“My stylist said not to wash my hair before color”

7 Apr

My opinion on this is, it depends.

Surfactants, the cleansing agents in shampoo, will remove the dirt and oil from your hair, including your scalp. These natural oils act as a barrier protecting the hair and scalp from the color, which could irritate the scalp depending on how sensitive you are.

Generally the rule is, wash your hair 24 to 48 hours prior to a color service. But again, this depends.

If you have really oily hair that’s obviously oily after 48 hours, please stick to the 24-hour rule. I have a high tolerance for oil, but it’s hard to do an accurate highlight when there’s so much oil separation.

A very lovely client of mine notifies me ahead time if she hasn’t washed her hair and offers to pay me more for the inconvenience. This is only when it’s been like 4 days. Bless her heart.

Also, check with your stylist, because when to wash could depend of what kind of color is used. If your stylist uses an all-over demi-permanent color, this is best done on clean hair. Clean could be, washed that morning but no scalp-scrubbing. This color is less invasive and usually has no ammonia or other irritating chemicals.

The safe bet all around is to wash 24 before color.

Be kind to your stylist, acknowledge your oils!


13 Responses to ““My stylist said not to wash my hair before color””

  1. Ellen April 7, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    I always wondered about this. Thanks for clarifying.

  2. heidi April 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Yup, I’ve always wondered about this and I’ve heard conflicting reports. Thanks Jenn.

  3. Maridel Bowes April 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    I’d actually never thought about this question, but always good to have more information. Truth is, I usually show up to get cut and color with hair ready to wash as I assume that’s part of the gig. Keep up the good work. Love the blog name.

    • seejencut April 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

      Thanks Maridel for your comment. And it is part of the gig to have your stylist wash your hair, in fact it can be the best part of the service =). Though if the hair is too dirty it may need to be washed prior to coloring and then washed again after coloring. This would be a lot natural oil stripping in one day.

  4. Donna McCord April 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    I heard not to wash my hair before coloring, too. You will have to tell me, Jen, what is best for me, but I think I will just continue to try not to wash 24 hours before my appointment.

    • seejencut April 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

      I’m sorry for any confusion Donna, wash 24 hours in advance. =)

  5. Julie Labes April 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    i never wash before either coloring or highlighting. Never have and it always works out Ok But as i have never washed it before I don’t know if it would have turned out ok then either?

  6. Rita Brennan Freay April 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

    Hmmm…I was told not to wash it…or it didn’t matter….so I just get it washed there. Never thought about it…sorry! So, I will wash 24 hours before now…and see if I notice a differece! Thanks for the information:)

    I need to ask you….what do I tell a hairdresser who cuts my hair too short even though we specifically agreed on a length (long) and I said NO to the shoulder length suggested….BUT ended up with above shoulder and unhappy afterall??? Help!


    Rita Brennan Freay

    • seejencut April 8, 2011 at 4:29 am #

      Honestly, I think it’s time to get a new stylist. You pay the stylist for the service. You may be offered suggestions, but in the end, you have the final say. It’s your hair and you have to live with it.

  7. Chigiy April 8, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    O.K., this is me asking you how long ahead of time I should wash my hair before you color it. Well?

    • seejencut April 8, 2011 at 3:30 am #

      24 hours =) Your hair is always perfectly dirty.

  8. Heidi BK Sloss April 8, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    Thanks for clarifying! Good to be reminding us all though when we make our appointments with you.

  9. jessica terrill April 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Thanks for clarifying! I’ve had hairdressers say different things but not give an in-depth answer like that!

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