Before you start dyeing your hair at home, make sure you know exactly how many ounces of hair dye you need to prevent any mishaps.
Okay, so you’ve your box hair dyes, brush, mixing bowl, and everything else you need to color your hair at home.
But you’ve made a miscalculation and now run out of hair dye! Nightmarish isn’t it?
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You can’t leave your hair half done. And it’s too improbable that you can get a new box dye and apply it to cover your undyed tresses.
So it’s always better to know how many ounces of hair dye you need before you start applying it on your locks.
Also, you’d need to get the ratio of the developer to the cream or lotion right. Otherwise, you might end up with a very different color than what you wanted. And application also becomes difficult.
How Many Ounces Of Hair Dye Do You Need
The ounces of hair dye you need depend on the length and thickness of your hair. On average, people require about 3 to 4oz of hair dye to cover their heads. But if you have shorter hair like bobs or pixies or long hair that reaches the middle or below your waist you might need anywhere from 2oz to 8oz.
For Long Hair
The trickiest thing is to get the ounces of hair dye right for long hair as “long” is subjective.
It can mean you have hair that falls a few inches below your shoulders (usually called the “bra-strap length”), waist-length hair, or even hair that reaches below your waist.
So whenever I’m growing out my hair and looking to color it at home, I bring three 2oz boxes of hair dye, just in case.
My philosophy is that it’s okay if there’s a bit leftover as you can distribute it over your hair for a more intense shade.
But you should never fall short of hair dye as the consequences can be very irritating.
If you want an exact estimate on the ounces of hair dye you need, here goes:
- For long hair that reaches 2-4 inches below your shoulder, use about 4oz of hair dye
- For hair that reaches 5-8 inches below your shoulder (waist length and more), use 8oz of hair dye just to be on the safer side.
For Short Hair
If you have short hair, you might need only 2oz to 3oz of hair dye. Even if you’re planning to cover your entire head.
Unless you have really thick hair, in which case you’d need a bit more.
However, 2oz – 3oz has always been enough for me when I had a lob that reached a few inches below my chin.
Sometimes, there was hair dye left over. So I suggest you use only a single box dye to avoid wastage.
Short-haired folks can go for a single 2.5oz hair coloring kit if they want to use semi-permanent or permanent hair dye. That should be enough to cover their hair.
For Medium Length Hair
I always consider hair that is shoulder length or 1-2 inches longer to be “medium-length”.
This length of hair is tricky because you always get the amount of hair dye wrong.
Either you think your hair is on the shorter side and think a single box is going to be enough. Or you go overboard and buy two boxes only to be left with plenty of hair dye in the bowl.
I suggest using 3 to 4oz of hair dye for this hair length.
You can buy 2 smaller boxes of hair dye to reach 4oz if your hair is on the thicker side. Or you can buy a large box of 3oz and use it to cover your entire hair.
Based On Hair Thickness:
A lot of people don’t factor in hair thickness when they consider the ounces of hair dye they need. But this is an important factor as the thickness affects the hair’s ability to absorb dye well.
If you want to determine whether you have thick hair, thin hair, or medium thickness strands, you can use a regular hair tie to check.
Tie your hair with the scrunchie or tie after gathering your locks into a ponytail. If you can wrap the hair tie around your locks multiple times, it means you have thin hair.
However, if the hair tie doesn’t go beyond a single tie or feels uncomfortably tight after two, you have thick hair.
Able to wrap the hair tie twice comfortably? Your hair has a medium thickness to it.
For Thick Hair
Thick hair is difficult to color simply because of its volume. But other than that, it poses a lot of challenges as well.
Selecting the right amount of hair dye for thick hair can be difficult because you might not really know if your hair is that thick or not.
Thick hair on short hair is very deceptive as you might end up buying only a 2oz hair dye bottle and realize it’s not at all enough to cover your thick locks.
Also, thick hair strands do not let dye pigments penetrate them too easily. So you might require more hair dye to get the right shade of color as well.
If you have thick hair but have a short hairstyle, take 2.5oz or 3 oz of hair dye just to be careful.
For Medium Thick Hair
But most hair dyes are created keeping this average hair thickness in mind.
If your hair is of medium thickness, you can go ahead and buy the ounces of hair dye suggested for your hair length. No modifications necessary!
For Fine, Thin Hair
Fine and thin hair can easily absorb hair dye pigments. So you don’t need to worry about using a lot of dye to cover this hair type.
Also, fine hair tends to be fragile and can actually endure damage due to the coloring process.
So it’s best to reduce the amount of hair dye you’re using, especially if the hair dye contains peroxide or ammonia.
If you have short fine hair just a small box of 2oz hair dye would be sufficient.
FAQs – How many ounces of hair dye do you need
What happens if you run out of hair dye in the middle of coloring your hair?
If you do not calculate exactly how many ounces of hair dye you need, you can end up in a lot of trouble.
For starters, your hair can end up in two different colors. One, the color of the hair dye, and the other your natural or base hair color.
To rectify this mistake, you’ll need to dye your hair all over again. And dyeing a part of your hair twice means subjecting it to a lot of damage.
This damage can be severe if you’re using hair dyes with ammonia or hydrogen peroxide in them.
Another problem that you can face if you’re running out of hair dye is the appearance of a distinct line.
Even if you wash your hair dye off within 5-10 minutes and head out to buy another box, the dye starts working its way to your hair.
So a couple of sections of your tresses might be a more intense shade of the color you’re applying as the hair dye has already penetrated the strands.
If you apply the new boxes of hair dye evenly then you might have a chance of covering it up.
But if you make a mistake, your hair can show a distinct line that separates the darker and lighter shades.
How much developer do I use for 2 oz of hair color?
Unless you’re trying to lift the shades of your hair (lighten the color of your hair considerably) then the suggested ratio of color to the developer is always 1:2.
That is you’ll need to add 2 parts of the developer to one part of hair color.
So if you’ve got 2oz of hair dye, you’ll need to add 4oz of the developer to it.
What happens if you put too much developer in hair dye?
If you put too much developer in your hair dye mixture, it makes the consistency of the dye too runny and liquidy.
This will make it difficult for the dye to stay on your tresses and cause it to drip down your head.
Also, the excess developer can help lighten your base color, but as there’s not enough dye your hair strands won’t take on color pigments well.
I hope my article helped you in finding out exactly how many ounces of hair dye you need for your tresses.
The information given here can vary according to the type of hair color you use, you’re previous applications, etc.
For example, if you want to add a few highlights to your hair, you might not require a lot of hair dye even if your tresses are very long.
Also, you might need a lot of dye to cover your hair if it’s short but very thick. So there are many factors to consider when choosing the amount of hair dye.
Leah LOVES hair. So much so, she dedicated an entire website to it! One of the founders of Hair Everyday and Chief Editor, Leah enjoys reviewing all the hair products and showcasing the best. She believes her most underrated articles are her hair care tips!