How long does it take to dye hair? (At Home vs Salon)

By: | Last Updated: May 14, 2022

Sure, dyeing hair can be fun. But waiting for hours to achieve your desired hair color isn’t that entertaining for most people. 

So before you dye your hair, do your own research first. That is if you want to avoid hair coloring disasters just because you can’t wait.

Whether you’re dyeing your hair at home or giving it a professional touch, you’ll find this article helpful. We’ll give you an idea of how much time it takes to achieve your desired hair color below!

How long does it take to dye hair at home?

How long does it take to dye hair at home?

At-home dyeing sessions can take up to 2 hours

The process can be longer or shorter, though. This depends on some factors like your current hair color and the color you want to achieve. The type of dye you want to use is a factor to consider as well.

Let’s take a closer look at these factors below!

Your Hair Type

The texture, porosity, and health of your hair are major factors that influence the time it takes to dye your hair.

Less porous, finer, and healthier hair will absorb the dye faster. 

But it will take longer to achieve the hair color you’re going for if you have coarse, porous, and thick hair. It might not last that long either.

So be sure to keep your hair hydrated. This will ensure that the dye will penetrate as quickly and deeply into the hair’s cortex as possible. 

Your Current Hair Color

Black hair takes more time to dye compared to light-colored strands. 


Your black hair has more melanin pigments on them. The dye you’ll apply will have to break through your hair’s cuticle and cortex. 

This means that the process will be longer. 

For example, to achieve mermaidy-purple, you’d have to bleach your black hair first. You might need more than one bleaching session too. This depends on how dark your hair is and how light you want it to be.


But when it comes to dying your platinum or honey blonde hair purple, the process is more straightforward. You have the perfect hair base, to begin with. 

You can directly apply the dye to your hair. Wait for a few minutes to an hour. Then, wash, dry, and style it. And phew, you’re done. You can turn heads and express yourself with your new hair color in a matter of minutes.

So, how long does it take to dye hair purple if it’s already blonde? If we include the preparation, application, and styling, it usually takes 1 to 2 hours.

The Color You Want to Achieve

Want to be among the redheads? Perhaps, you want to show off your colorful side by rocking rainbow-colored hair.

The hair color you are going for will also affect how long it takes to dye your hair. 

For pastels, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. But if you prefer more vibrant hair colors, leaving it for more than 20 minutes is a good idea.

This doesn’t include the entire process yet. So allot at least an hour to complete the whole hair coloring session.

The Type of Dye You’ll Use

The Type of Dye You’ll Use

No, not all hair dyes are the same. And the ones you choose will not only affect how long it will last on your hair. Whichever you prefer will also determine the application time. 

Here are different hair dyes to consider:

Temporary Hair Dyes

Want to change your look for a one-time event? 

Consider using a temporary hair dye. Your new hair color will thoroughly wash out after one to two washes

Of course, this depends on how well your hair absorbs the dye. 

Applying it shouldn’t be too time-consuming if it doesn’t last that long, right? 

Yes, that’s correct. It’s the quickest hair dye to apply, especially the spray-type temporary hair dye. 

It’s a user-friendly hair dye too. Plus, it shows up instantly right after application.

So if you’re a commitment-phobe who also doesn’t have hours to spare, then use a temporary hair dye.


Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Another option is the semi-permanent hair dye. This is your best choice if you:

  • want your hair color to last for more than just two washes
  • are a commitment-phobe who doesn’t want to cut your hair to get rid of the color
  • prefer using something gentler to your hair

You should allot one to two hours for the application process. This depends on your hair’s length and thickness. In applying semi-permanent hair dye, you’d need:

  • Semi-permanent hair color
  • Any conditioner
  • Mixing bowl
  • Application brush
  • Gloves
  • Alligator hair clips
  • Towel or anything to protect your clothes or skin

Here’s how to color your hair using a semi-permanent hair dye:

  • In the mixing bowl, combine the semi-permanent hair color and conditioner
  • Brush hair out
  • Section hair using alligator hair clips
  • Put on gloves
  • Apply the hair dye starting from the bottom and work your way up
  • Go around the edges to cover the small strands
  • Put it up in a bun using the clips.
  • Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes or according to the instructions.

Permanent Hair Dye

If you want something that’s more long-lasting, permanent hair dye is the way. Compared to temporary and semi-permanent dyes, this one lasts longer. But fading still occurs over time. 

Now, let’s talk about the application time. 

It’s pretty much the same with semi-permanent hair dyes when applied at home. But be extra cautious as it can be damaging to your tresses.

If you don’t want to compromise the health of your hair, go to a salon instead.

But if you insist on taking the matters into your own hands, be sure to:

  • keep your hair moisturized to prevent damage.
  • choose the right shade as you will be stuck in that new hair color for weeks
  • choose the right products that don’t contain hair-damaging ingredients.

Natural Hair Dyes

You might not see this coming. But yes, there’s a natural way to dye your hair too.

Yogurt, coffee, and coconut oil aren’t just ingredients for a yummy snack. It can turn your white hair jet black in a matter of minutes too.

So how long does it take to dye hair black naturally? With the mixture of equal parts of coffee powder, coconut oil, and yogurt, expect to have black hair in 30 minutes


How long does it take to get your hair dyed at a salon?

How long does it take to get your hair dyed at a salon?

Getting a professional hair dye is a treat. But it’s hard to deny that it’s time-consuming.

It can actually take a big chunk of your day. That’s why you’d need to get ready before heading out to your preferred salon. 

So read on to prepare yourself and your hair for the professional salon experience!

Before going to the salon

Healthy hair is easier to dye. This is because the chemicals will absorb faster on your healthy strands.

Here’s how to ensure your hair is in its best shape before going to a salon:

Don’t wash your hair

That’s right. You should skip the shower 24 hours before your appointment. 


Some hair dyes contain harmful ingredients. And the natural oils left on your hair will protect your scalp and strands

Your hair’s natural oils will also be the perfect base for the hair dye. It will aid with the better absorption of the hair dye.

Do moisturize your hair

Moisturized hair is also an ideal base for hair dye. 

So treat your strands with a conditioning mask days before your appointment. 

Restore, hydrate, and rebalance your hair’s pH levels. It’s one effective way to achieve the hair color that you want without damaging your strands.

Don’t use heat tools

Before hitting the salon chair, skip the heat tools as much as possible. 

But if that’s not possible for you, be sure to use a heat protectant. Lowering the heat will also be helpful. So if you’re closer to your salon appointment, remember to turn your blow dryer to medium heat instead of high. 

Do use a clarifying shampoo

Get your scalp and strands ready. Use a clarifying shampoo weeks before the hair coloring treatment.

You can reduce excess build-up that’s hanging on your strands by doing this. This is very important as it can help your hair take the color better

Bring inspiration

Lastly, bring inspiration. Take photos of specific hair color ideas that you want to achieve. This is especially beneficial for your hair colorist as you’d make their lives easier. 

Since salon visits can take your entire day, you might want to bring a book or download your favorite movie.

During the salon visit

On average, professional hair coloring services take 2 to 6 hours or even 9 hours in some instances.

What’s taking it so long anyway? Well, the complete customer experience that the professional will give you takes time.

It will start with a consultation. And will end with you walking out with the hair color and glossy locks you are going for.


First, your hairstylist will check your hair and:

  • help you decide which hair color will be most suitable for your face and skin tone
  • suggest the best procedure to get the hair color that you’re going for
  • recommend the least-damaging way to color your hair

The consultation alone takes 15 to 30 minutes. This isn’t something that you’d get if you dye your hair at home. But it will definitely be worth it. 

Hair Bleaching

Hair bleaching is necessary for people with dark hair who want to go blonde. This involves a delicate and detailed process. That is why it’s best handled by professionals. 

So how long does it take to dye hair blonde from black at a salon? 

This is definitely not easy but possible in one session. Going blonde from black might require sitting in a salon chair for up to nine hours.


Hair Dyeing

After deciding on your hair color, your colorist will start dyeing your hair. 

This is where you spend most of your time in the salon chair – waiting for your hair to absorb the dye. 

Depending on the products and methods used, the entire process could take an hour or more. This includes the application of the dye on your whole head and the time it takes for your hair to absorb the dye.



Do you need a haircut? This will take another thirty minutes of your time in the salon chair. That is if you’re having a haircut with a hair clipper. 

If you need a haircut with scissors, this will even take your stylist another hour.

Hair Washing

The hair washing part takes the least time. 

Your hair colorist will spend around 15 minutes washing your hair. This includes applying the shampoo twice and providing you with a light head massage. They usually add conditioners and treatments that your hair needs.

So, how long does it really take to dye one’s hair?

Well, the answer lies in whether you’re doing it at home or the salon. 

If it’s just a quick hair color change, spraying your hair with a temporary dye will only take a few minutes. 

But if you’re committed to going blonde from dark hair, you might need to cancel your plans for the day as this can take up to nine hours. 

To be sure, it’s always a good idea to ask your hairstylist ahead. They can give you an estimate of how long the appointment could take. 

CHECK OUT: How Often Can You Dye Your Hair Without Damaging It

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