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How Long Does it Take to Dye Hair: In a Salon vs. At Home

How Long Does it Take to Dye Hair

At some point, you probably came across a K-Pop video with the singer having a vibrant hair color.

Like IU’s hair in Blueming, BTS V’s vibrant blue in Boy With Luv, or something a little bit more toned down like TXT Yeonjun’s pastel pink look in Blue Hour.

If you’re adventurous enough, like me, and thought “Hey, I kind of want that hair color too” then this guide is for you!

Before you jump dive into that hair dye job, here’s everything you should consider:

  • How long does it take to dye hair in a salon vs. at home
  • Difference of hair bleaching vs. hair coloring
  • Things you need to do before dyeing your hair
  • How long hair dye lasts
Table of Contents

How Long Does It Take to Dye Hair in a Hair Salon?


Dyeing your hair in a salon can take you 2-4 hours, depending on the color you want to go with as well as your hair length.

If you want to go have a haircut as well, allot an EXTRA 30 minutes for your hair cut and another 30 for washing your hair.

The longer you want your trim, the longer it takes.

If your desired hair color (e.g., light blonde, ash brown, platinum blonde, light brown hair, the best red dye tones, etc.) requires bleaching for it to pop out, it can take an extra 2-3 hours. Depending on how many times you need it bleached.

If you have brunette hair or darker, you might need to make multiple salon visits. (this will be tackled more later in the article)

Be clear with your goal!

What to Consider

So ask yourself:

  • Do you want a permanent or semi-permanent hair color?
  • Are you going for a balayage, full color, or ombre?
  • Or are you just going to retouch your roots?

The timing also depends on your hair condition and your expected result. Obviously, a single color process takes less time compared to having a split or rainbow color.

A typical hair dye session in a hair salon would go like this:

  • Application of hair dye
  • Time for processing and exposure
  • Shampoo and wash
  • Hair treatment and toning if needed
  • Staining the roots

Do keep in mind that different hair stylists will work in different paces. So if you’re really dedicated to color your hair, it’s better to free the whole day to get your hair done.

How Long Does It Take to Dye Hair at Home?

at Home

So what if you can’t go to a hairdresser at a salon? Of course, you could always color hair at home.

It takes much less time as your only goal really is to apply hair dye. Bleaching it at home is a completely different thing.

The process of hair dyeing will depend if you’re going to use permanent or semi-permanent color.

DIY Hair Dye

What You'll Need:

  • Bowl (preferably plastic or glass)
  • Tint brush
  • Comb
  • Your hair dye
  • Gloves

Most box dye products usually have instructions included. But here’s a general step-by-step process of how to dye hair at home just to help you get a grasp of the experience:

  • Mix your chosen hair dye (or hair dyes if you’re using multiple colors) with an oxidizer or hair conditioner. Depending on what product you’re using.
  • Stir with a plastic spoon or with your brush. DO NOT USE METAL UTENSILS. Its chemicals can react with the dye during the mixing process.
  • Cover any area of skin near your hair with greasy cream so that it won’t absorb color.
  • Part your hair into four sections and secure them with hair clips. Comb your hair and remove tangles.
  • Wear gloves. Dye your hair by coloring it with a brush from your roots to your ends, starting from the back sections.
  • As you color your hair, make sure you put enough amount for the color to cover the entire hair length. You’d want to avoid patchy results.
  • Let it process for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Rinse your hair with warm water until the color bleed stops.

We also recommend watching this video to see a full demonstration of the process of dyeing your hair at home:

Hair Bleaching vs. Hair Coloring

Bleach vs. Color

Bleaching your hair is an entirely different process from coloring hair. But it’s also important in preparing to color hair.

Both processes result in a color change. The chemical process of bleaching will lighten hair strands.

Bleach removes pigments from your hair while coloring adds to it. I’d be cautious with bleaching though as the chemicals are stronger than hair colors.

What to Do Before a Bleach Session

Do not wash your hair before doing this.

Bleach processing can be very painful to the scalp because of the heat. It’s advised to not wash the hair for at least two days before your appointment.

This is so your scalp will accumulate a lot of oil to protect your head from the heat.

Some people advise putting coconut oil on your scalp overnight before applying the bleaching mixture to lessen the pain.

Other people said it does nothing but from my experience, I didn’t feel pain on my scalp at all.

The chemicals are too strong so make sure you look at the condition of your hair right after your first round.

Some end up having very fragile hair after the first few sessions. If this is the case, you might need to have more sessions after at least 2 weeks.

How Long Does It Take to Do Both?

If you’re going to do both in one salon session, expect that you’ll be sitting in the salon chair for at least 6 hours (an addition of 30 minutes if you’re going to have a haircut as well).

The processing of the bleach can take around 30 minutes at most.

But depending on the developer you use and your hair type, you might need to work on a second round.

If you had your hair dyed before bleaching, make sure to let your stylist know.

It can result in a very different shade compared to virgin hair.

I recommend having it done in a salon so they would know what to do to achieve your style expectations.

Things to Consider

If you’re going to do some bleaching and hair dyeing at home, do take extra precautions.

Always check the volume of your developer. An ideal amount would be, at most, 30 vol. for virgin hair.

Don’t leave it on for too long or else you will damage your hair. Anything more than 30 minutes will just have your hair look damaged.

Others may be brave enough to do this at home.

But personally, I’d rather book multiple appointments in a salon and let an experienced stylist bleach my hair. Better to have a professional bleach it THAN dye your hair at home.

A lot of stylists do not recommend doing it on your own but if you really can’t help it, no one can stop you.

So here’s another video that might help you:

Post-Bleach Care

Make sure you put purple toner after washing off the bleach.

Depending on the shade of your hair, you’ll end up with a very yellow or orange color (unless you had your hair dyed prior to this).

Using a purple toner or shampoo will neutralize the brassiness of your hair. This is vital if you really want to achieve that platinum blond color.

Use products for hair treatments multiple times a week as well to get rid of the frizzy and dry feel.

If you made some mistakes and feel like you’ve ruined your hair, DON’T WORRY. You can take a look at our Guide on Fixing Bleached Hair Breakage to help you out.

What to Do Before You Dye Your Hair

What to Do

Before you step foot into the salon, here are things you should consider doing before you dye your hair:

  • Make sure to moisturize your hair deeply for 2 days before the day you color or before your salon appointment.
  • Do not wash your hair before coloring. It’s better to dye hair while it’s dry.
  • Show your stylist a picture of what your expectations are so that they would know what to do to get your desired results.

How Long Does Hair Color Last?

Try not to wash your hair for a few days right after so that the color would stay vibrant longer. After a few washes, the hair dye fades off, especially if it’s semi-permanent.

Even though it’s called “permanent color,” it takes around 6-8 weeks before it fades. While semi-permanent dye lasts around 3-6 weeks.

If you want it to last longer, use less shampoo and have very limited exposure to the sun.

Permanent vs. Semi-Permanent Hair Color

If you’re not keen on having a long-term commitment to one hair color, semi-permanent dye is the way to go.

It’s a low-maintenance color change and much milder than permanent dye.

Permanent dye, on the other hand, has ammonia and peroxide. These help the color penetrate the hair cuticle and change its structure.

But if you’re not up for that, well… It’s better to use semi-permanent color.

With semi-permanent dyes, you could always go back to that reliable blue black hair dye color after having some with fun colors!

Personally, I like to mix up my hair color every now and then so I usually use semi-permanent dye.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Dyeing your hair at a salon takes way more time, BUT you’ll definitely get the best results.

You could always dye your hair at home, though I really do recommend that you do your RESEARCH first.

Doing it yourself can lead to more damage if you don’t have a professional with you. So I’d rather have it done in a salon and stay there for most of the day.

Plus! Think of it as a break or relax session for the week. If you’re in need of good ol’ ME time, a salon is perfect.

Yes, there are tutorials out there to guide you but most of the time, it doesn’t turn out the way you expect. So do your research, ask a professional, or just book an appointment. They would know best if that purple hair dye idea you have would actually work well for you!

Hopefully, this guide helped you understand the pros and cons of dyeing your hair in a salon vs. at home.


August 25, 2021 – Improved article formatting, reviewed and updated overall content

July 21, 2021 – Added 1 new article link

July 15, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.