A. Should You Wash Your Hair Before A Haircut? A Stylist Weighs In
Hair cutting should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience – you don’t have to worry about things like washing your hair first. Even if you don’t have an appointment, it’s still important to keep your hair clean for a number of reasons, but that doesn’t mean you should feel embarrassed if you’ve had a particularly busy week and didn’t get a chance to wash your hair today Morning.
1. Should I wash my hair before I cut it?
Washing or not washing depends on what kind of haircut you usually get. If you’re going to get a dry cut, you should go to the salon with your hair freshly washed. “Buildup in the hair can make it feel heavy and the hair can look different than when it’s fresh and clean,” Rivera told POPSUGAR. A good way to determine if a dry cut is necessary is to look at the type of haircut you want. If it’s just a light cut, a fringe touch-up, or if you want to add some movement to your hair with layers (but not too much length), your stylist may be more inclined to go for a dry cut. This technique is also more common on straight hair that is looking for more shape than curls or waves.
If you typically wet cut your hair — which is the most common method — that’s a different story. “Many stylists choose to wash their hair before cutting, as most stylists prefer to cut their hair wet rather than dry.” This is especially true if you want to remove about an inch of ends, have curls, or coils that pre-cut could benefit from a stretch when cutting, or if you want to add a lot more texture and layers. If you fall into this box, you can probably skip the shampoo before heading to the salon.
2. Should I wash my hair before a hair coloring appointment?
It’s a little different when you go to the salon to the hairdresser and not to the hairdresser. For this type of appointment, you need clean, dry hair. “Make sure your hair is dry as well when you show up for a color appointment so the stylist can properly assess your needs and apply color,” Rivera said. It’s also helpful to know that you don’t have to rewash your hair after coloring it to “fix” the color, as many people think. You can wash it at any time and the shade should remain intact as long as you use the right hair products to keep the color.
3. Should I wash my hair before a hair appointment?
When you come to a hair appointment—whether for a big event, wedding, prom, or prom—you should show up clean, but not too clean. “Often when it comes to updos, it’s better to wash the hair the day before because the client can come into the salon with their hair completely dry and ready to style,” Rivera said.
B. Should You Wash Your Hair Before a Haircut? | Yes & No
It’s the night before your hair appointment and you’re working on your second day hair—not super dirty, but not sparkling clean either. Do you have to worry about washing your hair before the appointment? After all, your stylist may wash and style your hair at your appointment anyway. But is it rude or gross to come in with dirty hair? We found out by asking stylists if they prefer clients to come with clean or dirty hair. Your answers may surprise you.
1. Should you wash your hair before a haircut? Answer from stylists
Teresa Fulcher, a licensed cosmetologist, notes that many of her clients don’t arrive with sparkling clean hair before their haircuts.
“I would say that about 75% of my clients prefer to have shampoo here at the salon and not wash their hair right before their appointment. On the second and third day we see a lot of hair, but it is rare that someone comes with really dirty hair.”
When asked if they mind letting their hair be cut unwashed, other stylists have said the following:
“If it’s naturally oily and has been recently washed, no. If it’s dirty I won’t cut it until it’s washed (at client’s expense if not included in hair service). It’s rude to expect me to do my job with dirty hair and I don’t see how that would make the client feel comfortable.” -Kat Howe, Licensed Esthetician
“I live in an area where a lot of men work in oil fields or similar work environments. They got dirty at work, really dirty, and then they wanted me to cut their hair without shampoo first. We were given greasy, flaky hair again who wanted a haircut and no shampoo, either a teenager or someone who was completely unsanitary and hadn’t washed their hair in days. I found it boring. I often found it disgusting. I had no choice but to do their hair.” -Victoria Elder, licensed cosmetologist
“I refuse to cut dirty hair. Explain to him that this will cause undue wear and tear on her scissors, and if we spend more than $400 on her, we won’t let her go through that!” -Tina Sauers, board-certified esthetician
As you can see, there are definitely extreme circumstances where stylists find hair too dirty to cut. In such cases, they will either wash the hair (included free with the haircut or added as an extra) or tell the customer that the hair is too dirty to proceed. If you’re ready to die of shame at the thought of being asked to leave a salon because of dirty hair, you know this only applies to the most extreme cases. It’s important to note that hairdressers have seen it all when it comes to dirty hair and scalp. So they won’t look and choke on your hair relatively clean on the third day. But if you haven’t washed it in a week, it stinks, and your scalp is covered with visible flakes or crusts…then you could be in trouble. If in doubt, wash.
2. When should you shampoo before a haircut?
However, it is not always easy to determine whether your hair should be washed right before the haircut. If you’re worried about embarrassing yourself or annoying your barber with dirty hair, below are scenarios when you should wash your hair before getting your hair cut.
a. If you get a dry cut
Do you usually cut your hair when it’s dry or wet? Your preference (or the preference of your stylist) can determine whether or not you should wash your hair before your hair appointment. Dry cuts generally look best on clean, freshly washed hair with no products. This includes dry shampoo, which forms a thin layer on the hair and scalp. So if you prefer dry cuts or your stylist usually does, make sure you wash your hair within 48 hours of the scheduled haircut. This ensures your hair looks nice and clean and gives your stylist the best fresh canvas to work with. If you normally get a wet cut (with wet hair), you don’t need to wash your hair before the appointment. Just make sure it’s relatively clean and your stylist will take care of the rest!
b. If you have a lot of product backlog
Most of us use hair products to keep our hair looking its best on a daily basis – dry shampoo, mousse, hairspray, serum, leave-ins, gel, wax, etc. If you wash your hair the night before your haircut but use a lot of product in the morning, you will Show up to your appointment with hair that looks clean but looks dirty because of all the product in it. Product build-up severely stresses the hair, which can affect the layers and final length of the hair after cutting. So if you’re scheduled for a haircut, try to avoid heavy or sticky hair products after washing your hair the day before your appointment. This gives your stylist the cleanest slate to work with.
c. If your hair gets greasy easily
The same goes for greasiness. If you know your hair gets greasy easily, you may need to wash a little closer to your appointment to prevent your hair from getting greasy. Oily hair can feel limp and heavy with oil at the roots just a few hours after shampooing. If you’ve struggled with greasy hair, you know that your hair hangs differently when it’s greasy. The oil doesn’t make your hair impossible to cut, but it can change the appearance of your hair. When you first visit a particular barber, arriving with greasy hair will affect your pre-cut appointment and the look of your haircut. Your stylist can misidentify your hair texture and hair type if you arrive with greasy hair. And if your stylist often does wet cuts, very greasy hair can literally repel water and make it difficult to fully wet it with a spray bottle. The result could be putting it back in the shampoo bowl for a pre-cut shampoo.
d. If a shampoo is not included in your haircut
Many salons include a shampoo in the price of a haircut. If that’s the case at your salon, you usually don’t need to wash your hair first. But if shampoo isn’t included with your haircut, your stylist expects you to arrive with reasonably clean hair. You should wash your hair at least a day before your appointment if you don’t wash it in the salon.
e. When you donate your hair
This is something many women don’t think about beforehand, but if you’re going to donate your hair, you need to make sure it’s clean and free of product residue before you cut your hair. It is important that hair is clean and dry when it is cut and packaged for donation. Wigs4Kids Advice “Hair must be stored/packed clean and completely dry. Wet hair becomes moldy in shipping and is discarded.” Wigs and accessories company Headcovers echoes the same sentiment, saying, “Prior to donation, hair must be washed, in its natural state and free of styling products.”
f. To be on the safe side, ask your stylist
The best way to find out if you need a shampoo before your appointment is to simply ask your hairdresser. They can put your mind at ease and let you know if you need to secure your shampoo before an appointment. If your stylist doesn’t give you a straight answer, use the general rule of thumb: if your hair looks dirty or gross, your stylist will too. Wash your hair before your appointment if it’s greasy, dirty, or too textured from the products.
3. When not to wash your hair before cutting your hair
In some cases it is not necessary to wash the hair before the appointment. Here are the most common scenarios where stylists don’t expect you to arrive with freshly washed hair.
a. If a shampoo is included in your cut
If your stylist includes a free shampoo in the price of a haircut, you don’t have to wash it before your appointment. After all, it will be washed anyway as soon as you come into the salon. If your stylist offers a la carte haircuts without shampoo, you can skip the salon shampoo and do it yourself at home. While the difference in price may be as little as a few dollars, it’s a way to save money on your haircut. Talk to your stylist in advance about what is included in a haircut service. You may be surprised to learn that haircuts include free shampoo and a scalp massage, or that these services are entirely optional and a la carte haircut is cheaper.
b. When your hair looks, feels and smells clean
Some people are lucky enough to have low-maintenance locks that can go days (or even a week) without shampoo and still look fresh and clean. If that sounds like you, you might not need to wash your hair before your hair appointment. Use your senses to determine if a shampoo is needed. Does your hair look clean? looks clean? Does it smell clean? If you answer yes to all 3 questions, you can go to your appointment without washing yourself first.
So, should you wash your hair before haircut or not? Usually the answer is yes, you should shampoo before your appointment. Try to wash your hair within 48 hours of your haircut to ensure your hair is clean enough for your stylist to see your hair’s natural texture and shape. Be sure to wash your hair 24-48 hours in advance if shampoo is not included in the haircut service. If shampoo is included with your haircut (and you can know for sure by asking your barber when you make your appointment), you don’t have to worry about washing it out first.