20 Ways to Make Hair Color Last Longer

Maressa Brown | Jul 30, 2018 Beauty & Style
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  • Use products that protect your hair from the sun.

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    Color is often compromised by the elements, especially in the summer when bright UV rays can cause deep browns to fade to orange-hued red or any manner of switcharoos. That's why Jesse German, hairstylist and Keratin Complex Stylist Ambassador recommends using a product with UV absorbers. "Using this with every wash is like apply sunscreen to your hair," he explains. "It protects the hair from the elements to ensure that color stays rich and vibrant."

    One to try: Keratin Complex Timeless Fade-Defy line ($44 each, Ulta.com)

  • Be preemptive with blonde. 

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    If you dye your hair blonde or even get highlights or ombre in the light hue, you may be concerned about brassiness that pops up as a result of washing, swimming, and/or exposure to UV rays. For that reason, it's wise to grab a shampoo and/or conditioner formulated to tone that unwanted yellow shade, German notes. Use it instead of your usual products once or twice a week.

    One to try: Keratin Complex Blondeshell Debrass & Brighten line ($47 each, Ulta.com)

  • Protect ombre and balayage with blue shampoo. 

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    While purple formulations tend to be the best bet for blonde tresses, consider using a blue shampoo once or twice a week  to reverse orange undertones that crop up in ombres or balayage looks, advise the experts at Beauty Brands

    One to try: Joico Color Balance Blue ($11.48, Amazon.com)

  • Steer clear of sulfates.

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    Most shampoos are formulated with sulfates, chemicals that create that foaming effect in cleansers and, that when combined with water, emulsify grease, allowing it to be washed away. But sulfates also strip color. For that reason, celebrity makeup artist and hairstylist Keka Heron recommends reaching for a sulfate-free shampoo. 

    One to try: Carol's Daughter Green Supreme Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($10, Target.com)

  • Put some "sunblock" on your hair before heading out.

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    In addition to choosing a shampoo and conditioner with UV absorbers, you'll do well to reach for a protective leave-in conditioner with SPF, advises Heron. "This will help protect your hair from sun, which can wear away your color faster," she says.

    One to try: Sun Bum 3-In-1 Leave In Hair Conditioning Treatment ($14.99, Target.com) 

  • Get a gloss.

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    If your hair color is permanent, Heron recommends getting a clear hair gloss every 3-4 weeks. The treatment works to create a "shield" over the color molecules on your hair.

  • Opt for cold over hot water.

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    Hot water opens hair cuticles and speeds up the fading process, so do your best to wash your hair with room temperature or even cool water -- especially right after you've gotten your color done, advises Heron. This will help seal the cuticle and keep your color vibrant. 

  • Use color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

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    Not all shampoos and conditioners are made alike. It is wise to pick a combo that's especially formulated to be color-safe and protective, says Marshall Lin, a celebrity stylist in New York City.

    One to try: Pai-Shau Replenishing Hair Cleanser ($26, Pai-Shau.com)

  • Avoid hot tools the first week after getting your color done.  

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    "Using hot tools on your hair is one of the most damaging thing you can do to your hair in general, but it’s especially bad for color," explains celebrity hair stylist Andrew Fitzsimons. "If you are someone who has to use hot tools, try to completely avoid them the first week after your color."

  • Guard your colored tresses against heat styling.

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    "Be sure to use a heat protectant every single time you use hot tools on your hair to help minimize damage," says Fitzsimons.

    One to try: Bb.Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer ($28, Ulta.com)

  • Don't hesitate to bust out a favorite hat. 

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    Spending time outside, especially in the summer, it is best to try to wear a hat, advises Fitzsimons. 

  • Avoid washing hair for two days following color application.

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    It’s best to not wash the hair for at least 48 hours following a color service, as the color needs time to fully settle into the hair cuticle, says Jackie Wright, artistic designer with Salon Eva Michelle in Boston.  

  • Prep hair for pool time. 

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    "If you’re planning on swimming, use a leave-in conditioner before heading to the pool or ocean," advises Fitzsimons. "This will help keep your hair moisturized and protected from the chlorine or salt water."

    One to try: Ion Swimmer's Leave-in Conditioner ($14.80, Amazon.com)

  • Try to wash hair less often in general. 

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    If you can go a little bit longer between shampoos, it'll benefit your hair color. "Most people know that the more you shampoo, the faster your color will fade," Fitzsimons notes. This is true even if you're using a sulfate-free, color-safe option.

  • Reach for dry shampoo. 

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    Going longer between wet hair washings doesn't mean you have to get comfy with grimier tresses. "Make dry shampoo your new BFF!" Fitzsimons recommends. 

    One to try: CHI Rose Hip Oil Color Nurture Dry Shampoo ($20, Ulta.com)

  • Don't dismiss deep conditioning treatments. 

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    "Healthy hair is key for vibrant, long-lasting color," explains Wright. "Using conditioning/strengthening treatments on a regular basis will help to moisturize and keep the hair structure intact."

    One to try: OUAI Treatment Masque ($32, Sephora.com)

  • Time conditioning treatments appropriately. 

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    Keeping up with your conditioning/strengthening treatments is one thing, but you'll do well to do one a few days before color is applied. "Treatments are most beneficial leading up to a hair color appointment, so your stylist has a smooth canvas to work with," explains Wright.

  • Minimize damage while styling. 

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    Especially if you're in a hurry, you may be tempted to simply take your dryer, straightener, or curler to your tresses, no matter how much bedhead you have going on. But you can prevent hair wrecking damage by carefully combing each section of hair as you use your hot tools, says Wright. "This prevents the hair from bending in different directions, which can lead to breakage," she explains. 

  • Get your hair cut regularly. 

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    It may seem like trims or haircuts have much impact on your color, but they do! "Split ends can make even the glossiest color look dull, so respect that mane and get regular trims to keep it happy and healthy," explains Wright. 

  • Get a shower filter.

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    Using a shower filter to wash your hair with filtered, chlorine-free tap water is one of the best tricks for longer-lasting color, says River Lloyd, celeb stylist for the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in New York. "The chlorine and other chemicals in our tap water cause dry, dull hair, split ends and color that fades and turns brassy. Washing your hair in filtered water is one of the most important things you can do for your hair. Your hair will be noticeably softer and shinier, your scalp will be healthier and your color will stay true and last longer."

    One to try: Aquasana Water Filter ($85, Aquasana.com)

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