You should always arrive at your haircut appointment with clean hair, but does “clean” mean you should wash it immediately beforehand?

Your hair type, the haircut you’re looking for, and your hairstylist’s preferences will impact when you should wash your hair prior to your next appointment. That said, you generally don’t want to arrive with wet hair unless your stylist is familiar with your hair texture and doesn’t need to evaluate it before the cut.

To determine when to shampoo before your next appointment, consider the salon service you’re getting. Read on to find out how clean your hair needs to be before your next salon visit.

why should you wash your hair before a haircut

Why Should You Wash Your Hair Before a Haircut?

Besides the hygienic reasons against sitting down in the salon chair with dirty hair, both natural oils and product build-up from things like hairspray, dry shampoos, and serums can weigh your tresses down. This may cause your hair to lay on your head differently than when it’s clean.

That’s why showing up with clean hair is especially important. Freshly washed hair allows your stylist to see your natural texture to cut it in the most flattering way.

How long before you should wash your hair depends on your hair type, the haircut style, and your stylist’s preferences.

Specifically, the following factors impact when you’ll want to wash your own hair before your cut:

  • Your hair type
  • The type of haircut: wet or dry
  • The type of haircut: precise or layers
  • If a wash is included with the cut
  • If you’re getting highlights or hair color

When You Should Wash Your Hair the Day of or Day Before the Appointment

In the following scenarios, you should wash your hair the day of or day before your appointment, ensuring that it’s dry and free of heavy hair products.

when you should wash your hair the day of or day before a haircut

You’re Getting Your Hair Colored and Cut

If you’re getting color or highlights along with a cut, stylists often request that you wash your hair 12 to 24 hours before you head to the salon. This way, they can see the current color and talk about color goals for the appointment. It also ensures that your hair is clean, while still allowing enough time for your scalp oil to form a protective barrier against irritation and staining.

You Have Wavy, Curly, or Coily Hair

Stylists may cut hair dry if your hair is wavy, curly, or coily, so your hair should ideally be washed the day of or day before the appointment. Because it needs to be completely dry, you may want to wash your hair one to two days before your cut.

That said, try to ensure that your hair is as clean as possible since the stylist will want to see how your curls lie naturally.

Hairstylists will often ask you to avoid ponytails, buns, clips, or anything else that may alter your curl pattern after you wash your hair for your appointment. Not only can these items cause breakage, but this also allows stylists to work with your natural hair texture and curl pattern, cutting your curls in a way that defines their shape and enhances their look.

You Want Layers

Cutting hair dry allows for very precise styles. If you’re going for a specific shape, a feathered look, or other layered styles, your stylist may opt for a dry cut. This is especially true if your hair has curls or a texture that stretches or changes when your hair is wet. In this case, showing up at the hair salon with recently washed but completely dry hair may be the way to go.

You Need Your Bangs Touched Up

If you’re just getting your bangs trimmed or touched up, your stylist might cut your hair while it’s wet or dry — or a mix of the two. Like with layers and curls, this allows you to get a more precise cut. It’s best to have your hair clean and dry in this instance just in case your stylist opts to cut it dry. Washing your bangs before the trim will also prevent them from being oily and lying on your forehead unnaturally.

When You Can Wash Your Hair Two to Three Days Before Your Cut

You could go two or three days without washing your hair based on your haircut, hair type, and stylists’ preferences. You may be able to arrive with it clean and wet if you know you’ll be getting a wet haircut. However, for your stylist’s sake, avoid showing up with overly greasy hair.

when you should wash your hair two to three days before a cut

You Have Straight, Thin, or Fine Hair

If you have thin, fine, or straight hair, your stylist may cut it while it’s wet. In this case, your appointment may include a shampoo, so you may not need to show up with squeaky clean hair.

When deciding on a length, keep in mind that your hair will be shorter when it dries. You may have the option of a dry or wet cut, depending on the style you want and your hairdressers’ preferences.

You’re Planning on Getting a Blunt or Straight-Across Cut

If you’re looking for a blunt cut with more length off, you might ask your stylist to cut your hair wet for more exact lines. Again, with a wet haircut, you could probably arrive without freshly washed hair. This is especially true if the stylist will shampoo and condition it before cutting it.

Should You Wash Your Hair After a Haircut?

If your stylist cuts and styles your hair, it’s unnecessary to wash it after a haircut. However, if you’re bothered by loose hair, you may feel the need for a hair wash.

While this depends on your hair type and cut, you can decide if you’d like to wash it. Keep in mind how often you should wash your hair so that you don’t damage it. Ideally, you shouldn’t overwash your hair.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

how often should you wash your hair

Washing your hair too often can cause dryness and damage. While you should shampoo after sweating, the frequency of washing depends primarily on your hair type. The recommendations are as follows, though sometimes you can wait longer by using products like dry shampoo:

  • Fine hair: Every day or every other day
  • Oily hair: Every day or every other day 
  • Medium thick hair: Every two to three days
  • Wavy or curly hair: Every four to five days
  • Dry hair: Every five to seven days
  • Thick hair: Once a week 
  • Coily hair: Once a week or every other week

If you aren’t sure what kind of hair you have, you can take our hair type quiz to find out. Remember, everyone’s hair is unique and these are just guidelines. Consult your stylist if you need help determining what’s best for your hair.

Should You Wash Your Hair Before a Hair Styling Appointment?

You should be safe to wash your hair a day or two before a styling appointment. Second-day hair will typically hold a style better than freshly washed hair. Make sure to confirm with your stylist, however, since it also depends on the hair type you have and the hair style you’re getting done.

Schedule Your Next Haircut with StyleSeat

While you should avoid showing up at your next salon appointment with greasy hair, how clean it needs to be depends on what kind of hair you have and what kind of style you want.

To achieve the exact look you have in mind, StyleSeat can help you find a beauty professional near you.

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