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Can I put red hair dye over green?

If you currently have green hair but are looking to go red, you may be wondering if you can simply apply a red semi-permanent dye right over the existing green color. The short answer is yes, you can put red dye over green hair, but there are a few things to keep in mind for best results.

Using a Color Remover First

When going from a darker color like green to a lighter color like red, it’s generally best to use a color remover or pre-color treatment first. Green contains a lot of dark pigment, so even if you put red directly over it, the hair is still likely to appear somewhat dark and muted.

Using a color remover to strip out some of the green dye will ensure the red looks as vibrant as possible. There are several color remover products available from brands like Color Oops and L’Oreal Effasol. Follow the product directions carefully.

Color removers work by shrinking the artificial dye molecules so they can be rinsed out. This process can be drying, so use a deep conditioning hair mask after removing the color and before applying the new red dye.

Test Strand and Skin Patch Test

Once you’ve prepped the hair, it’s wise to do two tests before applying red dye all over:

  1. Cut a small strand of hair and color just that with the red dye to test the results.
  2. Do a skin patch test by applying a little red dye to the inner elbow and leaving it for 24 hours to check for any allergic reaction.

These simple tests can prevent any surprises with the final color or unexpected skin irritation. Adjust the amount of color remover or red dye used if needed based on the strand test results.

Choosing the Right Red Dye

The specific shade of red dye you choose will impact the final color you get over green hair:

  • Orange-red: Using an orange-leaning red shade can help cancel out any green tones still present.
  • Intense red: Go for a vivid, pure red shade if you want a very strong true red color.
  • Dark red: Choosing a deeper burgundy red will result in a muted wine color if any stubborn green remains.

Permanent red hair dyes will provide longer lasting color than semi-permanent options. But permanent dyes have a higher chance of unwanted reactions with leftover green dye. Using a gentler semi-permanent red generally causes less damage when going over top of color-treated hair.

Application Tips

When applying the red dye over your green hair, follow these tips:

  • Start applying the dye mid-length first and work up towards the roots.
  • Saturate all of the hair evenly and thoroughly with dye.
  • Leave the dye on for the full recommended processing time.
  • Rinse with cool water and use a sulfate-free shampoo after.

Proper application techniques will help maximize red dye uptake and longevity. Applying mid-length to ends first gives those oldest and most porous sections priority with fresh dye. Rinsing in cool water allows the color to deposit and set as much as possible.

Maintaining Red Hair

Once you’ve successfully dyed green hair red, maintenance is required to keep the color looking vibrant. Here are some tips:

  • Wash hair with sulfate-free shampoo and cold water to prevent fading.
  • Use a deeply conditioning mask 1-2 times per week.
  • Apply a red-tinted conditioner or gloss between full dye jobs.
  • Reapply the red semi-permanent dye every 4-6 weeks as needed.
  • Protect hair from sun exposure with hats or sprays.

As a general rule, expect to re-dye red hair at least once a month. The exact timing will depend on your specific hair type and shade intensity. Plan to do your red touch-ups whenever you notice significant fading or washout.

Potential Problems Dyeing Red Over Green

While you can successfully dye red over green hair in most cases, here are some potential issues to be aware of:

  • Green undertones: Not removing enough existing color can make hair appear murky brown-red instead of true red.
  • Spotty coverage: If the green isn’t lifted evenly, the red may deposit unevenly in splotches.
  • Hair damage: Overlapping processing with bleach, color remover, and dye can cause dryness and breakage.
  • Skin irritation: Repeated dyeing in a short time frame raises the risk of skin sensitivity and allergic reaction.

To avoid these issues, properly prep hair, do strand tests, choose the right red shade, and take care not to over-process the hair. Going slowly with removal and color changes lessens the chances of surprises or setbacks.

How Long Does It Last?

When dyeing red over green hair, expect the color to last:

  • 1-2 weeks with semi-permanent dyes
  • 4-6 weeks with demi-permanent dyes
  • 6-8 weeks with permanent dyes

These time frames assume proper at-home care between salon visits. Permanent red dyes may last longer initially but can quickly fade to unappealing tones. Demi-permanent reds offer a good balance of longevity and easy re-dying.

Professional Dye Services

While you can dye red over green hair yourself at home, visiting a professional salon technician offers some advantages:

  • Better ability to remove old color thoroughly
  • Access to professional-grade dye products
  • Skill in precision application and timing
  • Strand tests and adjustments during process
  • Treatments to reduce damage and conditioning

The initial investment for professional dyeing services leads to longer lasting color results. Overlapping do-it-yourself dye jobs quickly risk damaging hair. Seek professional help if your hair feels unhealthy after attempted color changes.


Dyeing your hair red after having it be green is certainly possible. But it takes some extra preparation and care to achieve optimal results. Here are some key tips to remember:

  • Use a color remover first to lift out old dye
  • Do strand and patch tests before applying new color
  • Pick the right red shade to cancel green tones
  • Apply dye carefully from mid-length to roots
  • Maintain color with sulfate-free shampoo and gloss
  • Visit a stylist if hair feels excessively damaged

With the proper steps taken, you can successfully rock gorgeous red locks even after green hair. Just be patient through the color change process and proactive with maintenance.

Red Dye Type Lasts On Hair Notes
Semi-permanent 1-2 weeks Least damaging; easy reapplication
Demi-permanent 4-6 weeks Good balance of duration and vibrancy
Permanent 6-8 weeks Longest lasting but can be drying