How to Prepare for Hair Color Appointment to Ensure the Best Outcome

Last Updated on February 6, 2023 by Gaga

Nowadays, hair dyes are less harmful than they used to be containing nourishing ingredients to counteract the damaging effect of ammonia and other chemicals. On the other hand, beauty companies are innovating protective products that reduce the harmful effects of dye chemicals and minimize the negative effects of regular coloring.

However, there are still some protective steps you can take to ensure the coloring process is completed with minimal damage to your hair and get the best possible results. Before any new color adventure, give your hair enough time to recover from previous color processing or any other chemical treatment. You can’t get the hair color of your dreams on overprocessed, lifeless hair.

In this post, we will explore how to achieve your desired hair color while maintaining your hair’s health.

A woman choosing a shade of color to dye hair

1. Don’t Wash Your Hair Two Days Before Coloring

Natural oils in your scalp and hair act as a barrier offering protection against harsh hair products. If you apply color to freshly washed hair, chemicals in hair dye can irritate your scalp and dry out your hair. That is why you shouldn’t dye your hair when it is squeaky clean. Alternatively, if you apply it to excessively oily or dirty hair the hair may not support the distribution of the dye. Leave your hair unwashed two days before coloring to allow natural oils to form a protective coating on your scalp.

2. Clarify Your Hair

If you use many styling products, they can create build-up on your hair which may interfere with the coloring process. Another kind of buildup can be caused by using hard water for washing your hair. To ensure your hair is acceptive of your chosen color, remove any buildup before applying the dye. The easiest way to remove buildup is to use a clarifying shampoo. If you have hard water in your shower a chelating shampoo is a better choice. Chelating shampoos are formulated to remove any kind of build-up, such as that from hard water, while most clarifying shampoos are made to remove only product build-up. Wash your hair with a clarifying or chelating shampoo anywhere from several days to two days before coloring. Do not use many styling products before your coloring session.

3. Use Coconut Oil Before a Color Job

Woman applying coconut oil before coloring hair

Coconut oil is a great hair moisturizer that penetrates the hair shaft and protects your hair from chemical damage. Apply coconut oil the night before or at least several hours before coloring to allow your hair to fully absorb the oil. Rub the oil into the midshaft and ends of your hair. Your ends are the driest part of your hair and need the most protection. You don’t have to apply oil close to your roots as they are protected by the scalp’s natural oils and haven’t suffered from chemical damage by the previous coloring. Several hours after applying coconut oil, you can apply the dye with the coconut oil still in the hair.  Your hair will be softer and healthier than usual.

4. Use Bond Repairing Products

In recent years it has become a practice to protect the hair during the coloring process to minimize chemical damage. Your stylist will ask you to “upgrade” offering you a higher level of protection. If you make the color appointment, make sure that your colorist uses Olaplex or another bond builder to preserve the integrity of your hair. If you are going to do the coloring job on your own, use at-home bond repairing products to minimize the damage and repair broken and damaged bonds in your hair.  

5. Conduct Patch and Strand Tests

Patch Test: You should always conduct a patch test before dyeing your hair to see how your skin will react to the chemicals in the dye. Apply a small amount of the color mixture to the area of skin on the inside of your elbow with a cotton swab. If you notice any itching, swelling, or redness, this could be a sign of an allergic reaction and you shouldn’t apply the product. If you haven’t noticed anything strange in the tested area after 48 hours then you are not allergic to the hair dye and you may apply it.

Strand test: A strand test involves dyeing a small section of your hair to see what the color will look like and can be completed at the same time as the patch test.  Use tin foil to wrap around the section to keep it from the rest of your hair. Leave the dye as long as directed on the box. Rinse and blow-dry it to see the effects. If you love what you see, continue dyeing. If you aren’t satisfied, adjust the type of dye, shade, timing, etc. The strand test is key if you are going to try a new shade. Everyone’s hair takes to dye differently. This way you can be sure that you get the exact shade you want.

How-To Do a Strand Test by Splat Hair Dye

6. Equalize Your Hair’s Porosity

How to Prepare High Porosity Hair for Color Treatment

Hair of high porosity is likely to dye unevenly. This is because most of the cuticles of the hair are lifted, allowing pigments to enter the cortex more easily. If your hair is overly porous, discuss the problem with your stylist. Hair colorists use porosity equalizers to even hair porosity before coloring. If you are going to dye your hair at home, make sure to use a neutral protein filler or a similar product to even your hair porosity and ensure the best outcome.

How to Prep Low Porosity Hair for Coloring

Low-porosity hair is likely to take longer to process color. This is because most of the cuticles of the hair are tightly closed, preventing hair products from penetrating the hair shaft. You may need more time than is directed on the box to get the desired color. Clarifying step is important to remove the product buildup that sits on the surface. It would be helpful if you apply a pre-color treatment such as Ion Pre-Color Treatment to prime your low-porosity hair for color and ensure even absorption.

a woman with freshly colored hair enjoying freedom on a sunny day

About the author

Website | + posts

Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


Leave a Comment