The vibrancy, shine, and richness of freshly colored hair is bar none-but so is the sadness that sets in as soon as that new hue begins to fade. If you find yourself making an appointment to get your haircolor refreshed sooner than you'd like, you could be falling victim to one of the haircolor sins below. From not protecting your locks during a dip in the pool to using the wrong haircare products, check out our list of the surprising-and not-so-surprising-reasons your haircolor is fading, plus ways to keep it looking fresher, longer!
Lack of Protection
As celebrity stylist and L'Oréal Professionnel Artist Jason Backe says, "You should protect your hair the way you protect your skin." You wouldn't dream of going out in the sun without slathering on broad-spectrum SPF, so why wouldn't you go to great lengths to protect your strands in a similar way? If you're spending lots of time outside in the sun, wear a scarf or a wide-brimmed hat to shield your locks from damaging UV rays. Diving in the deep end? Chlorinated pools and salt water can both dry out your hair and cause fresh haircolor to fade faster than normal. We share tips to protect your hair from elements, here.
Washing With Hard Water
If you have hard water at home, your showers may be the cause of your fading haircolor. Hard water has an alkaline pH balance and heavy mineral content, so it can dry out your locks and subsequently fade haircolor-yes, just like chlorine! If your home has hard water, consider investing in a showerhead filter which can filter out those drying minerals and help you achieve healthier-looking hair in the process.
Even if your home doesn't have hard water, your shower could still be the culprit behind your fading locks. Washing your hair with hot water can not only dry out your strands, but it also opens the hair shaft and can remove the haircolor. Try to cool things down a bit, washing with lukewarm water and doing a final ice-cold rinse to help close the cuticle. This will protect your haircolor and give you a little extra shine when your hair dries-win, win!
While we're talking heat, it's time to talk hot tools. From curling irons and wands, to straighteners and blow dryers, many of us frequently subject our strands to an onslaught of heat which can damage our luscious locks and cause even the most vibrant haircolor to fade. Try to embrace your natural texture as often as you can and if you do use heat to create a fabulous style, never forget to use a leave-in heat protectant first.
Using the Wrong Products
Take a good look at your shampoo and conditioner, does the bottle say "color-safe," "for color-treated hair," or, at the very least, "sulfate-free?" If you answered no to all of the above, chances are your products are the reason your haircolor is fading. Certain products, especially shampoo, can strip your hair as they cleanse. And, while removing the dirt and impurities that your strands come in contact with is a good thing, removing your haircolor with them is not. The number one way all of our experts say to maintain your haircolor, is to reach for hydrating products especially formulated for color-treated hair. Vitamino Color A·OX and Lumino Contrast are great options that will allow you to get your hair clean, while keeping your new haircolor fresh!
Washing Too Much & Too Soon
Even if you have the right products on hand, you may be using them too often-or, too soon. After your appointment, do your best to give the haircolor a chance to set before lathering up-a good rule of thumb is to wait 48 hours. After that, try to stretch your shampoos out at least every two days or longer. In between washes, use dry shampoo to absorb excess oils or try to alternate between shampoo and washing with a cleansing conditioner which is more gentle and won't strip your strands. When it comes to clarifying shampoo, use it sparingly (or not at all!) since its purpose is to remove buildup on your locks and it can remove your gorgeous haircolor along with that grime.
Not Going to a Professional
Sure boxed dyes are convenient and inexpensive, but they often leave you with flat, one-dimensional color that fades after a few washes. Going to the salon gives you access to an expert who knows exactly how much haircolor your hair requires and the amount of process time needed based on your hair's porosity. Simply put, some of us have hair that is more porous than others, meaning it lacks the moisture and/or protein necessary to get a haircolor to take.
Editor's Note: The fastest faders? Reds-everything from deep cherry to bright copper-high-pigment fantasy colors-here's looking at you, #rainbowhair-pastels, and the ever-coveted steel grey. While blondes and brunettes are not subject to fading in the in the same way as these popular shades, they are vulnerable to going brassy and changing over time, so the rules above apply to you too!