Maintaining (faux) hair color is not an easy task. It’s often a little damaged from the hair coloring process, not to mention the amount of styling your strands forego… Ahem, heat damage. Pair this with harsh shampoos, temperature changes, and chemicals within your water system, and it’s easy to see how your beautiful blonde locks look brassy in six to eight weeks. So, to save you from running back to the salon and splashing out (once again) on upkeep, we spoke to one of the top hair colorists in London; Tommy Drury, he spilled all the tea on how to help your hair color last longer. Follow these tips and your wallet and your tresses will be in much better condition.
1. Find a Good Colorist
The secret to long-lasting color is a good colorist. As someone who’s been coloring their hair since they were 16, I’ve been through my fair share of mishaps, and when the colorist knows what they’re doing, it’s a total gamechanger. Tommy explains, “It’s the responsibility of your colorist to identify factors that will have a negative effect on your color and create a formula accordingly.”
A qualified colorist will be able to assess the health of your hair, and therefore the level of change your mane can undergo with minimal damage. They will also take into consideration your hair history, your budget, and your daily styling routine. For instance, if visiting the salon every six weeks isn’t an option, your colorist could ‘drag out’ the roots for a more natural grow-out. All of these factors will impact how the color fades, and therefore, how your colorist colors your hair.
2. Minimize Damage
Tommy explains, “There are two main types of damage we see, one being chemical damage and the other being mechanical damage (this usually refers to damage caused by heated tools). It is my job to avoid chemically damaging the hair, that goes without saying, but it is down to my client to control and limit mechanical damage.” Tommy says you must “Always use protection,” adding that “Redken wins for heat protection products, some of the products even have strong style holding properties.” We love the Redken Iron Shape 11 Heat Protectant Spray, $20, the lightweight formula leaves the hair looking healthy, without that tacky feeling.
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Tommy adds “Ultimately, the better condition the hair is in, the better the color will last. However, in reality, it’s all about finding a compromise — a balance. I can’t stop my frizzy clients from taming their hair everyday with heat but I can recommend products and I can work with them to lower the maintenance of their color. One of my favorite product ranges that I always recommend to fight frizz is Redken’s Frizz Dismiss Range. All of the products within the range feature a technology to help smooth the hair and fight humidity. They’re also sodium chloride and sulfate-free, which is great for curly hair.”
3. Wash With Your Color in Mind
As you wash your hair so frequently, it’s important to get the technique right. If you’re thinking the process is pretty simple, well, there are certain techniques that can make a HUGE difference. Tommy says, “Hair should be shampooed two to four times a week, however thicker or curlier hair can certainly get away with the lesser amount. When shampooing the hair, it’s important to concentrate the lather and scrubbing to the scalp, too much abrasion through the ends will cause the color to fade quicker. The mid-lengths and ends will cleanse as the shampoo is rinsed through.” Read this, for more hair washing hacks.
Another great addition to your hair routine is using a water filter, as it helps rebalance the pH levels and remove harsh chemicals that would otherwise strip the hair of color. The Klean Shower Filter, $72 (there’s also a free subscription trial), reduces chlorine and metal irons while transforming chemicals and impurities into harmless substances. We’ve been using it for two months and our hair is so much softer and shinier.
4. Use Color-Saving Products
“Some hair will fade quicker than others based on the natural hair structure itself and there’s not much we can do about that. In these cases, I’d recommend using a color saving shampoo (personally Redken is my favorite for these), also if you’re a bold red or you’ve just turned your hair from light to dark” advises Tommy. Using gentle, sulfate-free shampoos will also help maintain the color. Another must-have product for blondes is purple shampoo, as it helps cancel out any unwanted brassiness. We’ve been using the Clairol Shimmer Lights Blonde & Silver Shampoo, $11, it’s one of the most affordable purple shampoos and it effectively removes any yellow or brassy tones.
Tommy adds, “I also encourage my clients to use a quality surface conditioner (usually Redken or Pureology) at home and save the intense treatments for their color appointments and sometimes in between.”
5. Use Toner In Between Appointments
Tommy says “There’s always an option for in-salon treatments to boost your color. This may involve short toning services in between your usual color appointments (perfect for maintaining bold colors, pastel-reflects or those going through corrective work). At home, hair color can be maintained with pigmented-conditioners and temporary colors.” Although Tommy does admit “Treatments at home do help but most people don’t have time for that. Plus, the salon-exclusives (Olaplex part 1+2) are significantly better.”
For more hair coloring tips, check out how to fix a hair color disaster.