The best ways to wash and prep your hair before your salon appointment

Should you wash your hair before a salon appointment? What about treatments and masks?

Preparing for a visit to the hair salon sounds crazy. After all, isn't it part of your hairdresser's job to wash and treat your hair?

We're not saying that you have to waltz into the salon with a fancy updo and do your own highlights — but there are a few things you can do in the week up to your cut and colour to boost the effects of any treatments or help dye disperse evenly through your hair.

Make sure you're using the best products for your hair to maximise the treatments you get at your salon. Ask your hairdresser about your hair type and hair needs. Dry hair needs specific treatments compared to damaged hair, and blonde hair should be treated with specially formulated products to avoid brassiness.

Should you wash your hair before a haircut?

General rule of thumb: come with clean(ish) hair.

This doesn't necessarily mean freshly washed hair (2-3 days from your last shampoo is generally fine).

But hair that is overly dirty, greasy or even just full of product makes it harder for hairdressers to get to know your hair in its natural state.

Hairdressers need to touch your hair when it's dry and without product to know how your hair behaves and what suits it best.

What to do:
- wash your hair at least 3 days before your appointment
- ease up on styling products (or go without if you're comfortable with it!)
- detangle your hair so your hairdresser doesn't waste valuable cutting and styling time on combing out knots

Should you wash your hair before a colour salon appointment?

Hair dyes are not as harsh as they were in the past. Before, hairdressers would tell clients to avoid washing their hair before an appointment as the scalp's natural oils would protect hair from the chemicals.

But now, salon dyes are formulated to be more gentle and less irritating. This means it's much safer for your hair to be dyed when freshly washed, but freshly washed hair isn't essential.

What to do:
- wash your hair 12-24 hours before your appointment. Make sure to wash out any at-home 'touch-up colour' treatments or dry shampoo, as this can affect how well the dye absorbs
- don't scrub at your scalp with your nails -- any small scratches or broken skin will tingle or get irritated with colour or bleach
- don't use oils to treat your hair until after your colour. Excess oil will stop dyes from penetrating properly.

Should you wash your hair before a styling appointment?

If you're going into the salon for an updo only, come in with dry but not squeaky clean hair.

Freshly cleaned hair is more slippery than 1- or 2-day old hair because it doesn't have any natural oils. Those natural oils help to shape hair and keep them there — without them, clean hair strands just slip out of place.

Dry hair is important because moisture can affect the final product. As wet hair dries, your hair's texture and volume changes, which means that your hair may look different an hour after you walk out of the salon.

What to do:
- wash your hair the night before and blow-dry your hair to ensure it's completely dry for your appointment.
- try blow-drying your hair upside down for extra volume so that your hairdresser has a fantastic base to work with.