Should I condition my hair before coloring? What products should I use to protect my hair from the dye?

peroxide choice

 SPOILER: If you don’t want to end up with multicolored hair, then don’t use traditional conditioner before dyeing your hair. What product should you use instead, then? When should you use it? I’ll tell you here.  


When people ask me this kind of question, I am left speechless.

“Karina, should I use conditioner before I dye my hair?”


The answer is an absolute OF COURSE.

You should always use conditioner before you dye your hair.



Because the dyeing process still uses strong chemical products.

Products that aim to change your hair’s internal structure so the color molecules can penetrate it.

And we all know that when I say chemical products, I mean hair-damaging products.

That’s the cold, hard truth.


Now, there are ways to minimize these damages to your hair by the chemical products in dyes.

 And one of the ways to make your hair suffer less is conditioning it before you dye it.  


What will truly make a difference is how and when you use the conditioner before you dye your hair.

That’s why I’m going to tell you about:

  • When is the best time to condition your hair before you dye it
  • What conditioner you should use before you dye your hair
  • Other measures you can take before you apply the dye to your hair


Of course, all of these measures are for people who decide to dye their hair at home.

Your stylist will always add other professional-grade products to minimize the damage that the dye does in salons.

And you’ll have to pay for them.


If you are someone that dyes their hair at home, I imagine it probably has something to do with wanting to avoid spending a fortune on a color change.

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use other tools to minimize the damage to your hair.

That’s why by the end of this, you’ll know how to condition your hair before you dye it to avoid as much damage as possible.


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When is the best time to condition your hair before dyeing it?

clarifying shampoo to eliminate residues

Now that I’m on the topic, I just remembered Lucy, a girl that came into my salon desperate and afraid. She was acting like the devil had possessed her, and she wanted to get him out.


She’d dyed her hair at home the day before, and the result was very uneven.

She must have wanted to dye her hair chocolate color, and she ended up with every color of chocolate out there.

That’s what her hair looked like.


That would have been fine if she wanted chocolate highlights in her hair, but she wanted an even chocolate.

What happened?

  • Was the dye expired?
  • Did she not mix the ingredients correctly?
  • Did she mess up the exposure time?


Nope, none of those things happened.

The dye wasn’t expired, she mixed the ingredients right, and she got the exposure time right, too.


 The mistake was putting conditioner in her hair right before putting the dye in.  

When I asked her why she did that, she told me that she just wanted to protect her hair so it wouldn’t dry afterward.

Yikes! There’s the problem!

The conditioner made it so the dye couldn’t properly penetrate her hair.

 You can’t and shouldn’t use your normal conditioner before dyeing your hair.  

Because that would make it so the dye mix can’t work right.


If you didn’t know, the dye has to get over a few barriers to change your hair color.

First, it has to get through your hair’s natural protection, which is its cuticle.


Ammonia, which is in the dye, lifts your hair cuticle so the dye molecules can penetrate it, which elevates your hair’s PH, making the cuticle relax.

When the cuticle is open, the peroxide eliminates your hair’s natural color, leaving the new pigment in place instead.


Hair dye contains a series of chemical substances that start as small molecules, called monomers, which are small enough to penetrate your hair fibers.

Then, those molecules join together to form bigger molecules, called polymers, responsible for making sure the color definitively stays.


When Lucy used her normal shampoo right before applying the dye, she accomplished the only thing to interrupt the process of opening the cuticles to the new color.

Then, the dye didn’t deposit evenly over her head.

You must be asking then, “When should I condition my hair before dyeing it?”


 You should do a deep conditioning five days before dyeing your hair.  

That is key to restoring moisture to your hair and balancing its PH.

In doing this, you’ll also be sure that your ends are hydrated and that your hair uniformly absorbs the dye.

Since dyes usually dry out your hair, deep conditioning five days before dyeing could make the difference between a faded-looking color and a bright one.


 Now, if after doing the deep conditioning five days before, you think your hair still seems weak and looks unhealthy, then I have another idea for you.  

You can use the quintessential natural conditioner one hour before you dye your hair, which will protect it from the dye’s aggression.

It’s not just any conditioner.

Do you want to know which you can use?


Keep reading because I also have a few other ideas on how to prepare your hair for dye.


What conditioning product should you use on your hair the night before you dye it?

extra virgin

The answer is simple: coconut oil.

In my opinion, it’s a classic natural hair care product.

  • It’s 100% organic
  • It will make your hair look less limp and dry after you dye it
  • It will hydrate your ends
  • And most importantly: IT DOESN’T INTERRUPT THE DYE PROCESS

That means that it will allow the peroxide and ammonia to do their jobs. Hence, the new color pigment can finally deposit in your hair while minimizing the damage done by the chemicals to your hair.


How to apply coconut oil before dyeing your hair

  • Apply coconut oil to dry hair one hour before dyeing it.

You should remember that coconut oil has a solid consistency.

So, you should heat it beforehand in a water bath or the microwave, however you prefer.

Don’t go overboard with the coconut oil because you also don’t want your hair to ooze oil.


  • Once you’ve evenly distributed it, you should wait an hour. If you want to wait for two, that’s even better, but the minimum would be one hour.


  • Once that time has gone by, apply the dye just like you always do.

And let it sit for the necessary amount of time.

I know what you’re thinking.

How do I get this greasy mess out of my hair?


Because like we also know, you shouldn’t wash your hair with shampoo after dyeing it.

I have a solution for you.


Use a gentle shampoo, the gentlest one you can find with no parabens or sulfates, and just use a little bit.

That will completely get rid of the coconut oil without affecting the dye.

But you should just use a little, tiny bit.


Then you should wait two days to rewash your hair with the same gentle shampoo.

You’ll notice a terrible difference between when you’ve dyed your hair without conditioning it with coconut oil beforehand and when you use this strong, natural conditioner.

But I still have more advice for you.


Other tips to keep in mind before coloring your hair

  • Use clarifying shampoo one week beforehand.

Clarifying shampoos aren’t for everyday usage.

You can use them every two weeks to eliminate residue accumulation from other hair products that you use on your hair.


Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo one week before applying the color.

That will help restore the natural PH of your hair, rejuvenate it, and refresh it, leaving it more permeable for the dye.


  • Protein treatment

If you think your hair is very damaged, you could do a protein treatment two weeks before applying the color.

Protein treatments are usually pretty expensive in the salon; that’s why I’m bringing you a natural protein treatment that you’ll only need two things for:

  • One small container of Greek yogurt
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or whichever you have, as long as it’s olive oil)


The lactic acid in the yogurt will do a natural, deep clean of your scalp while it nurtures it at the same time.

Mix the two ingredients until smooth, then distribute it evenly through your hair.

It might help to use a dye brush.


Once you’ve applied this mixture to all of your hair, massage it over your head for three minutes.

When you’ve finished, put on a plastic bath cap and let the protein treatment sit for half an hour.

Afterward, all you need to do is wash and condition your hair just like you always do.


  • Don’t wash your hair the day before you dye it.

And that’s not because I especially like dirty hair.

 Your scalp produces natural oils which naturally protect your hair from external agents, which in this case is dye.  

Don’t go overboard either and not wash your hair for five days. One day without shampoo and water will be enough.


Now you know how to condition your hair before dyeing it correctly and which products to use.

How do you condition your hair before you dye it?

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