Should I Wash My Hair Before Dying It?

Should I Wash My Hair Before Dying It?

“Should I wash my hair before getting it colored?” is an important question if you want to achieve the best possible results. It’s a frequently asked question for most hairstylists because the answer is a bit counter-intuitive for some people.

Simply put, your hair should be clean but not freshly-washed before dying it, almost regardless of what type of dye and what procedure you’ll be going with.

The reason for that is you don’t want your hair and scalp to be dirty but you still want them to have a protective oily barrier against the staining and irritation caused by the dye.

Especially if you go a bit back in time when dyes were harsher on the skin, people knew that they shouldn’t wash their hair because the natural oils on their scalp protect them from the painful irritation. Today, hair dyes are much milder and less harmful but they can still be unpleasant to use on recently-washed hair.

So, should you wash your hair before you dye it also depends a little on what type of hair you have – naturally oilier hair will develop its “protective barrier” quicker than drier hair. Still, even in that case dying dirty hair is not a good idea as it will lead to a bad and uneven hair color.

Here are some basic guidelines that work for most people:

  1. Wash your hair 12-24 hours before dying it – closer to 12 if you have oily hair and closer to 24 if your hair is relatively dry.
  2. Be gentle with your scalp – you don’t want any flakes or scratches as these will hurt more from the hair dye or bleach.
  3. If you’ve sweat too much before dying your hair, give it a light wash – you don’t want your hair to be too oily as it won’t color well.
  4. If you’re using additional oils (coconut, olive, etc.) on your hair, wash them away properly and don’t re-apply them as they interfere with hair dyes as well.
  5. Whatever you do make sure your hair is dry before you start or before you go to the hair salon. If not, use a hairdryer or go to the salon earlier so that there’s time to dry your hair. Still, it’s better if your hair has dried off naturally.
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