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How Often Should You Color Your Hair? We Investigate

man coloring woman's hair in salon

Hair color is one of the biggest investments you can make in your looks. Just like a delicate lambswool sweater or a down duvet, you’d basically lay down your life to care for it right. This isn’t just a commitment—it’s true love.

One of the most common questions in the salon world is about appointment frequency. How often should you color your hair without giving in to roots or spending too much cash? It’s a question so complex that we’d called in a pro: Melissa Henry, a Matrix artist and professional stylist with some wise words about keeping color fresh without going overboard.

Whether you have dark brown hair or something altogether more vivid, this advice may change your life (or at least your salon schedule).

Why does it matter how often you color your hair?

Because every head of gorgeous hair is slightly different, we’ll start with the basics. Salon color requires regular touchups to avoid visible roots, especially if you have an allover application or standard foil highlights.

On the other hand, too much color application can leave your hair with nasty buildup (hello, clarifying shampoo). Henry is quick to point out that there are often unintended consequences to too much dye.

“It can actually make the hair heavier, more susceptible to breakage and coloring over your hair too often can also result in getting a different color than you desire. Red on red on red can actually turn brown,” she says.

Yikes! Unless you want a head full of raggedy split ends, it’s essential to work with your stylist to find the best schedule for your particular hair. They’re trained to factor in hair health, longterm goals, and even the dye formula to make the best suggestion.

There’s one additional factor to consider here: bleach. This bad boy has been known to leave many heads of hair feeling like straw when misused.

“Bleaching can cause more damage or breakage, especially when doing multiple services—Like going from black to blonde,” Henry explains. “It opens up the cuticle to remove the pigment.”

Think of the cuticle like a turtle’s shell: When closed, your hair strand is durable and resistant to damage. Open up the shell, however, and your hair strand is suddenly weaker and more susceptible to outside factors like heat styling. If your stylist is using permanent color on your mane, it’s first lifting the natural hue (read: bleaching it) and then depositing color. Less permanent types of color are often deposit-only, which makes them fade more quickly but cause less damage over time.

Now that you’re basically armed with all the knowledge in the universe about hair color, read on to find Henry’s recommendation for your hair type. Remember: Ultimately, your stylist is the only person who touches your hair on a regular basis. When in doubt, don’t forget to get a second opinion.


How Often To Color Natural-Looking Hair

If you tend to stick close to your natural hair color when seeing your stylist, a hair maintenance schedule doesn’t need to be your first priority. When your roots do begin to grow out, it’s likely nobody will be able to tell—and isn’t that fantastic?

Henry recommends stopping in to visit your stylist every eight weeks or more, particularly if your hair is in its best state. Only a hair professional can give you a personalized maintenance schedule, but we’re willing to bet it’ll be enough time between appointments for you to think up a few really juicy stories to tell your stylist about. Low-maintenance hair color is fan favorite for a reason!


How Often To Color Hair For Gray Coverage

Grays have a bad reputation because they’re forever trying to sneak out from under the dye your stylist lovingly placed. Plus, they have a way of seeming to multiply—at 9 a.m. you can see one, and by 5 p.m. there are about 30. If you’re someone who opts for permanent color, it’s crucial to keep a regular color maintenance routine so your roots don’t visibly grow in.

In Henry’s experience, gray coverage customers often line up a handful of appointments at a time so as not to miss any. Four to six weeks apart is a sweet spot.

“I don't apply color to mid-length and ends each [appointment] to help preserve the strength of the hair,” she explains. “I usually like to color mid to ends every second or third visit after an all over color for gray clients.“

When in doubt, your friendly local hair professional is your ally. Don’t forget to lean on them for personalized advice about minimizing premature fading between appointments.


How Often To Color Vivid Hair

Vivid colors are the problematic youngest child of the hair world. They require a lot of attention, they don’t always do what you want, and they give off major attitude...but we love them anyway. If you’re a fantasy color addict, be prepared to make the salon your second home.

“If you have bright, vivid semi-permanent color it tends to wash out faster, so usually I recommend clients come in every two to four weeks for vivid color maintenance,” Henry explains.

Of course, it’s not just fading pigmentation that’s important. Bright pinks and blues require bleach beforehand, which means your hair can fall prey to damage, split ends, and dryness. Henry recommends Matrix’s Total Results Keep Me Vivid line, which helps keep adventurous colors looking bold, feeling addictively soft, and radiating megawatt prismatic shine—all with a stop-everything scent you won’t be able to get enough of.

Used immediately post-coloration, the Keep Me Vivid Color Lamination Spray helps seal color within the hair for ultra-nourished, high-reflect color. For additional care between colorations, use the spray after Keep Me Vivid Shampoo, wait one minute, then layer on Keep Me Vivid Conditioner.

How Often To Color Blonde Hair

Blonde color maintenance routines will vary depending on what kind of blonde you aspire to be. If you’re into that blonde-at-law-school honey shade, plan to show up every three to six weeks—particularly if you shampoo less frequently and religiously maintain your hair. If silvery blonde is more your jam, the salon is your new home. Every two to four weeks you’ll need a touch-up. Don’t forget about at-home care, either. Henry has a few favorite products for the blondes who sit in her chair, Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo and Total Results Color Obsessed So Silver Purple Shampoo among them. The better you care for your color, the longer it should remain salon-perfect.

When in doubt, shoot your favorite pro a text message or stop by the salon. No one is the ultimate authority in how often you should color your hair quite like them.

For personalized advice about coloring your hair, use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

You might also like: Shadow Hair Is The Low-Maintenance Way To Transition Into Your New Hair Color

You might also like: These 4 Questions Will Tell You Which New Hair Color To Try For 2019

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