7 tips for maintaining bright hair color - The Dainty Squid

7 tips for maintaining bright hair color

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


For six years straight I've been dying my hair unnatural colors. During this time I've written a two different guides to unnatural hair colors and within months each has felt a bit outdated for one reason or another. My most recent set of posts on the subject was published back in 2011. In all honesty, to me, those three posts feel rushed. I've decided to rewrite my hair series a little differently, with more photos, and with more information. First I'm going to start with maintaining hair color, which isn't that hard but seems to be a mystery to a lot of people. All of the hair dyes you would use to dye your hair a funky color are semi-permanent and fade no matter what. In outfit posts you can see my hair color is never the same more than once, even daily my hair color changes due to rinsing. Fading is inevitable but here are seven easy tips to help make your color last.

1 // Good color starts with healthy hair. While bleaching your hair isn't the best way to start, it is necessary to do in order to achieve a bright color.  Unhealthy, damaged hair will not hold color well. You may make it from black hair to pink in a week by bleaching your hair twice a day but that pink won't hold because your hair is in rough shape. Be patient with your journey from dark hair to colored hair. Make sure to nurture your hair. Hair mask and repair products are your best friends! (I shared a few of my favorites here!)


2 // After healthy hair, the next most important thing is a high quality hair dye. I highly recommend Punky Colours and Special Effects. I'm sure there are other great dyes, but those are the two I always turn to despite trying many others. Since those brands do NOT damage your hair, it's totally fine, and really highly recommended that you leave it in for much longer than the recommended time. The packaging usually says something "let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing." If you leave your hair dye in for 20 minutes that color is not going to last very long at all. I normally try to leave my hair color in for a minimum of three hours. The longer, the better! Since I always mix my dyes with equal parts conditioner my hair is also being nourished while I wait on the dye to set.


3// Rinse with cool water. This is actually my best tip. If you skip all other tips (please don't, especially healthy hair!) this is the one to follow. Warm water opens the hair cuticle allowing color to escape. I'm not saying you need to wash your hair with ice cold water, but in reality, the colder the better. I wash and rinse my hair in as cold of water as I can stand, toss it up in a towel then crank that water up for the rest of my shower.

Cold water also helps reduce bleeding if you have more than one color, otherwise your hair color will just turn into a mess similar to when you mix different colors of paint together.

While we're on the subject of water, it should be noted that swimming in chlorinated water is awful for your hair color. (But hey, if you want to fade your hair, go for it!) For good measures, just keep your hair dry as much as possible!


4 // Avoid shampoos with sulfates and styling products with alcohol. Sulfates and alcohol based products are two huuuge things that will fade any hair color. Sulfate free shampoos can be kind of tricky to find sometimes, but they're definitely worth switching to. Try checking Sally's, Ulta or  searching Amazon.

Even with sulfate free shampoo, you should still try to cut back on shampoo use. Shampoo strips your hair of it's natural oils, as well as the color. If you're lucky enough to not have super greasy hair (like me!) skip washing every other day and use a dry shampoo on your off days.

When I shampoo I try to only apply it to the roots, where my hair is most likely to become greasy, and only avoid the ends of my hair since that's what normally fades most quickly anyway.


5 // Mix some color into your conditioner. If you add hair dye to your conditioner you'll be depositing a little bit of color every time you condition. This only applies if you hair is a solid color, or a mix of the same colors in different shades obviously. This is also a great idea because you're able to leave conditioner in your hair for longer without running the risk of fading it.


6 // Avoid heat styling. If you must heat style (hey, I feel ya!), use a protectant! This is my personal favorite, I've been using it for a while now.


7 // Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Just like your skin, the sun isn't necessarily good for your hair color. Try wearing a hat if you'll be spending a long time in the sun. There are also UV protection sprays for your hair. I don't have a ton of experience with them but I have been using this one for a few months now. It definitely seems to be doing it's job, although I must say the smell is something I had to get used to.


All of the above should help you maintain your hair color. Over the next few months I'll be rewriting the rest of my hair dye info, so stay tuned! If you have any general hair dye questions (nothing specific to your hair, please) or requests, just let me know.
xoxo

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78 thoughts

  1. Love these tips! I used to dye my hair myself but after being bleach blonde for 3 years, my hair was getting pretty damaged. I've had my hair professionally dyed purple for the last two years and I love it! I'm happy to say I follow most of your tips but never thought about only shampooing my scalp and not ends. I'm also excited to look into the some of the products you use like the heat protectant and hair masks!

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  2. i love all your different colors!

    sometimes i'm a little sad my hair doesn't like the coloring/bleaching ;)

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  3. Thank you so much for these tips! I've only been dying my hair wonderful bright colours for a few months so still have a lot to learn. Last time I used conditioner with the colour dye for the first time and just left the colour on over night and I cannot get over how much better my hair feels for it. Going to start adding a little bit of colour each time I condition now, fantastic tip! Which will hopefully save me having to update my hair as frequently. Thanks again! x

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  4. Thanks again for all the tips :) I've had a dip dye in for a few years now (bluuuue - one of my favourites!) and prior to that I was a henna addict. HOWEVER in a few weeks time I'll be taking the plunge and bleaching my whole head, then doing the blue all over (midnight blue to start with - got to ease them in gently at work!!)

    I tried some Hask placenta spray conditioner thanks to your recommendation - it was a bumpy start (the first bottle I ordered exploded in the post, meaning I ended up with just a soggy parcel in my letter box!!) but now I've got some I can actually use, I love it. Smells gorgeous, too.

    What am I trying to say here? Oh right! Thanks for all the hair advice!! Looking forward to the next step in my bright hair journey :)

    Astrid

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    1. Oh my gosh, I love hask placenta! It really does smell great too!

      I'm glad I could help out! :)

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  5. Lovely post, I'm extremely tempted to dye my hair an unnatural colour now though! x

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  6. Your hair is so beautiful! I'm not brave enough to try anything like that, or dedicated enough for the upkeep haha. But I love looking at the fun colors you use!

    Miranda
    Little Gold Pocket Watch

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  7. Thanks for this post. I want some color my hair in all the unnatural hues of the rainbow. I have the most delicate hair type (dry, thin, curly, breaks easier than antique lace, I'm Afro-Caribbean/Mexican and use heat twice a month at least with a heat protector and pro-tips from my hair-stylist aunt) and it's scary to dye it.

    I do all of your tips and feel more confident in making baby steps toward "skittle-hair". Your hair (and you) are goooorgeous. Truly. Thanks for the inspiration Kayla.

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    1. Thank you so much!

      Good luck in your quest for skittle-hair! (Hehe, that's really cute! :))

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  8. Your hair is so beautiful & vibrant. You are darling!

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  9. This is such an informative post! That tip about rinsing with cold water really works! I was always annoyed that my red hair color didn't last long, but once I started rinsing it was cold water, and also shampooing less, it lasted over twice as long.

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    1. It's crazy how much cold water helps!!

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  10. Great bunch of tips, big thanks for sharing!

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  11. Would love to know how you bleach your hair evenly and by yourself. I always have trouble with this /:

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    1. Noted! Definitely plan on sharing this soon! :)

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  12. This is SO helpful! I recently dyed my hair (mostly) royal blue, and I am finding even now 4 weeks after I dyed it, it's still rubbing off on my neck - do you have any tips or tricks for getting it to set? Or am I doomed to be blue? I'm really glad I went no-poo before I went bright blue! The color stays bright for so long!

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    1. I know this is old, but I'd really love to know how to stop looking like a character from Avatar, too. I've recently died my hair a combination of blue and green, and it keeps rubbing off on my skin and nails.

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    2. Using a high quality hair dye will definitely help! I recommend Punky Colours.

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  13. Love your hair, your blog and look... so exciting to gleen just a little inspiration...

    Anyway, As just wondering if you had any advice how to strip blue colour from hair? Despite bleaching I just can't shift it :-(...
    I wonder if you have any tips?

    Ta very muchly

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  14. Thank you for these tips! I color my daughter's hair pink. It's fading, but not gone. I think she'd like purple next. Do you recommend bleaching out the pink, or overdoing? In short, how do you switch colors? Love your photos and your beautiful hair!

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  15. I've been following you for so long now, and there is absolutely no color you can't rock. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the tips, it's been a long time since I've colored my hair a fun color and I'm itching to do it once again.

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  16. I live by your hair color tips, Kaylah! I usually leave my color in 5-6 hours because I'm a stay-at-homer and can do that. It really helps with vibrance/stayablity. I really appreciate you updating your color tips posts. :)

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  17. I came here for the vegan pumpkin cupcakes. I'm staying for the gorgeous hair and lovely clothes! :)

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  18. I'd also like to know how to keep the color from rubbing off onto clothes and skin. My unbleached auburn hair went Enchanted Forest (Manic Panic) a few days ago and the color is rubbing off on everything. The side of my neck where my coat collar rubs my hair against my skin, my hands, and my forehead are all still a charming shade of piney teal. I wash my hands constantly throughout the day and try to keep from touching my hair too much, but I'd like to know how your'e able to keep your clothes and skin stain free after the initial dyeing process.
    Thanks!

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    1. Usually a high quality hair dye will definitely help! I recommend Punky Colours.

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  19. How do you change colors so well? o:

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  20. i am curious as to which sulfate free shampoo you use. would you mind sharing? i thought you posted somewhere that you use a TRESemme one, but it seemed as though the link took me to a product that had a sulfate as the second ingredient. not sure what i did wrong, but hopefully you can enlighten me. thanks!

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  21. How much do you think it would cost approximatly to color hair unnatural colors and keep it? cause i heard that its expensive and such but i really would love to just go all out and begin the journey

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  22. Hey there! I was just wondering what brands/shades of blue you find work the best? Also, do you have any tips on how to avoid green tones in the fading process?

    Thanks!

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  23. Any suggestions for cookies that still turn out pretty good on dark hair??? I really don't want to bleach and I prefer not going darker then what I am already. I have medium brown hair and I'm really in love with red.

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  24. Wow, I've been dying my hair bright red for 4 months now and my hair keeps breaking really bad. Before I started dying it my hair was by the bottom of my back. It's broke that much my sides are above my shoulders and some just by my bra strap. Never thought about putting conditioner in the dye that's a great tip I will also be using hair mask thanks for your help. I was tempted to go back to my normal colour but will give these tips a try first

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  25. Thanks a million for this post! i've been platinum (naturally daaaaark brown) for 2 years and just took the plunge a week ago to Red Hot (loreal for dark hair only creme color) its like a superhero red and i love it. i washed it for the first time (only wash on saturdays, i live off dry shampoo) with super cold water with a red shampoo from sallys, but the color still came off my ends pretty bad. I hear that after around 4 color touch ups then it will start to stay better. I am definitely going to try your hask placenta recommendation as well as the UV protectant since i'm in the sun a lot. I'm not going to give up on this red though, i love it too much.

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  26. I like the first blue one for sure. It's so vibrant and expressive. I want to do something funky like that as I haven't done anything crazy before. I'll be good to just let go and by myself for once.
    http://www.thecutnedge.com/Trendy_Hairstyling_Virginia_Beach_VA.html

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  27. I'm using Punky colors rose red and I love the vibrant long lasting color. However I have followed all the tips and while my color isn't fading it bleeds so much. I have to bleach my tub after every wash. How can I stop the bleeding?!

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    1. You're rinsing with cold water and still getting lots of bleeding from a Punky color? That's really strange!

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  28. I love your hair colors! You are super cute and I love your dimples! Thank you for the tips!
    I have brown natural hair on top and purple ombre on the ends and it keeps fading to a grayish color. I realize this is in style but I really want it to stay purple! I actually use most of your tips already except adding color to my conditioner.
    Anyway, I am especially in love with the blue and purple in the top picture and would love to try it! I am not sure how to get that effect though. Would I want to put blue on the top layers and purple on the bottom layers?

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  29. How long does the brand, punky colour, stain thing ( clothes, pillow case, etc.) after its been washed? This is my first time dying my hair and I'm in the dark.

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    1. With Punky Colours you really shouldn't have any issues with staining so long as you've rinsed properly.

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  30. Hi Kaylah! My hair is currently a teal blue colour, but my problem is that my roots won't hold the dye... they're a kind of greenish yellow at the moment. No matter how much I dye them or how long I leave the dye in, they will not go blue! It's been like this from day 1 so I know it's not regrowth, and I got it done professionally the first time too... please help!! ♡

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  31. THANK YOU SO MUCH♡!
    Hi Kaylah♡ My name is Crystal & I'm from Mexico! I LOVE♡ all these unnatural hair colors but I've never been able to dye my hair blue, pink or some of the beautiful colors you dye your hair because of school :(, yes, sadly it's not so common here, and the system of basic education -from preschool to high school- forbids it :'c! and I'm studying to be preschool teacher, so I can't take it too far r.r! but since I was fifteen I'm a red head♡ & I LOVE IT♡:D haha I've been dying my hair with different shades of red for almost ten years! but since I started young and ignorant about this topic I never took care of my hair! & it was a huge mess :'(! but enough of sad stories :3! recently I realized I needed to do something about it and this is how I ended up here reading your blog :3! I just wanted to thank you for these amazing tips and say YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL♡:D! And if some day I'm able to dye my hair like you♡ I'll share you my results ;)! hugs&kisses from Mexico ;D!

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  32. thank you, I love the colour of your hair in some of the pics (the green especially) did you get it from manic panic ?

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  33. Can you explain how to
    Mix the color with conditioner as well as adding some to your conditioner. Sorry if my comments are posting multiple times I'm trying to figure out how to do this!!!

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    1. You just put the color and conditioner together and mix them up, nothing fancy.
      :)

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    2. Kaylah, when you say put the color in the conditioner, do you mean the dye and developer mixed together into the conditioner bottle, or just the dye into the conditioner bottle? Thanks for the clarification! :)

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    3. If you're using a dye and developer combo this tip is not for you! This only works for colors that come ready to apply.

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  34. Can you elaborate on how to bleach hair safely? Do you just bleach it a little every day? Also do you have an opinion on Raw color dye?

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  35. Ive been dyeing my hair for 10 years in a row now and im 19, but the conditioner with dye is awesome xD I would have never thought of that! Both me and my girlfriend have blue hair, mines a comb over with just blue on the comb over the rest is black and I dyed my girlfriends hair blue ombre on the bottom half. But thx I hate my hair fading so quickly xD

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  36. Also if you use the "WEN" shampoo and conditioner, I have found that it's the best shampoo and conditioner to use on UN-natural colored hair, especially since the shampoo doesn't foam, or bubble up when washing your hair like regular Shampoo's, works good for me

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  37. Hi Kaylah, I wanted to ask how do you go from one color to another without that mingle the new over the old? discolour your hair again before moving on to another color? I have a turquoise clear enough but I can not even take it off with the discoloration! :/ I would make them colored tulip but I fear that they are not good on the color you have now, how should I do? Thank you very much for your response! :) Ps. You're really cute! ;) Kiss
    Francesca

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  38. This was a great read! I've just taken the plunge for the first time and dyed my hair sonic green so will remember all these tips! Rachel x

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  39. These are all great tips ! But, hair dye should only be left in your hair for 45mins, any longer it stops processing? So its not working after that anyways.

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    1. That's not true. You should be leaving just any old hair color on your hair for that long but manic panic, punky colours, and special effects the longer the better. :)

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  40. How do you do such drastic color changes? Do you bleach in between? Your hair is amazing btw!

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  41. Is it better to mix the color with conditioner? I did turquoise,blue, and purple in mine. All the videos I have watched do that and I don't see much difference between their end result and mine.Just wondering what you thought? I also didn't realize it was ok to leave it on that long but it's awesome that you can! I really want the purple to be darker and more vibrant than it turned out.

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  42. Love your hair colours. What i was wondering i have had purple highlight and want to maintain them without going to the salon once a month can i picksomething up from sallys to do it myself without bleaching everytime. Ty

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    1. No, you will need to bleach your roots in that area to be able to dye the growth.

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  43. Have you ever used joico's semi permanents? If so, what's your opinion on them! Thanks!

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    1. No, I had actually never heard of them until your comment. They sound interesting though.

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  44. What kind of conditioner do you use to mix your hair dye with?

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    1. Whatever I have on hand. It doesn't matter. :)

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  45. Do you mix the colour in the conditioner and use it as and when or mix it each time you use it ?

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  46. Thanks, I have dreamt to get hot pink hair...... when I did that last week..... it looked sad very fast! with your suggestion at hand, you will make this 54 years Mom real happy!!!!!! <3

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  47. Hiya thank you for your post. A huge help for me. Wish I could attach a pic of my first mega colour change. BTW you are gorgeous

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  48. Thank you for all this advice! Great post x

    www.bethanyashley.com

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  49. What conditioner do you use? Great tips btw!!

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  50. This helped a lot, I just recently bleached and dyed my hair for the first time. I went from ginger to vibrant, dark blue and black in the back. I want my colors to last as long as they can.

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