You just spent seven hours in the salon chair, reading the latest issue of Good Housekeeping cover to cover three times, patiently waiting to get the color of your dreams. With all the time and money you just shelled out, it's understandable if you want to hold on to your new shade for as long as possible, especially as the future of businesses remaining open is uncertain at this time. Fortunately, once you learn how to preserve hair color at home, you won't have to immediately make a trip back to the salon.
"Aftercare is so important when it comes to preserving color work," Jaxcee, a colorist in New York and founder of The Coily Collective, tells TZR. The color expert always prescribes her clients routines based on the level of hair care maintenance she believe they're ready for. "[I recommend] super simple ones for people with low-key vibes and more intricate ones for my product junkie clients," she explains. "Either way, just like your skin care regimen, follow-through and consistency are key."
Sabrina Yamani Yamga, a colorist at SPACE by Alex Brown in Chicago, says the factors that contribute to color fade are shampooing, heat, and UV damage as they all open the hair's cuticle. "When the cuticle is open, dye molecules start to come out," she says. Her example of this? "If your hair were a big ice cooler, think of your hair strand as the cooler, the dye as the ice, and the lid to the cooler as your hair’s cuticle." So she says the more you open the lid (aka the cuticle), the more the ice will melt (or the color will fade out).
Luckily, with the guidance of professional colorists, you won't have to worry about quickly booking another appointment at the salon. Below, find all the tips you need to preserve your hair color at home.
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How To Preserve Hair Color: Wash A Few Times A Week
Cherin Choi, a hair colorist and co-owner of Nova Arts Salon in Los Angeles, says the more often you wash, the dryer your hair will become, and in turn your hair will produce more oil because its natural oils are being washed off. "Every wash takes off some of the toner," she adds. To be safe, Jaxcee says to wash no more than one to three times a week.
Using a color-safe shampoo and conditioner is vital to keep the shade from fading. "I can’t tell you how many clients of mine tell me they use drugstore products," Olivia Casanova, a colorist at IGK Salons, says. "Not that they’re all bad, but when investing in your color at the salon, it’s important to invest in your at-home care as well." She recommends IGK's Hot Girls Hydrating Shampoo and its Expensive Hi-Shine Gloss Treatment. Additionally, Jaxcee says to avoid abrasive ingredients like sulfates and synthetic fragrance. "Olaplex's shampoo and conditioner are great for moisture and color safety," she notes.
How To Preserve Hair Color: Extend A Wash With Dry Shampoo
Yamga says you can extend the time between washes with a dry shampoo. "Pro tip, use a heavy duty dry shampoo, like IGK First Class Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo, directly on your roots before a workout to soak in all of the oil and sweat," she says. "After your workout, massage the product in, and even blow dry just your roots to get one more day of oil free hair." And for under $10, consider OGX's Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo.
How To Preserve Hair Color: Stay Away From Heat As Much As Possible
If you can, put the hot tools down. "Heat from blow-dryers and hot irons can open the hair’s cuticle and cause color fade, as well as dryness and breakage," Yamga says. To protect from heat damage and sun's harmful rays, the colorist recommends Ouai's Leave In Conditioner. "For extra insurance, use a spray like Paul Mitchell Hot Off The Press before using an iron," she adds.
How To Preserve Hair Color: Shield Hair From The Sun
Casanova says being in the sun will make color fade and lighten faster. "For blondes, you may not mind this," she notes. "But for us brunettes, it just makes us turn brassy quicker." To avoid this, the colorist advises her clients to wear a sun hat for protection when they know they’ll be exposed to excessive amounts of sun. "If hats aren’t really your thing, try IGK Hair Blocked," she says. "It acts as a protective barrier to preserve color and defends against damage from UV rays."
How To Preserve Hair Color: Try An At-Home Gloss Or Tinted Conditioner
Jaxcee says at-home glosses and tinted conditioners are a great way to maintain your coloring in between appointments. Her suggestions include dpHUE Color Gloss, which she says has a wide range of natural colors to choose from, and Pravana Color Enhancer for fun shades like silver, pink, and violet.