When can I wash my hair after foil highlights? Wait for 48 hours!

woman with blonde highlights looking for answers on her phone

  • As a professional colorist, I recommend you wait for 48 hours to wash your hair after foil highlights.
  • This way, your bleached strands will recover from the process. Also, the toner will finish setting in your hair to prevent the strident colors from appearing.
  • I’ll tell you some secrets to wash your hair after foil highlights for the first time.


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  Do you want to know when you can wash your hair after foil highlights?  


The answer is simple: you should wait for at least 48 hours.

Waiting for 72 hours would be much better. Still, 48 hours will be more than enough.


I can imagine the situation. You’ve just left the salon, and you’re thrilled with your new look, thanks to those highlights your colorist got using aluminum foil.

You are so happy that you don’t even want to move your head, or touch your hair because you feel that at the slightest mistake, your highlights will disappear.


But don’t worry because that won’t happen. The highlights are here to stay for a long time.

Of course, you’ll have to do your part. The more you take care of your highlights, the longer the color will last.

It all starts with that first wash. So, let’s get started.


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Why should you wait 48 hours to wash your hair after foil highlights?

highlights with foil at the hair salon
Highlights are a very versatile technique for any type of style and age. There are several ways to apply this technique, and aluminum foil is one of the most used ones.

Why is aluminum foil used?


They increase the temperature of the bleach and help achieve lighter blondes.. However, this also has its downside.

When aluminum foil is used for highlights,   the hair is more prone to dry out.   It loses more moisture due to the high temperature reached with the foil.


Therefore,   your hair needs to rest from the chemical process during the following 48 hours.  

Your hair will be weak after bleaching and could break after losing nutrients, vitamins, color, and protein.

Therefore, it’ll be thinner and prone to breakage.


Also, if your colorist used aluminum foil for your highlights, you were probably looking for very light shades.

Therefore, the professional will have used toner to neutralize the resulting yellow undertones.

  If you wash your hair before 48 hours,   you could remove some of the colors from the toner. Then, the unwanted yellows that were neutralized will appear.


Okay. So far, we know that you should wait 48 hours to wash your hair after the foil highlights to take care of the health of your hair and protect the color.

Then, how should you wash your hair? I’ll tell you more about that below.


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How to wash your hair like a true PRO for the first time after foil highlights

Wash hair with highlights with toning shampoo
The first thing I recommend is the products you should use. Generally, I recommend sulfate-free products to all my clients with highlights.


Now,   if the shampoo and conditioner you usually use contain sulfates,   you don’t need to replace them in the first wash.


Also, remember to decrease the washing frequency. So, if you don’t have sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, my advice is to wash your hair   two or three times a week at most.  


What’s important is that you include, a toning shampoo. It deposits color in each wash to neutralize the strident colors that may arise in your highlights.

  •      If your highlights appear strident yellow,   use purple shampoo.
  •   If your highlights turn orange,   use blue shampoo.
  •   If your highlights turn reddish,   use green shampoo.


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If we talk about repairing, nourishing, and moisturizing, the safest thing for your bleached strands are natural oils.

You can use coconut, argan, flax, sesame, rose, or almond oil. They’ll provide your highlighted hair with vitamins and nutrients that were lost during bleaching.

And now, the decisive moment. After two days, it’s time to wash your hair. Pay close attention because I’m going to tell you professional secrets.


  • Wet your hair with lukewarm water. It shouldn’t be too hot because hot water opens up the cuticles and will cause some of your highlight color to fade. Run the warm water through your hair for two minutes.
  • Place shampoo in the palm of your hand and rub them together to activate its ingredients.
  • Apply the shampoo from roots to ends massaging gently without rubbing. If it’s a toning shampoo, leave it on for three minutes.
  • Drain and remove excess foam.
  • Rinse with lukewarm, almost cold water for one minute letting it run over your hair.
  • Drain your hair without pulling or squeezing to avoid breakage.
  • Place the conditioner in the palm of your hand and activate it by rubbing both hands together.
  • Massage from lengths to ends and leave it on for 3 to 5 minutes while massaging your scalp.
  • Rinse your hair with COLD WATER, to close the cuticles and retain the color.
  • When there is no more conditioner left, squeeze out the excess water and wrap your hair in a towel.



  • While your hair is wet, you can apply three oil drops on the scalp. Distribute them on the sides and middle section, and massaging gently.
  • Place three to five drops of coconut oil in the palm of your hand depending on the length of your hair, rub your hands together to warm it up, and apply it from lengths to ends to give your hair fiber more hydration.



It’s always advisable to wait for 48 hours to wash your hair after foil highlights.

Remember to wash your hair two or three times a week and add sulfate-free products and a toning shampoo to extend the duration of the color of the highlights.

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