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Should You Shower Before A Haircut?

by Gabbi

We are all familiar with a “hair washing schedule” to ensure we have our best-looking locks for our most important occasions, or even just a night out.

Making sure our freshly washed hair lines up with our schedule is a way to ensure the hair isn’t being over-washed, but still maintains its shine and luster throughout the week.

However, when you have a hair appointment scheduled, that can cause a shift is your hair washing routine. Of course we want our hair to be clean enough that we can discuss with our hair stylist the desired outcome from the appointment, but often times the hair is washed at the start of a haircut appointment or shampooed at the end of a color treatment anyway.

As far as styling appointments go, often times it is better to have next day hair as the natural oils have more grip which will hold the style better.

So, should you wash your hair before getting your hair cut? In general, it is best to have your hair washed 1-2 days prior to your hair appointment. What service you are having done in your appointment will also inform how you should arrive.

However, while it might not be necessary to wash your hair directly before an appointment, hair shouldn’t be overly dirty either and below we discuss the best ways to handle your hair before getting it done.

Should You Wash Your Hair Before A Haircut?

While it might not always be crucial to shampoo your hair directly before your appointment, having relatively clean hair that was washed within the past 24-48 hours is a good general rule to follow, as it ensures your hair is clean but also has some of its natural oils and texture.

Although shampooing directly before a hair appointment isn’t necessary, it is important that hair is not excessively dirty for both you and your stylist.

If the hair is overly greasy, smelly, flaky, or has not been washed in over several days, your stylist may not be able to start your appointment before the hair is washed, or you may not get the results you were looking for.

Overall, it does depend on the cut and style, as well as the preference for both you and your stylist. There are a few instances where shampooing the hair beforehand is a good idea.

If your desired hair cut is going to be a dry cut, then shampooing is often not part of the service and it is smart to wash your hair before the appointment. Depending on your hair texture and the style of the cut, your stylist may prefer to cut and style the hair dry, meaning the hair will not be washed during the appointment.

If you tend to use a lot of styling products, such as dry shampoos, texturizers, or serums, it is ideal to wash away any product buildup before your appointment, preferably with a clarifying shampoo like this one from Redken.

If you are following the 24-48-hour guide, make sure to use a light amount of styling products in the days leading up to your appointment. Also, if your scalp is particularly prone to oiliness or flakiness, it is a good idea to wash the hair beforehand.

However, if you are only planning on having your hair styled for an occasion or special event, ensuring your hair has some of its natural grit and texture will help in the styling process.

Generally, hair that has not been freshly washed, more like second day hair, will hold the style better, as just washed hair may be too silky and slippery. Hair that has some of its own natural oils produced and its natural texture will help in maintaining the style as needed.

If you are getting a haircut and planning on donating your locks, your hair should be shampooed and washed before the cut, although your salon may offer that service first.

If you are unsure of how your hair is going to be cut (wet or dry), or what the state of your hair should be in, you can always consult with your salon or stylist prior to your appointment.

Benefits Of Washing Your Hair Before A Haircut

There are benefits to washing your hair prior to a haircut, however, even if it is only a day or two before the appointment.

Your hair will not be weighed down by excess product or buildup, which will give your stylist a clear idea of what your hair looks like in its natural state to assist you in determining the best cut and style for your locks.

If you wash your hair right before having a dry cut done, you can extend the style from your hair appointment for a few additional days before your next wash.

While most salons include a shampoo as part of their haircut service, there are some salons that charge an additional fee to add on a shampooing session. If that is the case, shampooing your hair beforehand can save you the washing fee from your salon instead.

Should You Wash Your Hair Before A Color Treatment?

As far as color treatments go, yes, it is smart to wash your hair beforehand. Following the same guideline of washing your hair a day or two prior and keeping the styling products to a minimum leading up to your appointment is recommended for the best results. 

However, if you are simply bleaching your hair or getting highlights, you may not want to wash your hair so that you have some natural oil to protect your hair from damage.

Benefits Of Washing Your Hair Before A Color Treatment

Shampooing your hair prior to your color treatment appointment has a lot of the same benefits as washing your hair prior to your regular haircut.

Most importantly, it will help reduce product buildup, which can affect how the color is applied to your hair and absorbed. Hair color is able to be absorbed fully and evenly, without any excess product in its way.

Washing the hair a day or two prior also helps the natural oils start to be produced again. The natural oils help to hydrate the hair, and color treatments often need additional moisture after the appointment.

Your stylist will wash the color out of your hair during the appointment, so shampooing your hair within the 24-48 hour window will ensure your hair is clean enough and not overly stripped of its natural moisture.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Everyone’s hair is different and has its own needs. However, washing your hair every day can be harmful to your hair no matter what texture or type you have.

Washing the hair every day can strip the strands of their natural moisture, or dry out the scalp unnecessarily. Depending on your hair type and texture, washing the hair 2-3 times a week is a good guide to follow.

If your hair is particularly dry or naturally textured, you can often get away with washing your hair 1-2 times a week. For example, curly hair usually is on the drier side as it does not produce as much oil, so extending the time between washes during the week may be beneficial.

Your hair washing routine will depend on your hair, but also your specific lifestyle and daily activities. If you workout often, are prone to an oily scalp, or use a lot of styling products, for example, you may need to wash your hair more often.

For more great hair washing tips, take a look at this video from stylist Brad Mondo on YouTube.


Overall, yes, shampooing your hair before a hair appointment is beneficial, and the general guideline to keep in mind is 1-2 days prior to your appointment. However, specific instances may benefit instead from having your hair shampooed directly beforehand.

It is always a good idea to consult with your hairstylist if you are unsure as well, as they can give you guidance based on their own personal preference as well as what would benefit the service you are coming in for.

Getting a dry haircut, or wanting to avoid the extra salon charge for a wash are a few instances where shampooing your hair prior to the appointment can be helpful.

Color treatments and styling appointments are some instances where coming in with next or second day hair will be beneficial to the outcome overall, in a way that is healthy for your hair.

Every hair type is different, as well as our daily lifestyle activities that informs how often we need to wash our hair to maintain its health and cleanliness.

Although we may not want to face our stylist with hair that is not freshly washed, as long as the hair is not overly and expressly dirty, it is not something to stress over. Getting your hair cut and styled should be a relaxing process, and a moment to pamper yourself and your locks.

Keeping in mind to shampoo the hair anywhere 24-48 hours before your appointment will give you the sweet spot of having your hair be clean enough for your stylist to work properly, while not running the risk of being so overly dirty that they cannot service you.

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