How to Maintain Your Hair Color In and Out of the Gym

How can I keep my hair color from fading?”

As a hairstylist I am asked this question almost daily! From my icy toned blondes to my jeweled redheads. I’m going to tell you the secret, and you’re not gonna like it. Are you ready?…Keep the heat away from your hair!!! So simple. But seems impossible right!? From your steaming hot showers and daily blow drying to your coiffed curls and sleek straight dos. That heat is killing your color.

The science:

The cuticle is made of a tough protein called keratin and is really a series of overlapping scales. The strongest hair has a smooth, closed cuticle. Which seals in water and moisture. When the cuticle is raised it is extremely difficult to maintain hair’s moisture levels.

When the cuticle layer is open or raised, chemicals, water and products can pass through the hair strands and this is how you can add color. Being able to open the cuticle is just as important as being able to close it and while it is necessary or happens in everyday styling and care, the simple act of opening and closing is damaging.

Washing your hair with hot water is one of the most common reasons that hair color fades. I was once told to think of your hair like your skin. When you wash your face with hot water it opens up your pores. Same goes for the cuticle on your hair shaft. When you use cold water on your skin it closes up your pores. Again, same goes for your hair. While it is great for skin, it’s the opposite for your hair. When your cuticle is open, you are allowing the color molecules to “washout”. The hotter the water, the quicker the color loss.

Blow drying your hair daily is another way for your color to fade. The heat from the blow dryer sucks away the moisture on the surface of your hair. This leaves your hair dry and brittle – and the cuticle will start to crack over time. Heat from a curling iron or straightening iron also causes hair to dry out and crack the cuticle. Breakage in the cuticle creates openings for color molecules to escape – and that means color fading, which no one wants.

The “fix“:

Hair color is going to fade. That’s a fact, and you can’t do anything about it. There are many factors beyond what I’ve written above. Like hard water, pollutants and even the sun. What you can do though, is help the color stick around a little longer. Here are a few hints on how to maximize your time between salon visits.

#1 Skip hot showers.

#2 Wash your hair less frequently with lukewarm or cold water

#3 Use color safe shampoo and conditioner. Sulfates strip your hair of natural oils and color.

#4 Use heat protecting products or styling oils before using any and all hot tools.

#5 Invest in a color depositing conditioner and or deep conditioning treatment.


I hope this information is helpful. Remember healthy hair is the best hair.


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