Fresh highlights have a way of making us feel like a million bucks. Which is a good thing, because sometimes it feels like that’s what it’s going to cost to maintain those glorious golden locks. Because when your hair color is bright and vibrant you hold your head just a little a bit higher. And you can’t really put a price on that. You can, however, make an ardent effort to stretch the time between salon visits. We caught up with NYC-based hair colorist extraordinaire Kyle White and asked him to spill his secrets for making hair color shine on for as long as possible.
1. Fight damage inside and out.
White finds that hair health is number one when it comes to keeping your color bright and beautiful. “When hair is damaged, the cuticle gets holes in it and color molecules slip out the holes. Healthy hair has no holes, so it holds color longer and better. Just like everything else, healthy hair starts from the inside out so try a hair vitamin like Biotin. And keep hair healthy by doing a deep conditioning mask once a week.” A few minutes with Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser Strength Reconstructing Butter or Matrix Biolage Aqua-Immersion Creme Masque will do wonders for distressed strands.
2. Beat the heat.
“In exactly the same way that your black or bright colored clothes fade in the hot washer and dryer, heat styling fades your hair color.” Of course, avoiding heat styling all together would be the best way to go, but that’s not very realistic. Do, however, be sure to use a thermal protector whenever you use hot tools. White says to look for one that is also a leave-in treatment with protein and vitamins like It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product or L’Oréal Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy Dual Protect Spray.
3. Use the right tools.
Bet you didn’t think your hairbrush could be the source that’s stripping your color. Well, you thought wrong. According to White, “Metal brushes and bristles heat up from your blow dryer and become an iron. Sure, your hair dries in a flash, but you sacrifice the brightness of your hair color and risk tons of breakage.” White recommends natural bristle brushes over metal ones and says the barrel of the brush can be wooden, ceramic, even plastic, but never metal.
4. Offer your hair the same protection you give your skin.
“The sun fades paint jobs on cars and the cushions on patio furniture; it does the same to your hair color,” notes White. Just like you use SPF to protect your face and body from the sun, you should use sunscreen on your hair every time you wash, even in the winter. And if you’re going to be in direct sunlight, like at the beach, use a sunscreen for your hair and cover your head with a hat or scarf. Try a spray like Kérastase Soleil Huile Céleste or an oil like Kiehl’s Color-Protect Shine Infusing Hair Oil Treatment.
5. Ease up on shampooing.
“After sun exposure, frequent shampooing is the second biggest fader of hair color.” White suggests cutting back on shampoos. Instead, turn to the modern day miracle worker: dry shampoo. (Some favorites include Oscar Blandi Pronto, Pureoology Fresh Approach and these expert-approved dry shampoos.) And remember, “Your scalp’s natural oils are Mother Nature’s deep conditioner.” Embracing those natural oils will save your color, the health of your hair and your blow out.
6. Watch your water.
The very water you wash with could also be the culprit for dulling hair color. White says, “Well water, rusty pipes in old Manhattan buildings, and impurities in the water we shower with can change your hair color, and in cases of the very blonde, sometimes drastically.” If your home uses well water and you are able to, White suggests installing a filtration system for the whole house. You can also swap out your regular showerhead for one that filters the water. White’s a fan of the T3 Source Showerhead Filter because it removes chlorine (a sworn enemy of colored hair) and other chemicals to improve hair color and hair color retention.
Do you have any questions for our hair care experts? Leave them below and we’ll try to address them in upcoming articles.