Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) Wash Your Hair Before Dyeing It.

Dyeing your hair can be a fun way to change up your look, but sometimes it’s hard to know what the best process is. Are you wondering, should I wash my hair before I dye it? Or can I just dye it and go?

Turns out, there’s a right way and a wrong way to dye your hair – and if you want the color to stay put, washing your hair beforehand is key.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to dye your hair without ruining it.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to gorgeous, healthy hair that looks great every time.

Should I wash my hair before I dye it?

In general, yes! Washing your hair before dyeing it gets rid of all the impurities and product build up that can stop the dye from properly penetrating your hair.

But it can depend on your hair condition too!

If you have oily hair, it’s probably a good idea to give your scalp a cleanse before applying any hair dye. This will help the color to adhere evenly and prevent any unwanted color bleeds.

If your hair is on the drier side, washing it before dyeing could strip away some of the natural oils that protect your strands and scalp. This could make you more susceptible to irritation from the hair dye.

We recommend finding a balance by washing your hair 24 hours before.

This removes enough build-up to make sure the color can really soak in, and enough time for some of those natural oils to start protecting your scalp.

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your personal preference. Everyone’s hair is different! If you’re unsure, ask your stylist!

“You can shampoo your hair the day before just to be sure all product is gone and your scalp and hair are clean.”

Grace Smith, Hairdresser

“It depends…if you are depositing color (going darker or covering gray), it’s best to color on clean hair…if you are lightening (either with color or bleach), then it’s best to have your natural oils present.”

Susan Clark, Licensed Cosmetologist/Barber 20 years experience


1. Always follow the instructions on the hair dye box to ensure best results.

2. If your hair is very dirty or oily, wash it with a clarifying shampoo before you dye it.

3. Dyeing wet hair can cause the color to be uneven and patchy. Try to avoid this by dying your hair when it’s dry.

4. Wait at least 24 hours before washing your hair after coloring it. This will help the color to set and last longer.

5. Use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner to prevent the color from fading too quickly.

Is it better to dye dirty hair or clean hair?

Dyeing dirty hair can cause the color to be uneven and patchy. And no one wants that!

Cleaning your hair beforehand ensures that your hair is free of any products that could prevent the dye from properly coloring your strands.

Should I wash my hair before I dye it? shampoo bottles and soaps
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How should I wash my hair before dyeing it?

If you do choose to wash your hair before coloring it, we recommend using a clarifying shampoo.

These shampoos are designed to remove all the buildup from your hair without stripping away natural oils.

We also recommend avoiding any conditioner or other hair products 24 hours before you dye your hair.

This will help the color to better penetrate your strands and give you more even coverage.

How to prepare your hair before coloring it.

Here’s a great video that shows you how to prepare your hair to be dyed at home.

Should i wash my hair before bleaching it?

The answer is maybe! It really depends on your hair type and the condition of your scalp.

If your hair is very dirty or oily, you should definitely wash it before bleaching.

This will help to prevent the bleach from banding or being patchy and give it an even coverage.

However, if your hair is only lightly soiled, you may be able to get away with skipping a shampoo.

Bleaching your hair can be a harsh process, so it’s important to make sure that your hair is in good condition before you begin.

If you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and give your hair a good wash. You’ll be glad you did when you see how much brighter your bleach will look!

Can I dye wet hair?

Yes, you can dye wet hair – but we don’t recommend it!

Dyeing wet hair can cause the color to be uneven and patchy.

The water forms a barrier on the hair shaft and stops the dye from being absorbed properly. It can also damage your hair and make it more susceptible to breakage.

If you do choose to dye wet hair, be sure to use a very gentle shampoo and conditioner afterwards.

You should also avoid using any heat styling tools for at least 24 hours. This will give your hair time to recover from the stress of the dyeing process.

Should I wash my hair after coloring it?

When it comes to newly colored hair, the experts are divided.

Some stylists recommend waiting a few days before shampooing, to give the color time to set.

Others say that washing immediately after coloring helps to seal in the pigment and prevents the color from staining or fading too quickly.

So which is it?

The answer may depend on the type of color you’re using.

If you’ve applied a semi-permanent or temporary color, there’s no need to wash your hair immediately afterwards. In fact, washing your hair too soon can cause the color to fade more quickly.

But if you’ve used a permanent color, it’s best to wait at least 24 hours before shampooing. This will give the color time to fully penetrate the hair shaft and achieve optimal results.

So there you have it: the jury is still out on this one. And some salons will wash your hair after coloring and some won’t.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your hair type and coloring needs.

How long should I wait to wash my hair after dying it?

It’s best to wait at least 24 hours before washing your hair after dying it.

This will give the color time to set and prevent it from washing out too quickly.

If you can’t wait that long, try to avoid using any harsh shampoos or conditioners. Stick to gentle products that won’t strip away the color.

And be sure to use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner to help prolong the life of your hair color.

Parting words.

Dying your hair can be a fun and easy way to change up your look.

But before you reach for the dye, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Washing your hair before you dye it will help to ensure that the color is evenly distributed and prevents any unwanted staining.

And be sure to use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner to help prolong the life of your hair color.

Thanks for reading! We hope this article was helpful.


  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
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    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!

  • Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant
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    I’m Enza Piazza, your go-to hair stylist and color consultant with over 23 years of professional salon experience bringing vibrancy and life to hair of all hues. My Italian roots from sunny Sicily infuse passion into every snip and color, a passion that’s been recognized with top honor awards including bridal and party hair at the National Hairdressers Federation’s Championships. After training in Surrey, UK’s most prestigious salons including Head Master Academy, I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and set up Enza Hair Styling, offering tailored hair care for 13 years, and treating each client like family. Away from the salon, I cherish moments as a proud Nonna to grandson Joseph and as a playful companion to my Jack Russell, Bo.