So, you went to the drugstore and couldn’t resist picking up some box hair dye to switch up your strands? We can’t blame you—DIYing your color is often significantly less expensive than going to the salon, not to mention being an instant fix if you are in-between appointments.
But despite the convenience and cost-saving factors, at-home hair dye can sometimes lead to damaged hair that’ll have you wishing you just waited it out for an expert’s touch! If you’re currently dealing with thirsty and over-processed hair brought on by your box hair dye, you’re in luck. We’re offering some insight into the best treatments for damaged hair from box dye and showcasing 17 products that’ll help nourish your strands back to health.
Does Dyeing Your Hair Damage It?
Yes, dyeing your hair with boxed hair dye and at-home bleach hair dye can damage your hair.
“Box color is usually very high in chemicals. Whether it be ammonia, metallic dyes, or other activating chemicals, you aren’t sure what you are getting. These chemicals can be damaging to the hair,” notes Rachel Graham, artistic educator with Matrix.
She adds that in-salon, professional color typically has lower amounts of these chemicals, and sometimes they even have none. And in cases where you really risk damaging your strands to the point of causing melting or breakage—which can happen with bleach—your colorist understands how, when, and where to apply the bleach to minimize damaged hair. A trusted colorist can also assess your hair and determine whether it can even withstand a chemical process like dyeing or bleaching.
Also, let’s be real. The work a professional colorist can do is often way better than anything we can do at home!
Can Color-Damaged Hair Be Repaired?
Though it can take some time, you can slowly get back to your healthy strands after enduring damage from at-home permanent hair color.
The key is to give your strands a break and avoid anything that can cause further damage, including additional chemical processing, bleaching, and dyeing. It’s also a good idea to avoid heat styling as much as possible and protect your hair from the sun. To help your hair look and feel healthier, you can also incorporate nourishing products formulated specifically for damaged hair.
How Long Does It Take To Repair Color-Damaged Hair?
The process of restoring your hair back to its pre-boxed dye glory depends on just how much damage has been done. If the aftermath is minor, then it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months to get your hair looking shiny and strong. If the damage was irreparable—think breakage, melting, and severe dryness—then it might be a matter of waiting until your hair grows back.
We recommend seeing a professional stylist to help improve your hair health. They have insight into what you can expect, experience in reviving damaged hair, and access to professional treatments that can help expedite the repairing process.
Can You Color Extremely Damaged Hair?
Dyeing damaged hair again can potentially cause even more harm, so it’s often best to let your hair recover and focus on building strength and health. However, in some scenarios, you might be able to dye extremely damaged hair with the help of a professional stylist. They may recommend a treatment that’s less aggressive, such as a demi/semi-permanent color or hair gloss. Ultimately, dyeing extremely damaged hair should be done on a case-by-case basis.
Our Best Products For Color Damaged Hair
From nourishing hair masks to strengthening shampoos, keep scrolling for 17 products you need to help care for damaged tresses at home.
Redken Extreme Bleach Recovery Shampoo
Dealing with DIY bleach gone wrong? Redken’s Extreme Bleach Recovery Shampoo should be the first step to mending bleach-damaged strands. This reparative, fortifying shampoo gently cleanses hair while restoring strength, softness, and shine to ultra-sensitive, damaged hair that has received a lightening or highlighting service.
Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo
The best shampoos for color-treated hair not only work to strengthen and nourish your strands but also help keep your hue vibrant and protected. That’s why we love Pureology Strength Cure Shampoo. This formula cleanses and helps fortify micro-scarred and damaged color-treated hair. The brand’s exclusive AntiFade Complex protects color vibrancy and shine. For best results, use the full system that includes the Strength Cure Conditioner.
L'Oréal Professionnel Inforcer Anti-Breakage Shampoo
Damaged hair happens, but this anti-breakage shampoo by Matrix repairs and strengthens color-treated hair. It’s formulated with vitamin B6 and biotin to help reduce breakage and help hair become more resistant over time with consistent use.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Sulfate Free Shampoo for Damaged Hair
Get your over-processed hair ready for your next salon appointment with Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Sulfate Free Shampoo for Damaged Hair. When used as a three-step system with the Conditioner and Leave-In Treatment, this routine helps intensely condition damaged hair by repairing strength and fortifying weakened bonds. Best of all, the system is approved for all hair types.
Redken Extreme Bleach Recovery Lamellar Water Treatment
Bottle blondes (your secret’s safe with us), if your mane is feeling the effects of an at-home bleach session or two, you need the Redken Extreme Bleach Recovery Lamellar Water Treatment in your life. This rinse-out, at-home hair treatment for bleached, damaged hair instantly fills the porosity of the hair while moisturizing, softening, and adding shine.
Matrix Total Results So Long Damage Break Fix Reconstructing Lotion
Hair breakage got you down? While you await your next salon trim, add Matrix Total Results So Long Damage Break Fix Reconstructing Lotion to your routine. This formula instantly resurfaces brittle, long strands, and adds shine.
Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Restorative Hair Mask
When you’re dealing with at-home hair color mishaps, what your strands really need is a fresh start. Step one? Using a restorative hair mask like Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Ultimate Reset Restorative Hair Mask once a week. This hair mask repairs and restores very damaged hair that has undergone frequent bleaching, coloring, and heat styling.
Pureology Strength Cure Superfood Treatment
This strengthening hair mask is formulated with superfood ingredients—including goji berry extract and olive oil—to repair the look of damaged, color-treated hair. Plus, the brand’s exclusive AntiFade Complex protects the vibrancy and shine of your salon hue.
Mizani 25 Miracle Nourishing Oil
Curly girls, this one’s for you! If your ringlets are feeling the damaging effects of box hair dye or bleach, pick up Mizani 25 Miracle Nourishing Oil. This luxurious hair treatment is formulated with natural oils and provides 25 essential benefits for hair, including moisturizing, softening hair, detangling, revitalizing curls, and preventing frizz.
Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Clarifying Shampoo
If you’ve been slathering on styling products and leave-in conditioners all quarantine long, it may be time for a detox. Before your next salon appointment, reset your mane with a clarifying shampoo like Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Clarifying Shampoo. This formula removes product build-up, excess oil, and pollution particles in one use.
Pro tip: If your box dye hue ended up way darker than expected, clarifying shampoo can also help to fade some of the pigment.
Biolage Advanced Keratindose Pro-Keratin Renewal Strengthening Spray
Stop hair damage in its tracks (and prevent future damage) with Biolage Advanced Keratindose Pro-Keratin Renewal Strengthening Spray. Formulated with Pro-Keratin and silk, this leave-in lotion provides instant silkiness, shine, and manageability while hair is protected from frizz and flyaways are tamed.
Kérastase Resistance Serum Therapiste Hair Serum
If split ends are your biggest dilemma, you need a hair serum like Kérastase Resistance Serum Therapiste Hair Serum. This repairing hair serum for weak, over-processed, or damaged hair repairs the hair fiber and provides essential nutrition while protecting against heat damage up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
L'Oréal Professionnel Inforcer Anti-Breakage Masque
Working with fragile, color-treated hair? Pick up L'Oréal Professionnel Inforcer Anti-Breakage Masque. Infused with vitamin B6 and biotin, this strengthening hair mask provides intense conditioning and makes hair more resistant to breakage.
Pureology Strength Cure Miracle Filler for Damaged, Color-Treated Hair
Dyeing, blow drying, and curling our hair puts stress on your strands. Use this reparative lotion during your blow drying routine to help prevent color fading and to promote healthy growth.
L'Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Resurfacing Golden Masque
This protein-infused hair masque gives color-treated hair ultimate hydration for a healthier look. This cream-to-gel formula helps damaged hair appear seven times shinier and smooth in just three to five minutes.
Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate-Free Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair
Not only does this gentle shampoo help strengthen your hair, but it'll help keep your salon hair color vibrant and gorgeous. You paid good money for your hair—treat yourself and your hair to a satisfying, nourishing lather!
Pureology Color Fanatic Multi-Tasking Leave-In Spray for Color-Treated Hair
After shampooing and conditioning your hair, spritz on this leave-in treatment from Pureology. This all-in-one treatment helps detangles and hydrate while preserving color. The best part is that it leaves your hair feeling as healthy as it looks.
Click here to shop all our best hair care products for damaged hair.