How to Make Your Hair Color Last For Ages

Aly Walansky
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Girl with red hair

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We regularly spend a good chunk of money to have perfect hair color – and then it fades before we get to enjoy it! The most budget-friendly hair color is the kind which we can make last the longest, and there’s a lot of tricks to stretch the color and evade the fade!

Avoid hot showers:
Hot water doesn’t only dry out your skin, it can decrease the life of your hair color. CHI Stylist Shawnee Heltsley says the temperature of water is crucial! Hold off on hot water and use room temperature water for shampooing and cooler water for conditioning. When using hot water, the heat of it opens up your cuticle releasing your precious color and moisture as well. “I always tell my clients to shampoo and rinse with room temp water; towel dry, condition, then rinse with the coldest water you can stand to seal that cuticle shut. This will provide longer lasting color, keeping your locks nice and hydrated while also eliminating split ends,” says Heltsley.

Swim smartly:
Protect your hair in the sun and chlorine. Use a hair protector with SPF when in the sun, pool and ocean to keep your color from fading, says Pasquale Caselle, International Creative Director/Master Hair Colorist for IT&LY Hairfashion, N.A. A product with sunflower oil is great as it also has antioxidants to protect the hair.

MORE: Transition Into Fall with 5 Fun New Hair Color Ideas

Stay away from too many heat tools:
Staying away from your hot tools the first week after coloring your hair will also help prevent the color from fading, says celebrity colorist Michael Boychuck. Hot tools such as blow dryers and straighteners actually speed up the process of your color fading. While these tools are sometimes necessary, it is best to stay away from them the first week or so after you color your hair.

Try to wait out that first wash as long as possible:
Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist Mitch Stone says that the new dry shampoo offerings on the market can be a boon to newly-colored hair: because you are washing less, color lasts longer. “I always have my clients not wash their hair after color as long as they can go – at least 24 to 48 hours really helps preserve,” he said. When you do wash, opt for a gentle sulfate-free shampoo.

Invest in a shower filter:
This will remove chemicals, chlorine and minerals from your shower water, says Caselle. Hard water strips your hair’s color and natural oils, these filters minimize color rinsing down the drain.

 

MORE: Find Out What the Best Hair Color For You Really Is

Prep your hair:
One to two days before a ‎color service, use a chelating shampoo to remove styling product build up, Caselle suggests. Use a deep conditioning mask once a week to put hydration back in the hair, this will help keep color from fading.

Use a thermal protectant:
Use a thermal protectant to protect against heat damage from styling tools. Thermal protectants will help reduce color fade by keeping the integrity of the hair in good condition, says Caselle.

Think twice about deep conditioners:
A deep conditioning or at-home masks sounds like a great idea, but can fade a rich brunette or vibrant red, says Meche Salon colorist, Kari Hill. The conditioner/mask is designed to get deep in the hair follicle to moisturize; however, when the conditioner/mask is rinsed out, it takes the color molecule with it – resulting in the color fading. To avoid this, a good daily conditioner not left on an excessive amount of time is perfect.

However, to stay ahead of the game Boychuck recommends doing a deep conditioning treatment to your luscious locks about a week before having your hair colored. This will allow the dye to soak into your strands, giving wonderful results.

You don’t need to apply color to dirty hair:
Considering the initial application and continued maintenance and longevity of hair color, the preconceived thought that “color takes better on dirty hair,” is simply false, says Hill. The only time in which an oily scalp may be a good idea is when you’re very sensitive to color applied directly on the scalp. In this case, don’t wash your hair (that agitates the scalp) or exercise (sweating/opening pores) the day you get color. Color also takes more evenly from root to end if it doesn’t have obstacles to break through: grease/oil or product buildup, Hill says.

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