During lockdown, many of us were forced to take our hair into our own novice hands. Now, after a couple of years’ worth of wielding a pair of kitchen scissors for bang trims and haphazardly covering up roots with store-bought dye, it’s nice to be back in the salon chair. With one exception ― the cost.
Professional salon visits can amount to a pretty hefty stack of cash. And although the price is completely justified, sometimes saving a few extra bucks is always a good idea. So we asked what can be done to make color fade slower and cuts look fresh longer, in order to stretch out that time between hair appointments.
Kirsten Patterson, a professional hair stylist, told HuffPost that you should first start out by investing in a good hair cut from the pros.
“Hairstylists that know how to put in a great shape will also allow the shape to look good for longer,” Patterson said.
Once you have gotten your fresh cut and color, Patterson suggests washing your hair in cold water and doing it fewer times throughout the week to help to preserve the color and integrity of your hair. She added that avoiding long periods out in the sun or wearing a hat outside can prevent sun bleaching and color fading.
“People might also be using the wrong hair products to care for their hair,” said Jennifer Korab, a New Jersey-based hair stylist and professional colorist.
She said that implementing products like a regular deep-conditioning mask and a heat protectant prior to heat styling are key when it comes to adding those few extra weeks in between appointments. This is because healthier hair with fewer gaps in the cuticle holds onto color better.
“Conversely, when is that stretch of time too long? I would say anything over three to four months. Getting trims regularly help maintain the health of your hair and for hair color, anything over this [time period] can create a band in your hair color,” Korab said.
Patterson added, “When your hair is simply not holding a style or is dull and limp, it’s time for a hairstylist visit. Everyone’s hair has a different length of time before they need a revamp. It depends on how fast their hair grows and how much gray a person has.”
Until that point, this list of color-safe shampoos, cuticle-sealing serums and color restoring treatments recommended by our experts may be able to help you to frequent the salon a little less.
A color-safe, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
Patterson told HuffPost that finding a good basic color-safe and sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner can help extend the life of your color. The Color Assure line from Nexxus has nearly 9,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and is infused with a protein blend which is intended to enhance the vibrancy of color and create a defensive layer to protect the essential proteins within each hair fiber.
A luxury dry shampoo to keep hair fresh in between washes
Both Patterson and Korab said that reducing the amount of times that you wash hair throughout the week can help prolong hair color. Patterson recommended every other day, or three to four times a week. To keep hair fresh in between washes, Patterson loves this Oribe Gold Lust dry shampoo, which contains a translucent starch blend that quickly absorbs dirt, oil and product buildup from the scalp and hair. It also contains a complex exclusive to Oribe products, which can both nourish damage hair and defend hair against UV rays, environmental stressors and keratin loss. Not to mention — this stuff smells amazing.
A color-depositing conditioner for fading color
For a low-maintenance way to give hair color an extra shot of vibrancy without going through the hassle of painstakingly painting on a damaging box dye, a color-depositing conditioner that you use occasionally in the shower can be a good idea. Available in nine shades, this rich and gentle conditioner is made with shea butter and coconut oil to hydrate and soften hair. It works with any hair color, although results might vary depending on your existing shade. You can also control the pigment by diluting it with water or letting it sit for less time.
A cuticle-sealing serum to help lock in color
Patterson recommend investing in a good leave-in serum that seals the hair cuticle and protects hair against heat damage, all of which locks in color and reduces the amount of split ends. This split-end seal serum from Oribe’s Beautiful Color line, a personal favorite of Patterson’s, is a luxe serum suitable for all hair types. It uses a special polymer blend to bond hair and strengthen the cuticle, while Oribe’s signature complex defends hair from oxidative stress and the color-depleting effects of UV light.
An Olaplex deep-conditioning treatment to help cuts last longer
A strengthening treatment to maintain hair health
“It is always a good idea to rotate between strengthening products and moisturizing products to keep up the health of the hair and lock in the color,” Patterson said. This strengthening mask by Kérastase is specifically developed to preserve hair health, color vibrancy and to prevent color fading while adding a healthy shine to hair. It uses a healing acid blend to target the three levels of damaged hair and protect strands from the color-stripping effects of environmental stressors.
A pair of salon-quality shears to keep up with dead ends
Patterson said that you can get the most longevity from your cut if all of the dead ends are gone. “If it’s dead, there is no reviving it. But if the ends have a good clean cut you can go longer in between salon visits.” she said. For at home split-end upkeep or bang trimming, these Japanese steel beginners shears by Kinsaro have a smooth blade edge for crisp lines and keeping hair from bending between the blade. You can also use these on both dry and wet hair, and the semi-offset handle provides a more natural-feeling grip.
A highly rated heat protectant to avoid hair damage
Korab said that using a heat protectant before hair styling is key in maintaining hair color and health. Olaplex’s Bonding Oil has well over 21,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and works on a molecular level to repair compromised hair and provide heat protection of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This highly concentrated yet weightless styling oil is non-greasy and can dramatically increase shine and color vibrancy to color treated hair.
A top coat to extend the tone of your color for longer