Scalp Flaking After Coloring Hair – The Ultimate Hair Coloring Guide 2023 2

Scalp Flaking After Coloring Hair – The Ultimate Hair Coloring Guide 2023

Whether you opt to color your hair to cover the grays or just want to change your look, we always want to pick a good hair dye suitable for our hair. But, one of the most common issues that most hair-colored individuals are struggling is the scalp flaking after coloring hair. This is also one of the reasons why most people are turning away from coloring their hair.

In this blog post, we will reveal some of the important things that you should have to know before subjecting yourself into hair dyeing process. Aside from that, we also have here some of the helpful tips that you can do to eradicate flaky scalp. So, if you are one of those who are experiencing flaky scalp because of hair dye application, keep reading with us until the end.

Things to Know about Scalp Flaking after Coloring Hair

scalp flaking after coloring hair

There are people who are experiencing scalp flaking after coloring hair. The most probable reason for this is dry scalp after hair coloring treatment. And, please take note that this is not actually normal. Yet, there are plenty of reasons behind the scalp flaking after coloring hair.

Primarily, this is due to the going down of hair colors deep into the roots of the tresses. With that, it is not impossible for the hair colorants to have a direct effect on the scalp. Moreover, the pore openings within the strands will get clogged that will eventually hinders the production of natural oils.

So, before you dig into coloring your hair, take a look at the following important things for considerations:

1-Hair dye has the potential to burn the scalp

Basically, the hair dye has all the potential to cause burning sensation at the scalp. The reason behind this is the mechanism of action of most hair dyes. This hair product does not act to cover the previous hair color with a new different color. What they do is to strip off the natural pigment of the hair with chemicals.

The major chemical in most hair dyes is the peroxide which actually causes real damage to the skin or scalp. Most likely, this applies true once the hair dye is left on the scalp for a long time period. Although the color left on the scalp is a synthetic one, the stripping process is the one still responsible for causing scalp flaking after coloring hair.

2-Different scalps have distinct reactions

Most of the ingredients contained inside the hair dyes may cause allergic reactions to some people. This is why scalp flaking after coloring hair occurs. Purified Protein Derivative or PPD is another ingredient in hair dyes that is also a common allergen. From a seriously flaky, itchy scalp to extremely severe problems like swelling of the feet and overall body irritation, the range of reactions to PPD is really broad.

It might probably be due to allergies if you are suffering from mild but constant irritations every after hair dye application. It is generally advisable to be very cautious about the hair dye contents you are using. That way, you can clearly understand the ingredients that may negatively affect your scalp causing it to flake out.

3-Hair dye causes dry and frizzy hair

Another undesirable effect of hair dye application is that it turns the hair follicles to become more porous. Although, this means that they have the ability to absorb moisture, it also releases the said moisture immediately as it can. So, it is highly possible that stripping out of moisture from the hair is the one accountable for frizzy hair and flaky scalp after hair coloring.

So, if moisture will be out, the best solution for this is to incorporate more moisture into your mane. And, it’s good to know that there are numbers of options to select in terms of hair moisture restoration and maintaining the health of the hair-colored scalp.

4-Scalp flaking after coloring hair – is it dandruff?

When there is scalp flaking, people automatically think that is actually dandruff. However, for some time it may be true due to the product build-up. Generally, flakes from dandruff appear thick and heavy. This can be a combination of the skin, products, and oils.

On the other hand, flakes from dry scalp tend to be lighter. The usual cause of this scalp phenomenon is the stripping process of the nutrients and moisture from the hair and scalp. It is highly crucial to have knowledge about this thing especially when you decide to treat it.

Keep in mind that dandruff shampoos and other specialized hair treatments may not respond positively if you are dealing with scalp flaking after coloring hair.


Since scalp flaking and dandruff closely resemble each other, many people interchangeably mistaken one from the other. So, to help us get through this issue, let us try to define first what is dandruff?

Malassezia globosa is the causative agent of dandruff and it is actually a microorganism that resides in the human scalp. It totally lives there through its survival process from the natural oils present into the scalp. And it is good to know that this microorganism is generally harmless. However, there are some people that are sensitive on having it resulting to displaying of its signs.

Basically, the truth is dandruff may not occur from the application of hair dyes. But, in case you are susceptible to have dandruff, chances are hair dyeing may trigger to dandruff flare-up. Initially, once you apply hair colors, the chemicals on this hair product take off the lipids or oils that act as barriers on the scalp. It will now become exposed and prone to damage caused by irritants such as the Malassezia globosa which will tend to develop dandruff.

Another thing is the chemical content inside the hair dyes are actually strong irritants. This is so true if the scalp is weak enough because of the presence of dandruff. Because of that, symptoms of contact dermatitis may actually occur which are as follows:

  • Itching of the scalp
  • Stinging sensation
  • Swollen or red patches

Ways to Manage Scalp Flaking after Coloring Hair

Flakes on the scalp, whether it is due to dandruff or due to hair dyeing, is really frustrating. So, to help you to eliminate its presence especially if you finished your hair coloring session in the salon, try to consider the following strategies.

1-Gently wash the hair

In case you observe flaking scalp after hair coloring, it is highly advisable that you wash the hair and the scalp thoroughly and gently. Hair dyeing may generally produce residues in the scalp that cannot be completely washed out leading to scalp irritation. Look for gentle shampoo that is highly formulated for color-treated hair.

Aside from that, there are actually plenty of advantages when you use color-safe shampoos. These include the following:

  • Don’t have the ability to strip off the color of the hair
  • Free from any harmful chemicals
  • 100% organic
  • Incorporate moisture
  • Make the hair color more vibrant-looking while revitalizing the scalp

2-Don’t forget to hydrate the hair

Since the drying process causes scalp dryness, it is generally helpful to boost up the shampoo with the use of some conditioner. This way, you can generally help in the hydration of the scalp. Moreover, scalp dryness that is not due to allergic reactions may respond well with the application of hair oil treatment.

Best example of these oil scalp treatments are Moroccan oil in which massaging just a few tablespoons of it into the scalp is such a great help. Allow the oil to sit into the hair and scalp to take in the moisture. Wash it out after a few hours.

3-Apply coconut oil for flaky scalp

scalp flaking after coloring hair

Among the other great oil treatments for scalp flaking after coloring hair, coconut oil is one of the most effective. Well, this natural moisturizer brings back the moisture into the scalp and tresses. But, it’s not as simple as that; coconut oil has the ability to lock in the moisture inside. The good thing is that this oil is sufficiently heavy to seal the moisture while not getting to greasy to the hair. Through that, the hair will not become oily.

Battling against itching and redness is another function of the coconut oil. These two symptoms actually comes together along with dry scalp, the application of coconut oil is generally a lifesaver. So, why not consider applying some coconut oil when you have scalp flaking after coloring hair.

4-Use tea tree oil to combat flaking

Aside from Moroccan oil and coconut oil, tea tree oil is another safe method in treating the dryness of the scalp after hair dyeing. Generally, this natural oil offers the required moisture to battle against dryness and flaky scalp. One of its excellent properties is its anti-inflammatory effect which is also beneficial for those who are experiencing pain and itching because of scalp dryness. It actually provides soothing sensation to the flaky scalp.

Another aspect in which tea tree oil is highly beneficial is the getting rid of dead skin cells. At the same time, it also permits the creation of new environment for the growth of healthy cells. You just need to incorporate some drops of this natural oil directly into your favorite shampoo. That way, you can definitely alter the effectiveness of the hair product. Healthy and moisturized scalp with reduced flaking is highly noticeable.

5-Keep away from heat

scalp flaking after coloring hair

Once your scalp is already getting flaky right after hair coloring treatment, prevent any heat styling method as much as possible. If you can, do not apply direct heat coming from flat iron or blow dryer. It is actually helpful to prevent hair damage when you opt to avoid or at least apply less heat on your strands.

6-Give your hair more time

After hair dyeing, dryness, scalp flakiness and itchiness are commonly expected. Keep in mind that these things always go hand-in-hand with hair coloring treatment. Moreover, always remember that the hair and scalp take a specific time to heal itself right after the hair dyeing process.

Generally, these negative responses of the scalp from hair dyes may have five to seven days to cure by naturally. In case the symptoms won’t go away after these five to seven days of healing period, it is always better to check and consult the dermatologist. They may be the right one to tell you that you have an allergic reaction with hair dyes or you already acquired scalp dermatitis.

How to Avoid the Occurrence of Flaky Scalp

Once you already treat the flakiness of the scalp after your hair dyeing treatment, it is the best option to prevent it from coming back or from occurring on your next hair coloring session. Well, they always say that prevention is always better than cure. So, from here, you can generally consider doing those things that can help in the occurrence or reoccurrence of flaky scalp.

Some hair stylists generally advise the clients to visit the salon with their hair unwashed. With that, a barrier in the middle of the hair dye ingredients and the skin on the scalp will create oils or sebums. This may tend to be a helpful strategy to ward off the scalp flaking after coloring hair. However, for some time, this is not as reliable as it is.

*Discuss everything with the hair colorist

One of the key here is to tell everything to your hair colorist. As much as possible, let the colorist knows your negative response to hair dyes. With that, they can able to assess what’s good for you inside their tool kit. There are some hair dyes that contain ingredients with pH buffering property. They generally neutralize the ammonia so that the hair dye will produce less scalp irritation.

*Request for a patch test

This is actually a primary and the most important step that you should have to take before jumping into hair dyeing session. It is actually essential to undergo a patch test days or so prior to coloring hair. With that, you will able to determine the possible reaction of your skin to the hair dye prior to its complete application over the whole scalp.

Moreover, some hair colorist experts suggest taking Benadryl before coloring the hair. This is highly suitable for those who are actually irritated with hair color especially the platinum shade.   

*Make a salon research

If you already have an idea that you have sensitivity to artificial hair dyes, it is a better solution to find salons that generally make use of hair color that are organic. This type of hair dyes is typically subtle to the scalp.

Frequently Asked Questions:


A: Basically, this is due to the skin reactions to the ingredients of the hair dye. Hair dyes generally contains harmful chemicals that are usually irritating to the scalp. This is more likely happened if the individual have sensitivity to hair colors. Once the hair dye stays too long on the scalp, the chemical contents of the hair dye may actually cause burn to the scalp making it itchy afterwards.


A: The best way to protect the scalp during hair coloring session is by putting on some petroleum jelly like Vaseline. Basically, apply the jelly into the forehead, ears, and neck. You can also put some of the petroleum jelly into the body areas that have the potential to be exposed to the dye. Doing so may help in getting the chemicals to irritate the sensitive areas surrounding the scalp.


A: Another major cause of hair dye application to the hair is the alteration of the hair strand texture. For instance, coarse hair does not actually contain a smooth cuticle that may be roughened more once you apply hair dye over it. And, every time you apply hair colors, the damage will generally get worse. The tresses will be dryer and frizzier.

Final Thoughts

Although beneficial for aesthetic purposes, hair coloring is not always a healthy idea for the scalp. But, if ever you pick the 100% natural or organic hair dye, you may actually reduce the possibility of having flaky scalp after hair dyeing process. The key here is to always consider the way hair colors may affect your scalp either on a positive or negative note. Moreover, it is also important not to ignore the proper ways on how to eliminate flaky scalp after this hair coloring process. Good thing that there are lots of ways to get rid of those flakes once you apply hair dye. That way, you can basically deal with the dryness and itchiness of the scalp immediately. Be very vigilant especially on choosing the appropriate hair dye for you. Also, keep an eye on any potential negative reactions of the dyes to your scalp. This way you will definitely keep those bad hair days away!

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