How to Look After Colored Hair: 11 Expert Secrets For Long-Lasting Color.

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If you dye your hair, it’s especially important to ramp up the TLC and know how to look after colored hair to keep it from drying out, fading or frizzing like mad.

We all know that colored hair looks amazing, but it’s also hard work! It fades fast and requires frequent trips to the salon or at-home treatments that can be expensive and time-consuming.

How do you keep your colored locks looking good without having to spend hours in the hairdresser’s chair?

We asked the experts! The tips we share will help you look after your new look so you don’t have to worry about fading until the next time you visit the salon.

Here’s how to look after colored hair and some tops tips from the professionals to keep your hair in great condition before and after you have it ‘done’.

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HOW TO LOOK AFTER COLORED HAIR – 11 TOP TIPS

#1 Wash your hair only once a week.

How to look after hair color hair washing tip

Shampoo is a hair color’s worst enemy. As well as the grease and grime, it strips the pigment from your hair with every wash.

So it makes sense to shampoo less. We’re talking once or twice a week MAXIMUM. And only with specially formulated, sulfate-free color shampoos.

“Avoid using products which advertise they are designed to volumize. Volume enhancing products are designed to blow open the cuticle which is fine for adding fullness, but not the best plan for dyed hair since the color can more easily be diluted.”

Karen Marie Shelton, Multi Media Magazine Consumer Hair Editor 

#2 Use shampoo that’s made for colored hair.

If you have color-treated hair, you need to use a shampoo that is made to be gentle on your color and look after your colored hair.

Color-safe shampoos contain none of the nasties that strip and fade your color, like sulphates.

You can read our round-up of the best color-friendly shampoos that will maintain your color without drying your hair.

TOP PICK!

Label.m Color Stay Shampoo

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Best for: Longer lasting color.

We gave this a go after falling in love with Label M’s Protein Spray.

Like the spray, it transforms your bathroom into a luxurious spa experience with it’s relaxing notes of jasmine and vanilla.

It also didn’t foam up too much but left no residue in our hair. Color felt vibrant for longer. This tops the list for us.

Pros

  • Extends time between hairdresser visits.
  • Leaves hair glossy and attractive.
  • Easily accessible for at-home use.
  • Recommended by professionals.
  • Provides good value for the price.
  • Helps hair dye absorb better into the hair.
  • Transforms bathroom experience with a luxurious scent.
  • Leaves no residue in the hair.
  • Keeps hair color vibrant for longer

Cons

  • Some people may not like the lack of foam.
  • The scent, while pleasant for some, might not be to everyone’s liking.
  • Could potentially cause build-up affecting hair dye absorption for some hair types.

#3 Refresh your locks using only conditioner.

If you really can’t wait that long in between washes, consider skipping shampoo and just using a great conditioner for colored hair.

Your hair will appreciate being topped up with moisture and you’ll be back to smelling delightful again without stripping the color with shampoo.

“Always be sure that the bottles say “color safe”. Ideally you want something that’s not only color safe, but also anti-fade. Color safe means it won’t strip your color, anti-fade typically means that the ingredients are specifically designed to lock in the color and make it last longer than normal.”

Ginger Knowles, Licensed Cosmetologist

#4 Go longer in between washes with dry shampoo.

There are some fantastic colored dry shampoos that can be used in between washes to keep your hair color looking on point.

They work by absorbing the oil and grease in your hair to restore shine and give it a freshly washed smell. Only apply it where your hair is greasy or it’ll dry it out.

TOP PICK!

Batiste Dry Shampoo For Colored hair.

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Best dry shampoo for: Fresh hair and root coverage.

Batiste have got the dry shampoo market nailed. Not only do they do the most delicious fragrances to ever to bless your barnet – check out Tropical, Oriental and our absolute fave, Cherry – but they have tinted versions in Dark and Deep Brown, Medium and Brunette and Light and Blonde.

The beauty of Batiste’s colored range is that they’re a dry shampoo and a root cover up in one. Your hair feels fresher and looks less oily and your color looks topped up too. When you factor in the low price too, this is the only one for us.

Pros

  • Matches and refreshes hair color.
  • Once applied and brushed out, it works excellently.
  • Easy to blend into hair.
  • Leaves hair looking refreshed and clean.
  • Does not leave a lot of white residue.
  • Comes in various tints suitable for different hair colors.
  • Acts as both a dry shampoo and a root cover-up.
  • Makes hair feel fresher and less oily.
  • The Dark and Deep Brown variant works excellently for dark hair.

Cons

  • Requires careful application.
  • Can be messy to use.
  • The texture is powdery, so it needs to be used sparingly.
  • The Blonde variant may appear too yellow for some.
  • The scent may not be as pleasant as others.

#5 Use deep-conditioning treatments and hair masks.

deep conditioning treatments on long hair

Once a week, smooth your color-treated locks with a deep conditioning treatment or hair mask to lock in moisture and keep your color lustre.

Leave it on as long as you can to really soften the straw. Pop on a shower cap and leave it overnight if you can.

“Believe it or not. Castor Oil is the best lubricant you can put on dry frizzy hair. Buy a bottle. It’s not very expensive. Apply 1 ounce to hair from roote to ends. Comb through with a Wide tooth comb. Apply a plastic cap. Leave in for at least 1 hour. Shampoo out throughly. If you do this twice a week, you will be amazed at how beautiful and strong your hair will be. It can also be applied to thining eyebrows and lashes.”

Marguerite Gastanaga, Hairstylist at Cheers Design Salon

#6 Always rinse your hair with cold water.

Hot water causes your hair shaft to rise. This makes your hair strand lose moisture and be more prone to damage and frizz.

Giving your hair a final rinse with cold water whenever you wash or condition it will help to seal the shaft – locking moisture and color in for longer.

“Cold water washing is recommended for hair that is usually brightly colored or has a tendency to fade quickly. Cold water closes the hair cuticle, making it lay flatter so color is less likely to be washed out, and it gives the hair more shine.”

Kristen Bee, Hairstylist

#7 Get regular trims.

hair salon professional regular trims

To keep your hair in great condition, make sure you visit the hairdresser for regular trims.

Getting rid of your split ends not only makes your colored hair look healthier. It prevents against damage to your already frazzled hair shafts.

#8 Cut down on heat styling.

Straighteners, tongs, hairdryers, crimpers are bad, bad, bad. But we’re hardly going to stop using them completely.

So at least try and use them LESS or on a cooler setting if your appliance has one. This will really help to look after your colored hair.

Let your hair dry naturally whenever you can. And make sure you apply a heat-protecting styling product before, during and after styling.

“Anytime you apply excessive heat to your hair it will cause some damage. Every flat iron I’ve ever used allowed me to set the temperature of the iron, whereas most other curling tools only have a hi-lo setting. The hotter the temperature, the more damaging it is.”

Kim Casey Self employed hairstylist/ Salon assistant manager

#9 Top up time between colorings with root cover up.

When your natural roots start showing, help is at hand.

There are plenty of root touch up sprays or powders out there that can convincingly cover your roots until you’re ready to visit your hairdresser.

These days cover-ups and touch-ups come in a range of colors and formulas that make them easy to apply – from powders to sprays and crayons.

TOP PICK!

COLOR WOW Root Cover Up.

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Best for: Easy use and value for money.

No mess, no gunk, no trying to aim the spray exactly where you need it like some of the other best touch-ups on the list – these guys have cornered the market in easy-to-apply essentials.

It’s kind of like applying an eye shadow to your hair but the effects are brilliant and it stays on until you wash it off.  And there’s no sticky residue. This is handy little compact is without question the winner for us.

Pros

  • Easy to apply.
  • Stays on until hair is washed.
  • Long-lasting; a single product can last for a year.
  • Can be used for eyebrows as well.
  • Matches hair color accurately.
  • Leaves no unpleasant residue.
  • It’s transfer-resistant.
  • The brush allows for precise application.
  • A little product goes a long way.
  • Available in a range of colors.
  • Comes in a handy case for on-the-go touch-ups.
  • Provides good value for money.

Cons

  • Initially, it might seem expensive.
  • Requires a careful aim for precise application.
  • Might need retouching throughout the day.

#10 Give your hair some nourishment with keratin.

If you feel like your damaged hair is always breaking and probably beyond help, it’s not. It’s just time to fortify it with some lovely, problem-solving keratin.

Doing a keratin treatment at home is quite a process, so read our guide to keratin treatments at home and follow the instructions carefully.

This treatment is best done a week or two after your hair has been dyed to restore health and shine to your hair and lock in the color.

“In case you use the wrong type of products or your hair colour is not done by a trained professional, you may end up incurring some damage to your hair. A keratin treatment will help in reversing that damage and keep your hair healthy.”



Heena Dalvi, National Technical Head – Hair at Godrej Professional

#11 And don’t forget the hair oil.

Giving your colored hair a routine oil treatment will form a protective layer over your hair. This will seal in color and moisture.

From a leave-in olive oil overnight to a quick hot oil treatment before your shower, there are a variety of ways to slick up your hair and make it silky smooth.

“I would suggest penetrative oils such as coconut oil and jojoba oil. Oils like castor and olive just sit on your hair. They work great for moisturizing but using a lighter oil like coconut will penetrate and condition the hair from the inside out.”

Daisha Truitt Studied Cosmetology at Ogle School of Hair Skin and Nails

So that’s how to look after colored hair.

You can get your hair colored and still keep it in great condition. Just follow these top tips and you’ll never look back.

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!