? Help & Support

Should I Wash My Hair Before Coloring?

If you’re planning on coloring your hair at home, then of course you want to make sure you do everything you can to achieve the best results. So, you’ve bought all the right hair-coloring accessories and you’ve even picked up some color-care shampoo and conditioner. However, you’re stuck on one question: should I wash my hair before coloring? The answer might actually surprise you.

Should I Wash My Hair Before Coloring?

With Most Types of Color

With most types of hair color, including permanent hair color, it’s actually in your best interest to skip the wash before coloring. You might think that applying color to clean hair will help ensure the best color penetration, but this is far from the truth. In reality, clean hair can be too “slippery” and will prevent the color from properly absorbing into the hair’s cuticle. Instead, it’s better to color your hair while it’s “dirty” but not full of build-up from products.


Generally, it’s best to wash your hair the day before you plan on coloring it. However, refrain from using a lot of styling products and just let your hair do its natural thing. From there, your hair should be in the perfect condition to accept color the following day.


It’s also worth noting that there are benefits to skipping the wash immediately before coloring your hair. For example, your scalp is generally more sensitive after you’ve washed your hair. Therefore, if you color right after washing, your scalp may be more prone to irritation. When you color hair that hasn’t been freshly washed, you have natural oils that act as a sort of protective layer between your scalp and the coloring chemicals.


Should I Wash My Hair Before Coloring?

With Semi Color

There is one exception to the rule of not washing your hair for 24 hours before coloring, and that’s if you’re planning on using semi-permanent color. You see, semi-permanent color works differently than other types of hair color. Specifically, semi-permanent hair color works by coating the outside shaft of the hair as opposed to actually penetrating the shaft and being absorbed into the hair cuticle. Therefore, if you’re going to be coloring with a semi-permanent color, then it’s best if you do wash your hair before coloring. You want the shaft of the hair to be as clean as possible, which will make it easier for the color to coat it.

Should I Wash My Hair Before Coloring?

Tips for Better Color

Regardless of the type of hair color you plan on using, there are some other things you can do before you apply your color to achieve better results. For example, consider using a pre-color treatment, which will help to even out the porosity of your hair and make it more prone to accepting color properly. Furthermore, investing in the right coloring tools, such as a mixing bowl, application brush, and gloves can also help you to achieve the best possible results. You can typically find the tools and accessories you need in a convenient kit.
Finally, by taking the time to apply a small amount of lotion or ion Color Brilliance Barrier Creme around your hairline before coloring, you can prevent color from staining your skin.

As you can see, washing your hair before coloring it typically isn’t the best idea unless you’re using a semi-permanent color. By waiting to color at least 24 hours after your last shampoo, you’ll yield better results and avoid irritating your scalp.

Pro tip

sign up and never miss a post