Dyeing Woman's Wet Hair in a Hair Salon

Are you trying to find the answer to the question, “can you dye wet hair”?

The short answer to this question is actually yes.

It is okay to dye hair while it is wet.

However, you also have to watch out for some risks as there may be a couple of things that may go wrong if you do.

Benefits/Advantages of Dyeing Wet Hair

Here are the positive things that you can enjoy from dyeing wet hair:

Requires Less Product

Because water adds more moisture to your hair, it will help in the more even distribution of the dye. This means you would not need to use as much product as you typically would.

Gives a Subtler Result

When you add dye to wet hair it will absorb more color and make the ends of your hair pop more. It will give your hair a somewhat balayage-like look if everything goes well.

Not as Messy

You must use a brush, comb, and dye applicator to dye your hair dry. If you do this when it is wet, you’ll need plastic gloves and mush the dye into your hair. This can minimize the mess that the process may cause.

Risks When Coloring Wet Hair

Note, though, that there are also a few risks and downsides when coloring wet hair.

You have to consider these risks and downsides when learning proper hair care, especially when planning to use dye for hair application or treatments.

Here are a few risks that you have to watch out for and pay attention to when planning to color your hair while wet.

Uneven Color

The problem with dyeing wet hair is that you cannot be sure if you applied the hair dye uniformly. There may be parts where the dye did not take, making it look splotchy.

May Damage Hair

When your hair is wet, it is more prone to damage. This means that when you are applying hair dye, it could fall victim to chemical burns. Have you noticed how stretchy your hair is when you brush it while wet? This shows how fragile it is.

Dyeing Hair to Blonde Hair Color

Water May Dilute the Color

The water in your hair may dilute the hair dye’s color. As mentioned earlier, dyeing wet hair will give a subtle and soft look.

However, if subtle is not your target, you will not get the kind of vibrancy that you would get from dyeing your hair when dry. Instead of subtle colors, you may end up getting a dull one.

Best Color Types to Choose

If you are dead set on dyeing your hair wet, here are a couple of color types that you should use:

Semi-Permanent Dyes

The reason why you should choose semi-permanent dyes is that they have no ammonia and other harsh chemicals. This means that these dyes would not damage your wet hair.

However, these dyes also contain less pigment than regular hair dyes. This is mainly because they are usually for subtly increasing hair colors or adding slight highlights.

Demi-Permanent Dyes

Unlike semi-permanent dyes, demi-permanent dyes come with ammonia and other chemicals, allowing the dyes to permeate deeply into your hair strands. This means that the color can last much longer.

Even though these dyes are meant for dry hair, the chemicals are mild enough for wet hair as well. However, like the semi-permanent type, most pigments might get washed out with water, resulting in a dull and uneven color.

Demi Permanent Hair Dye Results

How to Dye Your Hair When Wet

Step 1 – Rinse the hair under lukewarm running water

This will allow you to remove as much dirt on the surface of the strands as possible. When rinsing, avoid using shampoo, as shampooing your hair will strip away most of the natural oils coating your hair strands.

This oil is a protective layer that prevents your hair from getting damaged.

Step 2 – Towel-dry your hair

Ensure that it is just damp, not sopping wet. The dye will slip off the strands with the water if your hair is too wet. Use a towel to squeeze a bit of the water from your hair. It should still feel wet, but no water dripping out of it.

Step 3 – Apply the hair dye based on the package instructions

Just like you would with dry hair, section your hair to make applying the hair dye easier and more even. Cover the roots. Put the dye on thick, ensuring that the color permeates the hair.

Step 4 – Use a shower cap to cover your head

Typically, most hair dyes come with a plastic shower cap included in the package. After applying the hair dye, get the shower cup as a cover and wait around 20 to 30 minutes, or follow the instructions in the hair dye package.

The shower cap will keep you from touching your hair and provide just enough heat to activate the hair dye.

Step 5 – Rinse out the excess hair dye

After waiting for the recommended amount of time, remove the shower cap and rinse the hair dye out of your hair. Again, you should not use any shampoo or soap in the meantime. Just use tap water to prevent washing away the hair dye.

How to Care for Dyed Wet Hair

Caring for dyed wet hair is the same as doing it with dry hair. The most important thing is to use a deep conditioning product (not shampoo) immediately after rinsing the hair dye. After that, continue using the conditioner at least once every couple of days.

Quick Tips to Maximize Results

  • Use a color that is close to your natural hair color. There is a huge chance that the hair dye will be applied unevenly, so it is better to play on the safe side. This way, even if the color job gets messed up, it will not be that noticeable.
  • Dye your hair wet only when you are retouching your hair color. So many variables need to line up to obtain the same quality as dyeing your hair dry, and it is very likely that you will not be able to achieve the same results.
  • If you want more color to show, lighten your natural hair color first. There are several ways to lighten hair without bleach that you can do at home, and they are worth a try.

Mistakes to Avoid

One mistake you must avoid is dyeing hair when it is sopping wet. It is important to towel dry your hair first until it is damp. If you don’t, the water will wash most of the dye, potentially leading to a very uneven dye job.

Another mistake you should avoid is not using a bottle of color-safe shampoo immediately. Remember the importance of applying the right products to your hair and scalp after dyeing it when wet – one of which is a color-safe shampoo. You should follow up the shampoo with the right conditioner to prevent potential damage, a known fact among dyed hair.


Is it better to dye wet or dry hair?

Dyeing your hair dry leads to more consistent results. This is not to say that every session would be a success, but at least the mistakes made would be easy to repair. On the other hand, you should not expect a uniform coloring of your hair when you dye it wet.

Should you dye your hair while wet at home?

You can. However, if you want to minimize the errors that could be made in the process, then it would be better to do it in a proper salon. For instance, if you want black hair with highlights, you will need a professional touch to make it look good.

Can I dye wet hair after bleaching?

You can, but you would be courting disaster if you did. Bleached hair, as it is, is already quite fragile due to the cuticle layer getting stripped off from the bleaching process. Getting your hair wet will only make it more prone to chemical damage.

What is the best way to protect your hair while dyeing it wet?

The best way to protect your wet hair while dyeing is to use semi-permanent hair dyes. These products do not contain nearly as many harsh chemicals as regular hair dyes, so the damage will be minimized.

What happens if you dye wet hair too often?

Just like when you are dyeing your hair dry, dyeing your hair while wet too often can result in irreparable damage. You should wait a minimum of a month before you dye your hair again to give it time to recover.

How long does the dyeing process take?

It will depend on the length of your hair. On average, the total time for the procedure takes around an hour to an hour and a half. This includes the time spent waiting for your hair to absorb the dye.

How long to wait to wash your hair after coloring? Ideally, you should wait three days, at the very least, before applying shampoo.

How to remove dye from wet hair?

You can remove hair dye from your wet hair by rinsing it thoroughly using lukewarm water. Do not use shampoo or detergent as they would severely damage your hair. After rinsing, apply a good leave-in conditioner to your hair to mitigate the damage.


Is it fine to dye wet hair? The answer is yes but watch out for the risks. Dye your hair wet only if you are planning on retouching your previous hair color and not when you want to change the color of your hair entirely.

You need to be highly skilled and lucky to pull off something that looks like a balayage by yourself, so it is best not to attempt it and go with the tried and tested route of dyeing your hair dry.

Anthony Giannotti

About the author: Anthony Giannotti

Anthony Giannotti is a senior writer and editor for Beardoholic and a licensed barber for more than 13 years. He owns 3 barbershops and has his own hair care product line that is sold in barbershops worldwide. Known for his impeccable technique and skills, Anthony is an expert in hair and beard care and he knows the best products and tools to get rid of all beard problems and have an amazing beard.

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