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How To Help Reduce Fading Of Colored Hair Between Touch-Ups

28 August 2017
White woman with brunette hair being washed in a salong

Emily Arata

Senior Editor

Colored hair is always a conundrum. When you first bounce out of the salon, your color feels unparalleled and lovely. Whether you’ve chosen a statement color like lavender or something a little more classic, you vow to care for this new color like it’s your own child.

But as the weeks pass, showers happen and your bright hue fades. It’s time to visit the salon again, and the whole thing just feels exhausting. If you’ve ever colored your hair, you’ve surely been there.

In the interest of keeping salon visits to a minimum, we went hunting for ways to help colored hair appear vibrant. We enlisted Kérastase education manager Dale Moriarty to share the professional’s guide on how to help reduce fading of hair color.

When it comes to colored strands, you’ll always need to return to the salon for touch-ups when your roots begin to grow out and your pastel fades. Instead of panicking over dull color in the meantime, learn how to help preserve your pigment.

It’s All About Your Hair Type

Let’s start at the beginning, with a basic understanding of how hair type and texture plays a role in colorfastness. Depending on your age and background, you may be dealing with a completely different situation than the woman one desk over from you.

According to Moriarty, it’s only by knowing your hair well that you can create a routine that helps minimize fading. Of all the heads of hair she sees daily, ladies with length are some of the most difficult to dye.

“Medium to long hair can become porous—dry and damaged—in the mid-lengths to ends, causing color to fade more quickly."

Dale Ruby Moriarty Kérastase and Shu Uemura Art of Hair Regional Education Manager

It’s not just length that can affect the color of your hair, either. As much as we might hate to admit it, age plays a factor in the color quality of your strands. It’s so prevalent, in fact, that Moriarty lists gray as the number one concern her clients talk about.

Instead of running to the salon every time you spot a gray, she recommends working with your colorist on dye strategy that allows your new color to blend gracefully with the grays.

Technique Is Everything

Hunting for ways to help reduce color fade seems challenging, but there’s a simple solution you may not have considered. Moriarty frequently recommends color application techniques like ombre and balayage to her clients. Because these looks brighten strands without reaching up to the roots, they grow out in a much more natural-looking fashion than a whole head of platinum might.

Still set on a full head of color? That’s fine, too. Instead of choosing an opulent shade, try something close to your natural base tone. Trendy colors are almost always more of a commitment than your reds, browns, and neutral blondes.

“Dramatic changes from your natural hair color can require more maintenance,” Moriarty notes. “New fashion trend colors such as pink, violet and blue may require more frequent toning to keep them vibrant.”

In other words, the easiest color is one that looks and feels nearly effortless. Choose a technique that adds highlights or lowlights to your natural shade or one that’s close to the color you had as a child.

The Ultimate Enemies Of Colored Hair

If professional colorists had their way, they’d ask you to totally eschew any contact with water or sun. Unfortunately for them, that’s not going to go over well. Daily life sort of requires you that you shower and walk to the office.

Still, knowing thine enemy is very important if you’re serious about maintaining the brilliance of your colored hair. Many of the hair problems you have can probably be traced back to the first time you shampooed your mane after the salon, according to Moriarty.

“Water can be one of the harshest aggressors when it comes to fresh hair color,” she explains. “Depending on where you live, well water and heavily treated city water can cause color to fade.”

It’s not just your own shower that’s betraying you, either. Moriarty also cites pool and ocean water as common sources of fading.

In case those chemicals and minerals aren’t enough to spook you, they’re not the only challenge your fresh strands are facing. Sunshine, too, takes its toll on hair color. Ultraviolet rays (UV) take their toll on hair, damaging color and weakening the appearance of your mane on a strand level.

Luckily, the effects of these environmental stressors can be addressed with a few choice habits and a better understanding of your own strands.

Color Protecting Products Are Your Best Friend

In cartoon movies, the lead princess always has an adorable pig or parrot to be her sidekick. It acts as a conscience and guide on her adventure. We can’t exactly buy you a talking pet pig (we tried, sorry), but we can recommend your very own sidekick: a system of color protecting hair care products.

These days, there’s a specific formula out there for almost every need. Whether you’re looking for a moisturizing mask or system to protect your strands, there are plenty on the market.

Moriarty recommends Kérastase’s new Reflection Chromatique collection. The unique line’s Masque Chromatique is a multi-protecting formula for thick, sensitized color-treated or highlighted hair. Use the mask with Reflection Touche Chromatique color correcting ink-in-care, which neutralizes unwanted shades in cool blonde, cool copper, cool red, and cool brown hair.

Very cool, right? Before you schedule that next touch-up, think again. Your color will never last as long it will with these easy tips. Now, get dying! Your hair (and wallet) will thank you.

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