Everything You Need to Know Before Dyeing Your Dreads

There are many reasons you may want to dye your hair, which could be from restoring hair shine,  changing hair color to improving texture. But irrespective of your reasons, we will provide everything you need …

There are many reasons you may want to dye your hair, which could be from restoring hair shine,  changing hair color to improving texture. But irrespective of your reasons, we will provide everything you need to know before dyeing your hair.

A hair dye has the primary function of changing hair color. Dyeing your hair will cost anywhere from $50 to $400, depending on if you are dyeing it yourself, using the service of a professional hairdresser, or going for a more complex service. Dyeing your hair might appear easy, but there are many things you need to know before dyeing your hair.

So, read on to get the most helpful information you need to ensure your hair dyeing process goes without a hitch.

How Much Does It Cost to Dye Your Locs?

On average, you would spend $50 to $100 to dye your hair. If you want to do more complex services like Balayage and Babylights, it could cost you $100-$200. Besides, you can use at-home hair dye kits that cost a small sum of $5-$40 to do it yourself.

The hair color you want to achieve plays a role in the price because some hues require a mixture of different colors. Changing your hair color or improving the current hue might require visiting a salon. You could also decide to do it yourself, which can be quite cheaper since it involves following very easy steps and using a few hair dye supplies.

Whether you employ the services of a professional hair colorist or you do it yourself, it will surely cost you money. If you are doing it yourself, the cost comes from buying the hair color and other products required for successful dyeing.

There are other factors that also determine the cost of dyeing your hair, which includes:

  • The stylist’s experience – A professional stylist with great experience would usually cost more
  • Location: The salon’s location is a major determinant of the cost of its services.
  • Hair type, length, and condition of hair: As mentioned earlier, the state of your hair and length determines how much time you spend on it, which also translates to the cost.
  • Type of dye and technique – Natural hair dye products and certain brands are usually more expensive than others. Also, some techniques are usually more costly than others. For instance, making an ombre will cost more than a regular highlight.

Does Dyeing Your Dreads Damage Them?

Dyeing your dreads is quite damaging, especially when you do it continuously or leave the dye on hair for a long period. The reason is that most hair dye products use chemicals that have adverse effects on the hair. Besides, keeping dreads places a certain level of strain on the hair, making dyeing not ideal. Dyeing your dread in the wrong way could also result in locs becoming extremely dry, falling out, or causing your hair color to fade.

To prevent hair damage resulting from dyeing dreads, consider the following factors below:

  • Hair Health: If you are currently experiencing hair breakage, thinning, or other unpleasant hair health conditions, I would advise you to stay away from hair colors. Applying hair color to unhealthy dreads would strain the hair and probably worsen hair conditions.
  • Time and resource availability: As you ought to know, dread coloring is not a one-time service. This is because hair grows, and colors fade. To ensure hair dye color remains vibrant would require regular hair treatment, which requires money. Colored dreads also require hydration treatment more than regular dreads. While you could decide to moisturize your dreads every three months, you need to moisturize your colored locs at least once every month.
  • Original Hair color: If you have naturally dark-colored hair, and you are going for lighter or more vibrant hair color, then you must be patient, as it requires a long process. Although you can use bleach for immediate results, it is usually not advisable as it could lead to hair damage.

If you insist on dyeing your dreads, choose the most hair-friendly hair dye product, follow the right hair dyeing technique, and ensure you consider the factors above.

How Long Do Dyed Dreads Last?

Generally, hair dye lasts for about 2-3 months. After this period, the dye gradually loses its effects and intensity. The roots also start showing, so you need to reapply the dye.

It also depends on the quality of dye used and your daily activity. Below are other factors that determine how long hair color would last on dreads;

  • Type of Dye: There are different hair color types which include permanent, semi-permanent, demi-permanent, and temporary hair dye. For permanent hair dye, this lasts for 6-8 weeks on hair, and it penetrates deep into the hair, effecting color change within. On the other hand, semi-permanent will last for about 8-15 shampooing, while demi-permanent stays on hair for 4-6 weeks. The temporary types last until the next wash.
  • Color of Dye: The color of dye used on hair determines how long it will last. The reason is that colors contain different pigments. The higher the pigment color, the longer it lasts on hair. Generally, darker colors last longer than lighter ones.
  • Hair condition: Damaged dreads do not hold hair color as long as healthy hair. If the cuticle is porous due to constant styling or previous color treatment, your dreads will quickly lose color.
  • Maintenance: How you treat your colored dreads determines to a large extent how long it lasts. Washing hair using special shampoo and conditioner made for colored hair helps ensure it lasts longer. Using harsh shampoos like those designed for dandruff treatment would rid hair of color, reducing its duration on hair. Also, washing colored hair in hot water would cause the pigments to leach out.
  • Sun UV rays: Staying out under the sun for long periods without cover could also reduce how long color stays vibrant on hair.

Should You Wash Your Dreads Before Dyeing Them?

It is not advisable to wash dreads immediately before dyeing them. Washing your dreads rids them of the natural protective layer of oil that protects them against the chemicals present in hair dyes. But, dirty hair elongates the whole dyeing process, as dirt and debris make it more difficult for dye particles to stick to hair.

Therefore, the best thing is to wash your dreads for four to five days before dyeing hair and ensure it dries out. This would help reduce the dirt and debris build-up while making sure hair regains some natural oil before color application.

Below are some other rules you need to follow before and after dyeing your dreadlocks

  • Before dyeing your dreadlocks, divide them into parts and dye them in a bunch, not singly. The reason is that it ensures equal exposure of the dreadlocks to the hair color.
  • After dyeing your locks, condition hair deeply with essential oils to replace the oil lost during the dyeing process

Should They Be Wet Or Dry When Applying The Dye?

You can apply dye on both wet and dry dreads, but it is advisable to use on dry dreads because the colors last longer. Applying dye on wet dreads has its merits and demerits.

Pros and Cons of Applying Dye on Wet Hair


  • Use Less dye: With more moisture in the hair, you do not have to pay much attention to the application as the moist nature helps spread the dye evenly, resulting in the use of less dye.
  • Increased absorption rate: Wet hair absorbs color faster than dry hair. This is because the cuticle is porous, which enhances pigment assimilation.
  • Makes dyeing easier: Applying dye on wet dreads makes the color application easier, especially if you are dyeing your hair yourself.


  • Dilution of color: Applying dye to wet hair might not give the vibrant color you require. The reason is that the dye has mixed with moisture in the hair. Also, hair absorbs the water in some instances, which takes up the space in the hair’s cortex, leaving very little space for dye penetration.
  • Might Damage Hair: Hair when wet is weaker, making it more vulnerable to damage. Natural oils help protect hair from damage when hair is dry but offer little protection when wet.

What Products Do You Need For Dyeing Hair?

There are a few basic products needed to dye your hair, which include:

  1. Dye: This is the most essential supply for hair dyeing. Different types and colors of dye will yield different results.
  2. Color applying Brushes and combs: There are various types of brushes and combs. Some are suitable for wide-area applications, and others are better for small areas during the dyeing process.
  3. Spray bottles: These are dispensaries you could use to apply a lighter mix of your choice color.
  4. Gloves: Nitrile gloves are best for use as dyes usually contain chemicals that may irritate sensitive skin. You could also use vinyl gloves or latex gloves. Although latex gloves are not good for hair dye application
  5. Clips: These are for holding hair in place when dyeing or coloring it.

You also need to have some color preparation tools handy. These include: 

  • Plastic protective capes: This is a cover cloth to ensure that your clothes or body doesn’t get stained.
  • Color mixing bowls: these bowls are for mixing your colors as desired.
  • Color brushes: for applying or mixing color.
  • Tube squeezers: Also known as tune keys, allow you to make the best of any color tube from bottom to top.
  • Color removal wipes: As a must-have for hair dyeing, it removes the color from surfaces or the skin.
  • Foil: Aluminum foil gives you perfect control over your color application
  • Highlighting caps: is great for highlights application to short or straight hair

The idea behind dyeing your hair or dreads may be novel or come from the need to look good. Fresh hair color does a lot more than change your looks. It also helps boost your confidence and mood. When making such a decision, it is also in your best interest to consider if it is good for your hair. After all, looking good is great, but staying healthy is even better.