Should you wash your hair before you go to the hairdresser?

Hair Romance continues its Salon Advice series to help you love your hair and your hairdresser.

Recently on Twitter someone asked if they should wash their hair before they go to the hairdresser. They were worried that their hair was oily and they would feel embarrassed at the salon.


It’s like cleaning up your house before the cleaner comes over. It’s the hairdresser’s job to wash your hair so why would you wash it yourself before going to the salon?

Having your hair washed at the salon is one of my favourite parts of the salon experience. You get to lay back and relax while someone else washes your hair really well and then they give you a head massage too! It’s a salon highlight for me.

Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule and that’s if you’re having a semi-permanent colour applied. Semi-permanent colour only coats the hair, unlike permanent colour which goes inside the hair, so if your hair is really dirty or greasy it may not take the colour very well. For instance, if you have a lot of waxy or silicone based products in your hair, you may get an uneven product coating resulting in irregular colour results. So it’s better to have clean hair for semi-permanent colour but no need to prep for other processes.

Do you worry your hairdresser will judge you on how you look after your hair? Maybe you need a new hairdresser! Do you have any salon questions, Hair Romance wants you to love your hair and find a hairdresser who loves it too. Leave me a note in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

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  1. Melanie says

    My hairdresser, before I moved, always insisted I come in with at least 2 day old hair (as in 2 days after my last wash), as it wouldnt have too much buildup and if it was for a quick style she wouldn’t have to mess about too much. Although a hairdresser long ago once told me if I had to wash my hair before I went in, not to use conditioner on it.

  2. Rebecca Kopesdy says

    this is a funny article!! I am currently a stylists assistant (working towards getting my own chair) and I am shocked at how often people come in with squeaky clean hair, and then I have to wash it again!! Please, don’t do this! Just let us do it for you. We do not judge people with dirty hair, it is our job to make you beautiful from beginning to end!! You’re just wasting your own precious time, water, and shampoo :)

    • Hair Romance says

      Thanks Rebecca! I love that you say it’s your job to make clients look beautiful, that’s such a great attitude!

  3. says

    I *love* that I don’t have to wash my hair before I come in. It saves time in the morning so I can sleep in! Plus, even though I go to a cheap salon (I pay $20 for my haircuts) they treat it like a spa experience so there’s some extra scalp massaging thrown in there. Phenom.

  4. says

    I let my hair get pretty much as dirty as possible then on the morning of throw my hair up before going to the salon. They do such a perfect job washing it….I do, however try and make an honest effort to comb the knots ahead of time, my hair is a nightmare to brush.

    • Hair Romance says

      My hair always feels so much cleaner after they wash it at the salon too. Probably because I normally spend 3 minutes and they spend 10! You should try a Tangle Teezer brush, they really are great for knotty hair (and that’s not a sponsored comment)

  5. Elizabeth says

    At my old salon, I would feel a little guilty for showing up with my hair looking like a mess. Sometimes, I would wash and style my hair to make it look nice so the stylist would see that I care for the work she’d done. And, I could be more specific about what needed to be done. But, I would also typically wait between 8-12 weeks between cuts, long after the hair had grown out of the cut. So, there were times when I went in with a messy look, desperate for inspiration!

    The best part of the visit was definitely the scalp massage during the shampoo!

  6. miffny says

    I too wish I could afford to get the hairdresser to wash my hair twice a week ..nothing beats the relaxing feeling of a scalp massage & the look of a great blow dry.x

  7. says

    Hello! I have long, thick, wavy hair and I always feel like it’s a burden on the hairdresser that’s doing my hair. Similar to curly hair, you can’t just run your fingers through my hair (unless you want them trapped there forever lol) and if I am going in to get it colored they have to brush it out before it gets washed so should I wash and/or brush out my hair before I get there just to save the time? Also, I always feel embarrassed going into the salon because it is so unmanageable and tangled (If you have curly/wavy hair, you know what I mean) but should I not feel this way? Do most hair stylists have enough experience with this type of hair? Thanks so much for your help! :)

    • Hair Romance says

      It sounds like you have beautiful hair! Don’t feel awkward or embarrassed, it’s the salon’s job to look after your hair. You can brush it before you go, especially if you’re worried about it bring painful to brush out any knots. Otherwise I think you’re being too self conscious and you should relax. Your hair sounds amazing. Christina x

  8. Mila Rider says

    Am I the only one who’s hair becomes dreads when wet??? I’d rtaher wash my hair at home, comb it myself and go into with wet hair they can spray it before cutting it.

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