It’s easy to switch up hair colors constantly, but your hard-earned (and oftentimes pricey) dye job will fade if you don’t put in some work. We checked in with Dallas Benjamin, a colorist at SCK Salon, for a breakdown on what you need to keep your color bright, longer. Check out his tips, along with some of our favorite buys, before you go from blonde to brunette.
Color-Safe Shampoo and Conditioner
If you’re going to buy one thing after a color, this is it. Permanent hair dye doesn’t mean it lasts forever, and washing your hair directly contributes to color fade. Benjamin recommends looking for something that’s gentle and obviously, holds that “color safe” tag of approval. Overall though, he mentions that you should try to limit how much you wash your hair. As a rule, hot water opens the hair cuticle, and hair color can then wash out. Your hair fibers may already be damaged if you dye your hair regularly, so keeping that color will be even harder.
Our Pick: Pureology Nano Works Gold Shampoo ($44) and Conditioner ($47) is a company that specifically caters to colored-treated hair. This new launch includes a UVA/UVB-blocking complex to fight color fade from the sun, along with marula oil, which is rich in antioxidants and helps smooth, condition, and fight off free radicals.
Heat Protectant Spray
You should be using this whether you have color-treated hair or not. “The heat protective spray and creams protect the hair and color from any hot tools—like a flat iron—that will dry out your hair and lift your color,” says Benjamin. He also notes that leave-in conditioners can serve as substitutes, as they also protect from color fade caused by the sun, water, or heat tools.
Our Pick: Alterna Caviar Repair Rx’ Multi-Vitamin Heat Protection Spray ($30). You’ll get protection for up to 450 degrees with this product, which is made with vitamins A, B, C, and E to boost the health, feel, and appearance of your hair.
Benjamin says that in-between colorist appointments, where you may get an in-salon treatment, you should be using a moisturizing color mask. He says this product will help keep your hair “shiny, vibrant, and damage-free” It makes sense, too. When hair is dry, the cuticle may be damaged, thus allowing substances to pass through and either warp, fade, or wash out the color. Using a mask that repairs the cuticle will help keep hair moisturized and protected.
Our Pick: L’Oreal Inoacolor Care Protective Mask for Very Dry Hair ($35). This in-shower mask is made with argan oil to smooth and hydrate your hair. Bonus: you only have to leave it in for 3 minutes.
Remember that thing about not washing your hair so much? You’ll need dry shampoo to get through that. Benjamin says to spritz on some dry shampoo in-between shampoos. This will absorb the oils at your scalp and help prevent fading because your hair won’t have as much contact with water. It’ll also help keep your hair hydrated—too much H20 can mean dry, brittle strands.
Our Pick: Aveeno Pure Renewel Dry Shampoo ($7). It’s sulfate-free, so it’ll do the job without being harsh on your hair. It’s also less than $10, which means you can save up for that touch-up appointment.
Hair color is a high maintenance machine, but if you stay on top of your after-care routine, you’ll be way more successful in fighting the fade.