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

two women making dyed hair last

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 hair 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 hair care routine just feels exhausting. If you’ve ever colored your hair, you’ve surely been there.

We went hunting for ways to help colored-treated 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 ash blonde hair color fades. Instead of panicking over dull color in the meantime, learn how to help preserve your pigment.

Good hair day by @jsholanda.

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.

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.

Good hair day by @londons_muse.

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.

Good hair day by @powerofastylist.

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.

Good hair day by @melanie.cutanddry.

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.

The Best Color Protecting Hair Products To Try Now

redken color extend magnetics shampoo

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo

Color-treated hair and sulfates are not friends—so give them a little distance with the sulfate-free Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo. This Hair.com bestseller is beloved for its lightweight formula and amino-ions that help seal in your color between appointments.

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Shampoo, $20.00 MSRP

matrix brass off shampoo

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo

You’re probably already familiar with purple shampoo for blonde hair, but lightened brunette deserve their own specialty color correcting care! Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo deposits blue-violet pigments to reduce the look of brassy tones in just two to three minutes!

Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo, $14.00 MSRP

redken color extend magnetics conditioner

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Conditioner

Shampoo gets all the press, but conditioner is all-important for maintaining soft, healthy-looking hair between salon appointments. Redken Color Extend Magnetics Conditioner offers stress-free detangling with a smooth finish and targeted repair.

Redken Color Extend Magnetics Conditioner, $20.00 MSRP

loreal professionnel absolut repair masque

L’Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Instant Resurfacing Masque

You take the time to treat your body right, but what about your hair? L’Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Instant Resurfacing Masque is formulated with quinoa and protein to provide an instant resurfacing effect. This golden beauty is sold exclusively online at Hair.com, so snag yours now!

L’Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Instant Resurfacing Masque, $40.00 MSRP

biolage hydrasource pack

Biolage ColorLast Deep Treatment Pack Multi Use Hair Mask

Dry, dehydrated hair means quick-fading color and a lackluster appearance. Beat your dry hair blues with the Biolage ColorLast Deep Treatment Pack Multi Use Hair Mask, a vegan mask that prevents tangled ends and untimely color fading between appointment thanks to its orchid and apricot seed-backed formula!

Biolage ColorLast Deep Treatment Pack Multi Use Hair Mask, $15.00 MSRP

kerastase ciment thermique blow dry primer

Kérastase Résistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer

If you’re a salon addict, you’re well versed in the feeling of less-than-healthy lightened hair. But why give up heat styling all together when you could just get a heat protectant that’s all about colored hair? Kérastase Résistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer is enriched with ceramides to help strengthen over processed and weak hair during heat styling up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kérastase Résistance Ciment Thermique Blow Dry Primer, $37.00 MSRP

matrix keep me vivid color lamination spray

Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid Color Lamination Vibrancy Spray

We can’t rave enough about Matrix’s Total Results Keep Me Vivid collection, but the Color Lamination Vibrancy Spray is the real star. It can be used both post color service and as part of your at-home to keep your high maintenance (permanent) hair color vibrant for 65 days when used as a system of shampoo, conditioner, and spray.

Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid Color Lamination Vibrancy Spray, $25.00 MSRP

pureology colour fanatic

Pureology Colour Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier Spray

Getting yourself one hair product that does almost everything is an investment you’ll never regret! Pureology’s Colour Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier Spray is the OG all-in-one formula for color-treated hair. From protecting against untimely fade to moisturizing, helping to prevent split ends, and shielding against heat damage, this formula truly does it all.

Pureology Colour Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier Spray, $27.00 MSRP

loreal professionnel hair touch up spray

L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Root Fix Hair Touch Up Professional Root Concealer

The cat is out of the bag: You forgot to schedule your normal touch-up appointment and now your roots are clearly visible. Common mistake! Luckily, we’ve got an easy fix for you: L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Root Fix Hair Touch Up Professional Root Concealer in Brown, Dark Brown, Light Brown, Blonde.

L’Oréal Professionnel Instant Root Fix Hair Touch Up Professional Root Concealer, $25.00 MSRP

redken fashion work 12

Redken Fashion Work 12 Hairspray

Stylists and fashion people tend to speak about Redken Fashion Work 12 Hairspray in hushed tones—that’s just how revered it is! If you’ve ever hunted for the perfect versatile medium hold spray with color-treated hair in mind, the answer is right here in front of you.

Redken Fashion Work 12 Hairspray, $19.50 MSRP 

Looking for more personalized advice about the best ways to keep your color looking fresh? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.