Can I wash my hair with just water after coloring it?

woman doubt after covering her hair with shower cap after dyeing

  • Yes, you can wash your hair with just water after dyeing it.
  • Because once the exposure time of the dye has elapsed, it’s time to rinse the dye out of your hair. That is, you will need to remove any traces of the dye your hair hasn’t absorbed.
  • And to remove those traces of dye, you must WASH YOUR HAIR WITH JUST WATER. It’s important you don’t use shampoo or conditioner. I’ll tell you why later on.


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Let me congratulate you.

Because if you’re wondering  if you can wash your hair with just water after coloring it , your female intuition is working just fine.

What’s more, I’d tell you there’s a professional stylist hidden inside you.

Because in reality, what we hairdressers do in the salon after coloring our clients’ hair is to wash the hair with just water.

Because the purpose of that first wash after coloring the hair is to remove the excess dye from both the hair and the scalp.

Do you still have the dye in your hair? Are you about to start the coloring process and don’t know how to rinse the dye out?

Stay tuned, because I’ll answer all these questions today.


Why you should wash your hair with just water after coloring it

woman washes her hair in the shower only with water

When you finish applying the dye and wait for the exposure time indicated by the manufacturer, something revolutionary takes place in your hair.

The hair cuticles, which are the outermost layer of the hair, open up so the color can penetrate to the core. But this process isn’t finished in ten minutes, nor is it instantaneous.


Your hair needs a significant amount of time to absorb the dye. Generally, it will be around 45 minutes. That’s what’s known as the exposure time of the dye.

And it’s essential you respect the exposure time of the dye if you want the color to last.


Once the exposure time has elapsed, you will obviously need to rinse the dye out. But after rinsing the dye out, the hair cuticles will still be open and the core of the hair will still be absorbing the color.

And that’s when another process begins, color settling.


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Now, imagine you color your hair. And just when you rinse out the dye, you use shampoo.

What do you think would happen?

  • Do you think the cuticles will close immediately?
  • Do you think the shampoo will penetrate the hair fiber and fade the color?
  • Do you think your new color will be brighter?

I don’t know what you answered, but the only correct answer is the second one.  If you wash your hair with shampoo after coloring, the color will fade. 


Because most hair products contain sulfates that wear out or fade dye pigments.

But in this case, the dye won’t even have settled inside the hair. Because for the dye to settle inside the hair, it needs at least 72 hours.


Therefore,  if you wash your hair with shampoo after coloring it, a large part of the dye will go down the drain with the shampoo . And your color will be completely washed out.


So  what you should do after coloring your hair is wash it with just water.  And, if you want, you can apply the post-color treatment included in the kit. Personally, I recommend you use it.

The post-color treatment is a conditioner, which moisturizes and nourishes your hair after the coloring process. It also controls frizz and leaves your hair scented.

Now, there is a professional way to wash your hair after coloring. And I’ll tell you the details below.


How to wash freshly colored hair the right way

stain wash only with water in the salon

I know what you’re thinking. How can there be a science to washing freshly colored hair? Is there a science behind washing?


I’ll tell you what I tell my kids when they ask me this kind of question.

“With age comes wisdom.”

What I mean is that there are good reasons your color lasts a long time when you dye your hair in a salon. Because the first rinse of the dye is done by a professional. They know how to do it, because they’re a professional and because they have years of experience.

In other words, they know because they’ve had plenty of practice!


So, you can either listen to me or ignore my advice. How long your color lasts will depend on your decision.

  • After the exposure time is over, place your hair under a direct stream of water.
  •  The water temperature should be cold , i.e. as low as you can stand. This is so the will cuticles close as much as possible, retaining the color.
  • Let the water run for three minutes.
  • Massage your hair to remove any traces of dye adhering to it, always under the water stream.
  • You’ll notice the water will start to run clearer and clearer.
  • Massage your scalp to remove any dye that has adhered. Continue massaging until the water runs completely clear.
  • Once the water runs completely clear, you can drain your hair and apply the post-color treatment.
  • Apply the treatment from the roots to the ends, massaging the scalp and all of your hair.
  • Leave it on for five minutes and rinse with cold water.
  • Gently towel off the excess water.


If you don’t want to use the post-color treatment, wring out your hair, wrap it in a towel and let it dry.



It’s essential you wash your hair with just only after coloring so the color lasts longer.

And in subsequent washes, always use sulfate-free products or products specifically designed for color-treated hair.

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