Does Sweat Affect Hair Dye? (Yes, Here’s Why)   

does sweat affect hair dye

So you’ve finally found your favorite hair dye and love the way it looks. You’re obviously hoping to protect the color as long as humanly possible.

The only trouble is you’re going to have to deal with all kinds of attacks and onslaughts that want to strip and rip color from your hair, including attacks from the “inside out” – attacks from your own body!

You know that dyed hair color is going to fade naturally over time, no matter how expensive or how high quality the dye itself was. And you know that your hair growing out is going to change the color and complexion of your hair as well – but you’re probably expecting to get months out of your new hair color before it needs a “touchup”.

Well, the only way you’re going to stretch your hair color that long – and protect its color, vibrancy, and the health of your hair at the same time – is if you’re protecting it on a regular basis.

Believe it or not, that means you need to protect against one of the biggest “color killers” of them all, your natural sweat!

Does Sweat Affect Hair Dye?

Yes, you should know that your head sweating (which occurs naturally and is almost uncontrollable by you) is going to have a huge impact on your hair dye.

We’re not just talking about when you’re getting ready to dye your hair, either (though a sweaty head will certainly impact the ability for hair dye to take hold). Sweating throughout the normal course of the day, stretched over a couple of weeks or over a couple of months, will compromise and wash away your hair color, too.

Blondes that have dyed their hair are going to be a little more sweat resistant than brunettes, but every natural shade is going to suffer from “color bleeding” as soon as sweat gets mixed into the equation.

Let’s dig a little deeper into this, shall we?

Is It Ok to Workout After Getting Hair Colored?

Every single package of DIY hair dye is going to tell you NOT to workout after you have recently had your hair colored, just like they are going to tell you NOT to wash your hair for at least 72 hours after the hair dye has been applied.

Ignore this advice and you’ll see your hair dye slip right off of your hair and start to pool up on your skin or clothing.

You really need to give your hair at least three days (and ideally five or more) to kind of “bond” with the dye that you’ve applied. Shortcut that process – even just a little bit – and start sweating and you’ll at the very least dull the color and brilliancy that was there when your hair dye was still fresh.

Take a couple of breaks grinding it out at the gym or pounding the pavement. Rest, recover, and give your hair a break so that the hair dye can really lock in place.

Can I Dye My Hair with Sweaty Scalp?

It’s a good idea to avoid dying your hair with any extra moisture on it, and that means dying it after you’ve cleaned and dried any of the sweat that was in your hair from working out (or just from hot and humid weather).

The overwhelming majority of quality hair dyes – DIY and professional level hair dyes alike – are designed to be applied to hair that has not been freshly washed. The dye just doesn’t take well if it’s applied to hair that is holding a lot of moisture, and that’s definitely going to be the case when you’ve been sweating.

If you have the opportunity, shower and wash your sweaty hair at least 24 hours before you plan on coloring your hair. This’ll give you clean, relatively oil and moisture free hair that will take color better than anything else.

Why Does My Hair Dye Bleed When I Sweat?

It’s the combination of water and salt that makes up sweat that causes it to be so destructive to hair dye, causing it to bleed out of your hair when a dye job is still quite fresh.

The water on its own isn’t that big of a deal. After all, if hair dye wasn’t “water safe” you’d see a lot of hair dye bleeding off of people’s heads as soon as they took a shower or stepped out into a rainstorm.

The salt in combination with the water, though, works to pull hair dye from your hair, dull its shine, and fade the actual color itself. This is why it’s so hugely important to make sure that you are keeping as cool as possible and washing your hair regularly (once the hair dye has been “locked in”, course).

It’s also a good idea to wash your hair, whenever possible, with cool water. The cool water will neutralize the impact that sweat has on your hair color a little bit – but it also prevents your scalp from heating up and causing the sweating problems in the first place.

Something to think about, anyway!

How to Protect Hair Dye from Sweat Damage

Since you won’t be able to stop your body from sweating you’ll want to do everything else in your power to protect your colored hair from sweat damage.

Here are some tips and tricks to keep in your back pocket:

Throw out sulfate based shampoos and conditioners – Sulfate based shampoos and conditioners are incredibly aggressive cleaning agents that will work to feed your hair color but also pull the dye from hair strands as well. Skip this stuff for something much gentler.

Wash your hair with cool water – We mentioned this a moment ago, but it’s good advice that deserves repeating. You should be washing your colored hair with cool water (not necessarily ice cold, but cool water) to better protect and prolong its coloring properties. Warm water will cause hair dye to bleed and fade much faster.

Air dry your hair – Heat damage of any kind will throw your dyed hair for a loop which is why you want to try and air dry your hair as often as you can. If you have to use a blow dryer make sure you’re using it on the lowest heat setting possible and are keeping it as far from your hair as you can manage.

Deep conditioners work wonders – Today it’s a lot easier to find conditioners (and shampoos) designed to help prolong and protect the hair dye that you’ve been using. Leverage the power of deep conditioners, following your instructions to the letter, and you’ll be able to push back against sweat damage in a big way.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, you don’t have to sweat thinking about the potential damage this 100% natural body function will do to your dyed hair – so long as you pay attention to the inside information we shared above.

Dye your hair only after you’ve washed sweat out from it and let it dry for a day. Wait at least 72 hours before you start working out after you’ve died your hair. Take cool showers and wash your hair with cool water. Air dry your colored hair whenever possible and use deep conditioners (without sulfates) and you’ll be good to go.

Don’t be surprised if you’re able to keep your hair color weeks if not months longer than you would have before with these tips, but also keeping it looking brighter, more brilliant, and healthier as well.

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