7 tips for maintaining bright hair colorTuesday, 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 During this time I've written a two different guides to unnatural hair colors and within months each has felt a bit outdated for one reason or another.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 masks 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. I recommend Sparks Color Care Sulfate-Free Shampoo + Conditioner.
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. My dry shampoo of choice is Aveda Shampure. It's a little pricey but so worth it!
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 have been using Sparks Color Care Protecting Spray for a few months now. Highly recommended!
All of the above should help you maintain your hair color. If you have any hair questions or are looking for more tips, check out my hair masterpost!