How to make your hair colour last longer

03 March 2020 | By Leigh van den Berg

Dying your hair but frustrated by constantly fighting against fading? It’s time for a quick chemistry lesson from Port Elizabeth-based hairdresser Lynne Jacobs, who shares a few tips to help your hair colour last longer.


Hair colour 101 

“Whenever you dye your hair, you’re putting colour molecules into the shaft. Permanent hair dyes contain chemicals that help the colour molecule penetrate deep into your hair and bind to its core. This is why it lasts longer than semi-permanent colour,” she says. 

Clearly, if you want colour that sticks around, you should opt for permanent hair dye, but even that will fade over time and lose its initial vibrance. To help it hang tight, Jacobs suggest you wash your hair less often (“Dry shampoo is your friend!”, she says) and use a shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for colour-treated hair.

“Ideally, you want to use something that’s sulphate-free or doesn’t contain the foaming agent sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS),” she says. “Sulphates are essentially soap and the soapier your shampoo, the more it’s going to strip your colour. This is why clarifying shampoo, something that contains a lot of soap, will fade your hair colour really fast.” 

Red alert! 

Just a quick word about red – Jacobs says this is the trickiest colour to keep so you really need to take care. “The red molecule is the largest of all the dye colour molecules so it doesn’t penetrate as deeply into your hair and can slip out faster with each wash,” she says.

Do you need a colour top-up?

Another way to keep your hair colour looking fresh is to use a colour-depositing shampoo, conditioner or treatment. “These contain a little bit of pigment that can act as a colour ‘top-up’ every time you wash your hair,” says Jacobs.  

Finding the right protection for your hair colour 

Other things that can contribute to hair colour fading include washing your hair with water that’s too hot, prolonged unprotected sun exposure and using hot styling tools without heat protection. 

“I have clients that straighten their hair every day with a flat iron on a really high temperature that basically fries their hair colour molecules. Always use the lowest heat setting you can get away with and only after you’ve applied a leave-in heat protector,” says Jacobs.

“The best kind of protector will also have a UV shield in it so use it on days when you know you’re going to be outdoors regardless of whether you’re going to heat style or not.” 

IMAGE CREDIT: 123rf.com

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