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Which hair dye brand is best for curly hair?

Having curly hair comes with its own unique set of challenges when it comes to hair dye. The texture and curl pattern of curly hair can react differently to hair color than straight or wavy hair. Finding the right hair dye brand is crucial for minimizing damage and keeping curls healthy and defined.

When choosing a hair dye for curly hair, it’s important to look for products that are specifically formulated for texture. Many mainstream drugstore brands aren’t optimized for curly hair and can cause dryness, frizz and loss of curl pattern. Ammonia-free and conditioning formulas are ideal. It’s also helpful to match the dye to your specific curl type.

Reviews of the Top Hair Dye Brands for Curly Hair

To help you find the best hair dye for your curls, here are reviews of some of the top brands that specialize in color for curly and textured hair:


Overtone is a highly popular semi-permanent hair color brand created specifically for curly and textured hair types. Their formulas are free of damaging ingredients like peroxide and ammonia. Instead, they use a gentle and moisturizing coconut-oil base. Overtone offers both coloring conditioners for frequent vivid coloring as well as gentler daily conditioners for maintaining color between applications.

Their products are optimized for tight curls and coils and help to enhance curl definition. The colors last 4-6 weeks and gradually fade with each wash. Overtone is free of PPDs and other harsh chemicals and won’t damage the hair. It’s an excellent option for natural curls.

Madison Reed

Madison Reed is a professional salon-quality hair color brand that offers ammonia-free and gentler formulas ideal for curly hair. Their permanent hair dyes provide gray coverage and long-lasting color using ingredients like keratin, argan oil and ginseng root extract to condition the hair and curls.

They offer tons of different colors from natural shades to bold fashion colors. Their lighter colors tend to have a sheerer coverage better for use on pre-lightened hair. The ingredients help curly hair maintain its elasticity and bounce. Overall, Madison Reed is a great salon-like dye choice for defined curls.

Celeb Luxury

Celeb Luxury’s vivid hair dyes are specially designed for curls and coils. Their unique anti-fade formula uses no ammonia or peroxide. It’s enriched with nourishing botanical ingredients like aloe vera and comfrey root that condition textured hair and help the curls retain moisture.

The dye achieves brilliant long-lasting color ranging from reds to pastels that works well even on unbleached hair. The creamy conditioning formula leaves curls with vibrancy and shine while minimizing dryness and damage. For bold fashion shades that pop on curly hair, Celeb Luxury is an excellent brand.


Colorlux specializes in permanent hair dye for natural Black hair with optimized formulas for afro-textured curls and coils. They use a botanically-infused gel cream base with no ammonia or peroxide that conditions the hair and scalp while coloring.

The richness of the formula allows for opaque coverage even on unbleached hair. It won’t cause dryness or disturb the curl pattern. The colors are vivid and fade gradually over 4-6 weeks. For permanent gray coverage and color on natural Black hair, Colorlux delivers with no damage to curls.

Pulp Riot

Pulp Riot is a professional salon-quality vegan and cruelty-free hair color line with colors specifically formulated for curly and textured hair types. Their vivid shades are enriched with quinoa protein to strengthen and moisture while providing brilliant long-lasting color.

The formulas don’t contain drying alcohols or salts. And the colors are blendable for endless customization on curls. Pulp Riot offers tons of fun, bold hues from neons to pastels to deeper jewel tones. For salon-gorgeous color that nourishes curls, Pulp Riot is a top option.

What To Look For When Choosing Hair Dye for Curly Hair

Here are some key things to look for when shopping for hair dye for your curly hair:

Curly Hair Specific Formulas

Look for dyes labeled for textured, coily, curly, afro or natural hair. These will be free of ingredients like peroxide and ammonia that can over-process curls.

Deep Conditioners

Opt for rich, conditioning formulas with oils, proteins and moisturizing botanicals that won’t dry out your locks.

Semi-Permanent Options

These deposit color without opening the cuticle and cause less damage. Great for frequent coloring.

No Peroxide or Ammonia

Avoid dyes with these harsh chemicals that can irritate the scalp and cause curl frizz.

Multi-Step Kits

Look for kits that include pre-treatment oils or conditioners to prep curls before coloring.

Your Curl Type and Texture

Consider options optimized for your specific tightness of curl or thickness of hair.

How Hair Dye Affects Curly Hair

When coloring curly hair, it’s helpful to understand how the process affects curls differently than straight hair:


Harsh chemicals like peroxide can over-process the inner structure of curly hair causing extreme dryness and loss of elasticity.

Loss of Curl Pattern

Dyes that swell and alter the hair shaft can cause curls to loosen or drop entirely resulting in frizz.


Curly hair is prone to dryness and needs ample moisture. Dyes with alcohols and salts strip away oils causing frizz.

Damage to Follicles

Irritation to follicles and the scalp from chemicals can impede hair growth resulting in thinning.

Premature Fading

The coil structure of curls causes dye to fade faster than on straight hair.

Tips for Coloring Curly Hair

Follow these tips to get the best results when using hair dye on curly hair:

Do a Strand Test First

Test the color on a small section of hair before doing your whole head to check for damage or unusual reactions.

Deep Condition Before and After

Prep your curls with a deep treatment and always follow up colouring with a nourishing mask.

Protect Skin and Scalp

Coat hairline, ears and neck with petroleum jelly to prevent stains and irritation on the delicate scalp.

Dye in Small Sections

Work in clearly defined sections of curls to ensure even saturation and results.

Rinse Thoroughly

Rinse for longer than directed on the box to remove all traces of leftover chemical.

Style Right After

Style curls right after dyeing while hair is still damp to reform the coil pattern.

Use a Clarifying Shampoo

Use a clarifying shampoo within a few days after coloring to remove residual dye molecules.

Refresh Color Quickly

Re-color new growth early and often to avoid obvious roots and banding.

Avoid Overlapping Chemical Services

Don’t pair coloring with other chemical processes like relaxers which can over-process curls.

Best Hair Dye Colors for Curly Hair

Certain hair dye colors and shades tend to work best on curly textures:

Deep Browns and Blacks

Richer darker shades compliment and blend well with naturally darker curly hair colors.

Vibrant Reds

From bright copper to deeper magenta, red hues pop against curly hair.

Golden Blondes

Warm golden blonde shades flatter and brighten medium brown curly hair colors.


Softer pastel pinks, blues, lavenders and mints show up vibrantly against curls.

Gloss Treatments

Clear semi-permanent glosses boost shine without altering color.

Root Touch Up Products

Targeted root color blends gray regrowth while avoiding damage to the length.

How Long Hair Dye Lasts on Curly Hair

On average, hair dye lasts for the following time periods on naturally curly hair:

Hair Dye Type Lasts on Curly Hair
Semi-permanent 4-6 weeks
Demi-permanent 5-7 weeks
Permanent 6-8 weeks

However, curly hair tends to fade faster than straight hair. The curl pattern exposes more of the hair shaft speeding up fading. Using color-safe shampoos and limiting washing extends lastingness on curly hair.

Common Concerns When Coloring Curly Hair

Some common concerns and challenges people run into when coloring naturally curly hair include:

Roots Appearing Quickly

With curl shrinkage, roots along the part line and hairline appear faster and need frequent touch ups.

Overprocessed Textures

Chemical processes like perms, relaxers and coloring can compound on each other leading to severe curl damage.

Dry, Frizzy Results

Improperly formulated dyes can leave curly hair extremely dry and frizzy.

Loose Curl Patterns

Dyed curls may lose their tight coil formation becoming looser, undefined frizz.

Overlapping Chemical Services

Coloring soon before or after chemical treatments can lead to overprocessing.

Braids/Weave Banding

With protective styles, color can process unevenly leaving dark band marks.

Itchy/Irritated Scalp

Harsh chemicals can cause irritation, inflammation and discomfort on the scalp.


Healthy, defined curls and vivid hair color can go hand-in-hand when you choose the right formulas for your texture. Seek out professional brands that offer conditioning agents, botanical ingredients and are customized for your curl type. Always do a patch test before coloring all-over and prep and protect your curls properly.

With the right practices and high-quality dye brands like Overtone, Madison Reed and Celeb Luxury catering to curly hair needs, you can achieve stunning, lively color results without compromising the integrity of your curls.