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Cut or Color Hair First: What’s the Right Order for Best Results?

Dyeing your hair or getting a haircut are great ways to achieve a new look that you can feel happy and confident about.

But what is the ideal hair styling sequence: get a haircut then color it or color your hair first and then cut it? Well, the answer depends on some factors.

The type of dye used, whether you get a trim or major cut, and the overall health of your hair decide whether to cut or color your hair first. Let’s cut to the chase and find out!

Should You Color Your Hair or Get a Haircut First?

It’s standard practice to dye your hair and then get a haircut. Longer hair is easier to section and it is easier to apply dye rather than doing so to shorter hair. However, there are some instances where a haircut before dyeing is preferable.

Should you cut or color your hair first?

Dyeing hair first is easier in evenly distributing the color throughout your hair. Your hairstyle will look more colorful and uniform.

But if you have too dry of hair or it’s damaged with split ends, you may want to opt for a haircut before dyeing your hair.

Think of the haircut as a healthy reset to your hairstyle so you can apply the hair dye when your hair is at its best.

Also if you want a hand paint highlights on your hair like balayage, it’s best to cut your hair first so you and your colorist can understand where exactly you want the color to be incorporated into your hair.

Coloring Hair Vs. Cutting Hair First: Factors to Consider

when to cut hair first before dyeing

Dyeing your hair before or after cutting depends on the cut and desired hair color, the condition of your hair, and the type of dye used.

Type of Hair Color

Factors To Consider Before Dyeing Hair Right After Cutting - Types of Dye

Permanent dyes use harsh chemicals and developers to penetrate the hair cuticle. When hair gets cut, the cuticle gets opened, which ramps up the risk of your hair being damaged.

In addition, some hair treatments used when cutting can remove natural oils, which act as a protective barrier when coloring.

So, if you plan on using permanent dye, color your hair first and wait at least 1 week, and then cut the hair to let the cuticle settle down while your natural oils replenish.

Semi-permanent dyes shouldn’t pose an issue for freshly cut hair, as they aren’t intended to penetrate the cuticle.

Trim or Major Cut

If you are getting maintenance trimming that’s no more than an inch, you can choose to dye or color first as both are perfectly fine for this situation.

However, a more extensive cut will benefit from dyeing first and then cutting it later since dry, unwashed hair is often better for dye absorption and it is easier to apply hair dye on longer hair.

It is true for single-color application on hair, but highlights or balayage require accuracy so if you get balayage or multiple colors on hair, get a haircut first so that your stylist can apply the highlights on desired sections.

Your Hair’s Condition

Factors To Consider Before Dyeing Hair Right After Cutting - Hair Condition

Damaged hair or hair with split ends might benefit from a haircut first to ensure that color is applied to healthy strands.

Coloring is an intensive process, especially when using permanent dye and developer. If your hair is already brittle or dry – perhaps due to previous dye jobs – it’s best to wait a little longer after cutting.

Moreover, if you’re on the finer side, err on the side of caution since the chemicals used in the dye could lead to breakages and aggravate the appearance of thin hair.

Expert tip: If you get a haircut before applying hair dye, you will have to wait at least a week after the haircut for the natural oils to accumulate in your hair again for an effective color treatment.

Can You Cut and Dye Your Hair on the Same Day?

Is It Possible to Cut and Dye Your Hair on the Same Day?

It is possible to cut and dye your hair on the same day if you are getting a little trim. But if you choose to color your hair first, It’s advisable to wait at least 24-48 hours after dyeing.

On the other hand, if you decide to get a haircut first, you will have to wait at least a week before getting a balayage, applying highlights, or dyeing your hair a completely different color.

A haircut might seem straightforward, but the process opens up the cuticle, making a subsequent dye job much riskier.

In addition, there is the possibility of the product being left behind, which could interfere with the hair dye and lead to less-than-stellar results.

So waiting some days before you cut dyed hair or vice versa is a safe option, that way you will not lose the color too fast.

So, Hair Dye or Haircut: Which Should Be Done First?

The general practice is to color your hair first and then get a haircut. But you should take the following factors into consideration when deciding:

Color First:

  • Using permanent dye
  • Healthy hair condition

Cut First:

  • Damaged or split ends
  • Getting precision coloring techniques like balayage