Skip to main content

The Truth About Hair Coloring: Myth vs. Reality

Taylor loves experimenting with her hair and sharing beauty tips and insights with others through her articles.

This is my natural hair color

This is my natural hair color

Learn About the Myths

As a girl that has dyed her hair at least thirty—not joking—thirty different shades in the last three years, I've heard my fair share of the negativity related to coloring your hair. Whether out of ignorance or simply not knowing the truth, it seems like people always have at least one negative affiliation with hair coloring. I set myself out on a mission to bust these myths about the hair dying process.

Myth #1: Coloring Your Hair Will Make It Fall Out

This is probably the most annoying hair coloring myth. Every time I dye my hair, there's always that one person that says to me, "your hair is going to fall out." Well, guess what? That's false.

Dying your hair can cause breakage, which can result in hair loss. But all hair, natural or dyed, is prone to breakage. Dying your hair will not cause hair loss unless you constantly overwork it and do not care for it properly. There is a risk with bleaching, however, as it stresses your hair and breaks down its color pigments—but only if it is not properly done.

The color famously known as "Husker red"

The color famously known as "Husker red"

Myth #2: Coloring Your Hair Will Make It Thinner

For this one, it's a yes and no answer. No, dying your hair once won't make it thinner. But, if you over-process your hair repeatedly, you can actually make your hair thinner in a way. I found out the hard way.

A few months after I had bleached my hair, I kept over-dying it to maintain the blonde color, and my hair became prone to lots of tangles. Tangles isn't even the right word. I had knots—a ton of them—in my hair all the time, and they'd form just from shifting my hair from shoulder to shoulder. I later found out that I had broken down the elasticity of my hair by over-processing it. My hair would literally stretch out, it was kind of gross. My hairdresser recommended that I lay off the dying for a while and eventually my elasticity was restored.

In conclusion, no, dying your hair will not make it thinner. Over-dying it, however, will make it thinner in the sense that it can lessen the elasticity of your hair.

Red is a pain to get out of your hair, fyi.

Red is a pain to get out of your hair, fyi.

Myth #3: Dyed Hair Is More Prone to Breakage

False. First off, all hair that is not properly cared for is prone to breakage, even non-colored hair. If you're blow-drying and straightening your hair every day without using heat protection products and other hair protectants, your hair is going to have split ends and it's going to be unhealthy, no matter the color. Second, hair color formulas in this day and age are more gentle and less likely to damage your hair than when hair color first came out. It's all about how you care for your hair.

bleach blonde.

bleach blonde.

Myth #4: Who Needs Instructions?

Always read the instructions! I cannot stress this enough. Even if you've used the same hair color for the past twenty years, you never know when a company could update their product. It's important to not wing it. A newer formula could mean a new length of time to leave the dye in, so it's always important to read over the instructions before you go for that new color.

black ombre.

black ombre.

Myth #5: Dye Your Eyebrows to Match

Think about it. I dyed my hair bright red. If I had dyed my eyebrows along with that, how ridiculous would I have looked? Don't dye your eyebrows. There is supposed to be a slight shade contrast between your eyebrows and your hair color—it's natural. Save yourself the embarrassment and don't dye them. If they're standing out more than you'd like, invest in an eyebrow pencil that is one shade lighter than your current hair color. It's the more natural, less permanent way to "match" your eyebrows.

Ombre red

Ombre red

Myth #6: The Summer Sun Can Fade Your Color

Absolutely true. Don't be mislead though, it's not only the summer sun that can fade your hair. Sun exposure at any time of year runs the risk of fading your lovely color. There are hair products that can protect your hair from harmful UV rays. Personally, I use Chi's Ionic Color Protector Leave-In Treatment Masque, which runs me about $20. I also use Farouk Royal Treatment by CHI Style, which I get for about $14.

I've also noticed that the more I dye my hair, the quicker it fades. I was also washing my hair twice a day, which caused my color to fade faster, especially when I was using temporary colors. Ever since I began using color protectant products, though, I've noticed my hair color fading less.

Some Side Notes

  • I don't use that many expensive products. The pricey stuff that I use is all from Chi. I recently started using Suave's new Keratin Infusion shampoo and conditioner specifically for color-treated hair, and I'm absolutely addicted. I have never seen my hair so soft and shiny, I'm so in love.
  • I don't wash my hair every day. Rather, I wash it every other day and in between washes, I use Suave's Keratin Infusion dry shampoo. I don't mean to sound like a Suave spokesperson, but I love their dry shampoo. It smells amazing, and it's incredibly inexpensive. It's about $3 here, and the cheapest I've seen dry shampoos before was around $7. Thank you, Suave.
  • I trim my ends every month. I've read arguments from both sides on whether or not it's beneficial to cut ends to promote hair growth. Whether it helps or not doesn't really concern me, I trim my ends just to get rid of the split ends.
  • I color my own hair. When I color my hair a solid color, I do it myself. I usually start at the front of my head at the roots and work my way back. I always get two boxes of dye. You can always return the second box if you don't use it. Most recently, when I've done the ombre colors, I had my mother help me with the dying.
  • I'm not loyal to one brand of hair dye. I go based on color, not price or brand. For my current color, the dye I used was Revlon ColorSilk shade 49, called Auburn Brown, which cost about $3.16. I removed the dye from my ends with Loreal Haircolor Remover and left them my natural color for the ombre effect.
  • My hair is naturally pin-straight. I feel it's a curse, but whenever I curl or heat-style my hair, I make sure to use a heat protectant. I use Chi 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protectant Spray. If you've never used Chi, I definitely recommend it. It works great and smells so good. All of their products have this distinct smell, it's amazing.

Now, Go Dye Your Hair!

No one's hair is perfect. It takes a lot of work to get it to do what you want, how you want. I went from having stretchy, horribly colored hair, to having the best hair I've ever had. It's going to take time and experience, but the end product is so worth it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


To Layla on June 27, 2019:

Why would u keep the dye in that long

Layla on November 06, 2017:

Is it natural for some color of your hair dye to come out of your hair in the shower after it being dyed for a full 24 hours?

Hey on March 18, 2017:

i bleached my hair once then went to school. people said, " omg your hair's gonna fall out!" i waited 2 weeks before dying my hair ( it was a REALLY dark brown and the color probably wouldn't show up) and people started telling me again my hair was going to fall out. i waited another 2 weeks before putting pink pre-permanent hair dye then all the hair loss crap came up again. thats how i ended up here lol

serena on July 18, 2016:

"Dying has become common.But one should be careful about if any defects getting detected like allergy, severe hairfall .I suggest the better colour is natural henna that too made at home."

susan on July 15, 2016:

"Dying has become more common now a is done on eyebrows,

hair, beard .But one should be careful about if any defects getting detected like allergy, severe hairfall .I suggest the better colour is natural henna that too made at home."

Bonnie on September 08, 2014:

I have been growing my haircolor out for over a year now. I had it all tinted back to my natural color one. Then six months later I just had lowlights put in past my roots so it did not touch my roots. So for 7 months no color at all and it is blending nicely. I am a natural blonde. I started coloring at age 15. I wish I had appreciated my hair then but I want to again. Years of damage, orange/yellow tones, knots, dried out and dead hair, and having to get it cut short often killed my hair. My hair is now long and healthy. That is most important. So ladies please don't kill your hair. Coloring does cause irritations to my scalp. I noticed that when the tint back was done. I had a rash so bad the hairstylist noticed it after rinsing out the color.

I took that is a hint and then researched ppd which is used in most coloring kits as maryss mentions above. Plus I spent money on coloring. Having to call ahead to make appointments, sitting while it got processed for hours, doing maintenance frequently, and having some people who screwed it up and damaged my hair.

Be proud of who you are and embrace gray or whatever color you have!

maryss on August 05, 2014:

Dying your hair can cause severe allergic reaction at any time no matter who, or how many times u have done it without any reaction at all we are all prone to a ppd allergy that by the way it has killed some already