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Have Freshly Colored Hair? Pros Share How To Make It Last 6 Weeks Longer

Even a simple shampoo switch can make a big difference

Whether you’ve spent a lot of time doing it yourself at home, or dropped a pretty penny at the salon on a new hair color — from highlights, a dramatic change or simply covering grays — you wish you could extend your color. Well, when it comes to how to make hair color last longer there actually are some easy ways to do so, say the hairstylists and colorists we spoke to. Scroll on for the best pro tips to keep your new hue looking vibrant and healthy for as long as possible. 

1. Seal in dye by conditioning hair immediately

Woman with conditioner in her hair

After 30 years of experience in hair coloring, William Whatley, Creative Education Director for Scruples Haircare, and former hairstylist on Ambush Makeover says the first thing to do when you get home is to condition your hair. “You have to seal in hair color immediately after hair color application is done,” says Whatley. “Use a very rich conditioner, specifically designed for color treated hair to shut down the cuticle and allow the color molecule to continue to secure itself inside the hair.”

Scruples Color Renewal Retention Conditioner

Scruples Color Renewal Retention Conditioner

This isn’t your average color-protecting conditioner — that’s because it has UV absorbers that lock in color and prevent fading due to environmental stressors. Best of all, it seals hair’s cuticle so dye molecules stay put as strands are being conditioned. Tip: Reverse hair washing by applying conditioner before shampoo can also help keep color intact.

2. Stop fading by washing hair less and using this type of shampoo

 After a hair coloring treatment you may need to reconsider your regular care routine — like how often you wash and what shampoo and conditioner you use. Washing hair can allow color molecules to slip out of strands, so it’s vital to wait at least 48 to 72 hours after your color service before shampooing hair, says Lisa Abbey, hairstylist and founder of Flygirl, a clean hair care line. “If you absolutely must shower after a color service, simply skip the shampoo and rinse and condition only.” Then, after those first few days, you’ll also want to wash hair only once or twice a week, if possible, to help preserve color.

Secondly, you’ll want to avoid using a clarifying shampoo. Whatley says that while they are great for removing buildup on the hair, they also can cause your color to fade. Instead you’ll need a color safe shampoo — these types of shampoos are always sulfate-free since sulfates can cause fading by stripping hair color molecules from strands. “Look for formulas that are sulfate-, SLS- and SLES-free,” adds Gerard Caruso, master colorist and Creative Director of Education for MilkShake. “This will help to ensure a gentle cleansing that will keep color deposited in strands.”


Redken Acidic Color Gloss Sulfate-Free Shampoo

For a color care shampoo that checks all of the all the color-prolonging boxes, look to this formula from Redken. It’s free of sulfates (meaning it won’t strip color), has an acidic pH (it seals the cuticle to keep dye on hair) and contains antioxidants (which repair any damage caused during the coloring process) — all of which ensure your colored hair stays looking its best.

Related: Dermatologist-Recommended Shampoos for Hair Loss — Discover What’s Right for You

3. Keep dye intact by washing hair with warm or cool water

To keep your hair color as fabulous as it was after it’s been freshly colored, it’s best to keep strands away from any source of heat. “For example, being under a hot shower for 15 minutes in the morning will result in hair color slipping out, because the hot water opens the cuticle,” explains Whatley. “So, I recommend showering with lukewarm water and doing just a quick cool burst of cool water to close your cuticle down before you step out of the shower.” This will help preserve the life of your hair color immensely.

4. Prolong hair color with dry shampoo

Woman sprinkling dry shampoo into to hand before applying to hair. She's confident using this product after learning is dry shampoo bad for hair

As mentioned previously, skipping your regular shampoo routine helps give your hair a break from all that stripping action. But what to do if hair starts to look greasy or oily? “Dry shampoo works wonders by sucking up those excess oils that can wash away your color,” says Miwako Urasugi, a celebrity hairstylist based in NYC. “Also it’s a win-win for preserving both color and moisture.” When looking for a dry shampoo that won’t fade hair color — just as with shampoos — read the label and avoid ones that contain sulfates, parabens and alcohol, as these can strip away color.

As for applying dry shampoo on colored hair, it’s best to focus on aiming the spray at the roots, rather than spraying it all over the hair. “Doing so helps to preserve the color on the lengths and ends of the hair, which are more prone to fading,” says Miwako. “By targeting the roots, you can refresh your hair and extend the time between washes without compromising the vibrancy of your hair color.”

Flygirl Virtuous Ultimate Dry Shampoo

Flygirl Virtuous Ultimate Dry Shampoo

To refresh hair a few days after shampooing in order to maintain hair color, look to this dry shampoo. It absorbs excess oil and blends in seamlessly with all hair colors — no white cast left behind!

Related: Is Dry Shampoo Bad for Hair? Experts Weigh In + How to Pick the Best One for You

5. Protect fresh dye with a hair mask

If you spend a lot of time at the beach or pool in the summer you might wonder, ‘how do I protect my hair from the chlorine and the sun and other outdoor elements?’ Especially since exposure to salt and chlorine will dry out the hair and strip the color. Whatley has the answer! “What I recommend, especially if you’re going to be in the pool daily, is to really cover your hair with a mask,” he says. “A thick mask is going to coat the hair and act as a shield — not allowing the chlorine or salt to penetrate the hair.” To do: Wet hair, then apply a palmful of a deep conditioning mask generously all over the hair comb and dive in. Then after you’re done swimming, just do a quick light shampoo and quick conditioner, as discussed above. 

Schwarzkopf Fibre Clinix Vibrancy Conditioner

Schwarzkopf Fibre Clinix Vibrancy Conditioner

This deep conditioner works just like a hair mask to nourish hair and help color stay looking vibrant. It works by deeply hydrating hair and repairing hair bonds that can be broken when strands are being colored. The result? Soft strands and color that lasts.

6. Protect color from heat when using hot tools

Heat is an instant color killer. So repeated exposure to hot water and hot styling tools without proper protection is a sure way to fade hair color fast. High heat is not only damaging to the hair cuticle, it also causes the cuticle to open, allowing more color molecules to escape. That’s why it’s important to check your styling tools’ heat settings and keep your hot tools on a lower setting. “You shouldn’t need to go above 300° for any long-lasting style,” says Caruso. “Using a heat protectant can help to prevent color loss and heat damage.” 

IGK Hair Good Behavior 4-in-1 Prep Spray

IGK Hair Good Behavior 4-in-1 Prep Spray

Protect hair when using hot tools up to 450 degrees by using this heat protectant from IGK Hair. And it also contains hair-strengthening spirulina and hydrating coconut oil, which both also help protect hair color.

Related: How To Create Sock Curls + More Heatless Styles That Add Volume to Fine Hair

7. Shield strands and color by wearing a hat 

Woman wearing a sun hat

When it comes to how to make hair color last longer one super easy way to do this is to make sure strands are shielded from the sun’s damaging rays as much as possible. This is especially true for colored hair since these rays can break down and fade pigments in hair. “I always recommend that if you’re out in the sun and you don’t want to fade your color you should wear a hat when you can,” says Whatley. One we like is Solbari Ultra Wide Cotton Linen Hat UPF50+. And if hats aren’t your style, Caruso suggests reaching for a cute scarf. 

See more expert-backed hair care tips:

Menopause Hair Care: What Works Best for Women Over 50, According to Hair Pros

11 Best Hair Growth Products for Women Over 50 to Treat Thinning, According to Hair Loss Experts

How to Fix a Receding Hairline: The TikTok Tricks That Actually Work for Women Over 50

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