Can You Dye Greasy Hair

Can You Dye Greasy Hair?

You can get some pretty incredible results with a little bit of natural oil in your hair. But, excessive saturation will cause more problems than it solves. It all depends on the overall “dirtiness” of your hair.

As a budding cosmetologist, I get to work with many people with all kinds of hair types. I get asked pretty frequently about how dirty your hair should be when dyeing it. With the rise of the “no-shampoo” hair trend, more people are learning to let their natural oils shine through.

But does that help or hinder the dyeing process? In this guide, we’re going to find out! Keep reading to learn more about how greasy hair can work for and against you.

The Low-Down On Hair Grease

Whether or not hair grease is a good thing is a massive point of contention in modern haircare!

Some of us can’t stand the feeling of greasy hair. Others swear by it. The general consensus these days is that a little natural oil is a good thing.

Your scalp has tiny sebaceous glands that continually produce oil. The amount of sebum that appears can vary pretty dramatically from one person to the next. Some people have greasy heads after only 24 hours. Meanwhile, others can have hair that appears clean for several days!

Regardless of your sebum production, that natural oil can be both detrimental and beneficial.

On the one hand, hair oil naturally protects and hydrates. As you brush your hair, the oil moves to lubricate each strand. It coats the hair, preventing moisture loss.

However, it can also cause trouble if you’re not careful. Excessive oil can lead to dandruff and other forms of irritation.

It’s a balancing act to maintain oil. You don’t want to strip your hair of its natural oils completely. That’s why the market is shifting away from harsh sulfates. Yet, you don’t want to let your greasy hair go unchecked!

How Hair Oil Improves The Hair Dyeing Process

All that information about hair oil begs the question: Can you dye greasy hair?

The natural oil from your scalp can do a lot to protect your hair when you expose it to dye. This is especially true when you use permanent or demi-permanent hair dyes.

When you use permanent dye, you’re putting your hair through the wringer! These products penetrate the outer layer of the hair strand, which is called the cuticle. Once opened, the product can invade the cortex and infuse pigment. The dye will then go back and seal the cuticle to lock the color in.

Demi-permanent dyes work similarly. However, they only penetrate the cuticle and don’t break through to the cortex. While less damaging, these dyes still do a number on your hair.

So, how does hair oil help?

Well, your hair loses tons of moisture after you dye it. That’s why your locks might feel brittle and prone to damage afterward. Dyeing greasy hair mitigates that loss a bit. The natural lubrication keeps the hydration in, which can dramatically improve your hair’s texture and strength.

How Greasy Hair Can Ruin Hair Dye

The protective nature of greasy hair works both ways.

Having a little bit of oil to protect from moisture loss is fantastic. But when you have an overly greasy head, you might just make the dye more ineffective!

A thick layer of grease will make your tresses challenging to work with. Not only that, but it stops the dye from penetrating. You might see some subtle tinge of color here and there. But excessive grease will not give you a vibrant look.

Too much oil essentially dilutes the product and renders it useless!

Should You Shampoo Before A Hair Dyeing Appointment?

The age-old question!

Ultimately, you should always ask your colorist. Salon professionals all have their preferences. Some like to work with some hair grease while others don’t. If you want the protection offered from greasy hair, you can always ask for a little hair oil beforehand.

All that said, the general rule of thumb is to not wash your hair for 24 hours before your color session.

This gives you enough time to rebuild a natural oil barrier. But, you’ll also have the chance to rid your hair of any unwanted buildup. You should also avoid using any hair products during this time.


Can you dye greasy hair? Having a bit of natural oil in your hair can do wonders to protect it. The oil will decrease moisture loss and help you avoid that dreaded brittle texture. However, too much hair grease can also dilute the hair dye and prevent it from holding onto pigment.

Like everything else regarding hair care, it’s all about finding that right balance!

We recommend letting your hair accumulate oil for a day before going in for color. If you’re still not sure what to do, give your colorist a call! Ask their opinion and do what they think is best for your situation.

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