“My hair looks like crap, but I JUST dyed it a week ago! I have that thing tonight, and I wanted my hair to look fresh and shiny. Isn't there a way to keep hair dye from fading?!”
Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. I’ve been a hair color specialist for over a decade, and even I struggled with this problem early on!
You’ve likely noticed even the most “permanent” hair dye eventually loses its luster… but certain colors and tones start to seriously fade after just 1 or 2 washes.
What you may be surprised to learn is that fast-fading hair color doesn’t mean your dye was defective.
It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.
And it certainly doesn’t mean your hairstylist did anything wrong!
It all comes down to the molecular chemistry of hair and hair dye.
I know, “molecular chemistry” is enough to make your eyes glaze over. Luckily, you don’t need to be a mad scientist to keep hair dye from fading. All you need to know is this: scientifically, we don’t yet have a way to make “permanent” hair dye in EVERY color of the rainbow.
The ugly truth is right now, almost all “fun” colors only exist as temporary hair dye. “Fun” colors include…
This list covers most of the color wheel, doesn’t it? I told you the truth was ugly! Brace yourself for one more hard truth… hair dye in these colors typically begins to fade within 2 weeks. Like I said, it’s not your fault that your bright new hue is already fading.
You’re probably ready for some good news now, right? You’ll be happy to know I’ve been a licensed hair color specialist for over a decade. I’ve also dyed my hair every color of the rainbow (literally!) over my life, and I’m sharing my top-secret tricks to keep hair dye from fading.
1. Keep it cool. This trick is the least convenient. But it’s also the most effective, so we must talk about it!
The colder your shower water is, the longer your hair color will last… and hot showers will wash out your hair dye faster than you can say “Ahh, the steam is so nice!”
It’s true, though I’ll spare you the jargon. All you need to know is washing your hair in lukewarm, cool, or even cold water is the most effective way to keep hair dye from fading.
Luckily, this is only true while you’re actively rinsing your hair. When I wash mine, I get in the shower once the water is warm. I turn it down as cold as I can tolerate, and I get my hair wet. Then, I turn it back to warm and lather my shampoo.
When it’s time to wet your hair, rinse the shampoo, and rinse the conditioner, you should switch your water to cold. The rest of your shower time can be any temperature you like!
Take this one step further with a secret bonus trick: rinse out your hair dye with cold water, too. If you’re at the salon, ask your hairdresser to rinse your dye with cool or cold water (again, the coldest you can tolerate without discomfort).
If you’re dying your hair at home, use lukewarm, cool, or cold water when you rinse out your hair dye.
Doing a cold rinse instead of a warm rinse helps to lock in your hair dye the moment it’s on your head. This creates a longer-lasting color, meaning you spend less money on hair dye… just by turning the temperature dial! Cha-ching.
2. Make a deposit. Remember when I said scientists are still trying to create “permanent” hair dye for fun colors? In the meantime, they’ve created “color-depositing” shampoos and conditioners. They’re also known as “tinted” shampoos and conditioners.
Many brands offer
their own color-depositing shampoo and conditioner… I should know, I’ve tried
most of them. These products are the newest way to keep hair dye from fading.
You can find them in every color of the rainbow, and even natural colors (like brunette and blonde). When you wash your hair, you use tinted shampoo and/or conditioner… and it’s like a salon visit in your shower!
These products have a slightly less concentrated version of your hair dye. They are completely free of toxic and harsh chemicals like ammonia. They really are just like “normal” shampoo and conditioner, but with color added. You buy whichever color you need: pink, purple, copper, pastel blue… they have it all!
When you use a color-depositing product, it deposits (adds) color to your hair. They can only add color to hair that has been dyed, though, so you can’t use pink shampoo on brunette hair and expect anything.
You know your hair dye fades a bit every time you wash your hair. Color-depositing shampoo and conditioner replaces the dye that washes away… so whether you dyed your hair last week or last month, it looks freshly done.
I mentioned I’ve
tried nearly every brand of color-depositing products. If you’re looking to try
one, my absolute all-time favorite brand is Celeb Luxury.
Why? So many reasons! Celeb Luxury shampoos and conditioners are the BEST SMELLING products I have EVER used. Not just in my salons, not just at home, but ever in my life. I am HUGE on smells—I even make my own candles because candle stores never have the perfect scent for me.
Celeb Luxury is the best priced, best smelling, and most effective color depositing shampoo out there. It's also cruelty-free. Forget Overtone, Aveda, all of them. This stuff beats the other brands in every way.
3. Less is more. Did you know that (unless your doctor says otherwise) you’re probably washing your hair too often? Hair product companies always recommend washing your hair daily… but that’s actually just a tactic to sell more shampoo.
Unless your doctor has advised otherwise, you should only wash your hair about 3 times a week maximum. Personally, I wash my hair once a week (though I do shower every day). This is because even if you use ice cold water, washing your hair removes impurities… including hair dye molecules.
Here’s how I do this at home: Each day when I shower, I grab a towel I’d use to wrap up my hair post-wash. I put my hair in a towel wrap on my head just like after I wash it, only my hair is dry. I make sure my bangs, layers, and ends are covered by the towel, and I’m good to go!
Can’t you just buy a reusable shower cap for this purpose? Yes, of course! But I’ve always used my towels without issue, so I don’t see the need to buy anything else.
That’s really all there is to it! I just love that 2 of the 3 tips don’t require you to purchase anything. These tips to keep hair dye from fading are for “fun” and “high-saturation” hues. But they’re just as effective for more “natural” hair dye shades, like brunette, blond, and black/raven tones.
You’ve probably heard from friends or your own hairdresser that these “fun” colors are a lot of work and maintenance. They certainly can be if you don’t know these easy tricks!
And it’s all because now, you know exactly how to keep hair dye from fading!
Do you have questions, challenges, or comments about keeping your hair color from fading? Leave a comment to receive my expert advice!
Cheering you on,
Your freelance beauty copywriter