Can Hair Color Make You Lose Your Hair?

Be careful when using harsh chemicals -- such as bleach -- on your hair.

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If you're dreaming of a new shade but having nightmares about hair loss, it's totally understandable. Even if a new color would "up" your glam factor, that color wouldn't be worth it if you lose your hair. When it comes to hair dye, your hair's reaction will vary depending on your hair type and the type of dye you use.

Temporary/Semi-Permanent Color

Temporary and semi-permanent dyes usually won't cause hair loss. Since these types of colors just "cling" to the hair shaft instead of changing its chemical makeup, they won't cause burning or serious problems. However, you could have an allergic reaction to these types of dyes --- so test a bit of the dye on a hidden part of your hair and skin before you dye it all over. Better to discover a surprise allergy early than to deal with a killer rash!

Permanent Color

Permanent color actually gets inside your hair shaft and breaks it down, meaning it changes the chemical makeup of your hair rather than just coating it with a new shade. Of course, this means permanent dye is more powerful than other hair dyes, so you have to be extra careful if you're dyeing your hair at home. If the dye soaks into your scalp it may cause irritation, burning or hair loss. Use petroleum jelly to protect your hair line and don't leave the dye on longer than the instructions say to avoid any nasty side effects.


Bleach, or hydrogen peroxide, is just as harmful to your hair as permanent hair dye is. At the same time, it's the only way to lighten your strands --- all light-colored hair dyes contain hydrogen peroxide. If you leave bleach in your hair too long, it can irritate your scalp and make you shed some strands. If you're nervous about losing hair from bleaching, have your stylist do your hair for you. Not only will she keep your scalp safe, but she'll ensure that you don't wind up with orange hair or tiger stripes after bleaching!

Dealing With Hair Loss

If you're worried about losing hair from over-processing it, you can keep your strands in place with a little extra care. Keep chemicals away from your scalp at all costs. You can do whatever you want to your hair (it's just dead cells!) but you have to treat your scalp like your best friend. If you do start losing hair in clumps from dyeing it, stop using your dye right away and your hair should recover. If you keep losing hair, try Minoxidil for hair regrowth or ask your doctor for help.

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