Should you wash your hair before bleaching it? Is it better to bleach clean or dirty hair?

dye right after bleaching

  • You shouldn’t wash your hair before bleaching whether you do it at the salon or at home.
  • Ideally, you shouldn’t wash your hair for at least 48 hours before bleaching it. For example, if you have an appointment at the salon on Saturday, you should wash your hair for the last time on Thursday.
  • Those 48 hours will give your scalp time to produce natural oils (sebum) to protect both your hair and the skin on your head during the bleaching process.
  • You can do other things to prepare your hair to suffer as little as possible during the process. Today, I’ll reveal all the secrets for bleaching your hair both at home or at the salon.


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I’m still laughing. Do you know why?

Because of my client’s reaction when I told her that she should have her hair dirty when she comes to the salon to bleach it.

I laugh because her face was as scary as those zombies or monsters in horror movies. Once she got over her shock, she asked the crucial question, “for how long shouldn’t I wash my hair before bleaching it?”


 My answer was clear: “you should allow at least two days between washing your hair and bleaching it.” 


I think if my client hadn’t been sitting down, she would’ve fallen out of fright.

She started to explain why she washed her hair every day and that she wouldn’t let me work on her dirty hair.


I’m used to dealing with “difficult clients.” They always want to be right even if they don’t know anything about colorimetry.

I have only one weapon to fight difficult clients: determination.


My answer remained the same:  “if you want to bleach your hair in my salon, you mustn’t wash it at least forty-eight hours before.” 

Finally, my client reluctantly agreed.


You should also agree if you don’t want to burn your hair during bleaching.

That’s my advice after twenty years of experience as a colorist.

Bleaching is an aggressive process for the hair.  If you wash your hair just before bleaching, you’ll remove the natural moisture provided by the oil on your scalp. 


This oil is essential because it protects the hair from the chemicals used during bleaching.

Also, professionals are used to working on “dirty hair” that is unwashed for two days before bleaching.

So, repeat after me.

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You shouldn’t wash your hair for at least 48 hours before bleaching it

two days between washing and bleaching

And it doesn’t matter if you bleach your hair at the salon or at home because the answer is the same.

If you don’t wash your hair for two days before bleaching, you’ll protect it. Do you know why?

  • The roots are the newest hair and they bleach easily
  • The scalp is sensitive and can be irritated.


Apart from not washing your hair before bleaching, you can also do other things to protect your hair.

It’s time to let you in on some professional secrets. Are you ready?


6 professional tips to prepare your hair before bleaching to avoid damaging your hair

split ends and frizz

Your hair must be healthy before you bleach it

If your hair is straw-like, has split ends, and tangles after washing, you don’t want to bleach it. However, don’t throw in the towel.

What you really need to do is start a process of restoring your hair’s health that’ll take at least four weeks.

You can apply moisturizing masks like L’Oreal Total Repair up to three times a week before going to the salon or bleaching your hair at home.


Moisturize hair before bleaching with a foolproof homemade mask

homemade mask before bleaching

I’m sure you have an egg and a few drops of olive oil in your kitchen. If you do, then you own a little treasure.

Because with just these two ingredients, egg and olive oil, you can make some of the most powerful homemade moisturizing hair masks in hair beauty.

  • For my clients who have normal hair, I recommend using the whole egg. However, if you have dry hair, use only the yolk. If you have oily hair, use only the white.
  • According to your hair type, select the part of the egg you’ll use, beat it, and add five or six drops of olive oil.
  • Then, massage the mask all over your hair and leave it on for twenty minutes.
  • Rinse with cold or lukewarm water and wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.

Use this mask up to twice a week.


Avoid heat tools for at least three days before bleaching your hair

do not use heat tools before bleaching

Before bleaching, you need to protect your hair cuticles. The best way to do this is not to use flat irons, curling irons, or blowdryers.

Most women are addicted to perfectly straight hair, but heat tools take moisture away from the hair. Besides, it’ll only be three days, and I can assure you that the world will keep on rolling.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to resist the temptation to flat iron your hair for that long, lock up the flat iron and give the key to your best friend until you can use it again.


Choose the right hydrogen peroxide

to lighten hair

In case you don’t know, there are four volumes of peroxide, which is responsible for sweeping away your hair color.

  • The 10-volume peroxide doesn’t work on darker hair. So, it’s ideal for lightening color-treated hair or for lifting one or two levels.
  • The 20-volume peroxide is ideal for light brown hair that you want to lift two or three levels.
  • The 30-volume peroxide helps bleach hair up to four levels but is very aggressive.


There’s also 40-volume peroxide, but delete it from your shopping list!

It’s seriously harmful, and even professionals use it with extreme caution. Apart from removing the natural pigmentation, it also sweeps away the nutrients and vitamins generated inside the hair follicles.


The night before bleaching, apply coconut oil to your hair

protect hair before bleaching

I love coconut oil. I use it for almost everything, from moisturizing the skin on my body to as a hair mask. Have you ever used it?


Well, if you’ve never used it, you should know that coconut oil has a solid consistency.

Therefore, you should heat it slightly. When it’s liquid, apply it on your hair massaging gently both your scalp and your lengths and ends. Always start from the roots to the ends.

  • Once the coconut oil is well distributed, place a shower cap on your head to hold all your hair.
  • Now you can simply go to sleep. The coconut oil will work its magic overnight.


The following morning, don’t even think about rinsing. It doesn’t matter if you feel like the stickiest person in the world or if you hallucinate that a swarm of bees will attack you at some point.

At this very moment, your hair is already prepared to receive the bleach and suffer the least possible during the process.

Also, a good option is to apply it four hours before bleaching on lengths and ends and don’t rinse.


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Apply coconut oil in the bleach

When preparing the bleach, add 10 to 15 drops of coconut oil for a smoother, creamier consistency that will diminish the damage to your hair.



Never wash your hair just before bleaching. Ideally, you should allow at least 48 hours between the last wash and the bleaching process.

And this applies whether you plan to bleach your hair in a professional salon or on your own.

Those two days without washing your hair before bleaching can make the difference between successful bleaching and one that leaves your hair brittle and weakened.

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