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When Not to Wash Your Hair

"Isn't it the first cardinal rule of perm maintenance that you're forbidden to wet your hair for at least 24 hours after getting a perm at the risk of deactivating the ammonium thioglycolate?" — Elle Woods

That the entire plot of Legally Blonde comes down to someone washing her hair at the wrong time is telling. For those that manipulate their color and texture, timing is everything. Getting your hair wet in salt water after a Keratin treatment can end in disaster, and dipping blonde hair in chlorine can yield unintended punky results. Here, a list of times when you should not wash your hair. Come on, that's what Psssssst is for! For the full list,


  • Before you dye it. The natural oils in your hair can protect it from the chemicals in dye. Don't wash your hair for a day or so before you color.
  • Before you go to the salon. As much as it might gross you out to subject your stylist to your dirty tresses during the consultation, washing your hair twice in one day can be damaging.
  • Before going to the beach, unless you love beach hair with a passion. Your hair will likely have sand and salt water in it and you'll want to wash it when you shower.
  • After you get extensions. Sources say you should wait two days after getting hair extensions to wash, and even then there are special techniques and products you might want to use. Consult your stylist.
  • After any hardcore retexturizing treatment. If you get a Keratin treatment, perm, Japanese straightening treatment, etc., there is probably a special shampoo you need to use, if any. Don't forget to ask!
  • After Botox. If you choose to get Botox, your doctor should tell you not to wash your hair for a certain amount of time to avoid bruising, headaches, or unintended results. If he or she doesn't, it's a bad sign.

When you should (or can) wash your hair:

  • When you have your period. There is an old wives' tale that dictates you shouldn't wash your hair when you are menstruating. Not true. Wash away.


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