After you have dyed your hair and achieved the perfect shade, noticing it to fade quickly can be frustrating. While it is not possible to prevent your hair color from fading completely, small changes to your daily routine and smart preventative steps can make your hair color stay vibrant for longer.
It is possible to maintain your color-treated hair by addressing the key factors that cause hair color to fade quickly and following the recommended dos and don’ts.
So, if you want to know about the factors that cause hair color fading and tips to preserve your hair color for a long period, read this article till the end.
Factors That Influence Hair Color Fading
There are several factors that can affect the longevity of the hair color. These factors can be categorized into pre-coloring factors, hair dye type and coloring technique, post-color hair care routine, and external factors.
The longevity and vibrancy of hair color depend on several factors even before applying the dye on your hair. Here are the pre-coloring factors that influence the longevity of hair color:
- The condition of your hair before coloring is vital. Healthy, well-moisturized hair holds onto color better and for a longer duration compared to damaged, dry, or brittle hair.
- Highly porous hair may absorb color quickly but also lose it rapidly. Conversely, low-porosity hair might resist color absorption.
- Your natural hair color can also influence how the dye will take to your hair and how long it will last. Darker hair might require stronger or longer treatments for effective coloring, which can also influence how the color fades over time.
Hair Dye Type and Coloring Technique
The type of dye and the technique used for coloring your hair determines how long it will take to fade.
- Permanent hair dye generally takes 8-12 weeks before it starts to fade, whereas semi-permanent or demi-permanent dyes start to fade after a few washes.
- If you have lightened your hair using bleach it will not fade or darken over time. However, the toner used on bleached hair may experience fading.
- Hair color can start fading quickly and unevenly if it’s not left on the hair enough for processing or applied unevenly on the hair.
Post-Coloring Hair Care Routine
How you take care and style your hair after getting your hair dyed is the most important factors that affect the longevity of your hair color. These are the post-coloring hair care and styling factors:
- The frequency of washing your hair determines the longevity of your hair color. Frequent washing can cause the color to fade more quickly.
- Types of hair products used can affect the hair color.
- Regular use of heat styling tools can accelerate color fading due to heat damage.
There are several other external factors such as environmental exposure, weather condition or exercising habit, etc. also an important factor of hair color fading. For example:
- UV rays can break down color molecules, while chlorine and pollutants can strip color, leading to rapid fading.
- Humid weather or physical exercise can make your hair sweaty and speed up color loss.
- Hard water, with its high mineral content, can deposit on the hair, making the color appear dull and fade faster.
By understanding these factors, you can take steps to delay the fading of your hair color.
How to Keep Your Hair Dye from Fading
Depending on the factors that causes hair to fade quickly, here are some tips to protect your hair dye from fading too soon:
1. Evaluate Your Hair Before Coloring
As you know dry, damaged hair doesn’t hold color well, so the first step to protect hair your hair dye from fading actually begins even before dyeing your hair.
You can do a simple float test at home – drop a strand of hair in a glass of water. If it sinks quickly, your hair is more porous and may absorb color faster but also lose it quickly. If it floats then you have low porosity hair strands.
If your hair texture is rough your hair might have uneven porosity which will result in uneven hair color fading.
You can get a pre-color treatment or use a porosity equalizer spray to equalize the porosity throughout the lengths of the hair before the color application to ensure a great even application, which is a prerequisite to minimize fading.
2. Use Good Quality Hair Dye
Not all hair dyes are created equal. The longevity of hair colors varies among different hair dye brands depending on the types and shades.
Though hair color boxes mention the expected longevity on the packaging, it often start to fade before that. So the best way to get an actual idea about it is checking the client reviews regarding the longevity.
Permanent hair dye fades slower but if your hair is already damaged, high quality semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair color might work best for your hair type and lifestyle.
3. Avoid Washing Hair Within First 48 Hours
The first two days post-coloring are crucial. According to many hairstylists, after washing the leftover hair dye with shampoo and cold water, you should avoid washing your hair again within next 48 hours and shampooing your hair for 72 hours to allow the color to set in deeply.
Hair dye (specially permanent ones) leaves the hair cuticle open. Washing your hair while the hair cuticles are open can make your hair color fade so don’t risk it!
4. Wash Hair With Cold Water
Hot water opens up the hair cuticle, causing dyed color molecules to escape. On the other hand, cold water helps to keep the hair cuticle closed, which keeps the color locked in for longer.
Many of us use hot water for washing hair in winter which makes hair color fade quickly. For your comfort, you can wash your color treated hair with luke warm water first and use cool water for final rinse at the end of a shower to seal the cuticle.
5. Avoid Heat Styling Tools
Hot styling tools like blow dryers, flat irons and curling wands can damage hair significantly over time leading to dryness, breakage and an opened cuticle layer. This lifted cuticle allows color pigments to leak out at a quicker rate.
The more you use hot tools on your hair, the faster vibrant dyed color gets faded. Protect your hair color by letting hair air dry when possible or using lower heat settings.
So, the best way to reduce fading is limiting heat treatments on your hair and trying new wash and wear styles that allow your hair to be naturally dried and save the heat treatments for special occasions or once a week and enjoy wearing it for a few days at its best!
Also dont forget to apply heat protectant before applying heat for styling.
6. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner
Using a sulfate free salon-quality shampoo and conditioner is super important for your color treated hair. Sulfates are harsh cleansers that strip color. Even using these shampoos once can seriously strip color!
Using a gentle, moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner helps lock in color pigments and prevents fading.
7. Protect Hair from Sun
There are also environmental factors to consider when you are considering fading. The sun’s ability to fade anything is unsurpassable and your hair is no different.
8. Use Swimming Cap
In summer you need to be particularly mindful of your hair and the conditions that your hair encounters, especially if you swim a lot. Chlorine in the water of swimming pools is a type of bleach, and that is exactly what it will do to your color.
If you do find yourself swimming a lot, it is advisable to either wear a swimming cap or at least use a leave-in conditioner to help form a protective barrier around your hair.
9. Deep Condition Weekly
Dry, brittle strands fade fastest because the cuticle layer becomes cracked and porous over time with lack of moisture.
You can prevent this by treating dyed hair to a weekly deep conditioning mask. The thick, ultra-hydrating formula fills in gaps in the cuticle and seals hair’s outer protective layer to prevent color molecules from escaping.
Damaged hair soaks up moisture from the hair mask like a sponge to smooth down the cuticle and boost shine for maximized color retention.
10. Wash Hair Less Frequently
Every time you wash your hair some color pigments are stripped from your hair. When hair is washed too frequently, it causes the dye to fade out in a shorter time frame.
So cutting back on daily washing gives hair dye more time to adhere fully to hair strands for maximum staying power and shine.
11. Install a Showerhead Filter
Installing a filter on your showerhead can help filter out minerals and metals in hard water that damage hair and cause color fading.
Filters are inexpensive, easy to install, and make a big difference in keeping hair color vibrant for longer by preventing mineral buildup.
12. Get a Color-Sealing Service
Some salons offer an add-on color-sealant service following hair dye treatments. Opting for this polymer color sealant adds an extra layer of protection that blocks hard water minerals, chlorine and other elements from stripping out your expensive dye job too quickly.
Apart from salon service, you can also use a hair color sealer at home as nowadays many brands offer hair color sealing mask and shampoo for home users also.
How To Touch Up Faded Hair Color?
As we mentioned in this article, there there is no way to completely prevent you hair color from fading. Your new hair growth will be also visible after several weeks. So how would you touch up the faded hair color?
Here are the steps to touch up faded hair color:
1. Assess Your Hair’s Needs
Take a good look at your hair. Identify where the color has faded the most and where new growth is visible.
This step is crucial because it determines your approach – whether you need a full head touch-up, just a root touch-up, or a combination of both.
2. Selecting the Right Color
If you’re touching up roots, use the same shade and same type of dye you had used for dyeing your hair. The final hair color will not match if you use a hair color of different brand.
For faded sections, you might choose the same shade or one darker, as color tends to fade.
3. Apply the Dye
If your roots are showing apply the product only to the new growth, carefully following the instructions. Some products come in a spray or powder form for an even easier application.
For overall fading or specific section of a hair, a semi-permanent dye can be gentler on your hair than a permanent one.
Apply the dye evenly across your hair, starting from the areas that have faded the most. Be mindful of the time – leaving the dye on too long can lead to overly dark or saturated colors.
How to Maintain Different Hair Colors
Every hair color has its different ways to maintain the hair color, for example, hair that has been lightened does not fade. It’s likely the toner that you are seeing fade.
To maintain blonde hair, it is advisable to use a good quality purple shampoo for color correction and a good quality conditioner to maintain the hydration of the hair. It is also advisable to use a hair mask once a week to maintain the cuticle is lying flat smooth and sleek and unable to allow the molecules of pigment to fall out or escape.
Red hair is particularly prone to fade, as the molecules are large and able to fall out a lot easier, that’s why it’s very important to keep the hair porosity equalized before applying the color. If you have dyed your hair red, you can use color depositing shampoo to deposit red pigments on your hair!
There is also a lot of difference in the quality of colors that are applied to people’s hair. Using a good quality color and the right level of developer will definitely adjust the longevity of the color.
When hair colors are applied, the most common level of developer with semi-permanent hair color for covering grey is 20 vol or 9% peroxide.
When hair color is mixed with incorrect level of peroxide, it creates porosity and dryness in the hair which then allows the hair color to fade quickly. When the correct level of peroxide is applied with a semi-permanent color, it coats and locks in the color pigments. So, as a result, the hair color doesn’t fade easily!
Now you know all the tricks of maintaining your newly done hair color and keep it from fading.