Colouring your hair is a milestone of sorts. You’re either trying to cover up white strands of ageing, or you’re stepping out with a new look that is in season. Which is why when our copper hair starts looking like rust, or our green ombre starts to look like algae: Our hearts sink to a new low. To prevent my hair from becoming an ugly mess of shades, I often follow these rules to ensure that my hair is protected from losing its colour.
RULE ONE: NEVER WASH FOR 24 HOURS
The number one rule in keeping your hair colour straight from the salon is not to wash it for at least 24 hours. If your stylist hasn’t already told you, washing your hair immediately when you get home will cause the colour to run badly. This same rule applies to DIY home dyes too: After the initial wash, wait for at least a day before washing your hair again.
This is because despite the fact that your hair colour is already “permanently” applied, waiting for at least 24 hours will ensure that you give it time to set. Giving the colour more time to be “locked” in.
If you feel grossed out by the idea of not washing your hair for a day, I often choose to dye my hair in the evenings. This will mean that my next wash is when I come home the day after.
RULE TWO: ALWAYS COLOUR PROTECT
When my friends complain that their hair dye is starting to run, I always ask if they’re using colour protect shampoo. And more often than not, they aren’t. Even if you’ve kept to the rule of not washing your hair for 24 hours, you should always use products that will protect the colour.
As a general rule of thumb, you don’t actually need to use colour protect products forever, just for a minimum of two weeks after the initial dye. The only exception is if you’ve dyed your hair a hue that is vastly different from your original hair colour. So if you have naturally black hair and you dyed your hair brown, you’re safe. If you’re coloured your hair orange or green: Opt for a colour protecting product for as long as you can.
RULE THREE: DRY IF YOU CAN
If you haven’t already discovered the wonderful invention of dry shampoo, a dye job will give you an excuse to. It is without a doubt that delaying your hair wash will help extend the life of its colour, since the minerals in water often dry our hair and wash it out.
Dry shampoos work by absorbing excess oil and moisture in your hair, which is why the after-effect of its “stiffness” often makes it a substitute to hair spray.
RULE FOUR: AVOID HEAT (AND MINERALS)
The final rule to making your colour last is to protect it against heat and mineral products. Opt for warm water when you wash your hair, and wear a swimming cap if you’re going for a dip in the pool. Heat often makes chemicals wash out faster, and UV damage is horrendous on coloured hair.