When you spend money on getting your hair coloured, or doing it yourself, you don’t want to see that money washed down the drain, mere days or weeks later.
The good news is, there are a number of ways to ensure the colour in your locks lasts well and remains looking vibrant.
1. Wait to wash initially
It’s one of the most common mistakes, but you should avoid shampooing your hair immediately after having hair coloured. Instead, wait at least a couple of days, if not more. That’s to allow the cuticle layer to close and seal your new colour in.
2. Make friends with dry shampoo
Once you do shampoo, don’t be afraid to stretch out the time between washes, it’s been found to make your hair colour last longer. Showers open up the hair cuticle to penetration from water increasing the risk of colour fade. Over-washing also strips away natural hair oils essential for keeping your locks hydrated. Avoid washing your hair daily and aim for 2-3 washes a week instead to help maintain colour. Add a dry shampoo to your haircare regime on off days to combat grease. You can even get tinted dry shampoo formulas to refresh your colour while banishing the appearance of oil.
3. Use a bond building treatment
One of the most effective ways to maintain your colour is a bond-building treatment. This ultra-reparative option aims to treat the millions of bonds that make up the internal structure and strength of hair. These bonds can become weakened and broken, particularly during the chemical process of colouring, lightening or chemically straightening hair, resulting in damage that causes breakage or texture changes to your strands. Bonding treatments work at a molecular level to deliver essential ingredients to the hair’s internal bonds. You may have heard them referred to by the name Olaplex, but this is a brand name from the company that pioneered one of the most well-known (and patented) approaches. Each treatment available – there are also ones from Joico, L’Oreal and so on – works in a slightly different way depending on the chemicals involved but the end game is to strengthen and protect your hair by reinforcing those bonds. Most are in-salon treatments carried out at the time of your colour service, but there are home use products available.
4. Use a colour-depositing shampoo and conditioner
Colour-depositing shampoos use a tinted formula to refresh your colour and balance its tone, helping hair look vivid and dimensional rather than faded or brassy. These shampoos and conditioners come in a variety of different shades for every hue, but by far the most options available are for blonde hair. While other options like brunette and black hair come in a colour similar to your hair, blondes will usually find their shampoo has a bold purple tone. This is to maintain the bright, luminous colour of your hair and banish any unwanted yellowing, or brassiness. Just be careful to apply as per the instructions and not leave on for too long or your hair may go an unwanted shade of silvery purple.
5. Go for gloss
Shiny hair catches and reflects the light and looks luminous and healthy. You can help your colour look more radiant by using a hair oil or serum that focuses on adding shine, seals split ends and and keeps strands well hydrated.
6. Touch up your roots
If hair is in good condition, one of the first places that’s a dead giveaway it’s been a while between salon visits is your regrowth. Thankfully they are plenty of temporary touch-up products that quickly minimise visible roots so your hair looks great until you’re ready to see your colourist again. Easiest are brush-on waterproof powders that allow targeted application, while sprays are good for wider touch ups and thickening the look of sparse roots when hair is tied up.
7. Skip the heat styling
Though they give you a beautiful style, heated tools can contribute to colour fading. If hair is looking worse for wear, try avoiding the tools for a few weeks. If you can’t resist, prep hair well with a heat protectant spray and if you can, turn the temperature down. Alternatively look into a heatless styling tool like the silk or satin rods you can wrap longer hair around as you sleep for effortless curls when you wake.
8. Minimise your time in the sun
Just like skin, hair isn’t immune to sun damage and though the way the rays really make your highlights pop can be appealing, UV light can damage your hair’s proteins and degrade its pigment, leading to dryness, dullness and discoloration. When you have to be out for a long period of time, twist locks into a bun and cover up with a hat.
9. Avoid chlorine
Chlorine is a chemical bleaching agent formulated to clean pools and kill bacteria so you can only imagine the damage it can do to coloured hair. Blondes will be familiar with the dreaded green tinge after a dip while brunettes are prone to dullness after exposure to chlorine. You have two options: wear a swimming cap, avoid swimming all together or use a conditioner that neutralises the effects of chlorine, like Malibu C Swimmers Conditioner.
10. Use dedicated shampoo and conditioner for coloured hair
Many shampoos contain clarifying ingredients and heavy-duty cleansing agents that make hair super clean, but can strip colour and moisture along with dirt. Ensure you always use dedicated products for coloured hair, that have ingredients that will nourish and protect your strands and retain that freshly-done look.