hair color application Should You Wash Your Hair Before Dyeing It?

This step is an important part of hair dye prep.

November 14, 2022
Should You Wash Hair Before Coloring


If you’ve decided on a new at-home hair color, you’re probably starting to put together your dye job prep. Before you break out the color, it’s always crucial to review all the at-home boxed dye kit steps, but while instructions will vary based on the hair dye, there are a few questions that may still need addressing — starting with the most common: Should I wash my hair before dyeing it? 

If you’re unsure whether it's best to dye clean hair or dye while your strands are dirty, we’ve got you covered. Below, everything you need to know about washing your hair before dyeing it. 


Should You Wash Your Hair Before Coloring?

As it turns out, most hair dyes are designed to work better on hair that is not freshly washed. Skipping a wash allows for oils to build up on your scalp, which in turn helps protect against irritation that can be caused by hair dye. So if you're about to color your strands and find yourself asking, is it better to wash clean or dirty hair, keep this in mind.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t dye freshly washed hair — you’ll just need to be aware that your clean hair and scalp will have less of a barrier between it and the dye. In that instance it may be best to use an ammonia-free dye option to reduce any possible irritation.


When Should You Wash Hair Before Coloring?

Feel free to wash your hair a day or two before your dye session, using the L’Oréal Paris Sulfate-Free Simply Clean Shampoo with Essential Oil and the L’Oréal Paris Sulfate-Free Simply Clean Conditioner with Essential Oil.

If you have curly hair, opt for the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Push Shampoo and L'Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Moisture Seal Conditioner to hydrate and cleanse your strands

 You can also throw a scalp scrub, such as the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Scalp Care + Detox Scrub, into the mix beforehand to remove unwanted impurities, excess oil and any product buildup.

How Long Should You Wait to Wash Your Hair After Coloring?

While there is conflicting information on how to long to wait to wash your hair after coloring it, most experts say that you should wait about 24–48 hours after dyeing your hair to wash it, allowing time for the hair color set and for  your hair’s cuticle layer to close without risking any color fading.

The Best At-Home Hair Dye Kits

Once you’re ready to try a new hue, you may be overwhelmed with the number of hair color products out there. To help you sort through your options, we’re breaking down different at-home hair dye options L’Oréal Paris offers.

L’Oréal Paris Superior Preference Fade-Defying Shine Permanent Hair Color

If you’re sold on at-home hair dye and want to have your color for as long as possible, opt for a permanent hair color. This line offers a fade-resistant color that lasts up to eight weeks and is available in more than 50 shades that will keep your strands looking vibrant for months.  

L’Oréal Paris Féria Multi-Faceted Shimmering Permanent Hair Color

For a permanent color with a shimmery twist, try this at-home hair dye that offers a range of edgy colors. From bright red to platinum blonde to metallic brown, a variety of shades will help transform your mane.

L'Oréal Paris Excellence Créme Permanent Triple Protection Hair Color

This permanent line was specifically designed with an exclusive triple protection system that deeply cares for hair and provides 100 percent gray hair coverage on even the most stubborn grays. Its cream formula is made with an exclusive complex that protects hair as it colors, leaving you with a gorgeous at-home hue. 

L’Oréal Paris Colorista Semi-Permanent Hair Color

A semi-permanent hair color is a great option if you don’t want to change the color of your hair for good but you’d like your new color to last longer than a day. This semi-permanent hair color lasts from four to ten shampoos and it comes in a range of fun shades like pink, blue and purple. 

L’Oréal Paris Colorista Hair Makeup Temporary 1-Day Hair Color Spray

If you want an at-home hair color that will easily wash out, use a temporary hair color spray. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a quick, one-day change or just want to test out a shade before committing to it. This tinted spray washes out in just one shampoo, so getting back to your natural shade is easy. 

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up

Whether you’re looking for a touch-up or just trying to make it a few days before your next salon appointment or full at-home color session, a root cover-up spray is the best quick-fix. This temporary root cover-up hides overgrown roots and gray hairs with just a spritz.

L’Oréal Paris Le Color Gloss One Step In-Shower Toning Gloss

When you’re in between colors and need a pigment pick-me-up that boosts shine and enhances your color, look no further than this in-shower toning gloss. This product works on all hair colors and textures, and even comes in a clear formula for virgin tresses that just need a color tone improvement.


3 Post-Hair Color Care Tips

Taking care of colored hair at home is actually pretty easy, but it may involve swapping out some hair products for ones that are formulated to care for dyed hair.

1. Try a New Shampoo and Conditioner

Make sure that you’re using a shampoo and conditioner duo that’s meant for color-treated hair, like the L’Oréal Paris Sulfate-Free Simply Clean Shampoo with Essential Oil and the L’Oréal Paris Sulfate-Free Simply Clean Conditioner with Essential Oil, which gently cleanses and conditions without stripping hair of hydration. 

2. Mask it Up

Add a mask like the L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Signature Masque, Color Care Hair Mask to your routine. Color-treated hair can often become dry and brittle, and this mask hydrates, revitalizes colored hair and restores smoothness with vegan protein.

3. Go Heatless

It’s best to limit your usage of heat tools if you have colored hair, as the heat needed to make the tools work can make your color fade faster than you would like, along with potentially damaging your already fragile strands. If you do need to use a hot tool, always be sure to grab the L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant before blow drying or the [insert heat slayer protectant] before curling, or straightening. 

Next: The Best At-Home Hair Dye for DIY Balayage

Edited by: Témi Adebowale, Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Digital Tech: Paul Yem, Photo Assistant: Matt Licari, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Model: Shann Hitch