Should I wash my hair before getting a balayage? What shampoo should I use?

before coloring

I woke up today, feeling like a philosopher. And I really want to debunk a few myths.

Tell me the truth. Do you really think that by pulling out one white hair, seven more will grow in its place?

Or that one that says that if you break a mirror, you’ll have seven years of bad luck?

Of course not, right? It’s the same with certain hair-related myths.


That’s why, if you’re going to get a balayage, it’s absolutely the same whether or not you wash your hair before it. Well, almost the same. But, I’ll explain more ahead.


  • If a balayage is well-done, it can be done on clean hair or on dirty hair.
  • Although, if I’m being honest, I recommend to most of my clients that they get the balayage done on dirty hair.


Of course, when I say dirty, I don’t mean that you shouldn’t wash your hair for a week.

Because there’s an essential difference between getting your hair ready for a change, like getting a balayage, and being a pigpen.


Like everything in the universe, or at least how everything should be, the most important thing is to maintain a balance.

 I’ll tell you more about that in a bit. That’s why, if you’re about to get a balayage and you want to prepare your hair properly, keep reading. 


  • I’ll tell you about when it is a good idea to wash your hair before getting a balayage
  • And when to get a balayage on dirty hair


When you finish reading, you’ll know for sure whether or not you should wash your hair before getting a balayage.


Tabla de Contenidos


When it’s a good idea to wash your hair before getting a balayage

Alicia is a personal trainer, so from the moment she wakes up in the morning until the moment she goes to bed at night, she’s moving around.

She’s running all over the place to get to her clients’ houses, but Alicia isn’t like most gym teachers that just simply show their students how to do the exercises and then watch them.

Alicia does every class along with her students.

You’re probably asking yourself: what does this have to do with whether or not she should wash her hair before a balayage?


  It’s like this: Alicia sweats a lot, and when she sweats, it produces sweat on her scalp just like it does on the rest of her body. So, she has a very greasy scalp. I think there is also some genetic piece to this, which is worsened by constant physical activity. 

When she called me to tell me that she was going to come to the salon in three hours to get a balayage since she was going to a party tomorrow, I scheduled her an appointment.


But when she arrived, her hair was a disaster. She looked like she’d gone four days without washing it because of how greasy it was.

So, I told her that we’d wash it beforehand.


Her eyes bugged out of her head.

She thought that you couldn’t wash your hair before dyeing it because bleach would damage dirty hair less than clean hair.


I explained to her that in her case, since she had filthy and greasy hair, it would be better to wash her hair before the balayage. 

It was the opposite of what she had thought: her hair’s greasiness would impede the peroxide from acting correctly, and the color would process slowly, which could cause the balayage to mess up.

Moral of the story?


 If, for whatever reason, you have greasy hair, I recommend that you wash your hair before getting a balayage. 

Now, what if you have a susceptible scalp?

To answer this question, let’s talk about Camila and her sweet 16.


When to do a balayage on dirty hair

dirt protects the hair

Camila started coming to the salon right about when she started elementary school. And today she’s 16 years old. She’s a very rebellious 16-year-old, moving at full-speed ahead with nothing to stand in her way.

A week ago, she called me to tell me that she wanted to get highlights, but she didn’t want to commit herself to manage her roots as they grew out.

So, I recommended that she get a balayage. After I sent her a few pictures via WhatsApp, she fell in love with the idea.


But, I remembered that Camila has sensitive skin, even on her scalp.

So, I recommended her not to wash her hair the same day that she would come to the salon.

Do you know why?


 Because that would allow for her scalp to secrete a protective barrier against staining and irritation. 

So, I recommended that she also not scrub her scalp aggressively because it could hurt her, and the peroxide or dye could irritate it.

As you can see, there’s no hard rule that applies to everyone, and it’s necessary to consider what is best on a case-by-case basis.


Now, I think it’s also important to tell you about how to wash your hair before a balayage in case you need to do it.


How to wash your hair before a balayage and what shampoo you should use

ph balanced

Shampoo to wash hair before balayage, check price on Amazon


  • Lastly, if you decide to wash your hair before a balayage, I recommend that you do it with a neutral shampoo.

This kind of shampoo has a balanced pH, which means that it will eliminate any kind of residue in your hair. Because, although it sounds crazy, your hair accumulates products like from masks and even the remnants of shampoo.


  • And another important thing: don’t use any kind of conditioner, because if you do, it will be necessary to rewash your hair to remove any remnants of the product.

Besides, conditioner adds an extra dose of grease that you don’t need when you’re about to get a balayage.


Wash your hair just one time using a neutral shampoo, without scrubbing and without using conditioner.

So, keep all the in mind when it’s time to wash and condition your hair.


How long to wait to wash your hair after getting a balayage

  • And since we’re already talking about washing your hair, once you’ve gotten a balayage, remember that you should wait at least 48 hours before allowing your hair to come into contact with water.

When I say water, I mean any kind of water, including rain, tap water, pool water, etc. That way, you’ll ensure that your hair has completely absorbed the dye.

Another secret?


  • If your balayage uses ashy blonde colors, then you can apply a grey or purple-tinted shampoo to help maintain it. And if your hair has golden blonde or copper tones, you can use a tinted shampoo for blonde hair.


  • And if your balayage has chocolate or brown tones, you can use a tinted shampoo for hair that’s dyed a dark color or a brown-tinted shampoo.


Now you know when it’s a good idea to wash your hair before getting a balayage and when it’s not. And if you still have any questions, ask your stylist, who will always give you the best advice.

Have you ever gotten a balayage? If so, did you wash your hair beforehand or not?

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