There’s a lot to love about about a long, hot soak in the bath.

Whether you choose to close your eyes and enjoy some soothing music, or indulge in a bit trash TV (if you can find a way that doesn’t risk dunking your tablet in the tub), sinking into the suds lets you escape the world and all your worries, if only for a while.


There’s one bath-based dilemma many of us face, however: what do you do if you need to wash your hair?

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You’ve been soaking in the water for a while, and you might have thrown in a slug of bubble bath, a handful of magnesium salts or a drizzle of scented oil. Is it OK to now lather up your locks in the very same water?

“You should not wash your hair in the bath,” says Adam Jones, of Live True London salons. “If you use products like bath soaks or bubble bath, this will expose your hair to and soak it in fragranced and coloured water, which can dry your hair out, leach it of colour and cause damage.”

Woman in bath with wet hair

Even if you don’t use soaks or salts in your bath, it’s not great to soak your strands for a long time, he adds: “Soaking your hair in water can expand the follicle and leave it open and more vulnerable to tangling and damage.”

Michael Douglas, hair stylist and expert ambassador for Clairol, warns: “Washing your hair in the bath isn’t great for getting your hair clean, due to the water already being slightly dirty.”

Plus, the dirty water will “require you to use more product to get it clean, and might also leave your hair more greasy, therefore making it harder to style” afterwards.

Man in bubble bath washing hair

What about if you’ve got coloured hair? Could washing it in the bath affect the colour?

“Washing coloured hair in the bath won’t have any detrimental effects on the colour,” Douglas says. “But it might reduce the level of shine, compared to washing with clean water in the shower.”

So if you want optimal shine and squeaky-clean locks, you’ll have to switch on the shower at the end of your bath, or separate your hair-washing and bathing routines.

“It’s always better to use clean water and rinse each product thoroughly out after you’ve used it,” Jones concludes. “Then finish with a blow-dry with warm heat.”

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