No matter how you go about it - heading to a trusted colorist or mixing up a bottle in your bathroom - there's nothing like getting that perfect hair color. It only makes sense that you'd do everything possible to make sure it lasts as long as possible and strive to keep your hair looking great. Whether it's an all-over shade or an intricate mix of highlights and lowlights, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure the health of your hair and keep the color looking fresh and true.
Start Off Healthy
Girl getting her hair colored at a salonBefore your hair is colored, make sure it’s in the best possible condition. If your hair is dry, or if you have a lot of split ends, you’re not going to get an even, natural looking result after coloring. Futhermore, you’re putting the health of your hair at risk by adding chemicals.
Do a deep conditioning treatment once a week for several weeks leading up to your hair color, and make sure to get those split ends snipped beforehand. This will ensure that your hair is healthy enough to take on the color.
Lather Up, Moisturize
...But wait at least 24 hours after coloring! Give your strands enough time to fully absorb your new hair color before washing and conditioning.
Once you do step into the shower, make sure your shampoo and conditioner are specially formulated for colored hair. There are plenty of ultra-gentle formulas to choose from at the salon or in your local discount store.
Avoid shampoos that are meant to clarify hair or treat dandruff – both are much too harsh and will strip your color quickly. Remember that any shampoo, no matter how gentle, will strip your hair of some of its color, so go as long as possible between washing.
Seal Color, Boost Shine with a Glaze
Glazes come in both color-boosting and clear formulas, and are a miracle product for anyone who colors their hair. A glaze is great, because it will add instant depth & shine to your hair without depending on chemicals to do so.
You can have a glaze added to your color at the salon, or you can use one of the many available at-home products for similar results. If you choose a color glaze, you’ll add a hint of color along with shine with each use – this is a great way to keep red hair from fading, and to keep blonde or brunette shades rich. A clear glaze won’t add color, but will add major shine.
Avoid Hidden Color Strippers
You may be exposing your freshly colored hair to secret strippers and not even realize it. Check the ingredients on products like hairspray and gel. Alcohol is a common ingredient in both, but it can strip your hair color. Look for alternative formulas that are alcohol-free.
Everyone knows blonde hair can turn green when exposed to chlorine. But blondes aren’t the only ones who should beware of chlorinated pools. Brunettes and redheads can also see their color fade and wash out with continued exposure to chlorine. Go retro and wear a bathing cap to block the color-stripping chemical. Or saturate your hair with non-chlorinated water before taking the plunge – this will ensure that your hair soaks up less chlorine.
And finally - the biggest color stripping culprit? UV rays. Just as your skin can suffer from sun damage, so too can your hair. Cover up with a hat or coat your strands with an SPF spray when spending time outside in the sun.