Should You Wash Your Hair Before Going To The Salon?

Should You Wash Your Hair Before Going To The Salon?

It may not be something the whole world talks about, but it has been a debate for years. From conflicting answers to fiery discussions on birthdays. The question is: should you wash your hair before going to the salon?

To see what others thought about that, I called in my girlfriends. One Saturday evening in a cozy bar I just asked the question. Do you wash your hair before going to the hairdresser? At first, they looked at me strangely, but then the discussion started. Some people thought it was dirty if they didn’t wash their hair, others thought it was weird because if you go to the barber your hair is washed there, right?

In the end, it came down to the fact that everyone has their habits, but nobody really knew what the hairdressers like best.

So, I went on research to find the right answer! Now the right answer will be somewhere in the middle, but still, I’m going to try to give you some tips today.

Here we go!

So, do you have to wash your hair before going to the hair salon? No, you do not have to wash your hair when you go to the hair salon. But it depends on what treatment you are going to get. When going in for a coloring treatment you might want to wash your hair. If you go for a regular cut and/or you get washed by the salon it is like cleaning your house before the cleaner comes over.

Should I go to the salon with clean or dirty hair?

As I said, it depends a little bit on which treatment you are getting (more on this later).

Washing your hair just before you go to the hair salon is a bit like cleaning your house before the cleaner comes along. So why would you do it? It’s not necessary. For many women washing their hair at the hair salon is a favorite part of the experience. You lie back and relax while someone else washes your hair and gives you a head massage so to speak!

Should you have any doubts about this, the best thing you can do is of course ask the hairstylist himself. If he or she indicates that they would like to see you with washed hair you can do so. If they indicate that it does not matter because they will wash you there it is also good.

My personal experience is that they ask me when they come in. They always ask me if my hair needs to be washed. If I have already done it myself I can say no, if it still needs to be washed I can of course also indicate that.

What to do before going to the hair salon?

Although it is not necessary to wash your hair just before going to the hairdresser, there are some things you can do to make it easier for the hairdresser.


For example, it’s nice if you don’t walk in with hair that hasn’t been washed for a week. Some grooming is nice. It also makes coloring the hair easier. Washing your hair in the week you go to the hairdresser makes sure that all the impurities are gone and it leaves a clean foundation.

Wear makeup!

This may sound weird but it’s really there! Making yourself look the way you like it, helps to judge what you think of your new hair! When you go for a new hairstyle, or you want to know how it looks, it’s best to go to the appointment in the way you want to look. This way you can see the new style in a way that is a good representation for you!

Bring a photo

If you like to choose a new hairstyle, take a photo (or several photos) at the hair salon. This way the hairdresser doesn’t have to guess what you want, but you can just show it to him.

When should I, and when should I not wash my hair?

There are exceptions to the rule. So in some cases, it is useful to wash your hair before going to the hairdresser. To be sure of this and to get the best possible advice for you, I went to my hairdresser. I asked her advice about in which cases you should come to the salon with washed hair and when not to do that.

Coloring hair

She told me that many people who walk in to get their hair colored, have an outdated idea of what is needed. She says that almost every day people walk in with this question. She told me the following about this:

Not washing your hair before coloring your hair is a relic of a long time ago. A long time ago the hair coloring products were very hard compared to what we use now. Not washing your hair and leaving natural oils in your hair could reduce tingling and blemishes.

For this reason, people still think it’s handy not to wash your hair, but with today’s products, that’s no longer the case.

To make it easy for you, I’ve made a step-by-step plan below that you can use when you go to the hairdresser to color your hair.

First: wash your hair 12 to 24 hours before going to the hairdresser to color your hair. This ensures that your hair is clean, but also that the hair has time to create a small layer to protect your scalp from the paint.

Second: If you have a physically demanding job and therefore work hard, it’s a good idea to wash your hair just before you go to the hair salon. All these oils (sweat and the like) make sure that the hair coloring product can’t do its job optimally.

Third: Make sure that hair products that cover your hair roots are out of the hair. Or, make sure you can go to the salon earlier so they can wash it out. This also applies to dry shampoo! Also, make sure it’s out of your hair as it creates an extra barrier so that the hair color can’t “stick” to your hair properly.

Fourth: Before you go to the hairdresser, clean your hair thoroughly if you frequently use coconut or olive oil. A lot of use of this oil makes the hair color product not able to do its job optimally and also makes it more difficult to make highlights in the hair.

Fifth: Come with dry hair! Wet hair that the hairdresser has to make dry is annoying. What you can also do is make sure the appointment you make is a little earlier so they can make it dry for you.

So, at least now you have guidelines that will make sure you look as good as possible when you let your hair color in a hair salon!

Do you have any more tips about this? Let me know so I can process them!


With bleaching, it is the opposite of coloring. Where coloring your hair requires you to have clean hair, bleaching your hair you can do with a bit of dirty hair.

Try not to wash your hair on the day of the appointment. It is healthy for your hair to not be as clean as possible when you are going to bleach it. If you want, it is best to not wash your hair about 2 days before you go bleaching your hair.

This is a bit different than with a hair coloring service. Bleaching your hair a little dirty is not going to stop the bleach from distributing evenly.

Final thoughts

If all goes well you now have clarity about when and when not to wash your hair when you go to the hairdresser. Arriving at the hairdresser with dirty hair is not necessary and is something that comes from the past. 

Some hygiene is of course nice so don’t wash your hair for a couple of weeks and then go to the hairdresser is not good. Follow the tips in this article and you’ll know exactly when to wash your hair when you go to the hair salon. 

You have now read when to wash your hair and when not to wash your hair and which other things to take into account. Enjoy your next hair salon visit!

Reading material?

Want to know more about visiting a hair salon, hair dye and a bleaching process? Read the articles I’ve set out for you below!

Can you bleach your hair often?
Is putting dye in your hair time consuming?
What are the costs of bleaching your hair?


Hi, my name is Joy-Lee and I'm the owner of As you might've noticed, I'm a true beauty lover, and made it my passion, my work and my hobby. I love sharing my thoughts and feelings on a variety of beauty aspects and want to thank you for reading!

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