Should You Wash Your Hair Before Dyeing It

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. 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 if you can dye dirty strands, we’ve got you covered. Below, everything you need to know about washing your hair before dyeing it. 

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What Happens If You Wash Your Hair Before Dyeing It?

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 if it’s better to color 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 hair dye. In that instance, it may be best to use an ammonia-free dye option to reduce any possible irritation.

Can You Dye Hair When It’s Greasy?

Following up on the information we just shared, you can dye your hair when it’s greasy, and it actually benefits your hair and scalp. The natural oils coat the hair and scalp, which can lead to less hair damage, and it can reduce the risk of potential scalp irritation. Ultimately, you’re better off dyeing hair that’s a tad greasy, than dyeing squeaky clean strands.  

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. The gentle formula deeply cleanses and conditions all hair types without sulfates, synthetic fragrances or parabens that can weigh down the hair and cause irritation. 

If you have wavy or 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, nourish and cleanse your curls without weighing them down.

What Not to Do Before Dyeing Your Hair

Along with washing your hair, before dying your hair, avoid applying any styling products, like dry shampoo or hair gels, as they can affect the way the hair dye absorbs. There’s also no need to apply heat to your hair before coloring it so keep that in mind as well. 


The Best At-Home Hair Dye Kits

Once you’re ready to try a new hue, you may be overwhelmed by the number of different hair color products and dyes on the market. To help you sort through your options, we’re breaking down seven different at-home hair dye options that 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 you’re aiming for a long-lasting, high-shine color, opt for a permanent hair color kit. 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 fiery copper 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 hair color 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 a caring complex that protects hair as it colors, plus it helps to cut down on drips and spills during the application process. 

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 long, 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 new 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 more days before your next salon appointment or 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 quick spray. Spritz it onto your roots and partly through the length of your hair for a seamless blend. It’s not sticky or greasy, and it lasts until you wash it out. 

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

When you’re in between hair color sessions 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 it even comes in a clear formula for virgin tresses that need deep conditioning and a brightness boost.


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

While there is conflicting information on how long you should wait to wash your hair after coloring it, most experts say that you should wait about 24 to 48 hours after dyeing your hair to wash it. It’s important to allow time for the hair color set and for your hair’s cuticle layer to fully close without the potential risk of fading color.

3 Tips for Maintaining Your Color-Treated Hair

Taking care of colored hair at home is actually pretty easy, but it may involve switching up your hair routine a bit. Here are three tips to consider. 


1. Try a Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner

Make sure that you’re using a shampoo and conditioner that’s meant for color-treated hair, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Bond Strengthening Color Care Shampoo and the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Bond Strengthening Conditioner. It works to strengthen the hair from the inside out by reinforcing weak hair bonds, especially when used in combination with the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Bond Strengthening Pre-Shampoo Treatment. Together, this trio helps repair the hair fibers' weak bonds in just six uses. Plus, it helps the hair look smooth and feel soft while protecting it from future damage. 

Apply the pre-shampoo treatment first and leave it on for five to eight minutes before rinsing. Then, proceed with the shampoo and conditioner as usual. 

2. Mask it Up

A consistent hair color regimen can cause your hair to become dry, dull and lifeless. Add a nourishing mask like the L'Oreal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Signature Masque, Color Care Hair Mask to your weekly hair routine. It hydrates, revitalizes all hair types, and restores smoothness thanks to vegan protein.

3. Go Heatless

It’s best to limit your usage of hot tools if you have colored hair, as the heat needed to make the tools work can cause your color to fade faster, while 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, curling or straightening. 

Next: How to Go From Brown to Blonde Hair While Keeping Your Hair Healthy

Photography: Chaunte Vaughn, Associate Creative Director: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Associate Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Associate Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Model: Alexandra Van Zant

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