1. Shampooing the day after you dye your hair.
It’s one of the most common mistakes, and one of the most costly. “After having your hair colored, wait a full 72 hours before shampooing,” says Eva Scrivo, a hairstylist in New York City. “It takes up to three days for the cuticle layer to fully close, which traps the color molecule, allowing for longer lasting hair color.”
2. Throwing box dye over freshly salon-colored hair.
If you don’t love how your color came out, trying to fix it yourself with hair color from the drugstore could end up making it much worse. “Resist the urge to throw something over-the-counter onto your freshly highlighted hair,” advises Nikki Ferrara, colorist at New York City’s Serge Normant at John Frieda. “Most box dyes are permanent colors and will be more drying.” Instead, have a pro do your color correction.
3. Washing your hair too often.
“Color’s worst enemy is water,” colorist Ruth Roche told Good Housekeeping. The chemicals in hair dye make your hair more vulnerable to water’s effects. This doesn’t mean you need to stop taking showers — just make simple tweaks to your routine, like avoiding excessive rinsing: “Once you’ve shampooed and conditioned, don’t tilt your head back and let the water just run over it for several minutes,” says Teca Gillespie, a scientist with P&G. Instead of shampooing your hair every day, try using a dry shampoo like Dove Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo ($6, amazon.com) at the roots to soak up oil.
4. Rinsing with hot water.
Adjust your water temperature to lukewarm or cold when rinsing. Hot water lifts the outer cuticle layer, which is one of the most common reasons that color fades, says Scrivo. The hotter the water, the quicker the color loss.
5. Not using a conditioner for color-treated hair.
Dyed hair is more likely to become dry and brittle, so treat it with conditioners specifically formulated for color-treated hair, like Leonor Greyl Crème de Soin à L’Amarante Detangling and Color-Protecting Conditioner ($78, net-a-porter.com). It helps create a protective barrier, which can prevent your dye from quickly washing out.
Make sure to condition every time you shampoo, even if you have fine hair. “You really want to make sure you condition the longest part of your hair,” says Gillespie. “The tips can be years old and have the most damage, whereas the roots are only a couple of months old.” Try using a leave-in conditioner like Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner ($11, jet.com) for even more of a moisture boost.
6. Drying roughly with a towel.
Scrubbing too hard can fade color and make the ends look dry, says Lisa Marie, VP of shows and education for Farouk Systems. Instead, gently blot your hair and let it air dry as much as possible.
7. Overusing your curling iron, flat iron, or blow-dryer.
8. Forgetting the glossy factor.
Your hair may be a gorgeous new color, but has it lost its shine? Your hair’s protein layers (cuticles) reflect light and cause it to shine, but dye dulls this luster. To get that Kate Middleton-esque shine back, use a serum, shine spray, at-home glaze or overnight hair repair treatment like Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Gel-to-Oil Overnight Repair Treatment ($28, sephora.com). And, again, cut back on the heat tools.
9. Overexposing your hair to the sun.
If you plan on spending lots of time in the sun, wear a hat to keep your hair color from fading or lightening.
10. Re-dyeing unevenly.
If you touch up your own hair, carefully apply the color on the roots only. Then, just before you rinse out the color, Estelle Baumhauer, the Color Director at eSalon, suggests an emulsion technique, which will revive the color on the ends and add body and shine.
After you apply color to your roots, step into the shower and add a bit of water onto your hair, right on top of the color. Start massaging the color at your roots, similar to a shampooing motion. Thoroughly massage the color all the way down from roots to ends, adding more water as necessary. This whole process should take two minutes — just enough for a perfect refresher. Then proceed to rinse your hair.
11. Getting your hair colored too often.
If you think coloring your has to be tediously high-maintenance with frequent touchups, this tip will come as a pleasant surprise. “I always tell clients to wait least six weeks before coming in again for a highlight refresh,” explains Ferrara. “That way, there’s a lesser chance of breakage from overlapping.” And less breakage means healthier-looking hair when it doescome time to touch it up.