For Once and For All, This Is When to Color Your Hair Before Your Wedding

Two professional colorists weigh in.

Updated 09/28/18

Alyssa Greenberg

Whether you have a fuss-free beauty routine or skew a little high maintenance (no shame!), having extraordinary hair color on your wedding day is a big deal for many brides. Whether you're a hair-coloring enthusiast or considering a dye job for the first time, you have a lot to figure out when it comes to dying your hair before a major event such as your wedding.

Regardless of your hair type or color—long, short, thin, thick, dry, oily, red, brunette, blonde, you get it...—it all depends on the type of service you want to have done before the big day, from highlights to a root touch up or possibly a dramatic change. All of these coloring services are totally doable before your I do's, but giving yourself an appropriate amount of time prenuptials is key to ensure your locks look their best. You are going to be in the spotlight before your closest family and friends (not to mention you’ll likely have hundreds of photos taken of you throughout the day), and gorgeous hair color is an important piece of the beauty puzzle to not only enhance your bridal look, but make you feel your absolute best.

For a professional take on the right time to color your hair before your wedding, we tapped two industry experts, Adrian Wallace, a colorist at the Rita Hazan salon in New York City, and Chase Kusero, co-founder of IGK Hair Care. From bright highlights to rich all-over color, read on for their pro advice, plus the best products to use to maintain a gorgeous mane.

The most popular hair color requests before a wedding

Adrian Wallace: “Typically women want to go lighter for their wedding. They want to look softer and brighter.”

Chase Kusero: “Most women come in for root maintenance and we get a lot of requests for highlights for a pop of light and color dimension.”

When to book an appointment if you’re getting a routine service

Chase: “Come in two weeks before your wedding for a routine color to give it time to settle, look more natural, and to make any adjustments if necessary.”

If you’re considering a drastic color change

Adrian: “When women want to go lighter and it’s a drastic change (like brunette to blonde), the time frame is around six months or at least four salon visits.”

Chase: “Be clear with your colorist on the end result you’re looking for and bring photos for inspiration. Figure out what he/she thinks about timing and set out a plan for how often you’ll come in. You want to start as soon as possible to give your hair time to adjust to the new look and to make any changes. Especially for big color changes, your hair needs time to go through all the processes.”

Coloring service to avoid before your wedding

Adrian: “Going a solid shade (like from highlights to one even color) or going red if you are not a redhead already.”

Chase: “Don’t make a drastic change too close to the wedding. Give yourself enough time. And don’t go too trendy with your look. These pictures are forever, so you want to make sure you’ll still like your style years from now.”

If you’ve never colored your hair, but might want to

Chase: “Start a few months out to give time for adjustments. Start close to your natural color and make small adjustments until you’re comfortable making a bigger change. Make sure you have a thorough conversation with your colorist so you’re on the same page and have the same goal in mind.”

If you have your color done before your wedding, but you’re unhappy with it

Chase: “You can always say if a style isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, or if you wanted something more subtle or with more impact for your wedding. At the end of the day, colorists are professionals and in the customer service industry—they want you to be happy with your color and will understand if you want to make a change. A corrective color appointment could be okay—it will depend on your hair type and what needs to be done. Your colorist would be able to advise.”

If you’re considering a new colorist

Chase: “It’s not usually a good idea unless you’re able to go a few months before your wedding. It’s best to stay with your current colorist who already knows how your hair responds to color and treatments. Everyone is different.”

If your hair is dry and vulnerable to a lot of breakage

Adrian: “Women with fragile hair should get color that is not much lighter than their own. Tone-on-tone highlights are the way to go. The lighter you make it, the more damage can happen. Ask your colorist to add B3 bond builder in the color to protect the hair from such damage. Also, do protein treatments regularly, like the Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy.”

SHOP NOW: Sephora, $42

Chase: “For hair that’s prone to dryness, go easy on the highlighting or lightening. Bleach will only dry your hair out more. Try to space out your appointments more, too, so you’re not applying color too often. Use hydrating and repairing products when washing or styling. IGK Bad & Bougie Amla Oil Deep Repair shampoo and conditioner rehydrate, protect, and repair even the most dry, damaged hair. Then, use Expensive Amla Oil Hi-Shine Topcoat glaze in place of or in addition to your conditioner once or twice a week—it acts as an in-shower gloss treatment to protect and enhance color, adds intense shine, and deeply softens hair.

When styling, use products like Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm to soften, reduce frizz, and add shine, and Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel to add light hold and nourish hair.”

Courtesy of IGK Hair Care

SHOP NOW: Sephora, $25

Courtesy of IGK Hair Care

SHOP NOW: Sephora, $25

Courtesy of IGK Hair Care

SHOP NOW: Sephora, $29

Courtesy of IGK Hair Care

SHOP NOW: Sephora, $29

Courtesy of IGK Hair Care

SHOP NOW: Sephora, $29

The best products to use to maintain your color

Adrian: “I like Inphenom shampoo and conditioner. It’s sulphate free and nourishes the hair and makes it soft. Use Rita Hazan Triple Threat before styling to protect the hair from heat and get smooth results. You must use great products to protect your investment—your beautiful color!”

Courtesy of Milbon

SHOP NOW: Walmart, $34.69

Courtesy of Milbon

SHOP NOW: Amazon, $30.99

Courtesy of Rita Hazan

SHOP NOW: Dermstore, $30

Chase: “Always use a sulfate-free shampoo. All of IGK’s products are vegan, gluten-free, and free from sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, and mineral oil. Always use heat protection before you use any hot tools. I love Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Smoothing Spray—it gives a high-shine, frizz-free blowout with 450°F heat protection. Most importantly, protect your hair from UV rays—they can make hair go brassy or dry quickly, so be sure to wear a hat or a UV protective product when in the sun. All IGK products protect from UV rays.

For extra protection, use Blocked Water-Resistant Hair Shield whenever you’re in the sun—it seals the cuticles to protect against chlorine, wind, sweat, water, and UV rays.”

Courtesy of IGK Hair Care

SHOP NOW: Sephora, $32

Courtesy of IGK Hair Care

SHOP NOW: Sephora, $29

Related Stories