General Question

Stinley's avatar

Why should I not wash my hair before dying it?

Asked by Stinley (5906 points ) June 2nd, 2011

My box of home hair dye says that my hair should be clean and damp but not newly washed. Why? What will happen to my hair if I wash it first? Or have dirty hair? I hate dying my hair if I have spent ages styling it but if I wash it and don’t style it for a day then I have stone-age woman hair. Or if it is needing a wash and I dye it, it still needs a wash after. How dirty is dirty? Is a bit greasy ok? Will it damage my hair or scalp? My hair is tough but my scalp is sensitive. Help!

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12 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

They just don’t want you to wash your hair and then slap the color on. It gives your scalp and your hair a natural protective barrier. You don’t have to let it get filthy, just don’t hop right out of the shower and put the color on.

It is interesting that it suggests applying to “damp” hair. I’m not sure that I really understand why they would want you to do that…

Plucky's avatar

It might help if you find a link to that exact hair dye ..and post it. Then others can see what you’re using.

Stinley's avatar

I think the damp hair bit is leading folks astray. Some of them say that, others say to put it on dry hair. It’s not a problem to dampen my hair but they all say not newly washed.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

The natural oils on your hair and scalp help protect your scalp from the strength of the dye. Dyes don’t go on any better if your hair is clean. Instead, just plan to dye your hair about an hour before you take your daily shower, and that way, you’ll get all the dirty goodness without having to go longer with dirty hair. After rinsing out all the dye throughly, and putting a good conditioner in, you really shouldn’t need to wash your hair as well – it should be clean.

Stinley's avatar

So, does extra grease on the hair stop the dye from reaching it?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

No. More like the extra grease stops the dye from cutting all the way through the hair and breaking it off – hair dye is powerful stuff, like bleach, and you have to account for that.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

The oil on your hair just acts like a natural barrier. It can also help for the color to adhere better, by filling in the gaps where your hair may be porous from previous damage.

Stinley's avatar

Me, the greasy hair and the box of hair dye will give it a go tonight. I’ll report back!

perspicacious's avatar

Because the instructions say so.

emeraldisles's avatar

when I dye my hair I always apply it to dry hair and let it process for 45minutes before washing it. I think the reason they don’t want you to put it on wet hair is because the color won’t saturate.

Pandora's avatar

I think its because your pores are more likely to be open after washing your scalp and so you risk dye being absorbed by your scalp more.
Also it could be that your hair strands are won’t be dry enough inside to absorb the hair dye as well.
I usually wash my hair the day before and give it at least 24 hours to dry properly. I also use a Vo5 because it helps strip the hair clean without leaving any residue on it.
Don’t use any hair conditioner either because it will also effect the results of your dye. The greasier your scalp the less likely your hairdye will last on your roots. So try not to do anything that will cause too much sweating before you dye.

Stinley's avatar

You’ll never guess what. My hair looks fine this morning because I have dyed it and washed it. Yes, all this angst was for nothing as the instruction leaflet said to dye then rinse my hair then wash it before putting on the conditioner. Very strange – I’ve never had that before. It was a supermarket brand. The colour seems to have taken well, despite the grease and my scalp was not irritated either. It went on to dry hair this time. Thanks guys!

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