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How Do I Choose the Best Hair Dye for Thinning Hair?

Jennifer Leigh
Jennifer Leigh

Putting hair dye on thinning hair can be damaging and cause more problems if it is not done correctly. Thin hair needs to be treated with care in order to make it appear thicker and to keep it from becoming more thin over time. It's a good idea to seek professional help when using hair dye for thinning hair, as hair stylists usually have a better idea of which chemicals are too strong for the hair. If dying the hair at home, it's often best to stick to a light color that's not too different from your natural shade, choose toners or highlights instead of permanent dye, and pick products with the most gentle ingredients available.

It is important to realize that lighter colors make the hair look thicker while darker colors make the hair look thinner. You may want to choose a dye that offers two or more colors to create texture because of the way that the different shades will attract the light. Hair dye that is a few shades lighter than the natural hair provides a natural-looking appearance and usually does not contain as many harsh chemicals as those that change the hair color more dramatically.

A hair dyeing kit.
A hair dyeing kit.

The chemicals used in hair dye should not be too strong in order to prevent more damage and further loss. Semi-permanent hair color, toners and highlights provide lighter color and the appearance of thicker hair without the damage that peroxide or bleach can cause. There are many of these products available for purchase to use at home as well as for application in a hair salon. Products to use at home should not contain harsh chemicals and the directions should be followed precisely to avoid leaving it on for too long.

Thinning hair can be caused by genetics, medical conditions and hormonal imbalances.
Thinning hair can be caused by genetics, medical conditions and hormonal imbalances.

Hair that is thinning requires extra care and attention, and dye should not be used more often than necessary. If the color begins to grow out at the roots, it is possible to use hair dye only on the roots to avoid damaging the rest of the hair. This can be done at home with kits made specifically for this purpose or by a professional stylist at a salon. Going to a salon and working with a professional often produces good results because the person is experienced at dealing with all types of hair and will attempt to avoid causing any additional damage.

Discussion Comments


I used to have my hair high lighted professionally for many years when I was younger. Now that my hair is turning gray and getting thinner, I know that high lighting, especially with a perm, is a no-no.

I want to cover the gray now, and tried a home product. The color was pretty good and it didn't seem to damage my hair. But next time I will have to apply the dye more quickly so some parts aren't exposed to the dye longer than other areas.

Id like to have it done at a salon, but it gets a little expensive.


@manykitties2 - I found that henna dye was really mild and didn't irate my scalp the way that store dyes do. Though, like anything you should do a test spot to make sure you're not allergic to it.

What I found is interesting, that if you have thinning hair, using highlights can be safer than giving yourself a full dye job. Highlights require you to dye less of your hair, and lighter dyes have fewer harsh chemicals than darker dyes do. For example, a lot of darker dyes have are coal tar-based and have been proven to have adverse health effects.


The salon near my home offers specific treatments for those with thinning hair, and one of them includes using a mild hair dye to cover gray hair, as well as for color correction and touch-ups. I talked to my stylist about the treatments and she told me that they use specific dyes that don't include harsh chemicals, and for those that want something very natural, they provide a selection of henna dyes.

I haven't tried the henna yet, and am wondering if anyone has had any luck using it on thinning hair? Did you find it gave you a good color? Also, did it do anything for the overall condition of your hair?


I used to buy my hair color in a box and color it myself at home. I don't know what I did wrong, but one time it ended up a bright orange and this was definitely not the color I wanted.

At first I panicked and then I went to my hairdresser (with a scarf over my hair). Do you suppose when they see someone come in with their hair covered they know what has happened?

This can be a little bit tricky to take care of because my hair was already over processed. My hairdresser was able to make it look much more presentable though, and I promised to never do it again myself.

My hair seems to be going through continual changes as I age and I have noticed that it seems thinner in the front. Using the right color of hair dye to make sure that area stays fuller looking is important to me.

Since I don't have any training in coloring hair, I am more than happy to pay someone to do it right.


I have colored my hair many times at home, and have also gone to the salon. When I was younger and didn't need to worry about coloring my hair as often, doing it at home was no problem.

I would buy my supplies from a beauty supply store and the employees were very helpful in answering any questions I had.

All those times that I died my hair at home, I didn't have any disasters. I have noticed as I have gotten older and my hair is thinning some, that I feel more confident going to a salon.

Sometimes it is hard to pay the extra money when I know how much cheaper it is to color it myself, but I really don't want to mess it up.

When you color your hair on a long term basis, it can get dried out. When you add hair that is too dry to thin hair - this is a combination that I want a professional to take care of.


If you do dye at home, remember too that hair thickness affects how much dye you need.

My hair is fine, but very thick, and needs a lot of dye; I have a friend who also dyes her hair a lot, but her hair is naturally much thinner, and she needs way less dye, meaning she leaves it in for much less time than I do. And remember that the box's advice won't always be exactly right; you should gauge the amount of time, of dye, and other variables yourself if you plan on using the same product more than once.


@Comfyshoes - You really should go to a salon to get your hair dyed correctly because sometimes when you apply it at home you probably won’t apply the color evenly so some areas are susceptible to the strong chemicals while other areas are not.

This can cause your color to be uneven and some areas might be susceptible to excess damage because there might be too much of the hair dye in one area which will cause more damage to the hair.

I also think that if you leave the hair dye longer than recommended by the package it will tend to burn your hair and it will appear a lot shorter than the rest of your hair. This usually happens most in the areas that experience the greyest hair.

If you notice a pattern of thinning hair in this area make sure that you condition your hair more and reduce the amount of time the product is in your hair.


I think that if you have problem with thinning hair you should probably avoid hair dyes that are sold in stores and get your hair dyed in the salon. The reason is that in a salon they will apply the color correctly and apply sufficient moisturizers so that your hair does not get damaged further.

They can also cut your hair in such a way that will minimize the hair damage. When I get my hair dyed I always use a deep conditioner once a week in addition to the regular conditioner that I use throughout the week. This keeps my hair soft and shiny.

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