Should I Wash My Hair Before Getting a Haircut?

The question of should you wash hair before haircut has been asked and answered by many people but doesn’t ever seem to reach a consensus. Depending on who you ask, depending on your hair, and depending on the haircut you’re going to get, you’ll get different answers.

And while this may sound like a copout, that’s exactly our answer – it depends. And the main factors on which it depends are:

  • Exactly how dirty/unwashed your hair is.
  • Whether you’re getting a dry or wet haircut.
  • What are the preferences of your barber/hairstylist?

So, let’s go over these points one by one.

Should I wash my hair before getting it cut if it’s dirty?

Regardless of what type of haircut you’re getting and where you’re getting it, if your hair is too dirty, you’d do well to wash it. There’s nothing shameful in not having washed your hair for a while – we all have overly hectic periods of time when there’s just no time to wash our hair.

However, if there are too much dirt and debris in your hair you risk any type of haircut you get to be uneven once you wash and dry your hair afterward.

Should I wash my hair before going to the barber for a wet or dry haircut?

If you know your barber or hairstylist is going to give you a dry haircut, i.e. he/she will cut your hair dry, then it’s usually better to wash and dry your hair yourself first.

If you know your barber or hairstylist will give you a wet haircut, then there would be no need to wash your hair first – they’ll do it for you anyway.

So, this is all a matter of communication and it addresses both the second and third points we’re interested in – call your barber beforehand and ask them how they wish to proceed. Or, if you insist on getting a dry haircut because you don’t want to pay for the wash, then just do that.

What about hairstyling, bleaching, or coloring?

If you’re going to the barber or hairstylist for something other than a haircut, things can seem a bit more complicated. They really aren’t, however. For almost all procedures, it’s best to go with a clean and dry hair. So, if your hair was especially dirty, you should wash it and dry it properly. And if it wasn’t too dirty anyway, it’s usually ok to not wash it – it’s all a matter of degree.

In fact, for most styling procedures, the rule of thumb is “Second-day hair is the best hair”. That’s because it’s both clean and dry enough to be easy to work on and to hold a style better.

But the even broader and simpler rule is – just don’t stress it. Experienced hairstylists and barbers have seen it all so you can hardly surprise them with anything. And if you’re not sure what to do, you can always just call them ahead of time and check with them.

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