Dyes have become common substances since they are employed in mostly all objects surrounding our daily activities such as clothing and upholstery. Based on the usage and disposal of these objects, the transfer of the dyes to other media such as soil and water increases their prevalence in our environment. However, this prevalence could help to solve crimes and pollution problems if detection techniques are proper. For that reason, the detection and characterization of dyes in complex matrices is important to determine the possible events leading to their deposition (natural degradation, attempts of removal, possible match with evidence, among others). Currently, there are several chromatographic and mass spectrometric approaches used for the identification of these organic molecules and their derivatives with high specificity and accuracy. This review presents current chromatographic and mass spectrometric methods that are used for the detection and characterization of disperse, acid, basic, and reactive dyes, and their derivatives.