Should I Wash My Hair Before Dying It?

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Dyeing your hair is an excellent way to jazz up your look. Whether you get it done professionally or break out the box dye kit at home, you might ask yourself: should I wash my hair before coloring it or not?

Everyone wants to get the best possible results from hair dye. Here’s everything you need to know about whether it’s better to color clean or dirty hair.

So, Should You Dye Your Hair Dirty or Clean?

The verdict’s in: dyeing hair that isn’t freshly washed has the best outcome! Hair that hasn’t been recently washed has a build-up of grease that can give your scalp more protection from harsh chemicals, preventing scalp irritation.

This doesn’t mean you can’t dye your freshly washed hair. It just means you must be more aware that there won’t be a protective barrier between your scalp and the hair dye. In this case, opt for ammonia-free hair dyes to protect yourself.

Ammonia is a chemical that raises the pH level of hair to make the hair color stick better. Unfortunately, ammonia also causes damage to the hair cuticle and can result in a strong chemical smell when dyeing your hair.

That’s why it’s best to opt for ammonia-free dyes if you don’t have the protective barrier hair oils create.

When Should You Wash Hair Before Dyeing It?

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Now that you know it’s better to skip a wash before getting your hair dyed, you might ask when you should wash your hair before coloring it. We recommend washing your hair anywhere between 12 hours to two days before your color service session.

Here are some simple tips to follow when washing your hair before getting it dyed:

  • Use a mild, clarifying shampoo to remove previous product build-up from your scalp. Please don’t use harsh shampoo, which can strip off your hair’s natural oils and cause frizz.
  • Follow up with a hydrating conditioner, as it repairs damage and softens your hair.
  • Ensure that you get a good wash in, starting from the roots of your head to the end of your hair strand.
  • Use oils like castor oil that can help moisturize your hair if your hair is dry and frizzy. Castor oil is rich in Vitamin E and contains antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it great for stimulating hair growth and reducing dandruff and inflammation.
  • Consider using a scalp scrub to remove impurities and decrease product build-up.

Should You Dye Your Hair When It’s Wet?

Dyeing dry hair is better, as water can complicate the coloring process by creating a barrier.

However, some toners and glosses can work on wet hair. If you’re dyeing your hair yourself, make sure to check the product instructions.

Coloring your hair when wet can still work, but it can cause uneven hair coloring if done incorrectly. We recommend that beginners steer clear of dyeing damp hair for this reason.

What Products Should You Use and Avoid Before Dyeing?

There are products you should use and avoid before dyeing your hair. In this section, we give recommendations to get the best possible effects from the coloring process.

Products to Use

We recommend using a deep hydrating conditioner in the few weeks leading to your hair dye session. You can also use hair masks and oil treatments to prepare your hair and prevent it from getting damaged.

It helps to use only lightweight serums and sprays to avoid leaving greasy product buildup on your hair. Otherwise, use a clarifying shampoo that removes any remaining product.

You can also use a dye removerOpens in a new tab. if you’re dyeing your hair at home. However, if you’re getting your hair dyed at a salon, this isn’t necessary, as your colorist can deal with any previous dye remnants.

Products to Avoid

You need to avoid using oily products right before coloring your hair. You should also avoid heavy styling products like thick gels, hairsprays and serums on the days leading to the session.

Finally, dry shampoo is a big no-no! Putting it on your hair may affect hair color payoff and cause uneven hair coloring.

How Long Should You Wait to Wash Your Hair After Dyeing It?

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We recommend waiting for at least 48 hours before washing your hair.

This allows the color to set in your hair and the cuticle layer to close in, so there’s less chance of hair color fading.

Remember that frequent washing may cause hair color to fade, so when you choose to wash your hair, don’t do it too often if you want the hair color to last!

What’s the Best Way to Wash Dyed Hair?

After 48 hours, it’s time to wash your freshly-dyed locks! You’ll want to follow a hair care routine that helps you maintain the permanent hair color and make it pop.

When washing your hair, it’s best to use shampoos formulated for color-treated hair, as they will help you preserve the new hair color.

You can also go for a sulfate-free shampoo, as it gently cleanses your hair and helps it look fresher and healthier.

If you’re a brunette going blondeOpens in a new tab., you might want to invest in a blue shampoo to help remove any possible orange tone. It is a cleansing toner with blue pigments that remove unwanted warm shades from your brown hair, keeping it as blonde as possible.

On the other hand, if you have blonde hair and want to keep it at its natural color but brighter, buy a purple shampoo! Its purple pigments remove brassy tones from blonde hair and keep the hair color cool-shaded.

How Often Should Colored Hair Be Washed?

We recommend washing colored hair one to three times weekly in warm water. It’s best to avoid hot water as it opens your hair cuticles and causes the color to fade more quickly!

You can also consider buying a shower head filterOpens in a new tab.. These eradicate any impurities that can cause brittle hair, dry scalp and hair brassiness. That means your clean hair can look good for way longer!

Are There Any Exceptions to the Pre-washing Rule?

Before we wrap things up, we want to mention that there is an exception to the pre-washing rule. If you constantly use hairsprays, oils and other heavy hair products, then we recommend having freshly washed hair before your coloring session.

These products leave build-ups in your hair that can affect the dyeing process and cause undesirable results. In this case, wash your hair the night before your hair treatment using a moisturizing and clarifying shampoo.

Bottom Line

In most cases, you should avoid washing your hair for at least 12 hours before coloring your hair. You should also avoid using heavy styling products and dry shampoo and, instead, opt for deep hydrating conditioners and clarifying shampoos.

After getting your hair dyed at home or at a salon, you can wash your hair after 48 hours using specially formulated shampoo. This can help keep your hair color vibrant.

Remember to only wash your hair one to three times weekly to maintain your awesomely colored hair for as long as possible!

Paulina Romain

Paulina Romain is an entrepreneur and artist in the beauty industry. She is the founder and owner of The Art of Ink Studio, where she provides services such as permanent cosmetics, microblading, and artistic ink, focusing on personalized body art. Additionally, she owns Mill Pond Salon, through which she aims to deliver big-city salon services in the comfort of a small town. Apart from her hands-on work in her studios, Paulina Romain is also active on social media platforms like TikTok, where she showcases her fine line and cosmetic tattoo work. Furthermore, she's been in the salon and beauty industry for over 14 years and operates Team True Beauty with Sam Romain. This platform includes a blog on various beauty-related topics and marks the opening of two beauty brands by the couple.

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