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Should You Wash Your Hair Before Coloring It?

by Madison Reed November 10, 2023

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Image by Madison Reed

Should You Wash Your Hair Before Coloring It?

Ready for a hair color shake-up? Are you looking to go from blonde bombshell to ravishing redhead or from brunette diva to fiery black? You’re in the right place! Today, we're tackling one of the hair color world's most frequently asked questions: should you wash your hair before coloring? Let's dive in and discover the answer!


Should You Wash Your Hair Before a Hair Color Appointment?

The general rule of thumb is to not wash your hair the day of coloring – or even the day before coloring if your hair washing routine allows. You might hear colorists say a second (or even third) day hair is best. Why is that so?

Unwashed hair produces a natural oil protective layer. While often we perceive it as an unwanted occurrence, it does help protect your hair and scalp. That’s why you don’t want to wash these oils out with a shampoo right before coloring.

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What If I Have a Lot of Product in My Hair?

Great question! Although we recommend not shampooing the day of coloring, there is an exception if you have a lot of product in your hair. While natural oils are ideal, at the same time, it’s not good to have a build-up of product that makes it harder for the color to penetrate your hair which may cause uneven results.

You can either adjust your styling routine leading up to coloring or shampoo before coloring, if necessary.

What If I Really Need to Wash My Hair

If there’s a special occasion and you absolutely need to wash your hair the same day, it's not the end of the world. Do whatever makes you feel and look your best. Not following the "do not wash your hair" rule a couple of times won't hurt.

Why Shouldn’t You Wash Your Hair Right Before Coloring?

Okay, so you know that you don’t have to wash your hair before coloring, and we’ve more or less explained the consequences of doing so. Now, it’s time to get into the details. Why exactly you shouldn’t do it?

The first possible reason is that, if you suffer from scalp conditions (see dandruff vs. dry scalp), it may lead to some irritation from the color if your scalp is sensitive.
Apart from that, you shouldn’t wash your hair before coloring because it strips you of your natural oils, making your hair drier and more susceptible to damage or over-deposit (what colorists call "grab") of the color.
Don’t worry if you really have to wash your hair before coloring. If it happens once, there shouldn’t be any issues, but don’t make this a habit since it can lead to undesirable results more often.

A Few Words on Hair Washing in General

Since we’re almost at the end of this post, we’d like to offer some general tips on washing your hair, especially considering the many myths circulating around this topic that are not exactly true. So, what should you know?

  • You shouldn’t wash your hair every day: – this can dry it out and cause your color to fade more quickly; it may also remove too much of the protective oils from your scalp; ColorSolve™ Shampoo is a great choice for cleansing and protecting your color

  • The frequency of washing your hair should depend on:

    • Hair condition: (dry hair = less washing)

    • Chemical treatments: perms, straighteners, bleaching, coloring = washing less often

  • You shouldn’t use dry shampoos too often

  • Combing is  important in terms of hygiene: – it helps keep your scalp in good condition

  • Many shampoo products contain toners, which could impact your final result; be honest with your colorist as they can help mitigate this side effect

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The Takeaway

So, should you wash your hair before coloring it? No. It’s best to avoid washing at least 24 hours before dyeing. However, if your hair is really dirty, has a lot of product in it, or you need to shampoo for a special occasion, you can do that – as long as it’s a one-off, you shouldn’t see any long-term negative effects.


Did you like this article? You may also be interested in: Winter Hair Care 101.