Can I dye hair that hasn’t been washed in a week? Yes, but do this before you color it

  • Yes, you can dye hair that hasn’t been washed for a week. Before doing so, you should rinse it only with water to remove any residue build-up that your hair and scalp may have.
  • During that week that you haven’t washed your hair, it may have accumulated grease, residue from washing products, styling products, or even dust from the environment. If you dye it directly, without rinsing the remains of these products firstly, your color could be uneven


in her home shower

That’s one of the doubts of almost all women who dye their hair on their own.

Can I dye it even if I haven’t washed it for more than a week?


Yes, you can, but you must first rinse it with water only. Why?

I’ll tell you a story.


A few weeks ago, Josefina came to the salon. She was visiting me for the first time.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t visiting me because she wanted a change of look, a new haircut, or color.

Josefina’s hair was a real mess. What had happened?


 She had dyed her hair without washing it for a week. She had done just what you want to do right now. And the results were disastrous. 

The color was uneven. But that wasn’t the worst of it.


To top it off, she left the hair dye on for too long. So, her brown color was saturated in some areas, and it hadn’t fixed to the hair fiber in some others. Poor Josefina!

Imagine that all she needed to do  to avoid that disaster was to rinse her hair only with water before applying the hair dye.  Unfortunately, she didn’t know that.


People ignore many things about hair coloring and end up paying for it.

So, I’ll never tire of saying it:  if you have no coloring experience, color your hair at a salon. 


It’ll probably be more expensive, but the results will be worth it, and you won’t risk your hair health. Also, you won’t get a horrible color nor an uneven one.

Now, let’s go back to Josefina and the variables that affect the coloring process.

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Why is it so important to rinse your hair before coloring if you haven’t washed it in a week?

with warm water and without shampoo

Josefina applied the hair dye to her hair without having washed it for 7 days.

Can you imagine the dirt, dust, and grease her hair had accumulated in a week?

Do you think all that doesn’t affect the coloring process?


 Yes, definitely. All those things affect the penetration of the hair dye pigments into the hair fiber. 


Apart from that, sometime during those days, Josefina used heat protectant oil to flat iron her hair.

So, we have to add the remains of the heat protectant to the dirt and grease that hair naturally accumulates.

The result?


Instead of achieving a chocolate brown hair color, she got a slushy chocolate color.

I try to take it lightly, but I wanted to cry when I saw her hair. And Josefina, too, of course.


Josefina’s mistake wasn’t not washing her hair before coloring. In fact, that was right.

Hairdressers recommend not to wash your hair for 48 hours before dyeing it. The natural scalp oil protects the hair from irritations caused by the hair dye chemicals.


The problem was that Josefina had too much dirt accumulated in her hair.

 If she had only rinsed her hair with water before dyeing it, her color might have been fine. 


If you haven’t washed your hair in a week and plan to color it, rinse it thoroughly with water before. Don’t use shampoo or conditioner. Just use water.

It’ll guarantee that your hair is free of any hair product residue. It’ll also remove the excess dust and grease that you accumulated during those 7 days.


How to rinse your hair correctly before coloring it

hairdresser holding hair

If you haven’t washed your hair for a week and you’re planning to apply hair color, please don’t do it before rinsing your hair with water.


You have to follow my advice, especially if you used any type of hair product.

In Josefina’s case, it was a heat protectant,  but the advice applies whether you have used gels, moisturizing oils, masks, styling products, perfumes, or any other. 


Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to rinse your hair before applying hair color:

  • Comb and detangle your hair carefully.
  • Wet it and, WITHOUT APPLYING ANY HAIR PRODUCT, rub your scalp with your fingertips.
  • Massage for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, let the water run over your hair.
  • Remove excess water with a towel and let it dry naturally


With this rinse, you’ll remove any residue build-up and make sure the color is even and uniform when you color your hair.

What happened to Josefina?


The story has a happy ending.

Of course, the solution wasn’t very simple. I had to use a clarifying shampoo to remove the hair dye, rinse it out, and then reapply another hair dye.

The color turned out perfect, but Josefina ended up spending more money and exposing her hair to unnecessary damage and dehydration.



If you haven’t washed your hair for a week, and want to dye it, simply rinse it with water. Then, massage the scalp for a few minutes. Finally, apply the hair dye.

This way, you’ll eliminate both the dust and any residue of the hair products you used during those days. It’ll guarantee that your color turns even and shiny.

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