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Hair Pros Share 4 Ways To Refresh Dull Hair At Home Without Having to Re-Dye

Even this beverage can help boost your hair hue


Having freshly colored hair can be a big boost for both our appearance and confidence. But it can be such a bummer that dye fades or highlights lose their sun-kissed glimmer, leaving us with dull hair color. The good news? It’s simple to brighten up locks, restore richness or vibrancy to colored hair at home. We turned to hair pros for all you need to know about reviving dull hair color. Keep scrolling for the easy solutions that give old hair color new life, which is also key for making hair color last longer.

1. Restore vibrancy with a gloss

No matter if you have fresh or dull hair color, treating hair with a gloss can be beneficial. “This is an additional hair color service that enhances your color tones, adds shine and provides added protection against color loss,” says Gerard Caruso, master colorist and Creative Director of Education for MilkShake. “Some color manufacturers even offer a clear shade that won’t impact your color tones at all.”  

Basically, a glaze or gloss is a conditioning, translucent version of the base color that will help keep your color looking fresh by sealing the hair cuticle closed. This process locks in the color molecules to prevent fading, while also smoothing the hair surface. It “leads to not only a radiant shine, but it also helps preserve color,” says Lisa Abbey, hairstylist and founder of Flygirl, a clean hair care line. “If you’re doing it at home you’ll want to apply a glaze or gloss through the mid-ends of your hair at every color application — or ask your colorist to — in order to keep your hair color looking vibrant and healthy.”

dpHue Gloss+, a product that helps with dull hair color

dpHue Gloss+ (comes in a clear glaze and 11 other shades)

This at-home gloss from dpHUE can be used while you shower to boost your hair color. Best of all, it comes in clear and 11 different hues so there’s a shade for everyone.

Related: Hair Glosses Are the Colorist Secret To Youthful, Shiny Hair and Vibrant Color

2. Boost faded color with these shampoos and conditioners

Color depositing shampoos and conditioners are trending these days, and it’s no wonder since they help deposit tones to keep color vibrant. “These formulas are designed to work with color-treated hair and often contain specialized ingredients, selected to help preserve pigment,” says Caruso. But keep in mind, the pigment these products provide basically lays on the top of the hair and goes into the cuticle layer slightly, says Whatley. “This could be something that can be used daily or whenever you need that extra punch of pigmentation, but this is not going to be a permanent solution.” 

If you have blonde or gray hair that’s discolored

Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Blonde Toning Shampoo

Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Blonde Toning Shampoo

Using a purple shampoo instantly neutralizes unwanted yellow tones in lighter hair hues so they look dazzling not dull. And this Clairol shampoo makes it simple to get the results while showering.

If you’re a brunette with brassy-looking color

Milk_Shake Cold Brunette Shampoo, a product that helps with dull hair color

Milk_Shake Cold Brunette Shampoo

For those with brunette hair who also have highlights, strands too can end up looking brassy. So using a blue shampoo will neutralize orange tones in tresses so locks appear anything but brassy.

If you’re a redhead with faded hair color

oVertone Haircare Daily Conditioner in extreme red

oVertone Haircare Daily Conditioner in extreme red

Red dye is notorious for fading fast due to its large molecule size, so adding it back to hair while showering is a smart strategy to combat it. This red tinted conditioner adds fiery pigments back to hair so it looks its best.

3. Boost shine with a leave-in conditioner

The more hydrated your hair is, the more vibrant your hair color will look — and the longer your color will last, say the pros. That’s why using a good leave-in conditioner each day will help your color remain rich and vibrant. The conditioner will infuse moisture, and best of all, you don’t need to rinse it out so there’s no risk that it will lead to slippage of hair color molecules. It’s also important to use one that is paraben-free, since parabens can dry out hair and make it brittle and more prone to color fading or making it look duller. 

amika Hydro Rush Intense Moisture Leave-In Conditioner, a product that helps with dull hair color

amika Hydro Rush Intense Moisture Leave-In Conditioner

For a leave-in conditioner that leaves hair with a gorgeous shine and color appearing more vibrant, look to this option from amika. It contains hyaluronic acid and squalane, two extremely hydrating ingredients that nourish and repair hair so it looks healthy.

4. Add richness back to dull hair color with a DIY rinse

Woman rinsing her hair

Surprisingly, doing a natural hair rinse using tea can reverse dull hair color. “Tea, in its various forms, contains compounds that can restore vibrancy to strands,” says beauty expert Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home Handbook. And there’s a different tea that will work wonders for each hair color:

Blond or gray? Chamomile tea’s bisabolol sharpens and brightens lighter pigments.

Brunette? Black tea’s tannins enrich the hue of the darker-toned locks.

Redhead? Rooibos tea’s red tinge enhances the fiery hue.

To do: Steep 2 bags of tea in 1 cup of boiling water; let cool. Pour onto damp hair from roots to ends and wring out excess liquid, then cover with a shower cap and let sit 30 minutes before rinsing.

Related: Natural Hair Rinse Recipes: The DIY Remedy Study-Prove

And if you’re working with fresher hair color, a rinse can help too. “There’s a great home remedy that I recommend to my clients besides your professional hair care home maintenance,” says Whatley. “Once a week, just take some white vinegar and distilled water [using equal amounts of both], and rinse your hair with it.” Why it works: Acidity in the vinegar will completely shut down that cuticle layer and help protect the hair color. The key, he says, is always keeping your hair in great condition and keeping the cuticle layer closed and as smooth as possible. 

See more hair care tips and tricks:

How Laser Hair Therapy Reverses Thinning Hair! Plus the Best at-Home Devices to Use

Are You Double Shampooing? Here’s Why Experts Say You Should for a Deep Cleanse

How to Get Rid of Scalp Acne According to Top Dermatologists

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