Should I wash my hair before dying it semi-permanent?

toning brassy hair at home

  • You need to wash your hair 24 hours before dying it semi-permanent if you applied a leave-in conditioner, styling creams, serum, or moisturizing oils.
  • You should also wash your hair before dying it semi-permanent if it’s been more than 48 hours since the last wash.
  • Otherwise, if you apply the semi-permanent hair dye on very dirty hair or with traces of hair products, the color will be uneven. It may even make it difficult to apply the color.


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Are you surprised?

I can imagine. However, rest assured, I haven’t gone crazy yet.

 I know hairdressers frequently recommend not washing hair before coloring. But that recommendation applies when talking about permanent hair dyes. 


In this case, your question has to do with washing the hair before dying it semi-permanent.

It’s the same question Susana had. She’s one of my clients who decided to apply a semi-permanent hair dye after bleaching her hair.

Of course, she did it all on her own. Then, when things didn’t turn out the way she expected, who do you think she asked for help?


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Of course, she didn’t request the services of Superman. Instead, she called me desperate for help.

What had happened?


First, she bleached her hair on her own.

Fortunately, she didn’t burn her hair. Two days after bleaching her hair, she decided she would dye it semi-permanent with a shade of pale pink.

She remembered that she had read somewhere about the benefits of not washing the hair before coloring it.

So, she didn’t wash her hair and applied the semi-permanent hair dye.


But what Susan didn’t consider was that she had used a styling cream on her hair during those two days.

So, after rinsing out the hair dye, she was shocked to find that the pastel pink color she had been so excited about had become uneven.

Some strands were pink.

Others were yellowish.

Moreover, others were a mixture of yellow and pink that the chromatic scale doesn’t even register.


Then, she remembered her favorite hairdresser. Of course, she wouldn’t let her get desperate and solved the problem by using a clarifying shampoo to remove all traces of the hair dye.

Did you get the picture?


 Whether you wash your hair before coloring it will depend on the hair dye you use. Also, what hair products you previously used. 

So, let’s clear all the doubts.

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Why wash your hair before dying it semi-permanent?

Before continuing with the explanation, I invite you to use your common sense.


  •  If you washed your hair yesterday, and didn’t use any styling products, you don’t need to wash your hair before applying the semi-permanent hair dye.  In that case, your hair is clean with no product residue.

Also, you shouldn’t wash it beforehand if you want to use a permanent hair dye. In this case, I’d even recommend not washing it for at least 48 hours beforehand.

The permanent hair dye is applied with a 20-volume developer cream and contains ammonia.


This causes a chemical reaction that opens the cuticles so that the pigments can penetrate into the hair core and change the color.

Stylists recommend not washing the hair before applying a permanent hair dye. The natural oil generated by the scalp protects the roots from chemical aggression.


  • However, if you’re going to use a semi-permanent hair dye, things change.  If your hair is dirty or has traces of cosmetic hair products, the semi-permanent hair dye won’t adhere to the hair. 

Instead, it’ll slide off just as you would if you walked on an oil stain.


What hair products leave oil residue that can cause semi-permanent hair dye to slide off?

accumulates product build up

Almost all of them.

  • If you used a leave-in conditioner to moisturize your hair, and you apply semi-permanent hair dye, it’ll slide off and the color will be uneven.
  • If you used an anti-frizz serum because your hair is too thick, your hair will be stiff and heavy. That may make it hard to apply the semi-permanent hair dye. Then, you run the risk of getting uneven results too.
  • The same would happen if you decided to moisturize your hair with coconut, rose, almond, or any other similar oil. The hair dye will slide off your hair like an athlete at an ice skating championship.


  If it’s been 48 hours or more since your last wash, you should wash your hair. Don’t forget that your hair accumulates dust and environmental dirt. 

If you also want to apply a semi-permanent hair dye to your newly bleached hair, please don’t forget to wash and rinse it thoroughly.

Bleach powder is very persistent. At the salon, I rinse my clients’ hair two or three times before dyeing their hair semi-permanent to confirm no traces of bleach remain.


How to wash your hair before dying it semi-permanent

ph balanced shampoo before keratin

To wash your hair before applying the semi-permanent hair dye, you don’t need to use any specific product.


But  You shouldn’t use conditioner to avoid the risk of leaving product residue in your hair. 

Today, I’ll reveal a technique I use in the salon to wash my clients’ hair before dying them semi-permanent.

This technique allows you to remove any residue.


Step 1: wet the hair

Sure, right? If you don’t wet your hair, how are you going to wash it?


However, you should wet it with plenty of warm water and let the water run through your mane for three minutes. That way, any product or dirt deposited will begin to fade.

The warm water will also open the hair cuticles to allow the shampoo to penetrate.


Step 2: Apply shampoo

remove hair dye

Apply your usual shampoo to your hair.

 Massage with your fingertips all over your scalp to remove any particles. The massage should be deep but not rough. 

Rinse with plenty of warm water and repeat the shampoo.

This time, focus on the lengths of your hair and gently rub from roots to ends. Finally, rinse your hair with plenty of warm water.


Step 3: Blow dry

Don’t rub your hair with a towel when drying it. Remember that wet hair is fragile and prone to breakage. Instead, gently lay the towel on it as if you were tapping it gently.

If possible, let it air dry. Then, you can begin applying the semi-permanent hair dye.



If you want to dye your hair semi-permanent, you should wash it if it’s been more than 24 hours since the last wash. Also, if you used oily products or serums.

This will prevent the color from becoming uneven.

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