How to Color Hair After Chemotherapy

Updated April 17, 2017

Colouring your hair after chemotherapy is a challenge for some women, since most dyes are no longer allowed. Your hair is growing back and while it does, you need to be good to it. The best way to colour your hair after chemotherapy is to use a plant-based or natural dye about a year after hair first begins to grow back. This type of dye is most gentle on hair and will also most likely not burn your scalp.

Wait a year after hair begins to grow back before dying it. After chemotherapy, hair is likely to grow back a different colour. Also, even if you had pin-straight hair before chemotherapy, it may grow back curly. You really never know what to expect when your hair grows back, so it is best to wait to see not only what you have, but to give your hair a chance to really grow before you put chemicals on it.

Purchase a plant-based or natural dye. If you are unsure of which dye to purchase, check with your local salon. Professional hair stylists can point you to the right brands.

Do a test patch before dying your entire head. This way you'll be able to see how your hair will take to the dye and what colour it will actually turn out to be. More importantly, you'll be checking for any type of allergic reaction to the dye. Once you have dyed the test patch, allow 24 hours before you dye your entire head of hair.

Cover your hair with the dye, but be sure to wipe off excess around your forehead, ears and neckline. Since you have short hair, any dye stains on the skin will be much more noticeable. Be sure to wipe them off as soon as you are finished applying the hair colour. Also, it is best to use a hair-dye brush to put the dye on your head. Do not rub the dye into your scalp.

Rinse the dye out after the appropriate time. Use conditioner after you rinse in order to lock in the moisture. Style as usual.


Do not wash your hair before you dye it. The natural oils on your scalp 14 to 24 hours after your last shampoo will help protect your skin from the hair dye.

Things You'll Need

  • Plant-based hair dye
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