I washed my hair yesterday. Can I dye it today, or could the color go wrong?

  • If you washed your hair yesterday, I don’t recommend washing it today. There should always be at least 12 hours between washing your hair and applying hair color, especially if you are doing a root touch-up.
  • If your hair is oily and you didn’t wash it with a shampoo for oily hair, you can dye it today. Your scalp will produce sebum to protect it from the hair dye chemicals.
  • If your hair is dry and you washed it yesterday, you shouldn’t dye it today. It’s best to wait 48 hours to avoid further dehydration of your hair.
  • Finally, if you washed your hair yesterday and you’re going to do a balayage or highlights, you can go ahead. We don’t work near the scalp, which is the most sensitive part to chemicals, for those techniques.


with shampoo prescribed by her dermatologist

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Guess what’s the first thing I ask my clients when they come to the salon to color their hair?


Yes, of course.

I ask about their expectations and about what they want for their look.

After that chat to get to know in-depth what they expect from me, what am I most interested in knowing from them?


Very well! How long ago they washed their hair.

I don’t want to determine how neat my clients are.

I ask them because that little detail is intimately related to their hair health at the time of dyeing.


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 The scalp has a layer of sebum which acts as a protective barrier against external agents. It also helps to hydrate the skin of your head. 

Every time you wash your hair, the shampoo removes that layer, leaving your scalp unprotected for a short time until the glands inside the scalp start secreting sebum again and the cycle is repeated.


 This is why you shouldn’t wash your hair immediately before coloring it. In that case, you’d be leaving it defenseless. 

What could happen if you apply hair dye to hair that was washed the day before?


The hair dye could generate an alkaline field, which would cause tremendous itching or unbearable burning.

Sure, we’re talking about the ideal situation. Still, what could happen if you washed your hair yesterday and need to color it today for whatever reason?


Maybe you have a job interview, a super important party, or an unavoidable engagement, and you just can’t show up without touching up your color first.

If you’re faced with any of these situations, you can appeal to a simple but effective little trick.

Tabla de Contenidos


If you washed your hair yesterday and can’t wait to color it, apply a few drops of lenitive gel

to darken hair

If you actually washed your hair less than 12 hours ago, and can’t wait to dye it, add a few drops of soothing lenitive gel to the hair dye and peroxide mixture.

This gel contains castor oil and mallow extract. Those ingredients have decongestant and moisturizing properties and protect the scalp from any irritation the chemicals may cause.

Are you very meticulous about measuring ingredients, for example, when making a baking recipe?


Then,  you can also add half a teaspoon of sugar to the mixture. 

But I only recommend this option for people who are super picky when it comes to measuring. First, because I said, “half a teaspoon”, not three tablespoons.

Second, although sugar prevents itching, it’ll change the peroxide strength if you add too much of it to the coloring mixture. In that case, the color oxidation will be altered.

If that happens, the shade of the hair dye will be altered too.

I know what you’re thinking.


What if my hair is oily? Can I apply the hair dye without any problems, even if I washed my hair yesterday?

excess sebum sebaceous glands

In that case, it all depends on the type of shampoo you used to wash your hair.

You probably use a shampoo for oily hair. It has ingredients that strip your scalp of its protective film to control the sebum production in the scalp.


 Therefore, if you used this type of shampoo, it is best to wait for at least 12 hours to dye your hair.  If you didn’t use any astringent products on your hair, you can apply the hair dye.

And of course, if you notice any itching, rinse the hair dye out immediately.


If your scalp and hair are dry, things change completely.


If you have dry hair, you washed it yesterday, and you want to dye it, you should wait for at least two days

If you apply the hair dye on your dry, clean hair, you run the risk of irritating your scalp even more. Then, burning and itching will appear. Also, the peroxide and ammonia will further dry out your hair.


 Also, if your hair is dry, the next time you wash your hair, with the idea of coloring it in a few days, I advise you to apply a nourishing mask in mids and ends.  It’ll make it easier for the color to stay even from root to tip.

But be careful! Rinse out the nourishing cream or conditioner thoroughly.


If any residue remains, the hair dye will penetrate the hair unevenly and your color will not result even. You may even get darker or lighter spots in some sections of your hair.

However, I have to be absolutely adamant about something.


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If you’re coloring your hair for the first time, you should wait at least 24 hours to dye it

apply hair dye behind the ear

Why 24 hours?


Because you have to do a hair dye patch test even if you are not allergic.

After all, it’s the first time you’ll apply a hair dye, so  you don’t know if any component can cause an allergic reaction. As my mother says, prevention is better than cure. 


Besides, the test is simple. If you waited until now to dye your hair for the first time, 24 more hours won’t make a difference in your life.

  • Mix a few drops of hair dye and peroxide in a plastic container.
  • Apply a small amount to the back of the ear or the crease of the elbow, and leave it on for 24 hours.
  • After that time, if the hair dye did not cause itching, burning, rash, or redness, you can use it in all your hair.
  • And of course, don’t wash your hair before coloring it.



There should always be 12 hours between washing your hair and applying a hair dye to avoid scalp irritation or allergic reactions.

Of course, it’ll also depend on the coloring job you’ll be doing. A root touch-up is not the same as a balayage, nor is your hair type.

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