Hair Experts Share Their Top Tips to Keep Your Hair Color From Fading

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Hair Experts Share Their Top Tips to Keep Your Hair Color From Fading featured image
This article first appeared in the Summer 2020 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

During the warmer months, we tend to go outdoors and spend more time with Mother Nature, but it’s also a time filled with hidden aggressors that can make it difficult to maintain beautiful, vibrant hair color. Follow these simple steps from the pros to keep color from fading fast.

Strand Strippers
Celebrity hair colorist Chad Kenyon says summertime hair habits can start to take a toll on hair’s tint. “When we spend more time in the sun, it causes us to perspire more, and in turn, we tend to shower, shampoo and style more frequently. This is one of the number-one reasons hair color starts to fade.”

Chlorine and saltwater deplete hair’s natural oils, which cause split ends and strip away shine and vibrancy, creating a lackluster color. Aura Friedman, lead color specialist at Sally Hershberger Salon, says you can also thank UV rays for accelerating fading because they break down chemical bonds in the dyes, causing them to vanish at a faster pace.

Shampoo Switch
Kenyon explains that during the summer, it’s even more important to take a closer look at the label on your hair-care products. “Use a great sulfate-free shampoo,” he says. “Sulfates are essentially detergents that overwash and strip the hair. This process also opens the cuticle, which brings out underlying brassy tones and can also make strands tangle more easily.”

Cover Up
“The most important thing is to either stay out of the sun entirely, or get a hat to cover up,” Friedman says. Look for a sun-protection hat made of fabric and materials with a UPF50+ protection, a factor similar to SPF in sunscreens that reflects the sun’s rays.

Protect + Swim
“Spray-on sunblocks can do a good job of protecting the scalp and hair, but they really don’t prevent color fading, which by the way isn’t always the worst thing,” says Friedman. “A little bit of fading is OK.” If you know you’re going to spend a lot of time in both the sun and water, Friedman recommends prepping strands beforehand to make it harder for the saltwater, chlorine or soft water to penetrate the hair shaft. “You can use a regular conditioner or a leave-in one and mix it with water in a spray bottle to mist your hair throughout the day. If there is one more barrier coating your hair, it’s going to protect it from the sun and from absorbing the water. Right now, I’m using a treatment called KhairPep, which I can do as an in-salon treatment, but it can also be used as a leave-in to shield hair from the sun.”

Gloss + Tone
To get ahead of color fading, Kenyon says to start with a formula that isn’t intended to stay for long. “Permanent hair color never really fades away completely,” he explains, “yet the tonality may fade into something less desirable and brassy.” Instead, Kenyon recommends trying a demi-permanent hair color like a gloss or toner. While these types of dyes will completely fade over time, he says the trade-off is that there won’t be a line of demarcation when the hair grows back in, making it a more gradual color shift as the summer ends, rather than a total washout

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