Can you dye wet hair? | Quick hair Qs

Can you dye wet hair? YES! That’s the quick answer. But we wouldn’t recommend it. Read on to find out why.

Have you ever wondered if it’s better to dye your hair when wet or dry?

It seems like a simple question, but the answer is complicated.

Most hair dyes recommend you dye your hair when it’s dry because they say the colour will take better. But what if you have very fine hair that absorbs water really quickly? Or what if you’re using semi-permanent dye and want to make sure all of the product gets absorbed into your roots before rinsing?

We’ve got all the answers and science behind why it works best on dry hair. It’s a question we get asked often, so we thought we would share our findings with everyone!

We’ve done some extensive research to help us answer this question once and for all. We’ll discuss what happens when your hair is dyed while wet versus when it’s dried first and then coloured.

Then you can decide which works best for you! Read on!

What happens if you put hair dye on wet hair?

If you ask which is better, dyeing wet or dry hair, most people will say that it doesn’t matter as long as the head of hair is clean. In fact, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to dye your hair with wet locks.

If you put hair dye on wet or damp hair, the colour will not take as well as if it was put onto dry hair. So that beautiful chocolate colour you’d had your eyes on, might end up looking more like mud!

That’s because the water forms a protective barrier around the shaft of your hair that stops the pigment from the hair dye from penetrating your hair properly.

Not only that, but the water will dilute the dye and make patchy in places. So you won’t get the best coverage with wet or damp hair.

Your hair is also at its most fragile state when it’s wet, so putting hair dye straight onto it can be damaging. Pretty much all round, it’s a bad idea!

Will the colour still work if your hair’s wet?

The colour will still work when your hair is wet, but the colour you get will be slightly different than when your hair is dry.

It’s doable – but it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your hair colour.

If you want a subtle change in hue or tone, then yes! Go ahead and dye your hair when it’s wet. The hair dye may take enough to make a noticeable difference.

But if you want an intense dramatic transformation (like from brunette to black), then no way Jose because water will dilute the dye and make it less effective.

Best to stick to applying hair dye on dry hair like the good hair dye makers intended.

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Should you dye hair wet or dry?

Putting hair dye on wet hair is not recommended by most manufacturers for a reason.

If done, the results may be disappointing and potentially damaging to your tresses.

The best way around this is to wait until your hair dries completely before applying any colour product.

Do I have to wash my hair before I dye it?

The short answer to this is YES!

Hair dye won’t work properly if your hair is covered in grease and grime. It will gather up on your hair in different places so your coverage will be patchy and uneven.

You’ll need to get rid of all that dry shampoo, root cover ups and hair products that build up on your hair.

Use a good clarifying shampoo to get rid of all impurities and leave your hair ready for anything!

How do I prepare my hair for colouring?

Fresh hair colour will be have better longevity with a clean hair base .

Leaving your hair for a day or two allow natural oils to develop is only a good idea if you’re going to be lightening or bleaching your hair.

The natural oils form a protective barrier on your scalp that’ll stop it from being irritated by the lightener.


Three days before you plan to dye your hair, use a deep conditioner or olive oil treatment on your hair to fully moisturise and condition your hair to get it feeling strong and supple.

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 completely dry and settled before you start dyeing it.

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.

Here’s a great guide to colouring your hair without ruining it!

Can you dye wet hair?

So yes. It’s totally possible.

But if it’s not guaranteed to get that new gorgeous colour you’re after, why would you?