hair can cause the dye to go blotchy, so dry hair is best when trying to achieve the best all-over coverage.


A day before you plan to dye your hair, is a good time to wash it. The hair dyeing process takes time and you need your hair to be clean and settled before you start dyeing it.

Things like dry shampoo will absorb grease but will leave a chalky residue in your hair that will need washing out too!

Use a deep conditioner or olive oil treatment in the run up to dyeing your hair to get it feeling strong and supple.

Do not put any products on it after you have washed it! It needs to be clean and free of anything that might compromise the colour.

Can you dye sweaty hair?

With regards to semi-permanent and temporary colour, the answer is no! Just like with grease or dirt, it’s not a good idea cannot be dyed because a sweaty scalp will prevent the dye from taking hold. Just wash it!

Just because you sweat, doesn’t mean your hair can’t be refreshed with a new colour. It’s important to keep your locks looking fresh and feeling great.

  • Here are some things to consider before you rush off for that dye job: Does your hair usually get greasy?
  • Do you need more than one wash in order to feel clean?
  • Would a clarifying shampoo help clear away product buildup and excess oil from styling products?
  • Is there any residue leftover after washing, such as oils or waxes?

If so, then it may be time for an intensive conditioning treatment to get your hair ready for hair dye.

Can I dye my hair if I haven’t washed it in a week?

The answer is, well, yes and no. It all depends on your hair type.

If you have thin hair that really absorbs grease and grime, then maybe not so much. But if you’re blessed with thick locks, you might just get away with it as the dirt won’t penetrate your hair as much.

If you have a lot of product buildup, however, it may not work as well for you because the oils in your hair will just make the colour stick to the surface and not penetrate down into your strands.

It’s also important to note that if you’re going longer than two weeks between washes, your scalp can get irritated and start producing more oil which may lead to breakouts.

BUT why risk it? If you don’t want patchy hair colour, wash your hair a couple of days before you hit the salon.

Your hairdresser will thank you for it!

Why do salons wash your hair after colouring?

Is it to get all of the dye off and out of my hair, or is there a deeper reason?

Most people think salons wash your hair after coloring to rinse out the excess dye – but actually, there’s more than meets the eye!

Washing your hair after it’s been coloured is also a good time to apply toners.

Toners are used to counterbalance the effect of red, yellow and brassy tones for a more natural look. Purple or blue shampoos can be used to cool your colour, and glosses add shine and depth to create a lustrous look.

So it’s not just about rinsing out your hair dye, it’s about applying those magic potions that make your hair look on point!

Parting words.

If you’re looking for a new look, we hope this article has been helpful.

We’ve given you the answer to “can I dye my greasy hair?” And helped dispel some of your myths about what is safe or not when it comes to protecting and refreshing your locks.

So, next time you’re going to dye your hair and it’s feeling a bit on the slick side, don’t fret. Simply wash your roots with shampoo before applying any colourants for the best results.

Good luck!