Now that you’ve spent hours and hundreds of dollars getting your hair to that just-perfect color, it’s time to keep it intact for as long as possible. Truth be told, most of us do at least one—if not all seven—of these hair no-nos within the first week or so after having our hair professionally colored, even if it’s unintentional. Here are the expert answers to your most important questions about how to keep your color fresh, shiny and vibrant.
Avoid Hot Water
It may seem second nature to just hop in the shower and shampoo as usual post-color, but celebrity hairstylist Michelle Cleveland says freshly-colored strands should be sure to avoid hot water. Leo Izquierdo, colorist at New York’s IGK Salon, agrees, adding that hot water will lift the outer layer of hair color and cause color to fade. “Instead, rinse with cold or lukewarm water, as it will help seal up the cuticle and lock in your fresh color,” says Cleveland.
Steer Clear of Too Much Sun
Chemicals and chlorine are two of the more obvious color-strippers, but Eric Leonardos, celebrity hairstylist at STARRING, says there’s another huge one we often forget about: the sun. “You should avoid direct sunlight for long periods of time and use an SPF designed specifically for hair.” Cleveland agrees, adding she always recommends a good UV spray protectant for her color clients. Her favorite that also boasts SPF? Sebastian Trillant Spray.
Don’t Wash Your Hair (At First)
The questions we all ask ourselves the day or two after coloring our hair are universal, “how long do I wait to wash my hair after dying it,” “can I wet my hair after coloring,” and “can I work out after getting my hair dyed?” Founder of Tina Did It Salon at Ricky’s NYC, Tina Outen says to avoid washing your hair for the first 48 hours after color. Izquierdo says to wait three days. “This gives time for the cuticle to close and the color to set,” he says. That’s why you might want to skip a work out or two so you don’t have to wet it or wash it—if you do, you’re lifting the color right out of your hair.
Lay Off the Chemicals
Celebrity colorist Sharon Dorram says one of the most important things to remember after coloring your hair is not to overexpose it to too many chemicals. “Anything from hairspray and styling products with alcohol to too much blow-drying can all contribute to color fading.” The chemicals found in styling products open up the cuticle allowing the color to slip out.
Outen compares the chlorine in swimming pools like Kryptonite to color. Make sure to keep your hair protected whenever you’re outside with a good hat and sun-protecting hair products.
Skip Treatment Shampoos and Masks
“Can I condition my hair after coloring?” It’s a question often asked at the salon and the answer can keep your color lasting much longer. We’re not saying that you can’t ever use them, but know that anything like dandruff or clarifying shampoos can do a number on your color. “They are used to strip unwanted tones in color correction,” says Outen. So, if you like your color, don’t wash with them. “Also, avoid thick treatment masks. They penetrate so deeply into the hair and can drag the color pigments out with them.” The same goes for using treatment oils, so if you’re wondering if you can oil your hair after coloring, it’s best to avoid any type of treatments for a while in order to extend your color.
Stay Away From Heat
Heat-based styling tools won’t do anything good to your color, especially when you couple it with products. “Try to avoid using volumizers, mousse, hairsprays, and even gels with high heat for long periods of time. The hair is too vulnerable and easily damaged,” says Dorram.
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