Coloring your hair comes with some compromise. For starters, there’s the frequent maintenance — done at home or at the salon, it can be pricey and downright time-consuming. But ask the 92 percent of American women who have dyed their hair, according to Wella, and they’ll likely say the cost and inconvenience are small prices to pay for hues that hide grays, enhance skin tone and generally improve their overall look.
That is, until a few weeks later, when those luscious tones have gone from bold to brassy, or amazing to ashy, all too quickly.
The primary offenders
What accounts for this rapid regression from dazzling to drab? While your first instinct may be to blame the blow dryer, the flat-iron, chlorinated pools, sun damage or even your colorist, the biggest culprit is far more innocuous: water. Yes, good old H2O is a primary reason for fading color and brassy tones. Dyed hair is very porous, meaning it absorbs water like a sponge but also releases it readily, according to Jill Lynch, a research leader for John Frieda. As a result, whenever your hair is wet — even if you’re just rinsing and not shampooing — some of those dye molecules come leaching out of the strands and go swirling down the drain.
Add the cumulative damage inflicted by heat and ultraviolet rays, and you have a pretty frazzled mane. New growth near the roots may look fine, but the older ends, which have been subjected to many dye jobs, are extremely porous, parched and susceptible to breakage.
“I tell my clients not to wash their hair every day, even if they’re active,” says New York City colorist Sharon Dorram-Krause. For those in-between days, she suggests dry shampoo — a light, often colorless hair powder that sops up oil at the roots and adds volume to lank locks.
But you will have to wash it eventually, so it’s important to opt for products specifically formulated for the chemistry of hair that has been dyed. Color-protective shampoos gently cleanse and shield strands from UV rays; some even deposit a tinge of color. “Most formulas are subtle: They won’t correct or change the color — they’ll just help maintain it,” explains Shawn Stearns, assistant vice president of testing and technology development for Redken and Pureology. And don’t skip conditioner, which seals in much-needed emollients and helps boost shine. “It’s important to start maintenance immediately post-coloring. It’s not easy to correct once it’s faded,” Lynch says.
The sulfate question
Sulfates (commonly listed on product labels as sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate) give many shampoos their lather. While they wash away dirt and oils, they’re also blamed for stripping away dyes — at least theoretically. “It really isn’t fair to say that sulfates are responsible for fading,” Stearns says. “It all comes down to the type of sulfates, the amount used and what they’re combined with.” For strands that need extra TLC, consider a color-specific regimen that takes your hue’s unique composition into account.
RED: “UV light and water have the greatest impact on red hair,” Lynch says. “The color molecules used to create this tone are the most unstable and break down the fastest.” Or, as Stearns puts it, “red tones are dramatic, so when the intensity fades, it’s very noticeable.”
BLOND: For light blonds, the challenges are dullness and damage, which Dorram-Krause says can be remedied by avoiding alcohol-based styling products and doing weekly hair masks. Darker blonds, meanwhile, have trouble with brassiness - “it’s an inevitable result of hair’s natural orange melanin,” Lynch says.
BROWN AND BLACK: Several tones, including red and blue, are added to dark hair dye to give it depth and dimension. But those pigments disappear quickly, leaving hair looking dull and monotone, with a brassy cast.
A gentler way to color
Hair dyes are good for your self-esteem but not so great for your strands. They’re damaging, and one of their harshest components is ammonia. This nitrogen compound opens the hair fiber, allowing the color molecules to settle in. You get long-lasting coverage, but at a cost — namely, dry-as-straw strands, a stinging scalp and noxious fumes.
Our in-salon ammonia free color + plant enzymes ensures color penetrates the hair fiber evenly, imparting color, hydration and shine, complete with coverage of white strands.
Protect + Heal Our team offers YOU Fade-FREE solutions to your hair color investment. Call our team today to speak about removing hard water and the right organic hair products customized for you!
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