Should You Wash Your Hair Before Dyeing It?

washing hair

There is always an ongoing debate about whether your hair should be dirty or clean when dyeing it. Some say that dirty hair protects it from the chemicals in the dye, others claim that clean hair absorbs the color better. 

So, should you wash your hair before dyeing it? As suggested by many hair professionals, you should wash your 12 to 24 hours before dyeing it. This way there will be enough natural oils on your scalp and hair to protect them against the harsh chemicals. However, your hair will still be clean enough to properly absorb the dye and you will get an allover even color. 

If you have ever been confused about when to wash your hair before dyeing it, this is the article for you. Read on to learn more about washing your hair before dyeing and why you shouldn’t color freshly washed hair. 

Should Your Hair Be Dirty or Clean When You Dye It?

Dyeing your hair when it freshly washed is not a good idea. Most coloring kits you can find on the market are not formulated to work on clean hair. On the contrary, all these hair dyes produce the best result and the richest color when applied to slightly dirty hair.

Washing your hair before you dye it is a waste of time. You will be washing it after dyeing too. So why spend extra time?

Why You Shouldn’t Dye Freshly Washed Hair

There are a few reasons why you should leave your hair get a little dirty and oily before dyeing it. 

Freshly Washed Hair Is Too Slippery

Hair that has been just washed and dried is too slippery. Thus, hair dye will not apply properly on it. 

If you do decide to wash your hair right before coloring it, make sure to dry it properly and avoid using shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products that are designed to make the hair silky and soft. 

Your Scalp Is Not Protected

When you wash your hair, you strip the natural oils from your scalp and hair strands. It takes time for oil to be reproduced. 

The natural oils on your hair and scalp act as a protective barrier when hair dye is applied. Although many hair coloring products on the market claim to be free of harmful ingredients, dyes do contain chemicals. Thus, it is inevitable for your scalp and hair to suffer negative changes even if you don’t notice them yourself. 

You May Not Get Even Color Distribution

Clean hair often has more porosity which may interfere with the final result once you dye your hair. You may have a hard time covering every hair strand with the dye. The result will be unevenly colored hair and patchiness. 

In addition to this, porous hair is more vulnerable to chemicals and absorbs them quicker than non-porous hair. 

Flyaways Are a Problem 

Is there someone that doesn’t struggle with flyaways? And they are especially wild when the hair is freshly washed. 

Taking all the flyaways and baby hair down to color them properly will certainly be a trouble. 

If you want your hair perfectly colored without missing even a strand, then you should at least spray some hairspray on your hair to get them down. This will also dirty up your hair just enough and make the die go on smoothly on it. 

washing hair

How Dirty Should Your Hair Be When You Dye It?

If you are worried about the fact that you can’t go to places and meet people while having dirty hair, don’t worry! Your hair doesn’t need to be all greasy and oily. 

Your hair should be ‘dirty’ enough to protect your scalp from harsh chemicals. However, it shouldn’t be coated with a layer of hair products. It shouldn’t be excessively oily and greasy too. This layer of products and oil will interfere with your hair absorbing the color. 

Cleaner hair absorbs the color better. Thus, it is recommended to wash your hair 12 to 24 hours before coloring them. This way there will be enough natural oils on your scalp to protect your skin from getting irritated by the chemicals in the dye. However, your hair will still be clean enough to absorb the product. 

Should You Wash Your Hair Before Dyeing It at a Salon?

As hair dyes were too harsh in the past, people used to get their hair really dirty before dyeing it. This helped them reduce the itchiness, irritation, and discomfort hair coloring products caused. 

Nowadays, hair dyes are not as harsh. While there are still chemicals in them, they don’t damage the scalp and the hair as severely. 

Though hair dye formulas have changed and certainly for the better, some people still hold the belief that they need to have very dirty and greasy hair to get good results and not damage their scalp. This is not true anymore. 

Hair professionals claim that having excessively greasy hair is not only unpleasant to work with but is also pointless as the color won’t be properly absorbed. 

It is recommended to wash your hair 12 to 24 hours before going to the salon to get your hair colored. This way you will have hair that is clean enough for the colorist to work on and oily, i.e. protected enough, to not damage your scalp. 

If you have freshly washed hair and it has slipped your mind that you have a hair coloring appointment, try dirtying it up with some hair products. You can use sprays, mousses, or gels in small amounts. 

Should You Wash Your Hair Before Bleaching It?

Bleach is even harsher on the hair than hair dye is. And it spreads perfectly well on dirty hair. In fact, putting bleach evenly on your hair when they are clean is quite difficult and doesn’t work well on some occasions. 

If you want to prepare your hair for bleaching, wash it 2 to 3 days before the hair lightening session. 

How Should You Prepare Your Hair before Dyeing It?

There are a few steps you can take to prepare your hair for coloring aside from washing it 12 to 24 hours before the dyeing it. 

Nourish Your Hair

The best way to prevent hair breakage resulted from dyeing is taking good care of your hair before you dye it or go to a salon to get them colored. 

Use nourishing hair masks and deep conditioners to provide your hair with moisture and strengthen them. Do these procedures at least 3 days before getting your hair dyed. 

Another very effective treatment you can do at home to prepare your hair for dyeing is the hot oil treatment. 

For this treatment, you will need to warm a mixture of different oils and apply it to your damp hair. You can use coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, etc. 

Use a Clarifying Shampoo 

When washing your hair the day before getting it dyed, use a clarifying shampoo to deep-clean. This will help you get rid of all the build-up on your scalp and in-between your hair strands. 

Product build-up is not only common for people that regularly use hairsprays, dry shampoos, mousses, oils, etc., but also for those who wash their hair with shampoo and conditioner and don’t use any other products. 

You can also use a detoxifying shampoo to get your scalp in good condition. Get this one from Amazon.

Skip the Conditioner 

When washing your hair for the last time before you dye it, skip the conditioning step. Conditioner will make you slippery which is not exactly what you want when dyeing your hair. 

Use Some Baby Powder

If you are someone that struggles with hair that gets oily within a day, you can use some baby powder on it to combat the oiliness. This is an easy thing to do instead of washing your hair. And as we have already mentioned, freshly washed hair isn’t the best for dying. 

Apply some baby powder to your scalp. Wait a few minutes and brush it out. 

Irina Tracy

I am a writer, journalist and nonconformist blogger. I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. When it comes to writing, I like to explore every topic I find to be interesting and I get out all the details about it. I published several books and wrote for national & international publications. Looking forward to share my writing with all you, readers so we can learn new things together with every post!

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