Colouring your hair can be a harmful process. While there's no way around this, you can prevent your hair from being permanently damaged, and stylists and hair colourists have plenty of advice on how to best protect colour-treated tresses.
"Your hair should be treated like your skin," Moroccanoil celebrity colourist Lorri Goddard told HuffPost Canada in an email. "Most women have a daily skincare regimen, so your hair should be no different. Caring for hair should be integrated into your lifestyle as a regimen."
Here are 10 expert tips from stylists to help you protect your coloured hair and sport your best locks.
1. Make leave-in conditioner your best friend
"People are often unaware of the environmental effects on hair, especially coloured hair," she said. "Oxidation — a reaction that affects hair-colour pigment when hair is exposed to UV rays — can especially cause hair colour to lose vibrancy and appear brassy."
Leave-in condition helps prevent this by absorbing damaging UV rays, Goddard explained. So if you spend a lot of time in the sun or you style your hair frequently with hot tools, a leave-in conditioner is the way to go. Plus, they are also great for curly hair as it sets the curls in place all day long.
2. Remember: metal brushes can do more harm than good
Goddard advises against using metal brushes, as they tend to pull and damage hair. Non-metal brushes, on the other hand, are more suitable for daily detangling and grooming.
If you are going to use a metal brush, however, New York stylist Kelly Finneran told Stylecaster that "they're a perfect tool to use as a finisher since they can smooth down a final look."
3. Use a water filter in the shower
According to Goddard, a water filter is essential for protecting coloured hair as it can take out chlorine, heavy metals and minerals that can cause damage to your tresses.
Plus, "not only does [a filter] help with your colour, but the texture of your hair feels better, too, because it's not as brittle," Nikki Lee, the co-founder of Los Angeles's Nine Zero One salon, told Vogue.
4. Avoid heat styling products to prevent fading
For long-lasting colour, Pantene consulting stylist Justin German told HuffPost Canada in an email, "I would try and cut down on heat styling (i.e. flatiron, curling irons). The heat from hot tools can open up the cuticle of hair and colour can fade faster."
5. Always use heat-protection spray
Speaking of heat styling products, German adds that if you must use them, whether it's to blow dry, perm or straighten, always use a heat protection spray. Don't kill your already damaged hair, he warns.
6. Opt for sulfate-free hair products to avoid more damage
"Sulfates are detergents and they're extremely good at what they do, cleansing [hair and the scalp] by cutting through dirt and grime," New Jersey-based cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson explained to Women's Health.
That's why German recommends using sulfate-free products to avoid damaging hair colour.
7. Wear a hat if you're going out in the sun
Heat from the sun will damage hair colour by making it fade faster. Avoid the sun when possible, German advises, and always use a moisturizing SPF spray on the hair to protect your locks. Wear a hat when possible, he added.
8. Limit hair washing to two to three times a week
Every time you wash your hair, you're stripping it of its natural oils and removing the colour wash.
Toronto-based stylist Adina Poole told HuffPost Canada via email that she advises clients to wash their dyed hair every three days and to use a dry shampoo between washes.
9. Try to avoid hot showers
As much as you might enjoy a hot shower, avoid using it on your freshly-coloured locks. Hot water opens the hair molecules, making them shed colour faster. Goddard, German and Poole all agree that this tip is important to maintaining your hair colour.
10. Use homemade hair masks to replenish your locks
Colouring your hair strips it from protein, oils and hydration. That's why applying a DIY hair mask packed with ingredients that will bring your dyed hair back to life is key.
Using coconut oil from roots to tips is one option to give your hair more moisture, but Poole recommends taking things one step further by making a deep conditioning treatment using coconut oil, honey, avocado and yogurt.
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