Hair Colorists Hate This One Trick for Long-Lasting Color

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Written by Sophie Mara

Updated: March 23, 2024

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image via @mickeycolonjr

You’ve spent countless hours scrolling through inspo photos to find the exact right shade. You’ve made the appointment, had the dye put in, and you’re totally in love with your freshly colored locks.

The only negative?

You know that rich hue won’t last forever and might even begin to fade from the very first wash. It’s time to take the stress out of coloring your hair and reveal our top ten tips on how to make your dream shade last longer than it ever has before.

That means fewer salon trips, less money spent, and more time swooning over your colorful locks. 

#1. Wait 3 Days Before You Wash Your Hair

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image via @agaveoil

To be clear, we’re not saying you can’t take a shower or have a bath for three days. We’re simply recommending you cover up your hair and avoid getting it wet when you do!

The reason for this is all to do with the initial coloring process. When you, or your stylist, apply colored dye to your hair, the hair cuticles open up to receive the color. These cuticles take time, roughly 72 hours, to fully close and effectively seal the color inside.

So, by waiting three days to wash and condition your hair again, you allow it time to settle and give the color a chance to really cling to those strands. Longer-lasting color every time. 

#2. Lower The Temperature In Your Shower

Here’s the thing, we love steaming hot showers just as much as you do. The problem? Hot shower water can wreak absolute havoc on colored hair.

Alternatively, if you just can’t stand the thought of taking lukewarm showers for the foreseeable, opt for washing your hair separately over the bath instead.

Take a shower, and pop your hair in a shower cap, or tie it loosely away from your face. Then hop out, flip your hair over the bath, and suds up with the temperature on low. 

#3. Go Sulphate Free

As if the hot water thing wasn’t bad enough. It turns out that the dreamy lathering effect from your favorite shampoo might also be causing your color to fade more quickly.

The culprit? Sulfates.

These chemicals can strip your hair color quickly and effectively so they’re best avoided when you want those colored locks to last longer than a few weeks. Instead, opt for sulfate-free formulas for both your shampoo and conditioner.

It may not feel as luxurious in the shower but a huge pro is that your hair will feel surprisingly soft. Sulfates are also known to dry out your hair so a sulfate-free set will not only maintain your color, it’ll also give you smoother, more manageable tresses.

#4. Only Use Products Designed For Colored Hair

It might sound obvious but it’s not always something we think twice about. Especially if it’s the first time you’ve colored your hair.

Make sure everything from your shampoo and conditioner to the hair masks and styling products you use are specifically designed for colored hair.

If not, they may (and usually do) contain chemicals that will quickly strip your color and leave it looking dull and lifeless.

#5. Invest In A Shower Head Filter

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image via @jolieskinco

Did you know the water you wash your hair with can actually affect the strength of your color? If not, it might be time to consider investing in a filter for your shower head.

You may have noticed that your hair looks and feels different depending on where in the world you wash it. It might be dry and brittle at home, but it feels soft a smooth on vacation. Is this some sort of magic? Or is there something in the water?

Believe it or not, your shower water can be susceptible to copper exposure and may contain chlorine and iron which lead to faster fading. A filter will stop these from touching your hair so your color lasts and lasts.

#6. Cut Down On Hair Wash Days

We hardly need to tell you that every time you wash your hair your hair color fades a little more. You can see the color going, quite literally, down the drain after all.

So, the simplest tip on our list is to try and cut down on those hair-wash days. A little dry shampoo goes a long way in between and with so many available these days you’ll usually be able to find a shade that blends seamlessly into your new shade. 

#7. Stay In The Shade

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image via @forrm.store

Summer is just around the corner and we can’t wait for the warmer weather, with days spent relaxing on the beach, strolling around our favorite parks, and reading in the garden. It’s absolute bliss for us but, sadly, our hair feels very different.

If you didn’t already know, sunlight can cause your hair color to fade more quickly. Just as harmful UV rays from the sun can disrupt and damage our skin, they can also penetrate the hair shaft. This can cause the color molecules to degrade faster than they usually would, it can also dry out your hair causing your color to look washed out. 

#8. Step Away From The Straightener

Okay, we said straightener, but we actually recommend taking lengthy breaks from all heat tools as often as you can. Whilst the heat itself might not fade your color, it does subject your hair to heat damage which can cause it to dry out.

Damaged hair leads to breakage and dull-looking lengths which give the impression your color is fading. For brighter, healthier, more vibrant-looking locks, let yours air dry as much as possible. If not, patting your hair as dry as possible with a clean, soft, microfibre towel will at least lessen the amount of blow-drying time.

#9. Avoid Chlorine

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image via @veneresalon

Another thing we love about summer but hate for our hair? Swimming.

For cleanliness, pools are topped up regularly with chlorine to rid the water of germs. Unfortunately for your hair, this chemical is also hair dye’s worst enemy. Known not only to strip the color but also to turn it into a rather strange shade of green. It’s especially bad for blondes but isn’t good for dyed hair of any hue.

Our advice is to avoid getting your hair wet in the pool altogether if you can. If not there are always swimming caps or fun scrunchies that’ll keep your hair away from the water.  

#10. Make Hair Masks A Priority

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image via @beautylaunchpad

As is true for many of the tips on this list, this one’s all about preserving hair health for more vibrant-looking locks. Damaged hair is susceptible to color fading but nutrient-rich hair masks can prevent, and in some cases, even reverse the effects.

Make it a priority to include weekly hair masks for colored hair in your weekly routine and we promise, you’ll never look back. Unless of course there’s a mirror there for you to admire how good your color still looks!


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