Confession: I've been coloring my hair since middle school. Say what you want, but the moment my once-white-blonde hair started to darken, I convinced my mom to take me to the salon to brighten it back up. We all have our things, okay?
So considering I've spent almost 20 years dyeing my hair (whoa), it's safe to assume I've spent a lot of money by now. I look at my hair as an investment, though. When you break down the cost per wear of having your hair the way you like it every day, it comes out pretty even. Still, though, it does end up costing a good amount of money to maintain. And like any other investment you make, it's important to protect it and take the necessary precautions so you don't waste your money.
To find out exactly what I should be doing to preserve my hair color, I asked my colorist, Linet K., for her best tips and tricks for maintaining color-treated hair. She broke down her eight best tips plus the products she swears by, which I've outlined and shopped out below.
1. Wait to wash.
According to Linet, it's best to wait 48 to 72 hours after getting your hair colored before washing. Washing it too early can contribute to fading and drying out so closely after a chemical process.
2. Wash with cooler water.
"The cooler the temperature of the water when you're washing, the better it is for preserving your beautiful color," Linet explains. "Any type of heat, including heat from water, changes or fades color." You're much better off rinsing your hair at a lower temperature. (Sorry, hot-shower lovers!)
3. Make sure you wash with the right products.
Color-protecting shampoo and conditioner are crucial to upholding the integrity of your hair color. Shampoos and conditioners with certain ingredients like sulfates can damage and fade your color, or give it a brassy look. "Matrix Total Results Keep Me Vivid is a great choice to protect color," recommends Linet.
4. Air-dry whenever possible.
It's common knowledge that letting your hair dry naturally is significantly less damaging (but easier said than done, right?). "The best way to keep color radiant and gorgeous is to avoid excess heat styling throughout every season," Linet explains. "To do so, rock your natural texture! For a boho look, use Matrix Air Dry Boho on damp hair and let air-dry for an easy, undone look."
5. Use a leave-in conditioner when air-drying.
Using a leave-in conditioner when letting hair air-dry keeps it soft and protects against environmental damage (e.g., wind, sun, salt, heat, etc.).
6. Always use a heat protectant when using hot tools.
When using a blow-dryer or heat styling of any kind, make sure you always use a heat protectant on your strands. Not only do heat protectants help prevent damage, but most of them work double duty as a styling product as well, helping to create styles or control frizz.
7. If heat styling is necessary, try to make it last a few days.
In a perfect world, we could let our hair air-dry every day and never take a curling iron to it. But that's just not realistic, so when you do heat-style, try to make it last a few days. Whether it's a fresh blowout or beachy waves, there are plenty of products made specifically to not only extend your style but also replenish moisture back into your hair in the process. Using one of these products will have you only redoing your hair every two to three days instead of every single day.
8. Take extra precautions during the summer.
Keeping your hair safe from the sun during the warmer months is an often overlooked component of haircare. Aside from just chlorine and chemicals from pool days, the sun itself can be damaging and drying to our strands. Linet recommends using a UV-protecting product and wearing your hair in a braid or bun while outdoors. Additionally, masking once a week can help repair hair from a summer of sun, pool, and ocean damage. (Her favorite is Matrix's Total Results Multi-Tasking Hair Mask.)