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Maintaining Hair Color’s Freshness for an Extended Period

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

If you capture hundreds of selfies immediately following the coloring of your hair, that’s totally reasonable — after all, your color starts to fade (ugh) from the moment you step into the shower. Water unveils the cuticle — the protective outer layer resembling scales — of your hair, enabling pigment molecules to escape, as noted by renowned colorist Michael Canalé. Furthermore, minerals in your water (in addition to UV rays outdoors) can result in the oxidation of hair color, leading to an unintended yellow or orange hue.

Thankfully, there are measures you can take to prevent your hair color from fading between salon visits or DIY dye sessions without compromising the health of your hair. Here are four of the most effective ways to maintain vibrant hair color and avoid fading, according to professional colorists.

Try a Gloss Treatment

One of the optimal techniques for prolonging the duration between coloring sessions, a hair gloss treatment is a semi-permanent procedure that can enhance the luster of your strands and intensify the color. You have the choice between a transparent gloss, which solely enhances shine, or a colored gloss, which can subtly alter the shade. The colored option can effectively rectify the tone of your color, as stated by Brittany King, a colorist based in NYC and Los Angeles.

“With numerous clients who are brunettes with highlights, I often recommend returning for a gloss treatment after two to three months,” she suggests. “It maintains the freshness of their color and avoids the damage caused by frequent highlights,” she adds. In contrast to standard permanent dyes, gloss treatments do not contain ammonia or peroxide, chemicals that can render your hair more vulnerable to harm. Furthermore, apart from preventing faded hair color, they also provide a protective coating for each strand, safeguarding them against environmental factors like UV rays.

Revamp Your Shower Routine

There’s nothing quite like indulging in a soothing, warm shower after an exhausting workout. Even better? Treating yourself to a calming scalp massage while you shampoo. It may feel amazing, but consistently scrubbing and drenching your hair can wreak havoc on your hair color. That’s because the greater the amount of water your hair absorbs, the more the strands expand and bloat, ultimately leading to the opening of the cuticle and the leakage of dye. Therefore, if you have colored hair, it might be best to avoid washing it daily and instead opt for every three to four days.

And you might also avoid hotter water to prevent faded hair color: Firstly, warmth has a tendency to widen the cuticle even further. Secondly, hair strands are layered with a protective coating of lipids, which decelerate the speed at which hair absorbs water. Heat can erode these lipids. Bearing that in mind, withstand the temptation to raise the temperature when you are in the shower, advises Canalé. (You might also consider taking actress Sydney Sweeney’s AquaBliss shower filter endorsement for enhanced strands.)

And when it comes to selecting a shampoo and conditioner, at the very least, you should be utilizing formulas that are labeled “color-safe,” states Canalé. They have a tendency to be free from harsh cleansers occasionally utilized in other products and also possess a lower pH (vs. a high pH, which can also result in the cuticle to open). If you’re seeking to rectify your hair’s shade, you can try a “color-depositing” shampoo or conditioner to adjust your hair. For instance, a purple-tinged product such as Christophe Robin Shade Variation Hair Mask in Baby Blonde (Purchase It, $53, sephora.com) can neutralize yellow tones while a blue product such as Joico Color Balance Blue Conditioner (Purchase It, $24, ulta.com) will counteract brassiness.

product photo of color wow root coverup powderproduct photo of joico color balance blue shampoo

Conceal Roots with a Camouflage Agent

product photo of christophe robin shade variation mask in baby blonde

“Roots are currently trendy,” expresses Canalé. “However, if you wish to hide them, utilize a concealer instead; refrain from harming the original color of your hair,” he advises. Intended to mask regrowth between dyeing sessions, root concealers have a superficial effect and do not penetrate the hair strand, thus avoiding the damage caused by chemical processes like dyeing.

Simply apply the concealer, whether in powder or mist form, whenever you desire to conceal your roots, and then rinse it off at the end of the day. Color Wow Root Cover Up (Purchase It, $35, dermstore.com) provides a powder option that is resistant to sweat but can be washed out with shampoo. As an alternative mist, Canalé recommends Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray (Purchase It, $34, dermstore.com).

Combat Accumulation

Hair products, chlorine, and minerals (e.g., copper, iron) in water, as well as pollutants (such as soot and dust), can all amass on your hair, resulting in lackluster appearance and color alteration. “Your hair naturally accumulates residue that gives it a peculiar coating,” states King. “Removing it restores the vividness of your hair color,” she adds. Alright, but how can you get rid of it? Shampooing can assist in breaking down the buildup, but incorporating a regular detox routine goes beyond that by helping you maintain a radiant shine.

Not sure where to begin? King frequently recommends Malibu C Hard Water Wellness Hair Remedy (Purchase It, $4, malibuc.com) to her clients seeking to combat faded hair color.

Each packet includes crystals that you dissolve in water and subsequently leave in your hair for a duration of five minutes in order to disintegrate accumulation.

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