Should I Cut Or Color My Hair First? 

When you decide to change up your hair, you may choose to cut and color it. But it can be difficult to decide on the order.

Should I cut or color my hair first?” you ask? Keep reading for the answer. We will list out all the scenarios where you should cut before and where you should cut after coloring. Make sure you read until the end! 

Should I Cut Or Color My Hair First? 

The answer depends on:

  • The kind of haircut you want to get 
  • Your hair’s current state and health 
  • The technique and products you will use on your hair 

Different scenarios will require a different approach. For example, if you are getting a special hairstyle or layer style, you will want to cut before you color. But if you are bleaching your hair, it is better to color before you cut. 

For the details, continue reading! 

Cutting Your Hair BEFORE Coloring It: 

When you want to get a special hairstyle 

If you are getting a special hairstyle like a bob cut or pixie cut, we suggest getting it cut before coloring it. There are three key reasons why. 

First, you can see what your hair looks like before working with colors. 

This is especially important if you are going for a completely different hairstyle.

You will have more control over how your hair turns out in the end so you will less likely be dissatisfied with your new style. 

Second, you can save time, effort, and money on the lengths of hair you will not dye because you have already cut it off. 

This mostly has to do with practicality. It simply does not make sense to invest time and effort (yours and your hair technician’s), as well as money and hair product into dyeing your hair, then chopping it off right after. 

Third, you leave yourself with only the “young” hair that is strong enough to take on the coloring process. 

Since your hair grows from the roots, recently cut hair will be the “young” ones that have yet to go through damaging chemical processes.

As a result, they are healthier and strong enough to endure your upcoming dye process. 

When you want to get a layer style

If you intend to get a layer hairstyle, it is crucial that you cut before coloring it. It is essential because where you apply the dye for the coloring depends on where your layers are. 

If you color your hair before cutting it, the color that is shown as your hair moves in the layered cut may not turn out the way you want it to. Case in point: Have control over how your hair looks by cutting it first, then coloring it after. 

When you want to dye highlights

When you want to get highlights such as a balayage or a fading color effect, a cut or a trim will help you make the right decision about where your highlights should go. 

With less hair, the processing duration will be shorter, and your overall hair damage will be minimized. Also if you apply color beforehand, your cut may chop off uneven parts of the highlights, ruining your hairstyle across the board. 

When your hair is quite damaged 

This builds from the notion mentioned earlier. Damaged hair is dry, brittle, weak, and almost always accompanied by split ends.

Hair in this state cannot survive the chemical-packed coloring process. Therefore, cutting the hair off before dyeing it is the better option. It will, in turn, promote the growth of new, healthier hair. 

Damaged hair is also tricky to style. You cannot work it the way you want to, and usually, you will just end up with a tired look. So, if your hair is quite damaged, cut it before you color. 

Cutting Your Hair AFTER Coloring It: 

When you are bleaching your hair to correct uneven tones  

You may decide to bleach your hair to correct its uneven tones.

In this case, you will need to bleach your hair to lighten the parts of the hair that are darker than others. This can make the hair look more uniformed.

But, unfortunately, it will damage the hair and result in split ends, which need to be cut off. 

When you are bleaching your hair to completely change its color 

If you want a complete change and sport an entirely different color, you will need to bleach your whole head.

This requires an aggressive process, which can lead to a lot of damage. Therefore, after completing the bleaching procedure, it is best to cut off the damaged areas. 

When you want to lighten your hair 

This refers to when you want to bleach your hair or dye it a light blonde. Every time you do this, the ends of your hair will dry out and split. As such, your hair becomes dull and lifeless.

If you do not want this to happen, cut it after your color. It will also allow your hair to grow back healthier!

When you want to get a super-short hairstyle

Although we previously mentioned this as a reason to cut before you color, there is another factor that makes it fall under this category of color-then-cut.

Super-short hairstyles like a lob can be difficult to section and apply dye to. It is easy to overlap color as well. Thus, by this token, applying color before a haircut is preferable.  

Tips Take Care Hair After Getting A Haircut & Coloring It

After cutting and coloring your hair, to keep it in good condition, there are several things you should do:  

Change Your Hair Care Regimen

You will need to make changes to your hair care regimen now that you have cut and colored your hair.

It is necessary to get hair products that are compatible with/safe for your new color-treated hair. This means going shopping and getting at least a new color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

You must also try to: 

  • Cut down on the hair wash 
  • Use cool water instead of hot water 
  • Minimize use of heat-styling tools 

Use Moisturizers 

Keeping your hair hydrated is a key step in taking care of your hair after cutting and coloring it.

There are a variety of hair products in the market that you can use to do this, such as hair masks, hair serums, deep conditioners, and leave-in conditioners. 

Hair Masks

Hair masks are like face masks, but for your hair. They are usually made of a mixture of hydrating ingredients and agents like butters and oils. Oftentimes, they also have softeners and strengtheners to nourish the hair. 

There are specific usage instructions for each product. However, in general, you use it as follows: 

  1. Shampoo and rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water. 
  2. Apply the mask to your hair. 
  3. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse it with water.  
  5. Dry your hair with a towel and style as you normally would. 

You should use a hair mask at least once a week. If your hair feels like it needs extra pampering, you can use it twice or thrice a week. 

Hair Serums

Hair serums are styling products that coat the surface of the hair. 

Aside from moisturizing, they can smoothen the hair. add shine, reduce tangles, and enhance straightness or lock curls in place. By the same token, hair serums can aid in taming frizz. If this is a problem you have, hair serums may be the answer you are looking for. 

For boosting straightness, go for serums that have smoothing properties. These will help your hair appear straighter. 

On the other hand, for curls, select hair serums with a light formula; heavy ones can weigh down the curls and depress their natural bounce. 

Here is how to use serums:

  1. Clean your hair but keep it damp. 
  2. Dispense 1 to 2 drops of serum to the palm of your hand. 
  3. Warm the serum for 5 seconds between your hands. 
  4. Apply the serum to your hair, working upward from the ends. 
    1. Do not apply the serum to your roots. It may look greasy as a result. 
    2. Try to spread the serum evenly. 
  5. Comb your hair gently using a brush with a wide-tooth. Ensure the serum, is distributed evenly from the middle to the ends. 
  6. Style your hair as you normally would. 

Note: You can also use the serum to touch up your hair throughout the day. 

You should use hair serums on days you wash your hair or special days, and not use them daily. If you accidentally apply too much, your hair will become greasy.

So, it is critical to use it with care. Nonetheless, in any case, you can fix the greasiness with dry shampoo. 

Deep Conditioners

These are products that contain humectants and emollients that together, add and retain moisture in the hair. They can also detangle the hair, decrease frizz, enhance shine, minimize breakage, and increase smoothness so the appearance of the hair is optimized. 

Anyone can benefit from using a deep conditioner. But we especially recommend it to those with severely damaged or dry hair. 

Generally, the steps to using deep conditioners are: 

  1. Shampoo and rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water. 
  2. Apply the conditioner. 
    1. All the way to or very close to the roots if you have dry hair or tight curls. 
    2. From the mid-shaft to the ends of your hair if you have oily hair. 
    3. Note: Do not use too much. Otherwise, it can weigh down your hair and make it feel or look greasy.
  3. Coat all your strands by combing with a wide-tooth comb or your fingers. 
  4. Let it sit for as long as your product packaging specifies. Usually, it is from 20 to 30 minutes. 
  5. Rinse again with cool water. This helps close the hair cuticles, which, in turn, leaves the nourishing oils infused in the hair.

Another option is applying the deep conditioner, wearing a plastic shower cap, and sitting under a dryer or heated lamp. This way, the conditioner can seep through to your hair. 

You can also consider sleeping with the deep conditioner on your hair and rinsing it out the next morning. In this case, do not forget to use plastic hair wrap or put on a plastic shower cap to prevent staining your pillows! 

Leave-In Conditioners

These are also called no-rinse or leave-on conditioners. Generally, they are applied to towel-dried hair, after you have washed it, and before you start styling.

As said in the name, these products are not washed off the hair. They are great at countering dryness, dullness, and damage.

Leave-in conditioners can do more than regular conditioners. While the latter adds moisture and shine and stabilizes the pH level, the former “ups” the game by also rebuilding the weakened protein structure and increasing the hair’s elasticity. This, in turn, improves the hair’s overall health. 

Moreover, leave-in conditioners’ formulas are more lightweight. They cannot weigh your hair down or cause it to gunk up immediately.

Nonetheless, you should not use leave-in conditioners daily, as they can result in nasty build-ups. It is better to use them once or twice a week. 

Note: If you observe that your hair is becoming limp or too oily, you should adjust your regime to use the conditioner less frequently. 

Use Heat Protection Products 

Heat protection products (aka. heat protectants) protect your hair from heat. These can come as a spray, cream, or serum. They add a barrier between the hair and heat styling tools to reduce the negative effects inflicted on your hair. 

A lot of protectants contain humectants, while some are silicone- and water-based. Typically, you apply these before you use hot equipment, such as hot rollers, curling irons, straighteners, crimpers, and blow dryers. 

You can rest assured that heat protectants work as “shields” for your hair. Users on the Internet will tell you this, and any hair technician/hairdresser can confirm that they are must-haves in hair care kits. 

Depending on the ingredients in the formula of your heat protectant, you can also enjoy tamed frizz, conditioned tresses, and overall, added shine. 

Use Hats & Umbrellas When Going Outside 

Hats and umbrellas are essential accessories that you should never forget when you go outside.

They help shield your hair against the damaging ultraviolet radiation, as UV exposure can damage the hair fibers and hence, lead to dryness and brittleness, stiffness and roughness, discoloration, and reduced strength.

Use Dry Shampoo To Extend Time Between Washings 

Shampooing too much after dyeing your hair speeds up its fading and discoloration. As such, it is important to space out your washings. You can extend the periods by using dry shampoo. 

Dry shampoos soak oil and grease in your hair by depositing absorbing ingredients, such as charcoal, clay, silica, rice starch,… They give you the option of shampooing without water and leave your hair feeling cleaner, lighter, and fresher. 

Dry shampoos usually come in a spray bottle. Here are the generic steps to follow: 

  1. Hold the dry shampoo about four to six inches from your hair. 
  2. Press the dispensing trigger to spritz the product directly at the roots. Start where it feels oiliest, and go over your entire head, one section at a time 
  3. Massage the product into your scalp and roots using your fingers. 
  4. Smooth out your hair using a hair brush or comb to complete the styling. 

In addition, you can use dry shampoo to add hold and texture to the hair and keep a blowout for a longer period of time! That being said, they will certainly be valuable when added to your hair care kit. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that you should always use dry shampoo in moderation. In any case, do not overuse it or become overly dependent on it. 


Now that you have finished reading our article on should I cut or color my hair first? You are armed with information to make your own decision. So, let us know in the comments, will you be cutting or coloring first? We would love to hear from you!


Think of Well-Kept Beauty as your personal beauty professional – advising you on whether to switch up your beauty routine, re-up on a must-have product you are running low on, and even pinging you the best deals on the market. Now, let's take your beauty routine to the next level and keep your products doing what they promised!

Recent Posts