Washing Hair After Coloring – Everything You Need to Know About It

washing hair after coloringI have good news – after reading this article you will never need to suffer from certain kind of confusion again. What kind of confusion? You know, the one which strikes you right after coloring your hair when you realize that tomorrow there is an important meeting at work or a romantic dinner with your loved one and you feel like you absolutely need to thoroughly wash your dirty and greasy hair but aren’t sure if you’re allowed to. You know, the usual worries like “OMG, the color will fade out immediately if I touch my hair with a shampoo now” or “oh, no, I only have this cheap shampoo, it will screw up my new hair color big time”. If you have found yourself in a situation like this where you are afraid and unsure if and when you can wash your hair because you just got it colored, then read on and find all the answers you need.


Can I Wash My Hair After Coloring?

This is a question which gets asked quite a lot and the opinions differ. The best answer would probably be – yes, you can wash your hair after coloring but in most cases you actually shouldn’t do it.

It may sound as an odd and unsatisfying answer but it makes sense when you think about it. The explanation could go something like this – there is no guarantee that your hair color will fade out even if you wash your hair right after the coloring treatment, however, if you want to be safe and really care about keeping your new tone then you should wait.


Why Should I Wait to Wash Hair After Coloring?

Here’s a simple explanation I just came up with which doesn’t include too many scientific terms – your hair is protected by a layer called the hair cuticle and it controls the appearance of your hair. Hair colors contain substances which open up the cuticle and when the cuticle is open, your hair is more liable to damage and fading. That’s the simple reason why you should wait.

So, if you want your hair to fully absorb the dye, then it is usually suggested to avoid washing it with a shampoo right away but after rinsing you should definitely apply the conditioner which almost always comes with the color kit.

How Soon to Wash Hair After Coloring?

There is no definite answer to this question. 24 hours should be enough in most cases, however, hair care specialists usually suggest to avoid washing hair after coloring for as long as possible – the longer the better.


Additional Tips

  • When washing colored hair definitely look for a shampoo intended for colored hair. This one has proved to be very helpful to make your hair color last longer - Ultimate Color Saving Shampoo. There are even some shampoos that are specifically made for certain hair colors and if you can find one for your tone then it’s a keeper.
  • Don’t use hot water when rinsing or washing your colored hair because it will open up the hair cuticle similarly to the chemicals found in hair dye.
  • There are certain colors that usually fade out faster than others. Those who fall in this category are mostly “wild colors”, most notably red and purple.



So, there you go, the question has been answered – in most cases you shouldn’t wash your hair with a shampoo right after coloring it, whether the coloring was done in a salon or at home. It’s because the hair cuticle opens up after dyeing and when it’s open, the color can fade out faster.

However, the first thing you should always do is to read the instructions and see what they say because there are different shampoos and different formulas. If after that you still feel unsure then don’t hesitate and contact your hair stylist right away.



Do you usually wait before washing hair after coloring? We are excited to hear about your personal experience!



I just dyed my hair Friday (2 days ago) for the first time in my life. I went with a deep red. After dying, I rinsed with warm water. I didn't think it mattered. After reading this, I will definitely do cool water next time.  I hope it didn't hurt it too much. I have work tomorrow (monday), So I wanted to wash my hair tonight. I usually wash my hair every other day, as it gets oily fast. I was thinking I might just wet it a bit to help get out some of the oils, then maybe I can wait another day to wash it. But I did buy color safe shampoo and conditioner.  :)


Actually I rinsed well in cold water and sealed the color with a color sealer conditioner in cold water as well and it looks fabulous!. I for one am going to wait as long as possible to wash my hair since my hair looks shinier and healthier than ever. I have a professional color grade in red.


Washing hair does not 'wash out' color. Color chemistry acts with one's own chemistry; it acts on and with the protein on the hair. Yes, keeping the cuticle closed means your hair will reflect more light and it will have shine; and it will also be far less likely to snarl. The cuticles on each shaft are far less likely to 'grab' one another and bring about knot-like holds on adjacent shafts of hair.

If you properly color your hair, whether or not you shampoo after processing is complete should not make a difference, unlike when you've just had a perm.

A method for creating improved color hold is ad protein to your hair color; problem is, the great protein additives are no longer available: Wella Liquid Protein and Redkin Protein. Adding protein assists hair color by increasing the color-bond to your hair's protein structure.


I wait until my hair is greasy to wash it....I like to keep my color for as long as possible, and red tends to fade  on my hair faster than any other color....So I wash anywhere from once to 3 times per week....depends on what I'm doing during the week....I do, however, wet my hair and condition it every other day


Nice informative post!! Everyone wants to be able to prevent damage to their hair when making a change, whether it’s to cover greys or reinvent your look, over processing your hair by bleaching or dying it, it’s best to understand ways to help prevent the damage.