Frequent salon visits are expensive and at-home touch-ups every four weeks are time consuming. What's a girl to do? Fortunately for those of us who weren't born with our ideal hair color, there are ways to keep our tresses enhanced and color-rich that can save us time and money. With just a few dye-job hacks you can keep your color vibrant and your hair beautiful for longer than you're used to. Ready? Good, let's get started on your lesson.
Get the Right Color
When it comes to lasting color, you're better off being discerning about which color you choose. Going from blonde to raven can be a fun switch up, for example, but a color so far from your own is likely to require more frequent maintenance. Plus, the fading will be obvious. Choose a color as close to your natural shade as possible instead. When it starts to fade, it will be less noticeable. In this WebMd article about keeping color fresh, author Ayren Jackson-Cannady says red is the color most prone to fading because the molecules are larger than other colors and less stable.
Time it Right
Did you know that the natural oils your scalp produces help strands hang on to color? That's why most instructions in at-home kits say to dye "unwashed" hair. So avoid the shampoo at least a couple of days before you dye. Also, try to avoid washing your locks for a couple of days after you dye. You'll be giving your hair a chance to completely absorb color. The better and more locked in it is at the start, the better it will look over time.
Deep Condition and Glaze
Deep conditioning is always a good idea, whether you dye your hair or not. It helps hair stay healthy, soft and more absorbent. A deep conditioning mask a week before coloring will give you great color, and continuing a weekly treatment will help keep it that way. Hair glazes used to be a salon-only treatment, but now you can buy them at the drugstore like John Frieda's Clear Shine Luminous Glaze for All Hair Types, $9.99. Applying a glaze is one way to protect your hair from environmental damage that fades color.
Avoid Alcohol-Heavy Products
You may have figured out by now that the name of the no-fade game is keeping hair healthy, absorbent and hydrated. Dried out hair loses color fast and its dull appearance makes what color is left look sad and tired. Before you apply any product like hairspray or gel, look at the label. If alcohol is listed within the top five ingredients, skip it. Alcohol dries out hair like nobody's business.
Pick the Right Shampoo and Conditioner
Shampoos and conditioners that claim to protect color-treated hair aren't just an ad gimmick. They'll help prevent fading, unlike other hair cleansing products. Look for those that are made for your shade and use them if you can. Definitely avoid using a "clarifying" shampoo right before or after your hair is dyed.
Utilize Shower Know-How
The sun, drying products and heat-styling are definitely to blame for fading color, but there's usually a bigger culprit: just plain water. When you shower and how you shower makes a difference. Keep your hair out of the direct line of water your shower head emits, unless you're rinsing. Hot water dries out hair, making it more porous and more prone to color being washed away. So when you're rinsing, take the temp down to lukewarm or even cold, if you can't handle it. The less you wash your hair with shampoo (even color-protecting shampoos), the more color you're keeping on your strands. Invest in dry shampoo to use in between washes and consider wearing a shower cap on days you're not washing.