Should I Wash My Hair Before My Color Service?

Should you shampoo before you come have your hair colored? The great “shampoo before my hair color” debate rages on. Almost daily, I will have someone come in and ask me if they should wash their hair before tinting or highlighting.

The idea of not washing before a color service goes back to the old days, when color products were very harsh compared to the gentle colors we have today. A bit of natural oil on the scalp kept the tingling and staining to a minimum. This was especially important with bleaching services, which could be quite irritating to the scalp.

The Great “Shampoo Before My Hair Color” Debate

Fast forward to now, and many clients have been led to believe that the dirtier the hair, the better the color. Should I shampoo before my color service? Here are some guidelines to prep your hair for a perfect color service.

1. Wash your hair 12 to 24 hours before your color. This will assure the hair is clean, but allow the oil in your scalp to create a protective barrier against irritation and staining.

2. Wash the hair, but don’t aggressively scratch the scalp. broken skin or scratches will definitely burn or tingle with color or bleach.

3. If you work out hard before a color service, wash your hair. Excessively oily hair lifts poorly, processes slowly, and doesn’t color well.

4. Make sure any cover up products you use to disguise your roots between services are out before you get to the salon, or arrange to come earlier to have it pre-shampooed. Otherwise you may not get coverage where you want it most.

5. Ditto for dry shampoo. It can create a barrier that color doesn’t penetrate well.

6. Shampoo especially well if you use oil in your hair such as coconut oil or olive oil. Heavy oil products make the color ineffective, and make highlights bleed all over the place.

7. Styling products are generally OK, unless you use loads of them. Hairspray can be brushed out before the service, and most non oily products are fine.

8. Come with dry hair, or arrive early to have it dried under a dryer, While color takes fine on damp hair, damp hair pulls a lot when your sectioning and you will be much more comfortable starting with a dry head of hair.

Scroll to Top