I've been dying my hair color since I was in middle school pretty much. Always playing around with tones (going from highlights to red lights to black (yikes) to platinum to blonde to bronde to ombré... you name it, I've probably done it). And a lot of the time, I wasn't so very nice to my hair (uh-hum, dying it black from a box and then stripping it to go blonde a few weeks later). Yeah, that was a mistake.
But if there is one thing I have learned over time, it's how to prolong your hair color and prevent it from fading. It takes a lot of time (and money) to color your hair at the salon every few weeks, so it's important to know how to help maintain that color for a longer shelf life.
For the most part these days, we mostly use semi-permanent color on my roots. Which means color is only deposited onto the outside of the hair shaft, washing out after six to twelve shampoos. That means, hello again, postpartum grey's.
So here are some tips to help prolong your hair color:
Wash Your Hair Infrequently
Washing your hair every day causes your color to fade quickly (and brings out those brassy tones faster). Honestly, I try to only wash my hair once, maybe twice a week. I feel like I had to "train" my hair to get to this point by pushing it just a little further and further. But now, I can get away with it and my hair has thanked me for it.
Use a Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner
Don't know what sulfates are? They are harsh detergents commonly used in hair shampoos to help foam away the dirt and oils. The problem is, sulfates strip your hair of pretty much everything (good and bad) and strip the dyes from your strands, causing your color to fade quickly.
To help prolong your hair color, try using a brand that is known for it's sulfate-free shampoo and conditioners, like Hair Food. I like their Coconut Milk and Chai Spice Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner. Both are free from sulfates, dyes, parabens, silicons, and mineral oils. They're infused with creamy coconut (mmmmm) and aromatic chai spice, leaving your hair smelling totally luxurious and lovely. I love the natural ingredients: it's literally food for your hair (and comes at an awesome price (available at Amazon)).
Wash Your Hair in Cold Water
I know, I know... everyone loves a hot shower. But the hot water opens your hair cuticles, which allows the hair color molecules to release (and can cause breakage). So while using your shampoo and conditioner, keep the temperature turned down.
Protect Against the Heat
This includes both heat styling and the sun. Excessive exposure to heat can cause your hair color to fade. Obviously we want to prolong your hair color, so wear a hat when in the sunshine and always make sure to apply a heat protectant before any type of heat styling (with your blow dryer, curling iron, flat iron etc.).