How to Prevent Hair Color From Fading: Unplug, Cover Up and Chill Out

Cut your salon visits -- and save money, too -- by taking these easy color steps at home

Whether you shell out big bucks at the salon for perfect highlights, lowlights and tints or opt for a drugstore treatment to lighten your locks, the last thing you want is to watch your hair color disappear down the drain before you even have time to book your next appointment or schedule a day of errands.

But before you resign yourself to what feels like a lifetime in the stylist’s chair – or – eek! – dull, dingy hair, there are several home remedies to keep that color from fading. Here are eight ways to save you time, money and, most importantly, from bad hair days. Now, that’s the beauty trifecta, right?

Pick the right products: OK, this may sound kinda like a no-brainer, but your shampoo and conditioner really can make a difference when it comes to the longevity of your hair color. Look for special versions for color-treated hair products that are formulated to keep those highlights looking great longer. Redken’s Color Extend line includes shampoo, conditioner, protection spray and shine. 

Lay off the hair dryer: We know you love your hair dryer. And your curling iron. And your flat iron. And your hot rollers. But those styling tools aren’t helping your color. Dry, damaged hair is not going to help lock in hair dye, so take a break from the heat as often as you can. Say you just can’t part with your wave-making barrel? Use a heat-protecting product, such as the Heat Protection Mist from Toni & Guy, $16.99, at Ulta.com. 

Cover up: You’ve committed to slathering your skin with sunscreen each time you step outside, but are you giving your tresses the same protection? To keep your color looking great, don a cute hat when you’re out in the sun (just think of all the time you’ll save -- bonus!) , or be sure to use products with UV protection. The Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Hairspray with UV Color Shield, $4.49 at drugstore.com, keeps your hair – and your color – in place.

Quit washing your hair so much: If you’re a daily shampooer, cut yourself some slack. Washing your hair so often dries your hair out and washes away color at a rapid rate. If you’re feeling greasy, try a fun (and trendy) braid, bun or top knot. If it’s really bad, look for a tinted dry shampoo (it will not only control oil, but hide roots, too). Bastiste Dry Shampoo, $9, at ulta.com, is a fave that will help stretch your color applications. Oh, and when your stylist says wait two days before washing post-dye, listen, OK? 

Take a cold shower: If you’re like us – and especially when you’re smack dab in the middle of a polar vortex – an extra steamy, super long shower is heaven. But it’s hell on your hair. See, hot water opens up the hair’s cuticle, allowing dye to escape. So, sorry, but turn that tap to warm or even – really, sorry! – cold when you wash. Your color will thank you.

Do some prep work: Planning ahead will serve you well when it comes to your hair color. A week ahead of time, deep condition, and the day or two before you dye, use a clarifying shampoo to get rid of any excess buildup. The treatments will allow your color to better adhere to your hair.

Upgrade your shower head: Minerals found in tap water can negatively affect your hair color, so trade out your shower head for a filtered version, like the T3 Source Showerhead Filter, $130, at Sephora.com. A bit of an investment? Yes, but it’s been shown to get rid of 95 percent of chlorine from your shower water, and after 10 washes, has shown a reduction in frizz and an increase in body, shine and – yay! – hair color retention. 

Get glossy: A quick and easy at-home glaze or gloss treatment will add vibrancy and shine to your hair, allowing you to stretch that next color appointment a few weeks longer. John Frieda Clear Shine Luminous Glaze, $8.49, at drugstore.com, gives shine to all hair shades and works on color-treated hair, and can be used daily or weekly to keep your locks vibrant.

Lesley Kennedy writes for ShopAtHome.com. Follow ShopAtHome on Instagram @shopathome and Lesley on Google+.

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