Keep Your Color Truer, Longer

Why bother coloring your hair if you can't keep it feeling healthy... looking shiny... staying true... lasting long?

So you're thinking about taking the plunge and coloring your own hair. Or maybe you've been dipping into the dye for awhile now and have wanted to improve your technique (or your results). Either way, you're worried. Will your hair keep feeling healthy and looking shiny? Can that color really stay true and last long? Don't worry. Here are some tips to make your first (or your next) haircolor experience gratifyingly glamourous.

1. Choose your brand wisely.
When shopping for an at-home haircolor product, most women gravitate toward whichever shade (or even model) they find most appealing. But in fact, your first step should be to find a brand that's right for you. Some claim to deliver intense color. Others make their mark with 100% gray coverage. But if you want hair that looks shiny and glamourous, with color that stays true over time (maybe keeping those grays covered in the process), then you should look for phrases like "fade-resistant" and "shine-extending".

2. Find a shade that works WITH you.
Now it's time to find a shade. Most women think about what color they want, and then they try to find a box matching that ideal. But success comes from taking your starting haircolor into account first and by being honest about how hard you're willing to work to maintain your color!

Let's say you have medium-brown hair, and you have a moderate tolerance for upkeep. You should stick to your own level (medium brown), go one level lighter (light brown), or one level darker (dark brown). That may not sound like much of a transformation, but believe it or not, staying close to what you have and adding some kick (simply adding gold, copper, amber, auburn, or red tones) can make you look very different and very glamourous.

On the other hand, let's say you have light-brown hair, and you're willing to do whatever it takes to get blonde... and to stay there. Fine: There are "high-lift" or "ultra-blonding" shades that will do the trick and make you look like Hollywood royalty. But because it's a more extreme shift in shade, you're going to have to watch those roots with vigilance.

3. Care for your hair.
Don't shampoo your hair within 24 hours of coloring it. (Your hair will be gloriously clean and conditioned, so why bother?) Wait a bit, and when you're safe to shampoo (and condition), use products specifically formulated for color-treated hair. The best ones are not just gentle but contain UV (ultraviolet light) filters. Also, deep-condition your hair on a weekly basis. Preference by L'Oréal Paris actually includes up to 6 weekly treatments in the box.

4. Stay out of the sun.
Ultraviolet radiation, in the form of everyday sunlight, can fade your hair like a brightly colored tee shirt left out on a clothesline for too long. Wear a hat or, better yet, steal some celebrity style with a jaunty silk headscarf. (Complete the look with sunglasses.) Some styling products contain UV filters. Try them.

5. Swim at your own risk.
Salt water at the beach, or chlorinated water at the pool, can wreak havoc with your haircolor. Why not wear a swimcap? If that's too athletic-looking for you, try slicking back your hair with VIVE Color-Care Dry-Defense Treatment. You'll help protect your hair from salt and chlorine while deeply moisturizing your hair.

6. Make a date with your hair.
Although you can go every 6 to 8 weeks between touch-ups, it's so much easier to remember when you stick to a regular monthly schedule. Don't worry about overdyeing your hair. It shouldn't be a problem as long as you don't slather on the haircolor formula like you did the first time -- all over the place, all at once. (If you do that, your roots and ends will end up different shades, and over time, your hair will look fried.) Follow the touch-up-application directions included by the manufacturer. By focusing on your roots first, and refreshing your ends later, you'll give yourself shiny, sophisticated color that'll look great.

To learn more about Preference, a long-lasting, fade-resistant haircolor product -- and to get customized shade advice -- click HERE.

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