Anyone who changes their hair color frequently knows: keeping that gorgeous, vibrant color can be a real challenge! Before you dive into a new color, it’s important to know that some colors do fade from hair more quickly than others no matter what. This is because hair coloring is a precise science, and how well a dye lasts in hair has to do with the differing sizes of color pigment molecules and the porosity of the hair cuticle. The good news is, there are many effective tips and tricks to extend your beloved new color, and keep it brighter and more vibrant between salon visits!
Tip #1: Wait At Least 2 Days Before Washing
After coloring, wait a minimum of 48 hours after washing your hair -- 72 hours is even better.
When dyeing hair, the cuticle layer opens up, which allows the color to penetrate the hair shaft. It can take up to 3 days for the cuticle layer to close, so if you wash your hair a day or two after coloring, you are likely washing out a lot of color right out of your still-open hair cuticles and down the drain. The longer you wait to shampoo your hair after coloring, the more time the color will have to soak into the hair cuticle, and the better the color will last between salon visits.
Tip #2: Wash Less & Wash Cold
Washing hair strips it of its natural oils that help keep your hair color rich and brilliant, and also washes a little bit of dye away every single time. Hot water (and heat in general) opens up your hair cuticles, allowing color to fall out and fade even faster. So as distasteful as it might be, try to wash your hair with cold water, room temp at max. Wash hair every other day, ideally only 2-3 times a week. Use dry shampoo between washes to keep your hair looking fresh!
Tip #3: Use Color-Safe, Sulfate-Free Shampoo & Conditioner
Sodium laureth sulfate is a detergent added to many personal care products that help produce a foaming effect as well as strips moisture and oils -- making them effective at cleaning hair and unfortunately also effective at stripping hair color. Avoid any shampoos and conditioners with sulfates, and look for products that are specifically meant to be color safe.
Tip #4: Use Color Depositing Shampoos or Conditioners
Color depositing shampoos and conditioners are a fantastic way to maintain and freshen up hair color regularly without overly harsh chemicals wreaking havoc on hair health. Note: pigmented shampoos and conditioners can sometimes stain bathtubs, but usually lift easily with rubbing alcohol and a little elbow grease.
Tip #5: Cut Back On Heat Styling
As we touched on already, heat opens up the hair cuticle and will cause color to fade more quickly. Cut back on heat styling, and try out some heatless hairstyles for a fun new look! And if you do use hot tools, be sure to use a heat protectant first and keep the hair styling tool at 360 degrees or lower.
Tip #6: Indulge in Weekly Hair Masks
Moisturize your hair with weekly deep conditioning hair masks and leave in treatments, which alleviates dryness and also helps lock in color by smoothing out hair cuticles. Use a deep conditioning treatment both before and after coloring your hair to help offset damage and lock in hair color.
Tip #7: Protect Your Hair From UV Rays
Exposure to the sun and will fade color very quickly, so protect your tresses with a UV hair protectant spray and/or a wide brimmed hat when you know you’ll be spending a lot of time out of doors!