How Much Hair Dye Do You Need? For All Hair Lengths And Types.

One of the oldest questions we get asked is, “How much hair dye do I need?” And it’s completely tempting to answer, ‘How long is a piece of string?’!

But let’s be real for a minute. Nobody wants to be halfway through their dye job and realize they don’t have enough dye to finish the job. We’ve been there!

So whether you have a pixie cut or waist-length locks, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the inside scoop on measuring out the perfect amount of hair dye for your desired style and hair type.

No matter what look you’re going for, we’ll make sure you have the perfect amount of product to achieve it. Let’s go!

How much hair dye do I need Infographic Chart:

Hair Length & Type - How Much Hair Dye Do You Need?

Short Hair (Pixie Cut or Bob): 1 box of hair dye (4oz-4.7oz)

Medium-length Hair (Falls Around Shoulders): 1-2 boxes of hair dye (4.7oz-9.4oz)

Long Hair: 2 boxes of hair dye (9.4oz)

Thin or Fine Hair: Less product needed as hair is more porous and absorbs color more easily

Thick or Coarse Hair: More product may be required to ensure even coverage

Curly Hair: Unique texture requires special care; use two boxes of hair dye to determine coverage

Bleached or Lightened Hair: More product needed to cover the bleached area

Permanent vs Semi-Permanent Dye: Permanent dyes require more product as they provide greater coverage

Color Intensity: Subtler colors need less product, while bold colors will require more dye for full saturation

How Much Hair Dye Do You Need? The Ultimate Guide To The Perfect Measure.

Getting your hair color just right starts with one key step: figuring out how much dye you’ll need.

If you don’t use enough, you might end up with patchy color that doesn’t cover everywhere it needs to. On the flip side, using too much isn’t great either, as it could be tough on your hair and might even leave stains on your scalp you weren’t bargaining for.

But don’t worry, with a little bit of know-how, finding the perfect amount of hair dye for your style, hair length, and the richness of color you’re after is totally doable. Let’s walk through what you’ll want to keep in mind:

Tailoring to Your Hair’s Length

When it comes to coloring your hair, the length isn’t just a style choice—it’s a crucial factor in how much dye you’ll need.

Just like you wouldn’t use the same amount of fabric to sew a skirt as you would a dress, the quantity of hair dye required varies significantly from short crops to long tresses.

It’s all about coverage and ensuring every strand gets its moment in the spotlight. Let’s break down why your hair’s length is key to nailing that perfect dye job.

Short Hair – 1 box of hair dye (4oz-4.7oz)

how much hair dye you i need - short hair

If you have short hair, you’ll typically need one box of hair dye.

This is because short hair generally has fewer and shorter hair strands, so it requires less product to cover.

If you have a pixie cut or a bob that falls above your shoulders, one box should be enough to cover your entire head.

But if you have thick hair, we’d recommend getting an extra box just to be safe.

Medium-length Hair – 1-2 boxes of hair dye (4.7oz-9.4oz)

how much hair dye you i need - shoulder length hair

For medium-length hair that falls around your shoulders, you’ll typically need about one and a half boxes of hair dye.

However, this sometimes varies depending on how thick your hair is and the level of coverage you want.

If you have long layers, you may need to use an extra box of hair dye to make sure every strand is covered evenly.

Long Hair – 2 boxes (9.4oz)

how much hair dye do i need long hair

Long hair requires more hair dye, and you’ll likely need two boxes to cover your entire head.

This is because long hair has more surface area to cover, and you don’t want to risk running out of product before you’ve covered everything.

If you have very thick or curly hair, you may even need to use more than two boxes to get the desired level of coverage.

Considering Hair Type and Texture

The thickness and texture of your hair also affects how much hair dye you need.

If you have thin or fine hair, you may be able to get away with using less product because your hair is more porous and absorbs color more easily.

If you have thick or coarse hair, you may need to use more product to ensure that the color takes evenly and fully saturates your strands.

If you have curly hair, it has a unique texture that needs special care. It’s a good idea to buy two boxes of hair due and see how well your hair takes the hair dye in the dyeing process.

Expert Insights

“You get used to figuring the amounts with time. I prefer to mix smaller amounts up & just keep mixing up fresh amounts even on longer thick hair. This ensures a more even coloring service.”

Versions Vividamnesia, Master Hair Colorist, Vancouver

Choosing Your Hair Dye: Quantity Matters

The type of hair dye you go for plays a significant role in determining the quantity you’ll need for an even and vibrant color result. Each kind of dye interacts differently with your hair, influencing how much product is necessary to achieve your desired look.

Permanent Hair Dyes: The Full Coverage Choice

If you’re leaning towards a permanent color change, you might find yourself using a bit more dye. Why?

Permanent hair dyes give you that rich, lasting color, meaning they need to cover every strand thoroughly. Especially if you’ve got a lot of hair or it’s on the thicker side, having a little extra dye on hand will ensure you get that flawless finish.

Semi-Permanent Dyes: Lighter on Use, Gentle on Color

If semi-permanent dye is more your speed, you’ll be happy to know it goes a long way with less.

These dyes gently coat your hair, giving it a beautiful sheen of color without needing as much product. Perfect for a fun change or a subtle refresher, semi-permanent dyes are a great way to play with your look without the commitment.

Bleach and Lighteners: Precision in Quantity

Thinking about going lighter? Bleach or lightening products are your best bet, but they do ask for careful application and, sometimes, a bit more product.

Getting an even, bright look across all your hair, especially if you’re starting from a darker shade, means making sure you have enough product to get the job done right.

Multi-Component Kits: Follow the Guide

Many hair dye kits come perfectly packaged with everything you need, mixing the dye and developer in just the right proportions.

While it makes things super simple, always take a moment to read through the instructions. They’re your best friend for making sure you mix up the right amount for your hair’s length and texture.

Pro Tips for Hair Dye Success

When applying hair dye, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and work quickly to avoid any patchiness or uneven color.

If you’re unsure of how much hair dye you need, it’s always better to purchase an extra box just in case.

And, if you’re looking for more intense or vibrant color, consider using a color intensifying conditioner or hair mask to boost the pigment and prolong the life of your new hue.

-Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant

Hair FeatureRecommended Amount of Hair DyeNotes
Short Hair1 box (4oz-4.7oz)For pixie cuts or bobs.
Medium-length Hair1-2 boxes (4.7oz-9.4oz)For hair that falls around the shoulders.
Long Hair2 boxes (9.4oz)Necessary for hair beyond shoulder length.
Thin or Fine HairLess product neededHair is more porous and absorbs color easily.
Thick or Coarse HairMore product requiredNeeded to ensure even coverage.
Curly HairStart with two boxesUnique texture requires special care; adjust based on coverage.
Bleached or Lightened HairMore product neededAdditional dye needed to cover bleached areas evenly.
Permanent vs Semi-Permanent DyePermanent requires more productPermanent dyes offer greater coverage and thus need more product.
Color IntensityVaries by desired outcomeSubtler colors require less product, bold colors need more for full saturation.

How To Dye Your Hair at Home.

Now that we’ve helped you to get the right amount of hair dye – are you ready to switch up your look?

With our guide, you’ll learn how to dye your hair at home like a pro.

Not only will you save money, but you’ll have the freedom to experiment with different colors and techniques on your own time.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIY hair dyer or a beginner, our step-by-step instructions and expert tips will help you achieve the perfect hue for you. Get ready to rock a new and exciting look with confidence.

How to dye your hair at home.

Watch and learn: How To Use Box Dye The Right Way.

Here’s a great video tutorial from professional hair colorist Sam Vay that gives you some awesome tips on tricks on how to use box dye safely to get fabulous results.

How to Care for Colored Hair.

Dyed hair is a bold statement and can add an extra oomph to your look. But being this beautiful requires special care to keep your hair luscious and healthy.

The first step to taking care of dyed hair is to invest in color-protecting shampoo and conditioner.

Avoid using hot water when washing your hair as it can strip off the color and make it fade faster.

Using a deep conditioner once a week will keep your hair moisturized and prevent breakage.

And minimize the use of heated styling tools as they can damage the hair and make it look brittle.

Finally, whenever possible, protect your hair from UV rays by covering it with a scarf or hat and using a good heat protectant spray.

With proper care, your dyed hair will look stunning for a long time.

How Much Hair Dye FAQs

How many ounces of hair dye do I need?

The amount of hair dye that you need depends on your hair length, type and texture, the type of hair dye you’re using, and the color intensity you’re looking for.

As a general guideline:

  • Short hair typically requires 4oz-4.7oz of hair dye.
  • Medium-length hair may require 4.7oz-9.4oz of hair dye.
  • Long hair needs 9.4oz.

But it depends on many other factors too. For instance, thick or coarse hair may need more product to ensure even coverage and curly hair will likely also require a higher volume of hair dye in order to get the desired level of saturation.

Permanent dyes also take more product than semi-permanent dyes as they provide greater coverage and more intense color.

For bolder colors, you will need more product than for subtler hues.

And if you have lots of stubborn gray hair, be sure to leave your dye in for longer to achieve full coverage.

Remember: It’s always better to purchase extra dye, just in case!

How many boxes of hair dye do I need?

Of course, how many boxes of hair dye you need depends on the amount of product each box contains.

But generally:

  • For short hair, a single box is usually enough.
  • For medium-length hair, you may require 1-2 boxes depending on the thickness and texture of your hair.
  • And for long hair, 2 boxes will be necessary to ensure full coverage.

It’s also important to consider other factors like the type of dye used, color intensity and graying hairs when determining how much dye you should purchase.

It’s always better to have too much dye than not enough, so don’t be afraid to stock up.

How many oz or ml of hair dye in box dye?

A standard box of hair dye contains 2oz/60ml of color cream and 2oz/60ml of activator or developer (hydrogen peroxide).

You need to mix the two together to activate the colorant that will dye your hair whatever fabulous shade you have chosen.

This then gives you a total quantity of 4oz/120ml hair dye. This is enough to dye hair up to shoulder length.

1 standard box of hair dye contains:

2oz/60ml of color cream + 2oz/60ml of activator or developer (hydrogen peroxide).

= total quantity of 
4oz/120ml hair dye.

Is 50 ml of hair dye enough to dye your hair?

No, it’s very unlikely you can dye your hair with such a small amount.

50 ml might seem like a decent amount, but when it comes to hair dye, trust us: you’re going to need more.

In fact, 50 ml is less than half the amount of formula you would typically find in a box of dye!

Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, you could end up needing anywhere from 100 to 200 ml of dye to get the perfect color you’re after.

So go ahead and stock up, because there’s nothing worse than running out of hair dye halfway through a dye job. Trust us, we’ve been there!

Is 120ml of hair dye enough to dye your hair?

Yes. 120ml of hair dye is enough to dye your hair up to shoulder length. Any longer and you may need more boxes.

If you have longer or thicker hair, you may need more than this for full coverage and even saturation. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry, so if in doubt buy an extra box just in case. You’ll often find many 2 for 1 deals on box dye in stores just for that reason!

That way, you can ensure you get the vibrant color results you’re hoping for without any patchiness or unevenness!

Will 1 box of hair dye be enough?

If you have short hair, or you’re just looking to touch up your roots or add a subtle change to your current color, one box should be enough.

If you have longer hair or you’re going for a more dramatic transformation, you might need to pick up a second box.

Can you put too much dye on your hair?

The truth is, when it comes to achieving bold hues and great coverage, the more dye on your strands, the better.

Some hair colorists recommend applying as much dye as possible to create a rich and saturated result.

While it’s possible to overload your hair, the good news is that hair dye stops working after an hour or so, so you can rest assured that you won’t end up looking like a walking rainbow!

Parting words: Know Your Hair & Read The Instructions!

So there it is. Everything you need to know about how much hair dye formula or liquid you need, and how to use it for the best results when dyeing your hair at home.

From finding the right amount to choosing the best products for your hair type and maintaining dyed locks – you now have all the tools you need to achieve a beautiful color that will last.

Go ahead and show off your new look with confidence! We know it’s going to be amazing. Good luck!

Found your perfect shade? We’d love to see it! Tag us on Instagram @colouredhaircare or Facebook and share your hair dye success stories. Looking for more hair care tips? Check out How to Look After Colored Hair: 11 Expert Secrets For Long-Lasting Color.

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Our Research & Review Process

To ensure our recommendations are as comprehensive and reliable as possible, we’ve undertaken an extensive research effort.

We cite scientific evidence and journals, collect real user reviews and gather impartial perspectives from hair stylists, users, and experts in the field.

Additionally, we conduct hands-on testing by using products and applying hair dyes not only on our own locks but also on real human hair extensions and hair pieces of different hair type, textures and lengths.

This rigorous approach allows us to provide you with insights into which products genuinely live up to their promises.

As always – please consult with a professional hair colorist or stylist for advice on how to color your own hair at home. It’s different for everyone!

This article was written and reviewed by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!

  • Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant
    Hair Stylist & Color Consultant

    I’m Enza Piazza, your go-to hair stylist and color consultant with over 23 years of professional salon experience bringing vibrancy and life to hair of all hues. My Italian roots from sunny Sicily infuse passion into every snip and color, a passion that’s been recognized with top honor awards including bridal and party hair at the National Hairdressers Federation’s Championships. After training in Surrey, UK’s most prestigious salons including Head Master Academy, I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and set up Enza Hair Styling, offering tailored hair care for 13 years, and treating each client like family. Away from the salon, I cherish moments as a proud Nonna to grandson Joseph and as a playful companion to my Jack Russell, Bo.