Can I rinse my hair after getting highlights? Should I use cold or hot water?

woman rinsing her hair after getting highlights

  • Once the bleach mixture’s exposure time for your highlights is up, you should rinse your hair using shampoo and cold water. That way, the cold water will stop the process and the shampoo will remove any remaining bleach mixture.
  • You must use gloves to rinse your hair after getting highlights to avoid irritating your skin.
  • If you had your highlights done at the salon and your hair still feels heavy, you can rinse your hair using just water. The colorist will already have used shampoo to remove all traces of the bleach mixture.


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 Do you have bleach mixture in your hair to do your highlights and are unsure what to do? 

Thank the Universe for the existence of Google. And thank goodness for the fact that some of us colorists spend time writing professional content for just these circumstances.

Because thanks to that, you’ll be able to avoid ruining your hair when you get your highlights done.


So, first of all, I’ll tell you that  you should always rinse your hair after getting highlights. And you must rinse it properly. 

And that’s what I’ll talk about next.


To rinse your hair after getting highlights, use cold water and shampoo

hair rinsing after highlights in hairdressing salon

At least, that’s how we professionals at the salon do it.

 Once you apply the bleach mixture to your highlights, you should wait 40 minutes to rinse your hair. 

And for the rinse, you will need three things:


  •  Gloves , to protect the skin on your hands.
  •  Cold water , to relieve the heat on your scalp and completely stop the bleaching process.
  •  Shampoo .


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Rinsing your hair after doing highlights

  • After the exposure time of the bleach mixture has elapsed,  put on your gloves, and put your hair under the tap. 
  • Turn on the cold water and let it run through your hair for five minutes. Massage your hair gently to begin removing the bleach mixture.
  •  Put shampoo on your lengths and ends and massage gently from the bottom to the top, all the way to your scalp.  Massage gently throughout your hair and scalp for five minutes.
  • Rinse with plenty of cold water to remove any remaining shampoo and bleach mixture.
  •  Don’t use conditioner if you’re going to apply a dye or toner to your hair next.  Otherwise, use conditioner, leave it on for five minutes to moisturize your bleached hair, and then rinse it out with cold water.


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ: Highlights with toner vs. no toner: 4 differences to help you decide


If you’ve had your highlights done at the salon and your hair still feels heavy, you can rinse out your hair with just water

 You can’t use shampoo, conditioner, or any other hair products.  After all, they’ve already washed your hair at the salon, removing all traces of the bleach mixture.

And on the other hand, they probably applied toner, which needs to settle in your highlights so those harsh colors don’t appear.

Therefore, if your hair feels heavy, rinse it out using cold water. That way, you’ll prevent the hair cuticles from opening and expelling the color.

Then, remove the excess water with a towel and let your hair dry naturally.



After leaving the bleach mixture on your hair to do your highlights, you should rinse it out using shampoo and cold water to slow down the chemical reaction and remove the remaining bleach.

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