Whether you’re touching up your natural color or maintaining a multi-colored fantasy look, you want your color to stay fresh for as long as possible. Color loss or color transfer to your clothes, linens, and skin don’t have to be part of the process! Here are 3 foolproof tips to keep your color fresh between visits to your colorist. Bonus: these tips will help keep your color on your head, not on your clothes and sheets!

1. Have Patience

Remember that Guns ‘n’ Roses song? Think of that song after you get your hair done. When it comes to your colored hair, you’re going to need a little patience!

  • Wait 72 Hours (Yes, 3 days!) before you wash it for the first time after coloring. This gives the cuticle time to close back up, locking in the color.

  • Shampoo Less! Yes, you read that right. When your hair is wet, the cuticle opens again, sending your color down the drain.

  • Use Dry Shampoo Between Washes. Shampooing less doesn’t mean you have to walk around with dirty hair! Before you leave the salon, ask your stylist to recommend a dry shampoo to use on in-between days, and make the investment in your color!

2. Keep Your Cool (Literally)

  • Wash Cold. Well, at least cool. When your hair is wet, the cuticle is open, and that’s when you’re most likely to lose color. Hot water lifts that cuticle layer even more, meaning more color loss. The cooler you can stand it (especially after conditioning) the more color you’ll keep.

  • Use Heat Protectant Products. Heat lifts the cuticle layer of your hair. Using heat tools without a protective barrier will leave your color on your tools instead of inside your hair!

  • Air Dry When Possible.  When you can’t air-dry, use low settings for your hair dryer and hot tools like curling or flat irons.

3. Use the Right Products

Color services can be expensive, so it’s tempting to skip aftercare products to save money. Don’t make this mistake! Think of the right products as an investment in your color, instead of an added expense. After all, the less your color fades, the less often you’ll need to have it touched up.

  • Use Sulfate-Free Shampoos. Sulfates (the chemicals that make shampoo lather up) can strip away color when your hair is wet, and the cuticle is open. A good sulfate-free shampoo means that when your cuticle is open and vulnerable, you’ll lose less color.

  • Avoid Clarifying Products. Clarifying shampoos do exactly that: clarify! That means that they’re not just dissolving product build-up and residues, but your color is also getting stripped away. Skip the clarifiers and save your color!

  • Try Color Additives. There are many color-depositing shampoos and conditioners on the market these days. Color deposit products add back a little of the color that gets washed away with each shampoo.

  • Invest in Heat Protectants. Heat lifts the cuticle layer of your hair. A good heat protectant product creates a barrier between your tools and your color, leaving color in your hair, where it belongs!

  • Leave-Ins Are Your New BFF. Think of leave-ins as a “protectant” for the rest of your day. They keep hair soft and create a protective barrier on the cuticle sealing in color. They’re especially important if you spend time in the sun.

Avoid the Color Killers!

Here are the most common mistakes people make that strip away hair color too soon. Avoid these color-killers and see how much brighter you’ll stay!

  • Chlorine. Chlorine strips away hair color (and deposits a greenish color to blondes.) If you don’t want to skip your trip to the pool, put your hair up and avoid getting it wet, or invest in a swimming cap to keep chlorine out of your hair.

  • Too Much Sun. Sun = heat, and we know what heat does to color, right? If you’re out in the sun a lot, try to cover your hair with a hat or bandana, and make sure you’re using a leave-in protectant.

  • Heat. Hot water, hot tools, and hot sun lead to faded color. Shampoo cool, use low settings, and protect your hair from the sun to make sure your color stays bright.

  • Dead Ends are a Dead End. The cuticles of dead ends are weak, and color doesn’t hold in dead ends. Keep up with regular trims, and you’ll be surprised how much brighter your color will stay!  

Ready to find a colorist to brighten up your look? Looking for a salon that sells heat protectants, leave-ins for colored hair, and sulfate-free shampoo? We can help with that! Use Vagaro to find a colorist in your area and browse their online store for the products you need to stay fresh!

Header Image: @debrawr via Twenty20

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