How Long Should You Wait To Wash Your Hair After Coloring It?

Tips to follow for preventing the hair color from fading away and making your mane appear dull.

Reviewed by Madison Dufour, Barber & Cosmetologist Madison Dufour Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
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It’s been almost a day since you’ve got your hair colored. Of course, your usual nighttime ritual includes a refreshing shower. But then, the question pops in your mind – how quickly can you wash your hair after coloring it? You don’t want your hair color to fade away too quickly or dull away because you didn’t give it enough time to settle. Well, don’t fret. We have got the answers to all your queries right here.

Everyone wants to dye their hair until they learn that dyed hair needs much maintenance. The hair starts losing vibrancy if you don’t take proper care of it after a color treatment. To have a long-lasting color, you have to make some necessary changes in your daily routine, like avoiding long exposures to the sun, using shampoos with less harsh chemicals, avoiding heat styling tools, among other things.

In this article, we have discussed hair coloring, tips to wash your colored hair, maintain colored hair, and more. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s jump into the article to learn all about hair coloring.

How Long Should You Wait To Wash Your Hair After Coloring It?

The most common dilemma you may have had after dyeing your hair is, how long till the next hair wash? Many hair experts say that it is best not to wash your hair for at least 2-3 days after dyeing it. This 3-day window will give the hair dye to set properly in your hair. Since washing off the hair dye is part of the dyeing process, you will not have to worry about your hair getting dirty.

So, wait for a couple of days before washing your hair. It is also best to avoid any work that will make you sweat as sweating can also wash the color off the hair.

Should You Wash Your Hair Before Coloring?

Woman avoiding washing her hair in a bath tub
Image: Shutterstock

The natural oils present in your hair often protect your scalp and hair follicles during the dyeing process. Hence, avoid washing your hair before coloring it, especially if the dyeing process involves bleaching your hair. It is also good to follow the instructions given on the particular dye you are using.

Now, let’s find out how to wash your hair after coloring it.

How Do You Wash Your Hair After Dying It?

Woman applying dry shampoo to maintain the hair colour
Image: Shutterstock
  • After dyeing your hair, it is necessary to take care of your hair to make the hair color last longer. It is recommended to wash your hair once or twice a week instead of every day to maintain its beauty and health.
  • Another disadvantage of washing your hair every day is that it strips away the natural oils produced by your scalp that keep your hair and scalp moisturized, fresh, and healthy. That is why dry shampoo is a great haircare product for maintaining hair hygiene. It gets rid of the dirt and grease in your hair between washes.
  • Another thing to remember is to avoid using regular shampoo and conditioner on your hair as they are usually quite harsh. Colored hair needs color-safe products that are specifically formulated to keep it moisturized and prevent the hair color from fading. You can also use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner after coloring your hair. This is because sulfates can strip color from your hair.
  • Use cool or lukewarm water to wash your hair. Washing your hair with hot water can open the hair cuticles and cause the color to fade faster.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner and other styling products that are specially formulated for color-treated hair.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Baby powder is an age-old, trusted alternative to dry shampoo! It works just as well to absorb grease between washes, smells wonderful, and is cheaper.

Janine, a lifestyle blogger, addressed common doubts that often arise when considering hair coloring by recounting her own hair-dyeing experience in her blog. She notes, “After dying my hair I try to avoid washing it or using shampoo on it for a few days. However, I will always use conditioner when washing my hair (i)”.

Wondering if you should use hot or cold water to wash your hair? Find out in the next section.

Do Hot Showers Make Your Hair Color Less Vibrant?

Woman enjoying hot water bath with a shower cap
Image: Shutterstock

Yes, hot water can make your hair color less vibrant. Hot water opens up the hair cuticle, which results in the color leaching out and making your hair look dull. On the other hand, cold water helps in sealing the cuticle. Hence, using cold water to wash your hair is a great way to protect colored hair and maintain your hair health. If you want to take a hot shower, wear a shower cap to protect your hair from the hot water.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can add a bit of dye to your color-protectant hair conditioner during the wash to maintain your hair color.

As we mentioned earlier, colored hair requires color-safe products. Find out more about them in the next section.

What Products Are The Best To Use On Dyed Hair?

Woman applying natural hair mask for colour protection
Image: Shutterstock

After dyeing your hair, you should stop using your regular hair products. Colored hair needs products that are formulated specifically for it. This is because during the dyeing process, your hair cuticle gets damaged due to the chemicals. Color-safe products are formulated with ingredients that repair the surface of the hair while preventing the hair color from losing its vibrancy.

Hence, pick products that not only will protect your hair color but also nourish your tresses and add shine to them.

Another must-have product alongside a color-safe shampoo and conditioner is a moisturizing hair mask. The chemicals from the dye may leave your hair looking dry. A moisturizing hair mask will nourish your hair and make it soft and smooth. A moisturizing mask will also give it a high-shine finish.

In addition, getting regular trims, using deep-conditioning hair masks once a week, and avoiding heat styling as much as possible can help keep your hair hydrated and healthy and prevent split ends.

You also need to avoid a few things when it comes to colored hair. Find out more in the next section.

What To Avoid

  1. Stay Away From The Sun: The UV rays of the sun strip away the color from your hair. Hence, you should avoid staying in direct sunlight for a long time. In addition to that, using a hair sunscreen that is specifically formulated for your hair is also helpful in lessening the damage caused by the sun. You can also wear a hat to stay safe from the sun.
  1. Avoid Chemicals: Since your hair is exposed to chemicals during the dyeing process, it is best to avoid exposing your hair to more chemicals. Using alcohol-based hair sprays or blow-drying your hair can make your hair color fade quickly.
  1. Avoid Chlorine: Chlorine is a popular bleaching agent that can damage your colored hair. Hence, you should avoid chlorinated pool water at all costs. If you have blonde hair, chlorine can turn it green, while darker hair will lose its shine and become dull.
Woman sitting by the pool to protect the hair colour from chlorine
Image: Shutterstock
  1. Rough Drying: Many of us have a habit of drying our hair roughly with a terrycloth towel. However, this hard scrubbing may make the hair color fade more quickly. Additionally, it makes your hair ends look dry. Hence, gently pat your hair with a microfiber towel and allow it to air-dry.
  1. Avoid Heat Styling Products: Colored hair is sensitive to heat. Overuse of heat styling tools like a straightener or curling on colored hair can fry it. Hence, avoid using heat styling products regularly. If you absolutely must use them, apply a heat protectant spray to keep your hair safe.
  1. Swimming: After coloring your hair, it’s advisable to avoid swimming, especially in chlorinated pools or saltwater, for several reasons. The chlorine in pools and the salt in seawater may have adverse effects on colored hair. These substances strip away the hair’s natural oils and moisture and cause the new color to fade quickly, leading to dry, brittle hair textures. Additionally, chlorine can react with the chemicals used in the hair dye and potentially cause unexpected color changes. If you must swim, wear a swim cap to minimize hair exposure, or wet your hair with fresh water and apply a protective leave-in conditioner or gel before entering the water to create a barrier against chemicals and salt.

Infographic: Top DIY Hair Masks For Colored Hair

It might be challenging to keep your hair color looking beautiful and new. The hair color never wants to remain in place, resulting in faded roots and unappealing ends. Even if the majority of hair dyes available now are free of ammonia and include an additional nourishing serum, you can still choose to use a natural hair mask to protect your hair from harm. Check out the infographic below to learn about some simple DIY hair masks for colored hair that can enhance and make them healthier.

top diy hair masks for colored hair (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Changing your hair color is one of the most exciting experiences. However, you must wait for 2-3 days to wash your hair after coloring. It is also a good idea to avoid doing any work that causes you to sweat because sweating can wash the color out of your hair. Finally, to maintain the vibrancy of your hair color, you should wash it only once or twice a week. We hope the ideas in this article will assist you in maintaining your colored hair and keep it vivid, fresh, and lustrous!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you shampoo color-treated hair?

Jessica Shults, a hairstylist, says, “You should shampoo color-treated hair 1-3 times a week at most. Every time you shampoo the hair, you are stripping a little of the new color each time. So, the less you wash your hair, the more you can preserve the color. You could also try co-washing it, which is washing with conditioner only. It still cleans the hair, but it is much less abrasive and could lead to preserving hair color longer.”

What happens if I wash my hair 24 hours after highlights?

Hair color needs at least 48 hours to settle into the hair strands. So, if you wash your hair 24 hours after highlighting, the color will quickly wash away and become dull.

Why do salons wash your hair after coloring?

Washing hair after coloring ensures that all excess color is removed and distributed evenly over the hair strands. Jessica Shults says, “Your hairstylist washes your hair after coloring it to make sure they get all the applied color off of the hair. Hair color, or dye, works by opening up the cuticle and adding a new color to the hair shaft. Once it has been processed, you can shampoo the hair to dye it off the hair. You finish with a conditioner to seal the cuticle and lock the color into the hair.”

Can I wash my hair twice after dying it?

No. Shampoos strip off your hair color every time you use them. So, it is better to use them only once or twice a week on colored hair.

Key Takeaways

  • Many hair professionals suggest not washing your hair for at least 2-3 days after dying it.
  • It is also recommended to wash your dyed hair once or twice a week rather than every day.
  • Don’t wash your hair before coloring it, particularly if the dyeing procedure includes bleaching your hair. Clean hair (perhaps washed the day prior) will help the color penetrate better.
  • Also, refrain from washing your hair with regular shampoo and conditioner.
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Shampooing your hair after dyeing it can seem a bit unconventional, so before implementing this method, check out this video to get a better insight.

Personal Experience: Source

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Madison Dufour

Madison DufourBarber & Cosmetologist

Madison Dufour is a licensed and practicing barber and cosmetologist with 10 years of experience, as well as an entrepreneur running several hair businesses, including MadisonD Barbering and The Exquisite Find Hair Blog. After working behind the chair for several years, she felt the calling to start the non-profit Barber in a Bag that teaches basic hair cutting skills full bio

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