You regularly spend a small fortune to get the perfect hair color -- but then it inevitably starts to fade! So, the big question is, how can you make your hair color last longer? While you can’t keep hair color from fading forever, you can help it last longer with proper maintenance and care. Here are seven tips for keeping your highlights and hair color on point between every salon touchup.
Use Hair Care Products Designed For Colored Hair
When you color your hair, the shampoo and conditioner you choose makes a huge difference. Formulas created specifically for colored hair will not only maintain the health of your hair, but the vibrancy of your hair color as well. “Look for a gentle shampoo with a low pH factor, because that means it won’t strip away hair color unnecessarily,” advises Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas.
Consider Balayage Highlights
If you want to lighten up your hair color without committing to frequent root touch ups, talk to your stylist about getting balayage. These hand-painted highlights are placed several inches away from the scalp, usually off of your part and around your face. Because your natural hair color remains the same at your roots, you only need to refresh balayage highlights two or three times a year. “Right now we’re doing a lot of wheat-y blonde highlights,” comments Papanikolas. “This shade is sophisticated and luxurious.”
Focus On Shine
Shiny hair always looks better than dull hair, and for red hair color and brunette hair color, shine is particularly important. One of the best ways to keep your hair color looking shiny is with a leave-in conditioner spray. A multi-tasking leave-in conditioner will detangle, protect your hair from sun and heat damage and soften and seal the hair cuticle, all of which enhances hair shine. Plus, since you don’t rinse it out, it stays busy all day long!
Prevent Dryness And Hair Damage
Dry, damaged hair is no friend to your hair color. Hair that is not in good condition will cause hair color to look dull and also cause hair color to fade more quickly. That’s why Papanikolas often applies a deep treatment hair mask after many of his hair color and highlighting appointments. Formulated specifically for color-treated hair, his favorite hair mask enhances the shine and vibrance of every hue. It’s also important to continue applying a mask at home in between hair color appointments, he notes, to maintain the best possible condition and prolong hair color results.
Brighten Your Blonde Hair With Purple Shampoo
Over time, blonde hair and highlights can become brassy or yellow. This can be due to a number of factors, including too-frequent or incorrect shampooing, exposure to UV light or over-use of hot tools. An occasional application of a purple shampoo will help cancel out those unwanted warm tones. To understand how purple shampoo works, start with basic color theory. Colors that sit opposite on the color wheel will neutralize each other. Yellow sits opposite violet. Therefore, applying a violet or purple formula to blonde hair, platinum hair or white hair that has yellowed will neutralize the unwanted warmth and restore the desired cool shade. That’s why purple shampoo is a great option for those with blonde, platinum, silver, grey, white or pastel hair color. It can also be used on brunette hair with blonde highlights.
Air Dry More, Blow Dry Less
Using thermal hair styling tools is the best way to achieve a sleek blow-out or bouncy beach waves, but heat is hands down the enemy of hair color. Modern thermal tools get super-hot—that’s how they get the job done—but those high temperatures cause hair to become dry and brittle, which in turn causes your hair color to fade. Here are a few solutions. First, invest in high quality thermal hair tools with a wide range of temperature settings. Then set the temperature as low as possible for your hair type and texture. Fine or thin hair needs very little heat to get the job done; thick and coarse hair can withstand higher temperatures. Next, always prep your hair with a thermal protector before exposing it to heat. These formulas will prevent your hair from scorching and overheating. Finally, skip the hot tools altogether and explore the possibilities of air drying your hair whenever possible. Apply an air-dry styling formula to damp hair to prevent frizz; it will leave your hair looking glossy and polished when it dries.
Shampoo And Rinse With Cool Water
Skin care pros often use steam during a facial because they know that warm, damp air helps to open up the pores, making it easier for their lovely lotions and potions to penetrate. When it comes to your hair, however, it’s a different story. Hot water opens up the surface cuticle of each hair strand, which allows hair color to escape from the deeper layers. This is especially true of red hair color molecules, which tend to be larger and therefore more difficult to absorb and retain. So try to shampoo and condition your hair with warm or even lukewarm water, not hot, and rinse with water as cool as you can stand to keep your hair color as fresh looking as possible, for as long as possible.