Hold off on shampooing as long as you can
“I tell my clients to try to avoid cleansing their freshly-colored hair for at least three days. This helps the color really settle into your strands and minimizes washout,” says Candy Diaz, a New York City stylist. Diaz also says you should try to wash as infrequently as possible—period—to extend the life of your color, as there is unavoidable fading every time your hair is cleansed.
Be picky about your products
“When you finally do shampoo your hair, be certain you’re using only shampoos and conditioners for the color-treated, which are typically gentler and less likely to strip out color molecules,” explains Diaz. At Prose, we skip sulfates in all of our shampoos because they’ve been shown to accelerate color fading—and we create formulas for colored hair with a cocktail of Oat Lipid and Sunflower Seed Extract to help lock in your new color.
Turn down the temperature
Another tip for shampoo time: Try to use lukewarm rather than hot water. The latter can pry open your hair’s outer layer (known as the cuticle), enabling color molecules to rinse out. Diaz also suggests ending every shower with a quick cool rinse. “This seals your hair’s outer layer and prevents color loss and fading later on, during the styling process,” she explains.
Scale back on hot tools
Similar to steamy water, frequently using a blowdryer and iron—especially during the first week after your hair is colored—can also open (and damage) the hair’s cuticle layer, allowing color molecules to escape. Try to limit usage to no more than three to four times a week and always prep the hair first with a heat protectant product. At Prose, we use wheat and soy amino acids plus arginine to combat the cuticle-damaging effects of frequent heat styling.
Always use protection
“Applying hair products with UV filters can cut down on color fading and oxidation,” says Diaz. Prose uses coconut and karanju oils to minimize damage caused by the hair’s exposure to the sun.
Pro Tip: Wearing a hat when you’ll be outside for an extended period of time (e.g. gardening, lounging at the beach, or watching an outdoor sporting event) is also a smart, color-preserving strategy.
Consider installing a filter
Minerals and chemicals in tap water can stain and strip the hair, impacting the longevity of your salon shade. In general, the harder the water, the greater the risk to your hue. Installing a filter for your home’s tap water—or just screwing one directly onto your shower head—will help minimize these effects by removing the most common color-disrupting culprits. If that’s not an option, look for ingredients, that help remove limescale buildup on strands.
Do this before you dive in
What’s even worse than hard tap water? Pool water, says Diaz, as chlorine is notorious for stripping color molecules and leaving behind a greenish tinge. To minimize chlorine’s ability to penetrate your hair, always wet strands in the shower before you get into a pool, says Diaz. “The fresh water will saturate your hair and make it harder for the chlorinated water to get inside your strands,” she explains.
Top it off
Applying a tinted gloss (at a salon or at home) four to six weeks after coloring your hair is a cost-effective way to freshen faded color—and buy yourself a few extra weeks between permanent color appointments.
To create a customized regimen for your color-treated hair, get started here.