Clean or Dirty: Should you wash your hair before coloring it?

aplicar tintura pelo limpio o sucio


My friend Daniela and I decided to dye our hair the same day.

She washed her hair first.

I didn’t.



When we finished our experiment, we could see the results were definitely noticeable.


Do you want to know what the results were?


It’s definitely NOT in your best interest to wash your hair before you color it.

Do you want to know why?


Further on, I’ll tell you how we prepared ourselves in each case, Daniel’s case where she washed her hair before coloring it, and in mine where I didn’t.


After reading both descriptions, you can decide how to prepare your hair before applying the dye.


Option 1: Wash your hair before applying the dye

before coloring

Dani, as we call her in our friends’ circle, is a sensual brunette with shoulder-length hair. Every twenty days more or less, she retouches her roots to keep the rest of her hair color looking meticulous.



She arrived singing as she usually does when she comes to visit me. After sharing a coffee together, we went forth with our challenge of the day: washing our hair before coloring it and testing the results.

I want to clarify that we both used the same color dye to dye our hair.

Once her hair was dry, she slowly started the dyeing process.


She left the color in for twenty minutes at her roots and then spread the rest of the product out through the rest of her hair.

When her hair dried, do you want to know what she looked like?


I’ll tell you, but first, let me tell you how I prepared myself.


Option 2: Don’t wash your hair before dyeing it

before applying dye

Mine was much simpler. Over my dirty hair… wait.

I want to make an exception.

When I refer to dirty hair, I don’t mean to say hair that hasn’t been washed for more than ten days, that hair that you can tell from two kilometers away that it hasn’t seen shampoo nor conditioner for at least ten days.


In my case, I went a little more than twenty-four hours without washing my hair, that’s to say one day.


Then, over my hair that hadn’t been washed for one day, I applied with a lot of patience, as usual, the dye to my roots.

I waited twenty minutes and I spread the rest of the dye out throughout my hair, waited ten minutes, then rinsed it out.


And now, we enter into comparison territory, between how my friend’s, who washed her hair first, dye job ended up and mine, that I didn’t wash.


Clean or dirty: What’s the best way to dye your hair?

washing changes porosity

When my hair dried, the color looked fantastic.

When Dany’s hair dried, it looked great.

Mine was really shiny.

Dany’s was shiny.



I didn’t feel any kind of discomfort on my scalp.

Dany felt itchy, not the kind you want to scratch with two hands, but light, annoying burn.


And the most noteworthy, after twenty days we compared how the color looked, and mine still looked great. On the other hand, you could start to see Dany’s roots growing in.





 It is best to not wash your hair before dyeing it.  

And now, I’ll explain why.


Why should you avoid washing your hair before dyeing it?

Although you think that if your hair is clean, the dye would be able to more effectively penetrate the hair fibers, the truth is quite the opposite.


In reality washing changes the porosity of each one of your hairs, which makes the pigment of the dye slip off the hair so it can’t penetrate down to the cuticle.


That’s why my hair color looked fantastic, and Dany’s looked good. In her case, her hairs hadn’t absorbed 100% of the dye.


Also, if you don’t wash your hair for twenty-four hours, the sebaceous glands produce sebum, which is a natural protector for you scalp and hair fibers. That’s why Dany’s scalp was itchy. The ammonia had irritated her clean scalp.


Finally, my dye lasted longer because the pigments were able to adhere better to each one of the hair fibers.

Now you know for the next time that you decide to color your hair.



 If you want the color to last longer, you can’t put up with any discomfort or any type of allergic reaction and also, that your color looks as amazing as a Barbie Doll, don’t wash your hair before applying the dye. 

How to make your hair color look stupendous for longer?

for colored hair

Check shampoo for colored hair on Amazon


We’ve heard a lot of talk about the miracle benefits of coconut oil to nourish your hair in an organic way.

I recommend that five days before dyeing your hair, you apply coconut oil to your hair all night long and rinse it out the next morning with a lot of cold water.


Yes, you read that right, cold water, so that you can seal your cuticles.


Another piece of information that is super important for you to keep in mind is never wash your hair within seventy-two hours after applying the dye. That’s because the cuticle completely closes after that span of time which allows the hair fibers to better capture the color molecules of the dye.


I’m sorry that I must insist, but avoid hot water in your hair, because the high temperature of the water will only lift up the external layer of the cuticle of your hairs which makes the color fade faster.



Choose special shampoos designed for dyed hair. Generally you can find sulfate-free shampoos that are much less aggressive on your hair.


And my last piece of advice that I give to each one of my lovely friends is don’t rub your hair when you dry it with a towel. Simply wipe it dry with the towel and avoid hair dryers.

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