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Hair Color Secrets: Should You Wash Your Hair Before Dying?

We are all used to keeping our hair clean. That’s why many women don’t even think about whether they should wash their hair before dying or not.

Meanwhile, this is a very serious matter that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you decide to wash your hair before the dying session, you can end up with unfortunate results.

Even though most stylists won’t tell you anything about keeping your hair dirty before dying, that doesn’t mean you should forget about the matter altogether. However, excessively dirty hair full of build-up and sweat will not take in color any better.

Remember, it’s not the stylist’s responsibility to warn you about not washing your hair before dying. It’s up to you to read up on the rules.

wash your hair

Why You Should Leave Your Hair Dirty Before Dyeing

There are two good reasons to skip the hair washing session before applying hair dye.

  1. The squeaky clean hair is slippery and instead of sinking in, the color can slide off your locks. It won’t prevent the hair from being dyed but the results can be far from what you expect. You might end up with shades that are one or two tones below your desired hue or uneven color on the hair.
  2. When your scalp is squeaky-clean, it doesn’t have any oil on the surface to protect your skin. As a result, you can burn your scalp with the chemicals in the dye and end up with unpleasant sensations.

What Else Not To Do Before Dyeing Your Hair

Whenever you wash your hair the last time before dying (preferably 2-3 days before the coloring session), don’t use any leave-in conditioners.

Just go through the standard shampoo+conditioner washing routine and rinse your hair well. Try to avoid using any styling products, such as hair spray or hair gel. Too many products on the hair prevent the hair from absorbing the color molecules effectively.

Here are some other tips:

  • Don’t use a clarifying shampoo in the days leading up to your dye job…
  • And don’t scratch your scalp. Both of these can lead to scalp irritation during the process.
  • Don’t use high heat near your scalp for the same reason…
  • But also avoid using it on your hair, as it could lead to visible damage.
  • Don’t get another chemical process, like a perm, within the two weeks before you get your hair colored.

Should You Wash Products Out Before a Color Treatment?

It depends. If you use products that contain plasticizing ingredients, you’ll have to wash them out before getting a color treatment. Copolymer, carbomer, and some gums and waxes coat the hair with impermeable substances.

So your color treatment might actually go to waste if you have any of these in your hair. Still, at least try to shampoo the day before your color treatment.

Some people say you can get a color treatment with dry shampoo in your hair. We wouldn’t risk it as some contain clay, which can block your color absorption.

But don’t just grab shampoo and lather up. Rinse with a lot of water first to see if you can clean your hair without using shampoo.

If you still need to cleanse with something stronger, choose a no-sulfate, moisturizing shampoo and use as little as possible.

Whatever you do, don’t grab a sulfate shampoo or a clarifying shampoo. These strip the hair and scalp too much and can be the source of irritation and brittleness when you’re getting your hair dyed.

Can You Dye Hair That Isn’t Washed, But Wet?

wash or not wash hair before dyeing

It’s better if you come into the salon with dry hair because even water itself can cause the hair dye to come out in an unpredictable way. Hair colors are mostly designed to be applied to dry hair.

So if you show up with wet hair, you’ll probably get an extra fee tagged on when the stylist has to dry your hair first.

Can You Wash Your Hair Before Bleaching It?

Hair bleaching is one of the harshest chemical processes and incurs more damage than making your tresses darker – both to the hair and scalp.

So it’s best if you go in with dirty hair or at least hair that’s a little greasy, to protect your scalp under the treatment.

Can You Wash Your Hair Right After a Color Treatment?

washing hair after dyeing

It’s best to wait two or three days after a color treatment before you wash with shampoo. Keep in mind that the hair color is still oxidizing during this time, absorbing into the hair shaft and sticking to your hair proteins.

Also, the cuticles are still not completely sealed and the color could wash off easily during washing. Washing it right away will fade your color.

And when the three days are up, make sure to reach for a color-safe option when you cleanse. This will also keep it from fading too fast.

If you use a shampoo that contains the same pigments as your dye job, it will help your color to last longer.


Do hairdressers wash hair before they dye it?

Typically they do not. But if the stylist thinks your hair is too greasy and gunky to absorb the new color, you might find yourself over the shampoo bowl. Feel free to ask why.

Should I wash my hair before or after coloring?


Should I wash my hair before a cut?

You can since most haircuts are done on wet hair. But let your stylist decide.

Can I rinse my hair after dying it?

Try not to.

Should I wash my hair before semi-permanent dye?

It’s best not to shampoo your hair within a 24-hour period before a semi-permanent hair coloring treatment.

How long after coloring hair can I wash it?

Try to wait three days.

Does hair dye get darker the if I leave it in longer?

No, it will only get as dark as the manufacturer intended, regardless of how long you leave it in.

What is the right way to dye hair at home?

Because the manufacturer is the most familiar with the product and its capabilities, it’s best to invest the time to read the instructions thoroughly before getting started.

It might be hard to follow all these rules but it’s imperative to get fresh, lustrous, and long-lasting colors from the first try.