Should I Wash My Hair Before Colouring It?

Should I Wash My Hair Before Colouring It?

It’s the age-old question in the hairdressing world that clients and stylists can’t seem to agree on – should I wash my hair before colouring it? Whilst there’s arguments for and against washing your hair before a colour treatment, it seems that nobody actually has the answer. This means you’re often left wondering if it’s […]

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It’s the age-old question in the hairdressing world that clients and stylists can’t seem to agree on – should I wash my hair before colouring it? Whilst there’s arguments for and against washing your hair before a colour treatment, it seems that nobody actually has the answer. This means you’re often left wondering if it’s best to wash your hair before colouring, whether the colour will take better on unwashed hair, and if washing your hair before colouring compromises your hair and scalp’s overall health. Today, we’ll be cracking the code on hair washing etiquette with the help of RUSH’s expertise in hair colouring. 

The Role of Natural Oils

Whether you like it or not, natural oils play a massive role in your hair’s overall health, contributing to your hair’s hydration and structure. Healthy hair produces a certain amount of natural oils, also known as sebum, as a way to hydrate your scalp and protect your hair by creating a protective layer around the strands of hair. Sometimes this natural oil can build up on the scalp, especially at the root, giving the hair an oily appearance. While we often perceive this build up as being dirty, it does protect your hair and scalp’s health. That’s why it’s commonly believed that it’s best to not strip your hair of these oils by washing it before colouring. 

Benefits of Washing Before Colouring

You would think that it was best to apply colour to clean, freshly-washed hair, but the jury appears to still be out on that one. To help crack the code on hair-washing etiquette before you colour your hair, we’ve compiled a list of arguments in favour of washing your hair before colouring.  

  • It allows your stylist to see your scalp’s health.

One of the main arguments for washing your locks before getting a colour treatment is that it allows your stylist to be able to properly examine your scalp. This is especially important if you suffer from any scalp issues that may be exacerbated by colour.

  • Removes product-build up.

Washing your hair the day before getting it coloured will remove any product build up from products such as shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, sebum and much more! It’s argued that removing any product build up, as it’s argued that your hair will take better to the colour – but the jury’s still out on that one. 

  • It allows your stylist to see your hair’s natural colour.

The hair’s appearance can be altered by a variety of things – product, the weather, and most commonly, sebum. The overproduction of sebum can sometimes cause the hair to look and feel ‘dirty’, so it’s argued that by washing the hair before a colouring appointment, your stylist will be able to see your hair’s natural colour. 

Drawbacks of Washing Before Colouring

  • It provides a natural protective barrier around your hair throughout the colouring process. 

Healthy hair produces a certain amount of natural oils, also known as sebum, as a way to hydrate your scalp and protect your hair by creating a protective layer around the strands of hair. That’s why it’s commonly believed that it’s best to not strip your hair of these oils by washing it before colouring.

  • Colour Absorption 

Hair dyes are more effective when used on hair that has not been freshly washed. Before getting your hair coloured, skipping a wash allows for sebum to build up on your scalp, which combats the irritation that can be caused when colouring. However, if you do wash your hair before a colouring treatment, just keep in mind that you will have less of a barrier between your hair and the colour. 

  • Scalp Sensitivity 

Sebum creates a protective layer around the strands of hair, as a way to hydrate your scalp and protect your hair. Washing your hair before colouring strips your hair of its natural oils, meaning that your hair loses that protective layer. If you experience scalp sensitivity issues, harsh chemicals, such as hair dye may exacerbate your issue, so think about skipping the wash before your colour appointment. 

Is it better to dye your hair clean or dirty?

It’s the age old question, is it better to dye your hair when it’s dirty or clean? You’re in luck, we’ve got the answer. Hair dyes are more effective when used on hair that has not been freshly washed. Before getting your hair coloured, skipping a wash allows for sebum to build up on your scalp, which combats the irritation that can be caused when colouring. 

Expert Opinions

Our experts say: “Before your colour treatment, we’d recommend skipping a wash or two before coming into the salon for your treatment. Natural oils play a massive role in your hair’s overall health and condition, so much so that these oils are an essential in the hair colouring process, as they create a protective layer around the hair. Natural oils won’t affect the outcome of your colour, and they can actually help to offset the damaging effects of hair colour! This means that you’ll still achieve the beautiful colour vibrancy you desire, whilst protecting and nourishing the hair!”

8 Tips for Maintaining Your Colour-Treated Hair

  1. Wash your hair less frequently – Washing your hair will cause your colour to fade faster, so we’d recommend challenging yourself to go longer between washes, slowly washing your hair less and less.
  2. Just Condition – Skipping the shampoo is one of the best ways to make your colour last, as it washes your colour away – you’ll still be nourishing your hair, all whilst adding softness and shine. 
  3. Use Shampoo Specifically Designed for Colour Treated Hair – If you do need to wash your hair more often, invest in a colour protective shampoo. In comparison to regular shampoos which exacerbate colour fade, shampoos specifically designed for colour protection actively work to stop your colour from fading.
  4. Take Care of Your Locks – Harsh chemicals, such as hair dye, can cause the hair to become more fragile – meaning your colour will fade faster due to the damage. Try oils and conditioning treats to support your hair’s overall health – strengthening, conditioning and nourishing the hair.
  5. Use Heat Protectant Spray – Heat protection is an essential for those with colour-treated hair, as heat can lower your hair’s colour vibrancy. And this isn’t just aimed at heat styling! The sun can also cause your colour to fade faster so be sure to stay in the shade during the peak hours of 10am and 2pm. Both your hair and colour will thank you!
  6.  Watch for Sun Damage – As we mentioned, sun damage from harmful UV rays can come in the forms of dehydrated, dull, damaged hair – meaning breakage, dryness, fizziness, and a brittle texture. These issues can be more detrimental to your hair’s health if you have colour treated hair so take extra care!
  7. Swim smart – we’ve all heard the horror stories of chlorine dyeing hair green. Chlorine is both damaging to your hair and can cause your colour to fade 10x faster… so remember to apply conditioner as a protective barrier to offset the damaging effects of chlorine. 
  8. Eat right – Foods that are high in vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and biotin, such as eggs, salmon, spinach and avocados, are all a great addition to your diet if you’re looking to combat dry, brittle hair post-colour.

Takeaways

After looking at arguments for and against colouring, it’s clear that skipping one or two washes before your colour treatment is the way forward! Here’s a reminder of the reasons why you should consider not washing your hair before getting it dyed: 

  • It provides a natural protective barrier around your hair throughout the colouring process. 

Washing the hair strips it of its natural oils, which are an essential for protecting and nourishing the hair. That’s why it’s commonly believed that it’s best to not strip your hair of these oils by washing it before colouring.

  • Scalp Sensitivity 

Sebum creates a protective layer around the strands of hair, as a way to hydrate your scalp and protect your hair. If you experience scalp sensitivity issues, harsh chemicals, such as hair dye may exacerbate your issue, so think about skipping the wash before your colour appointment. 

  • Colour Absorption 

Hair dyes are more effective when used on hair that has not been freshly washed. However if you do wash your hair before a colouring treatment, just keep in mind that you will have less of a barrier between your hair and the colour, which could lead to irritation and sensitivity.

H2: Book Your Hair Appointment Now

We’d love to know your thoughts on washing before a colour treatment! RUSH is here to help you with perfect colouring and start your journey to healthy hair. Book your hair appointment with our skilled stylists at Rush.co.uk or find a hairdresser near you to embark on a personalised healthy hair journey. Our experts are here to bring your hair dreams to life.

FAQ's

Should I wash my hair before colouring it?

It all comes down to personal preference, but we’d recommend skipping a wash or two before getting your hair coloured. Chemicals found in hair dye will cause more damage to freshly washed hair that does not have the protective barrier of sebum.

Is it better to dye your hair clean or dirty?

Hair dyes are more effective when used on hair that has not been freshly washed, so don’t feel bad about skipping a wash or two before your hair colour appointment – your hair will thank you!

Can you dye freshly washed hair?

Whilst you can dye freshly washed hair, it’s widely believed that colour takes better to hair that’s not been washed for a few days. This is thanks to the natural oils found in your hair, which protect the hair and scalp from the damaging effects of hair dye.

Can hair products Interfere With the Colouring Process?

Whilst natural oils will not interfere with the colouring process, the build of products like hairspray will make the colour process more difficult, so refrain from using these products a few days before your treatment.

I haven't washed my hair in 4 days; can I dye it?

Whilst we do recommend skipping a wash or two before dyeing your hair, excessively greasy hair will pose challenges when colouring and styling your client, so be sure to take this into consideration when heading into the salon for a colour appointment.

When should I wash my hair before colour or highlights?

We’d recommend skipping a wash or two before getting any colour treatment to ensure your hair is protected against the hair dye.

How long should I leave hair dye in before rinsing?

Hair dye should be left to sit for 30 – 45 minutes if it’s a standard colour application, but this time can vary, depending on the condition of your hair and the desired colour. Leaving hair dye on your hair for too long can cause damage to the hair’s structure and overall health, whilst also potentially affecting the outcome of the colour.