You’ve thought it over, taken that all-important step, and now you’re looking in the mirror enjoying your beautiful new hair color. Unfortunately, as wonderful as the color is right now, it won’t stay that way without some special care from you.
The greatest threat to your hair comes from your attempts to keep it clean. Your shampoo is the harshest thing that comes in contact with your hair every day. The same qualities that make shampoo good at stripping dirt and grease out of your hair also make it the best way to strip out color. If you’re not careful you can find your hair looks brassy, dull and lifeless, well before you’re ready to color again.
A quick and easy way to safeguard your color is to use a shampoo created for color treated hair. If you’ve had your hair professionally dyed, your stylist will probably have a shampoo to recommend. If you prefer not to spend the money on a salon shampoo, or you’ve colored your hair yourself, you’ll be able to find several brands of color safe shampoo at your local grocery store. Just look for words like “color stabilizing”, “color treated”, “processed” or “chemically treated” on the label or in the name of the shampoo.
It’s vitally important to avoid harsh detergent shampoos if your color is to have any lifespan at all. Cheap shampoos are usually highly alkaline and will quickly strip the color from your hair. This is one time when you’ll save money by buying the more expensive shampoo and saving yourself from the need to have an expensive color touchup.
You also should make a point of buying shampoos that don’t contain citric acid and are PH balanced. Just as a shampoo that is alkaline will strip your color, so will a shampoo that is acid.
If you’ve bleached your hair it is especially important to be careful about the shampoo you select. Since the dying process opens the hair shaft to receive the dye, your hair is more vulnerable to invasion by foreign substances. Lighter colors of hair, particularly blonde, can turn odd colors if that happens. Chlorine is particularly notorious for giving a green tint to blonde hair, but your shampoo can do the same thing. For instance, avoid the brown tar-based shampoos that treat dandruff. They can turn your hair greenish-brown. If you need a dandruff shampoo, use one that isn’t so harsh.
Any hair color, though, can be affected by the dyes used to add color to shampoo. This can be good or bad. You might want to consider buying a color-enhancing shampoo, for instance. Used every time you wash your hair, this can keep your color from fading or turning brassy. If you take this route, look for a shade that matches your hair color as closely as possible.
If you’re not using a color-enhancing shampoo, however, you’re going to want to stay away from intensely colored shampoos. Dark colors indicate a high level of dye in the shampoo that can soak into your hair shaft, shifting your color to a shade you didn’t want or muddying the clear color you had originally.
Shampoo isn’t all bad, though. Sun can be very damaging to any hair, but especially chemically treated hair. There are sunblocking shampoos on the market that can protect your hair from the ultraviolet rays that fade color and cause sunburns. Use one of these if you’re going to the beach, or doing something else that has you in the sun most of the day.
As a final tip, if you wash your hair every day, think about washing your hair less frequently. Wash every other day, or wait until your hair feels dirty. To help you transition, experiment with rinsing your hair with cool water, instead of shampooing, then following up with a conditioner. No matter how good the shampoo you’re using, the less you use it the better as far as your color treated hair is concerned.