This article was written by Aly Walansky and repurposed with permission from Beauty High.
We regularly spend a good chunk of money to get perfect hair color—and then it fades before we get to enjoy it! The most budget-friendly hair color is the kind we can make last the longest, and there are lots of tricks to stretch the color and stop it from changing so quickly.
Avoid Hot Showers
Hot water doesn’t only dry out your skin; it can decrease the life of your hair color, says CHI stylist Shawnee Heltsley. The temperature opens up your cuticle, releasing your precious color—and moisture. “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,” says Heltsley. “This will provide longer-lasting color, keeping your locks nice and hydrated while also eliminating split ends.”
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.
Don’t Overuse Hot 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 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.
Wait to Wash Your Hair as Long as Possible
The new dry shampoo offerings on the market can be a boon to newly-colored hair because when you wash less, color lasts longer. “I always have my clients not wash their hair after color for as long as they can go—at least 24 to 48 hours,” says Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist Mitch Stone. When you do have to wash, opt for a gentle sulfate-free shampoo.
Try 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.
Prep Your Hair Before Coloring
One to two days before a color service, use a chelating shampoo to remove styling product build-up, says Caselle. You might also want to use a deep-conditioning mask once a week to put hydration back in the hair; this will help keep color from fading after you switch up your hue.
Use a Thermal Protectant
This will 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.
Deep Condition Less
While deep conditioning or at-home masks are a good idea before you color, they can fade a rich brunette or vibrant red, says Meche Salon colorist Kari Hill. The conditioner or mask is designed to get deep in the hair follicle to moisturize. However, when it’s rinsed out, it takes the color molecule with it—resulting in the color fading. To avoid this, a good daily conditioner will do the trick (just don’t leave it on for a long period of time).
More from Beauty High:
The Worst At-Home Hair Color Mistakes
Your Complete Hair Color Chart For Every Shade
How to Determine the Best Hair Color For Your Skin Tone