Home Hair Can I Blow Dry My Hair After Dyeing It?

Can I Blow Dry My Hair After Dyeing It?

by Gabbi
Woman Getting Her Hair Blown Dried

One of the first questions people face after dyeing their hair for the first time is how to dry it. The process of coloring the hair at home leaves you with wet hair. You probably can’t wait to see the final result, so you reach for the blow dryer, and then the thought crosses your mind.

“Wait, can I blow dry my hair after dyeing it?” We’re glad you asked. It’s not recommended to blow dry your hair after dyeing it, at least for the first few weeks, and definitely not the same day. Your hair is in an extra-vulnerable state right now, and blow-drying can be the breaking point that causes irreversible damage.

But don’t stylists blow dry your hair at the salon when you get your hair dyed? It’s true, some stylists will use a blow dryer immediately after dyeing your hair. Not all of them do that. Those that do are typically using a very gentle setting on the blow dryer and probably using protective products on your hair. 

In this post, we will go over all the reasons you shouldn’t be blow-drying your hair immediately after dyeing, when you can start blow-drying, and what products you can use to protect your color-treated hair when you blow-dry it.

Why You Shouldn’t Blow Dry Your Hair Immediately After Dyeing It

When your hair color is fresh and new, you might be feeling great, but your hair won’t. It’s in a vulnerable state having just undergone a chemical treatment that left it feeling a little weaker than it was before.

Coloring your hair – whether you’re bleaching it or simply depositing another color – is a chemical process that alters the structure of your hair. First, the dye lifts the cuticles of your hair in order to get inside your hair shaft.

Then it removes your natural pigments and/or deposits different color pigments to change your hair color. Afterward, your hair cuticles are not fully closed, which causes your hair to lose moisture and break more easily.

Blow drying, especially with high heat, can further lift those weakened cuticles and suck out any remaining moisture. Not only can this leave your hair feeling like straw, but it can also lose you a lot of hair!

This is the main reason that you don’t want to blow any heat on your hair immediately after dyeing it. It’s best to let it air-dry for the first few times you wash it after coloring.

Ideally, you should avoid blow-drying it for the first few weeks and take that time to use hydrating and repairing products on your hair to bring it back to its pre-coloring health so you can start using heat again, safely.

Using A Blow Dryer On Color-Treated Hair After A Few Weeks

Once you’ve given your hair 2-3 weeks to recover after dyeing it, you can begin to incorporate heat styling and blow-drying back into your routine.

You should still be mindful of the fact that your hair has undergone a damaging process, so treat it as if it’s fragile even if you’ve been taking great care of it for the last few weeks.

Here’s how you can ensure that you’re blow-drying your color-treated hair in the safest way possible:

Use A Low Heat Setting

Using a low heat setting on your blow-dryer is a good rule to follow regardless of your hair condition. If your blow-dryer has the option for “cool” or “warm” (instead of “hot”) settings, you want to stick to those. The lower the heat, the less damage your hair takes.

If the air is not very hot, your hair cuticles won’t open up as easily, and the moisture inside of your hair won’t escape as quickly.

Pro tip: some hair dryers come with a cold air blast setting that can dry your hair while actually sealing your hair cuticles. Use this as much as you can tolerate it!

Use A Leave-In Conditioner

A good leave-in conditioner can protect your hair from heat damage, seal in some of the hydration, and even add a smooth shine to your hair.

Look for a leave-in conditioner that contains hydrating oils (argan oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil are our favorites) and repairing ingredients like keratin or rice protein. This will help your hair reverse some of the damage, or at the very least, prevent your hair from getting further damaged by blow-drying.

Allow Your Hair To Air-Dry Halfway

If you let your hair air-dry or towel-dry 50% of the way before you use a blow-dryer, you are cutting the damage in half! Plus, when hair is super wet (fresh out of the shower) it is in its most vulnerable state.

Once you let it dry a little bit, it can handle a lot more. So, if you have the time, you should let your hair dry a little bit on its own before you blast it with a blow-dryer. 

Use Hair Masks That Hydrate And Repair

As part of your new color-treated hair care routine, you should be using regular hair masks and treatments that work at moisturizing and repairing your hair cuticles so that they are able to withstand daily wear and tear without drying or breaking. Hair masks are great because they are intensely hydrating and often contain special ingredients that can help seal your hair cuticles.

And you only need to do them 1-2 times per week. Just like with leave-in conditioners, look for masks that contain oils, butter, and proteins. Your hair needs both hydration and repair.

The oils help with hydration, while the proteins are what’s going to close and seal your hair cuticles. The healthier your hair becomes from using these products, the more you’ll be able to blow-dry it without worry.

Reduce The Number Of Washes

The more you wash and blow-dry your hair, the more potential there is for damage. Of course, you can’t stop washing your hair altogether, but you can reduce the number of washes you have every week.

Experts recommend washing your hair every 2-3 days, but if your hair is already damaged you can probably use a longer break between washes. Allowing your hair to get a little greasy in-between washes will actually help to hydrate it. If you’re worried about how your hair will look, we recommend experimenting with different styles and updos.

The sleeked-back look is in right now, and dirty hair works best for it! You can also wear hats and scarves to hide greasy roots. Consider using dry shampoo, but bear in mind that most dry shampoos contain alcohol, which can dry out your color-treated hair and even change the color, so be careful with it.

Does Blow-Drying Affect Hair Color?

Surprisingly, yes. Blow-drying can slightly affect your hair color if you have chemically dyed hair. Blow-drying can make your color fade faster through the same process that it makes your hair lose moisture.

 Frequently blow-drying your hair can make the cuticles open and fracture, which exposes the cortical fiber (which is where color pigment is deposited) causing the color molecules to escape and leading to the color fading. This is more common with larger color molecules such as reds and auburn browns. 

An exposed cortical fiber also exposes your hair pigment to the elements, including the chlorine and other chemicals in your shower water, which can change the color and make it brassier. This is more common with light colors like blonde. 

Blow drying does not seem to affect natural hair colors in the same way. Perhaps natural or virgin hair has stronger cuticle bonds and blows drying isn’t enough to open them up. Additionally, your natural hair pigment (melanin) has a different molecular structure than artificial hair dyes, so it doesn’t fade from blow-drying.

Final Thoughts

Although it isn’t recommended to blow-dry dyed hair, hundreds of people do it every day, including at professional salons. If you blow-dried your color-treated hair, don’t panic. Most often than not, the damage is reversible as long as you take the necessary steps to heal and hydrate your hair.

In rare cases, drying your hair after dyeing can cause a lot of breakage and you might notice your hair falling out or feeling dry. The extent of this damage is going to depend on your hair’s condition before you started blow-drying it. 

Remember that not all dyes are created equal. Some dye jobs, for example, bleaching can be a lot more damaging than simply depositing a color. Use your judgment to assess the amount of damage your hair incurred through the processing and evaluate whether you should be adding a hot blow-drier to the mix.

We hope you find these tips helpful the next time you dye your hair. When in doubt – err on the side of caution and take all the steps you can to prevent damage. If that means skipping the blow-drier for a few weeks, so be it. Your hair will thank you for it! 

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