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9 Steps to Longer Lasting Hair Color

Even before opening this blog post, you may have been able to guess that I love coloring hair, especially mine. I mean, you’re on my website, so I’m sure you know that I do this for a living, but I just have to put it here, just in case you weren’t positive: I freakin’ love coloring my hair. And also my career of coloring other peoples’ hair. It’s great.

AND it’s becoming more popular as the years go on! Every year we see more cuts and colors coming out with wilder and wilder names (I know “jellyfish” and “wolf” cuts and “cowboy copper” got a lot of hate this year, but personally I’m a big fan), we see cooler color placements, impossible color combos, and I doubt it’s going to calm down any time soon.

But coloring your hair can come with challenges! Sure, the chemicals have changed over time to be a lot less damaging than what our predecessors used, and most brands are moving towards more natural ingredients, but the coloring process can still be harsh on your hair, leaving it more vulnerable to damage and loss of vibrancy over time, but don't worry!

With a little knowledge, guidance, and tender loving care, you can maintain those luscious locks, make your color last longer, and even improve the health of your hair over time! In this guide, I'll take you through the best practices to keep your hair looking and feeling fabulous, even if you’re getting your platinum roots touched up every 4 weeks!

1. Choose Quality

First and foremost: the higher the quality, the better the outcome, both for the hair color and for the health of your hair. Of course my first recommendation will always be Go See a Professional, but that’s not in the cards for everybody. In any case, it's crucial to choose high-quality products if you’re going to go the at-home route. Oftentimes, they are gentler on your hair and provide better, longer-lasting results. They also tend to include more nourishing ingredients to mitigate damage. Consider going to a local beauty supply store and talking to the staff vs heading to CVS/Walmart. It’s only a few dollars more, and can make all the difference for your hair.

2. Use Treatments

Colored or bleached hair needs extra love and care; I recommend incorporating specific treatments into your hair care routine, based on your hair’s needs. If you’re shampooing more than once a week, use a regular conditioner for a majority of the washes, and once a week let a hydrating or reparative hair mask sit on for 2-5 minutes. If you’re only shampooing once per week, use your preferred hair mask as your usual conditioner. This will keep your ends hydrated, shiny, and healthy.

3. Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Sulfates can be harsh on your hair AND scalp, stripping you of your natural oils and drying you out, while also making your colored or bleached hair more prone to that same dryness, and gradually fading the color. Opt for sulfate, phthalate, and paraben-free shampoos, which are gentler on your locks and help maintain your color.

4. Wash with Cold Water

Hot water opens up the hair cuticle, which can lead to losing moisture, color fading, split ends, frizz, and more. To help preserve your color, seal your cuticle, and lock in all the good ingredients in the products you use, try your best to rinse your hair with cold water. It may not be the most pleasant sensation, especially during the winter, but it's worth it! After you’re done rinsing, clip your hair up and crank the heat to finish the rest of your shower.

5. Wash Less

Washing more than a few times a week can do more harm than good for some. You might’ve heard “the more you wash, the more you HAVE to wash”, and it’s true. This is because you’re washing away all of your scalp’s natural oils, which help to hydrate and protect the scalp and hair. Once your scalp is squeaky clean, it has to work overtime to get its oils back, which is why we get so greasy so fast, which makes us want to wash again, and the cycle repeats.

So we reverse it: For most people, brushing daily and using dry shampoo will help to distribute the oils away from the scalp, which means you’ll be less greasy, and washing less will help train your hair to produce less oil, which will make it last longer between these washes, less washing means your color lasts longer, etc!

6. UV Protection

Yup, just like with your skin. Exposure to the sun's UV rays can cause your hair color to fade, and make your hair dry and brittle. Use hair products with UV protection, wear a hat or scarf to shield your hair from the sun, or just stay inside when you can.

7. Caution with Heat

Heat styling tools like flat irons and curling wands can further damage colored hair, of course, but did you know that it can make the color fade INSTANTLY? When used at 400 or above, most toners and vivid colors will be immediately affected, oftentimes just coming right out! When you do use them, make sure to apply a heat protectant and use the lowest heat setting possible to achieve your desired style. I typically recommend between 280 and 320.

8. Trims

Split ends are super common, especially with fine hair, curly hair, and hair that’s been colored. The good news is they are super easy to avoid if you take good care of your hair, and they’re very easy to get rid of once you do have them. But you do have to cut them off; only trimming the bare minimum instead of ALL the dead ends will only lead to your hair becoming stagnant. That’s why your hair doesn’t grow–It’s literally splitting itself up the middle and breaking off. So schedule your trims, at least once every few months, and take good care of those ends, otherwise your color won’t be living up to its full potential!

9. Professional Help

And of course, if all else fails, or you want expert level care that you don’t have to be totally in charge of, it's a good idea to consult a professional stylist. They can recommend specific and customized treatments, tell you exactly what’s best for YOU, and help you reach the hair of your dreams with way less guess work.

With the right care and attention, you can keep your hair always looking its best, whether it’s bleached, colored, permed, or natural. From choosing quality home products to professional intervention, there are plenty of ways to maintain your hair's vibrancy and health–these are just the ones I recommend.

Remember, healthy hair is beautiful hair, and hopefully this guide gave you some insight into how you can make your hair its best, no matter how you like it.

If you have any questions, recommendations, or anything else, feel free to comment or reach out to me via email!

Talk soon!

Xo C

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