Why You Shouldn't Cut Hair That's Dirty

December 06, 2022

When your client walks in the door for their haircut appointment, you lead them over to your salon chair for a consultation. After a quick chat about what you will be doing with their hair today, you usher them over to the shampoo bowl. Sometimes they will say "but I shampooed my hair last night" or " I prefer my second day hair". It can sometimes be hard to explain why it is so important for us to make sure their hair is clean! Let us help break it down for them.

Product Build Up and Dirty hair

Many clients may not even realize that even though they washed their hair prior, they may still have product build- up. Product build up can occur if your client uses too much product on a regular basis, or doesn't wash their hair properly, or with the right products. Hair products can leave behind oil and residue on the hair shaft. Some hair products, like clays and waxes can be hard to remove from the hair. If your client is not using the proper shampoo these will not be easy to shampoo out with normal shampoo. Clients will often try to hide greasy hair by using dry shampoo, which can also leave a film on the hair.

But why is build up such a big deal?

Well for starters, it is your responsibility as a hairstylist, to make sure your client understands the importance of taking care of their hair. After all, they spend so much time and money to walk out of the hair salon looking their best, we want them to maintain that! Product build up can be bad for their scalp and also make the hair oily. So making sure you are shampooing their hair and teaching them about the right shampoo to use is your job as their stylist!

Build up on the hair can also make a stylists job harder. Unwashed hair can often lead to your shears not cutting through the hair correctly. Dirty hair will sometimes cause your shears to push the hair, as cutting it may be hard.

And then of course there is the damage that may be done to your shears when you cut dirty hair! Your shears are expensive. Dirt, sand, build up, product etc can cause them to dull quicker, or even end up with damage to the blade! Your shears are too important to let skipping a hair washing cause them any harm!

Freshly washed hair is not only best for your client, but also best for you.

Wet or Dry Cut

This can often be a heated debate as well. Do we cut the hair wet or dry? And if we are cutting the hair dry, why do we need to shampoo it first? Why does it matter if it's clean or dirty hair?

You may prefer to cut dry hair. And you should! The dry cut definitely has a place in hair salons. However, dry cut means dry hair, not dirty hair! Clean hair is important for dry cutting as well. If a client's hair has been in a ponytail all day, or they've been at the gym for the past few days, and you try to cut their hair without washing it, the finished look may not be perfect. Unwashed hair may not fall perfecting when you try to cut it. Or hair that's been in a ponytail will have a dent that makes achieving a straight line very difficult. This means the hair will lay differently after they go home and shampoo it themselves. Squeaky clean hair and completely dry hair is how you achieve the best results for a dry cut. Many stylists will prefer to shampoo hair and blow dry it themselves for a dry cut.

Now you may still prefer to cut hair wet. And of course this may be the best way for some hair clients. You may be asked "why don't you just use the spray bottle?" Well when washing hair we can also ensure that the hair is evenly wet throughout to achieve the perfect wet cut. This is one of the reasons we wash hair before a haircut.

There's nothing like freshly washed hair

Let's be honest, we all love freshly washed hair! And it does actually serve a purpose for us as stylists. Many salons will include a shampoo with a hairstyling appointment. This is great for clients and it ensures that you get their hair as clean as you would like ! Some clients may be wary of being charged an extra cost for a shampoo, but we must explain to them the importance of clean hair. You are the hairstylist... and you know what's best for their hair!


  • Bottom icon
    Lifetime Warranty
  • Bottom icon
    Free Shipping
  • Bottom icon
    Easy Returns
  • Bottom icon
    Perfect Fit Guaranteed
  • Bottom icon
    #1 in Customer Service
  • Bottom icon
    Used by Professionals Worldwide