Help! My Hair Dye is Bleeding All Over Me

Noël Duan
·Assistant Editor

Dyeing your hair an unnatural and bold color has never been so hot — just look at the hashtags (start with #UnicornHairDontCare, #GrannyHairDontCare, and #MermaidHair) on Instagram if you don’t believe it. But pure pigment dyes, such as the bright dyes from Pravana and Manic Panic, are prone to bleeding AKA getting all over your clothes, pillowcases, hands, and face — especially if you get caught in the rain or if you’ve been working out. It’s unavoidable, but there are preventative measures you can take to ensure that you’re not leaving trails of dye wherever you go and that your color will last. We spoke with colorist Lucille Javier at Sally Hershberger Downtown in Manhattan to find out what you need to know before you get a vibrant dye job and what to do when you discover that your hands are now purple.

Watch out for that white jacket, Hil. (Photo: Instagram)

How Pure Pigment Dye Works
“Pure pigmented hair dyes get all over the place because however much you lighten the hair, whenever you put dye like Pravana or Manic Panic in, you’re not using peroxide,” Javier explains. “It’s not like a chemical that builds bonds; it’s a stain for the hair, in other words.” These types of dyes not only rinse out with every shampoo (don’t be alarmed if you see dye circling your bathtub drain) but they also can stain light clothing and your skin. So if you’re really over your Dr. Seuss hair, don’t worry, it will wash out pretty soon.

Maintain Your Color
There are two primary tonics that you can use to help keep your color intact. “Pravana Nevo Color Lock Leave-In Protectant ($20) is a color-locking agent that you spray on your wet hair before you put your conditioner on,” says Javier. “You can also spray it on after you rinse as a leave-in conditioner.” She also recommends Nexxus Color Assure Primer ($18), which helps to lock in color before you wash your hair.

Javier’s biggest tip for maintaining your color: Avoid water. “The brighter the color, the more longevity it has,” she says. “Pastels wash out in three or four washes.” Using a hair oil can help lock in the color — try adding some to your hair and throwing it up in a bun for the day.

Avoid Stains
To avoid getting dye on your clothes, Javier says to make sure your hair is 100% dry before you get dressed. “If you’re working out, put your hair up in a bun since it will inevitably get wet and sweaty,” she says. You can spray the Nexxus Color Assure Primer ($18) or Pravana Nevo Color Lock Leave-In Protectant ($20) in your hair before hitting the gym. As far as your linens go, Javier suggests purchasing darker pillowcases and towels for use while your hair is dyed. If you get dye on your nails, use nail polish remover to take away the color and stick to soap and water for getting it off your skin.

Related:

“NCIS” Star Experiences the Dangers of Hair Dye

Everything You Need to Know About At-Home Hair Color

What Happens When You Dye Your Hair as Often as Nicole Richie?