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Why Does My Scalp Itch After I Color My Hair?

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Today we will talk about the old age question; Why does my scalp itch after I color my hair?

Itchy scalp issue after hair color is now common every year as the hair dye trend increases.

Regardless of the issue, a lot of people still want to go in for it because of the beauty transformation and joy derived.

So why does scalp itch after coloring?

The main reason why scalp itch after hair coloring is because the scalp is reacting to the chemical contents in the hair dye; some hair dye contains harsh synthetic ingredients that can irritate the skin.

And if these dye contents are allowed to sit long on hair, the result can be worse than itchy.

Don’t back out yet because in this article am going to show you;

  • How to care for hair before and after applying hair dye
  • Ingredients to watch out for in hair dye
  • How to stop itchy scalp after hair coloring and
  • Other causes of itchy scalp.

So stay tuned and let’s get started:

How To Care for Hair Before and After Applying Hair Color

These days hair some hair color phreak opt-in for hair color without knowing the does and don’t and how to care for hair before and after applying hair color.

Some don’t even heed to instructions in the box, what a pity!

Nevertheless, I am going to show you how to care for your hair before and after applying hair color the right way.

Before Coloring:

You should know that preparing your hair before coloring, is just like preparing (reading for an exam), which equals success.

In the real world, prepping and aftercare of a thing is not complicated or tricky. So before you color your hair;

  • Make sure you do a hot oil treatment a few days before color application. This treatment ensures your hair has enough strength to withstand the reactions. Hot oil treatment protects the hair from damage as well (This advice goes to ladies who have been coloring and heat styling their hair very often)
  • If you are not going for hot oil treatment, I will recommend you give your hair some time to rest and build its strength and integrity again.
  • Skip conditioner and wash your hair correctly with clarifying shampoo to remove all the build-up from hair products you used previously.
  • Never wash your 24 hours or night before hair coloring. Wondering why? The hair produces its natural oils, and anytime you wash your hair, Some quantity of the oil gets flushed away, and this oil in mention is essential for protecting the hair and scalp. Also, these oils help you to achieve a well-distributed color.
  • If you are doing the coloring yourself, don’t ever forget to do a patch or strand test 24 hours before the appointed hair coloring day.

Read Also:

After Coloring Care:

You probably crossed the first stage with or without side effects.

So after coloring your hair, here’s what you need to do;

  • After the first rinse, give your hair at least 48 hours before washing; so that the hair color can sit in and as well let the scalp heal if there is any burn. It is vital because some hair color can take time before they blend into the strands.
  • For you to retain your hair color and as well make it last longer opt-in for shampoo specially designed for color-treated hair.
  • Moisturization is the key to both natural and color-treated hair. Moisturize, nourish, hydrate and oil your hair as much as you can, but be very creative so you won’t overdo for build-ups.
  • Also, be creative with heat styling. Try to reduce how often you use them. I don’t need to emphasize that they can damage hair.
  • Make sure to cut off the damaged end so that they won’t exceed their current level. For more aftercare tips, check here.

Please note that this is just a general aftercare tip. There are some colors that its care routine can make you go mad with my advice.

If you are not familiar with the routine of your new hair color, ask your colorist for a recommendation or contact the manufacturer.

If you are new to hair coloring or you want to try out multi-tone color for your hair.

I will recommend booking an appointment with a professional and well-experienced hair colorist to avoid uneven coloring, hair damage, or even worse.

Ingredients to Watch Out for in Hair Dye

Researchers discovered that some of the ingredients used in hair dye could be unsafe for the human body.

Don’t be scared,  because some of them can only be dangerous for humans when the proportion is above the certified standard.

The interesting part is that most of these hair dye (especially the permanent ones) can’t act well without some of these ingredients.

You now see why we can’t do without them.

So here is the list of ingredients you should watch out in hair dye.

    • p-Phenylenediamine (PPD):  PPD is one of the major and most common ingredients that constitute permanent hair dye. This ingredient is responsible for most allergic reaction. But it can’t be replaced because it has lots of work to do. So manufacturers are regulated for the percentage to use in hair dye, so it becomes safe.
    • Paraben: This ingredient can come with different names like methylparaben, Alkyl para hydroxy benzoates, and many more, identifying them can be tricky. So make sure you double-check for paraben-free labeled hair dye and products.
    • Fragrance: This is the actual ingredient that the manufacturer doesn’t list out its constituents (One fragrance can contain over 12 ingredients), and research shows that it’s not a good ingredient. If you are booking an appointment, make sure you tell your colorist that you want fragrance-free hair color, or you can buy it yourself.
    • Formaldehyde: This ingredient as well contributes to the adverse effects of allergic and skin reactions.
    • Sulfates: Also called sodium lauryl sulfate is suitable for the removal of build-ups, but it can dry and irritate the skin. I try to avoid any hair dye and products with (SLS).

There are many more ingredients not listed here. But the ones listed above are the most common.

To avoid getting in trouble, always double-check and buy hair dye-labeled “organic” or “natural”  and minimize how often you use hair dye.

How to Stop Itchy Scalp after Hair Coloring

If itching scalp symptom is beyond what you can handle, I suggest you consult a dermatologist so he or she can check you and give perfect relief remedies.

But if it’s not severe, you can give it time to heal, because allergy reactions can go away by itself without you doing anything.

While giving it time to heal itself, here are things you should do.

  • Wash you thoroughly and clean water. You add apple cider vinegar to the water (It works as well, but it is optional if you don’t have it at home). But when washing, make sure the water runs clear through your hair.
  • Also, you can wash your hair with a shampoo containing Clobex.
  • Apply unrefined coconut oil to your scalp. When the itching calms down, wash the rinse it off.
  • Unrefined Shea butter from Africa also works, but it can get your hair and scalp messy with build-ups.

Itchy Scalp Build-Ups

Other Cause of Itchy Scalp

If the itchy scalp started a few hours after coloring your hair, no doubt that the cause may be the hair dye.

But if it just started without you doing anything to your hair. Then below are some causes of itchy scalp.

  • Dirty scalp from product build-ups
  • Dandruff
  • Ringworm
  • Lice
  • Dry scalp

Now I would love to hear from you:

Did you find the article on why your scalp itch after coloring helpful?

Or maybe you have something to other readers and me as well.

Either way, do let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

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I am Stanley. A Unisex Hairstylist, Writer, and book lover. After 12 months of the apprenticeship program as a stylist, I started working with my boss for an extra one year. This time frame made me accumulate knowledge and experience in the hair industry, of which I will love to share with friends all over the world through my blog.

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  1. Thank you for this article. I have been dealing with itchy scalp after coloring for quite some time. Even as I am writing this my scalp is itching bad, I get swollen bumps on my scalp too. No less a allergic reaction. I just got my hair colored a week ago tomorrow. I have to go another week or more normally before my scalp has calmed down. I deff have contacted my stylist to tell her no more coloring unless it’s organic. I cant deal with the itch and pain any longer, it’s just not worth it. And i worry the allergy could grow worse over time and exposure.

    1. Hi Lori,

      Sorry to hear about your experience.

      If you have coconut oil near, it could help relieve the itching.

      And I agree with you to switch to organic but it’s not easy to get dye that’s completely free from chemical.

      Depending on the color of dye your stylist is using on your hair, be watchful of PPD.

      That ingredients is one of the most common causes of dye allergy.

      Feel free to check out my post on allergic reaction to hair dye, I believe it would help you.

      Take care of yourself , but if it persist then I recommend your visit a near by medical center for help.

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