Does Black Hair Dye Fade? (Explained)

Girl in black gloves mixes hair dye in a bowl


People have used dye to color their hair for hundreds of years.

Black hair dye has always been a popular choice due to its classic look and ageless color.

Used to change an appearance, cover greying hair, or even other hair tones, black hair dye has been a go-to choice for men and women all over the world.

This leaves many people curious about the longevity of black hair dye.


Does Black Hair Dye Fade?

Back view of woman with beautiful shiny hair isolated on black


Yes, like all hair dyes, black hair dye will eventually fade.

Black hair dye can typically last anywhere from six to eight weeks, depending on how often it’s washed and shampooed.

Multiple factors will affect the actual duration of the dye, such as the type of dye, the method of application, and the type of hair.

To get a more accurate estimation of the length of time hair dye will stay bright and vibrant, considering other factors is a must.


What Are the Differences in Black Hair Dye?

Barber hair dye is applied with a brush


The main differences in hair dye are whether it’s temporary, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, or permanent.

The type of dye you are using will greatly affect how long it will last in your hair before fading.

The temporary dye lasts about a day because, when applied, it only penetrates the hair’s cuticle without reaching any deeper layers.

It is typically applied as a leave-in treatment on clean, damp hair.

Temporary hair dye is also sold in spray cans and be sprayed directly on the hair.

Temporary dye is water soluble, so it will rinse out after washing and shampooing one time.

Semi-permanent hair dye goes one step further than temporary hair dye by reaching the hair’s inner structure.

This allows it to stick around for about four to 12 shampoos and typically takes about 20 to 40 minutes after application for the dye to set.

It’s applied to the natural hair color, adding layers to it.

Demi-permanent hair dye contains tiny molecules that get under the hair shaft and wrap around the outer cuticles without penetrating the strand itself, coating the hair with color.

It’s also ammonia-free and usually lasts for around 24 shampoos.

Permanent hair dye contains ammonia as well as an alkalizing agent that opens the hair cuticle up to allow more dye to penetrate, permanently altering the color of your hair.

This works by swelling the cortex and letting peroxide change the hair’s natural pigment.

It usually needs to sit for 30 to 45 minutes before setting.

During the process, the black dye binds to the natural hair color, creating a lasting color change.

Though it is called permanent hair dye, it will start to fade after about six to eight weeks, depending on the amount of washing and shampooing.


What Are the Different Shades of Black?

Cropped view of brunette woman brushing shiny hair


Most people only think of black hair dye as one shade, but there are many shades of black that someone might choose.

Natural black is probably the most popular, and depending on your complexion, and can look completely natural.

Natural black is a true, one-tone color.

Blue-black looks so black that it might appear to have blue undertones.

Some hair dye manufacturers have also started creating black dyes with different color undertones, like red and violet, while working off of this same principle.

Soft-black, or off-black, is a lighter shade of black that also look natural and sun-kissed.

It’s not as harsh or dramatic as natural black.


How Can You Make Black Hair Last Longer?

Beautiful female with long brunette hair salon curly and healthy, perfect beuty makeup, young spa model fashion portrait


Though no dye is going to last forever, there are ways to make black dye last longer in your hair.

First of all, after dyeing, do not wash your hair for 72 hours.

This is very important, as washing before the dye has time to set will let the dye rinse out of your hair, creating a washed-out look.

After 72 hours, it’s best to wash it as little as possible.

Each wash will start to break it down little by little.

Avoiding heat like curling irons and hair dryers will also help keep the color in longer.

According to Colure True Color Care, “Hair damage due to heat will commonly be on the surface, cuticle layers, and possibly the keratin fiber structure.”

If you do need to blow dry your hair or use a straightening or curling hair, it’s best to use the appliances at low temperatures.

Hold the dryer approximately three to four inches from your hair and moving in one direction for no more than 30 seconds on each section will help keep color in longer.

It’s also advised to avoid excess sun exposure and even hot water.

Washing your black dyed hair in cooler water will help the color lasting longer, as well as towel drying.

Using the proper shampoo and conditioner is also highly recommended when it comes to hair dye longevity.

Many different hair care companies have developed color-safe products that help nourish your hair and help maintain lasting color.

According to Wella, “Coarse hairs, which are large in diameter, generally take more time to absorb color, while fine hair, which is small in diameter, takes less time to absorb color.”

Once your hair starts to grow out naturally, it’s easy to use store-bought box hair dye to touch up the roots, making the overall color last longer.


How to Dye Your Hair Black at Home

A middle-aged woman dyes her hair at home, indoors


If you choose to dye your own hair from a store-bought box, wash your hair 24 to 48 hours in advance to make sure it’s clean and free of any product but has enough time for natural oils to form.

Before starting the dyeing process, drape yourself in a hairdresser cape or throw on an old shirt.

Your box of dye should have everything you need in it, and it’s important to follow all of the box’s specific directions.

However, typically, you’ll first apply a barrier cream to the skin at your hairline, ears, and neck as protection and for easy clean-up later.

Then, mix the color and developer together.

It’s easiest to section out your dry hair and clip each section so they are separated, keeping the roots exposed.

Apply the dye mixture to each section, being sure to cover all of the hair and working through each section until it’s all covered.

Let it sit for the amount of time stated on the box.

Then rinse out, shampoo it to remove excess dye, and let it dry.


What Shades of Black Go with Skin Tone?

Beautiful african american woman looking at camera. Portrait of cheerful young woman with afro hairstyle. Beauty girl with curly hair.


Based on your skin tone, you might want to use a different shade of black.

It’s recommended that, if you have fair skin, you go jet black with your hair color.

The dramatic difference will make you stand out and your features pop.

Medium skin looks great with a dark brown/black hair color.

The brown undertones will bring out the warmer skin tones.

Going full black with medium skin might make you look washed out.

Olive skin tone works well with a soft-black or almost black dye.

It contrasts well with the warmer skin tone.

Light brown skin contrasts perfectly with a deep chocolate brown-black color hair dye.

The brown in the dye balances with the light brown in the skin, creating a nice natural look.

If you go too dark with light brown skin, you run the risk of washing yourself out.

Medium brown skin also looks great with chocolate brown-black hair dye.

The browns complement each other without washing each other out.

Dark brown skin works well with blue-black hair dye.

The blue undertones add a layer of attention, giving the overall look definition.

Black skin pops with either red-black, violet-black, or blue-black hair dye.

The subtle colorful tones help give the hair layers.


What Are the Different Hair Dyeing Methods?

hair dye


If you go to a salon, there are mainly five dyeing methods: balayage, highlights, lowlights, ombre, and sombre.

Balayage is probably the most popular hair-dyeing method used in salons.

It consists of using free-hand painting strokes that leave natural pieces alone within the dyed areas.

Then those areas are back-combed to cover any missed spots.

It can also be done by painting diagonal sections of the hair while leaving other sections natural.

This method creates a gradual color change, looks more natural, and also allows the hair a more natural grow-out.

Highlights consist of dyeing along select portions of the hair, either narrow or wide sections, starting at the base or root.

This makes sure the whole strand of hair is evenly dyed.

Then, those strands are wrapped in foil and held under heat until the dye sets.

Highlights are usually used to add lighter colors to the hair.

Lowlights are the opposite of highlights.

It uses the same method but applies a darker shade than the natural hair color.

Both highlights and lowlights give the hair a more vibrant, three-dimensional look.

The ombre method is the act of taking all of the hair and applying the dye, usually starting midway through the hair growth and extending to the ends.

This method looks a lot less natural as no hair is left untouched, except at the roots.

Sombre is a soft ombre method that helps ombre dye jobs grow out more naturally.

It works similarly to the ombre method but uses more blending, creating a less harsh and dramatic dye line in your hair.

It’s usually used to help transition hair from dark to light.


Is It Better to Use Store-Bought Dye or Go to a Professional?

Big assortment of hair dye on the shelves in the store


Getting hair dyed by a professional at a salon will most likely give your color the longest duration.

Certified professionals are trained specifically in dyeing hair and should have a certain amount of hours in practice.

You will also have a much wider variety of colors and shades to choose from at a salon and will be able to talk it through with your hairdresser in order to find the right color for you.

You’ll be able to ask questions or voice any concerns before the dyeing begins.

Professional hairdressers are also better equipped at using different dyeing methods.

However, getting your hair dyed by a professional can run hundreds of dollars, so using a store-bought dye in a box might be a better option.

Using a prepacked dye box also gives you complete control over the experience and is typically quicker.

Store-bought hair dyes usually only cost anywhere from $8 to $30.

Store-bought hair dye is also much quicker to apply, as most only demand roughly 10 to 20 minutes of your time.

Great advances have also been made in box dye products, with different kinds of applications, including “salon” bottles and brushes, non-drip formulas, and added elements to ensure hydration and healthy hair.


How Did Hair Dye Even Start?

Hair coloring set with hair dye, paintbrush, hairbrush, paint containers on wooden background


The act of coloring hair dates back to ancient times, with some of the original dyes coming from natural products and elements like henna, indigo dye, cassia obovata, senna, turmeric, amla, katam, black walnut hulls, red ochre, and even leeks.

However, English chemist William Henry Perkin is credited with creating the first synthesized dye in the mid-1800s.

This came after the revelation that para-phenylenediamine (PPD) reacts with air, oxidizing to create color.

In 1907, Eugène Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, is reported to have created the first synthetic dye specifically for hair.

Home coloring dates all the way back to 1947 when the German cosmetics firm Schwarzkopf presented “Poly Color.”

Today, hair dyeing is extremely popular and can be done either in a salon or at home.


What Are the Benefits of Dyeing Your Hair Black?

Close-up of a hairdresser's hands dyeing hair.


Many people decide to dye their hair black once they start seeing gray hairs.

Black hair dye, especially permanent dye, is great at covering grey hair.

Using black hair dye helps many people feel younger.

It’s also trendy to dye your hair black, among a variety of other colors.

Many young people dye their hair different colors as a form of identity seeking.

Dyeing hair is a less permanent way to experiment with different looks, finding one that works with you and your personality.

Using black hair dye is also a way to temporarily change your overall look.

People often get tired of their natural hair color and just want to experiment with something different.

Hair dye is a great way to introduce a fresh new look.


What Are the Best Products to Maintain Color?

Side view of optimistic African American lady smiling with closed eyes and touching clean curly hair


If you want to maintain your black hair color for the long term, look for shampoos and conditioners that are sulfate-free.

Sulfates are added to shampoo to help the soap distribute over your head and through your hair, but they often strip your hair of moisture in the process, leaving it dry, brittle, and unhealthy.

In helping to remove dirt and debris from your hair, it can also quickly remove the added dye, making your color fade much faster.

Sulfates may also cause skin and scalp irritation and drying.

Common sulfates found in shampoo are sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and ammonium laureth sulfate.

Some of the best hair products on the market to help dyed hair maintain its color include Virtue Labs Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner, Unite 7Seconds Shampoo and Conditioner, Prose Custom Shampoo & Conditioner, Pureology Hydrate Sheer Shampoo and Conditioner, and Kérastase Chroma Absolu Shampoo and Conditioner.

Chances are you’ll spend more on color-safe shampoos and conditioners, but your color will last a lot longer, meaning fewer trips to the salon.

This might save you time and money in the long run.

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