Whether you dye your hair for a fast-track makeover or just to add some highlights, you want to keep your hair color looking as fabulous as it did the moment you stepped out of the salon. To avoid the dullness and fading that can occur between stylist visits, try these key tips and tricks.
1. Chill out
Styling your mane daily with your blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron might do wonders for your finished look, but it’s doing far less for your hair color. “Heat styling can cause hair to dry out and the cuticles to lift, releasing color molecules,” says Aura Friedman, lead color ambassador for Wella Professionals (Lady Gaga is one of her clients!). What can you do to combat the fading? Lower your temperature settings. “Use tools at a lower heat and use products that will seal the cuticles before heat styling,” she says.
2. Protect your strands
“One of the biggest offenders in fading color is excessive sun exposure,” says John Whelan, stylist at the Rita Hazan salon and a favorite of celebs like Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Simpson. Unless you wear a hat daily (and let’s face it, who does?), it’s hard to completely avoid the sun. Whelan suggests guarding your hair color by finding a product with sun protection factor (SPF) in it, like a targeted spray or a double-duty conditioner.
3. Wash wisely
Shampoo may fade your hair color faster than you’d like. Friedman suggests limiting washes and shampooing every other day. Always use a color-formulated shampoo because they “have less detergent and are gentler on the hair,” says Whelan.
4. Go glossy
Hate seeing your hair color go from shiny to dull between salon visits? Try a gloss. “Glosses are recommended to maintain richness or counter brassiness, especially for redheads,” says Whalen. “Women can purchase a custom gloss from the colorist to apply at home between visits.” He cautions that while salon glosses aren’t cheap — they run about $50 — the less expensive drugstore varieties may not be as effective.
5. Try touch-ups
No matter how hard you work at maintaining your hair color, your roots will inevitably start to show as your hair grows out — and the only way to cover them is more dye. “Drugstore touch-up kits are an inexpensive way to remedy roots in a pinch,” says Whelan. “Find the color you think matches your hair, then buy one a level lighter to ensure your roots don’t come out