Does Salt Water Affect Hair Dye?

We all know how important it is to protect our hair from the sun and salt water at the beach. But what about protecting our hair color?

The saltwater affects hair dye and can cause it to fade. You need to protect your hair by using products designed to prevent salt water from damaging your hair and by always shampooing your hair after you’ve been at the beach.

salt water hair dye

Let’s find out.

Does Salt Water Affect Hair Dye?

The answer is YES. Saltwater can have a corrosive effect on hair dye, causing the color to fade more quickly.

In addition, exposure to sun and salt water tends to dry out your hair and scalp, which can also impact how long your hair color lasts.

salt water swimming hair dye
Swimming in the ocean can damage dyed hair. Credit: canva

Drying Out Hair

Saltwater can be pretty damaging to your hair, regardless of whether it’s dyed. Since the ocean has a high salt concentration, the hair becomes dehydrated and fragile.

The salt itself is incredibly drying, and when combined with the sun and chlorine (if you’re swimming in a pool), it can strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it feeling dry and brittle. 

salt water damaged hair
Dry and damaged hair, with fading hair dye and split ends. Credit: canva

Hair Dye and Salt Water

Dyed or bleached hair usually lacks moisture due to the use of chemicals.  When exposed to salt water, those chemicals are further stripped from the hair, leaving your hair color dull and faded.

The high salt concentration also makes your hair condition drier and less manageable, which can lead to frizz and split ends.

How to Protect Dyed Hair from Salt Water

hair conditioner
Use a hair conditioner after swimming. Credit: canva

Now, if you’re someone who regularly dyes their hair, you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to prevent the color from fading each time you dip in the ocean.

You can do a few things to help prolong your color.

  • If your hair just got dyed, wait about a week before you hit the beach.
  • Try using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner. These products are specifically formulated to help protect colored hair from fading.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner or deep conditioning treatment before swimming. This will help seal in color and prevent it from washing away.
  • Avoid spending too much time in the sun. UV rays can cause colors to fade, so wear a hat or use a UV protection spray outdoors. 


Can you dye your hair after swimming in salt water?

Yes, you can. However, the color may not be as bright as it would be if you didn’t swim in the ocean.

Wash your hair thoroughly and use conditioner before dyeing it to ensure that the salt doesn’t interfere with the color.

Does salt water lighten hair?

Saltwater has been used as a natural lightening agent for hair for centuries. It works by opening up the hair shaft and removing unwanted pigment.

Be sure to use a good quality conditioner after each treatment.

Does salt water affect bleached hair?

Yes, it does. So if you want to keep your bleached hair as bright and blonde as possible, try to avoid swimming or spending time in salty water environments.

Can you leave salt water in your hair overnight?

No, you should not. The high salt concentration can damage the hair and make your scalp dry and itchy.

If you do find yourself with salty hair, rinse it out as soon as possible using clean water and a gentle shampoo or conditioner.

Does sea salt remove hair dye?

Yes, it can. Sea salt can help to remove hair dye because it is a natural exfoliant. It helps to remove the top layer of skin cells and reveals the new, lighter-colored hair underneath.

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