How to Make Hair Color Last Longer: 11 Expert Secrets

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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 Make Hair Color Last Longer – 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 if you want to make your hair color last longer. We’re talking once or twice a week MAXIMUM. And only with specially formulated, sulfate-free color shampoos.

PRO TIPS:

  • Use a shower cap on non-wash days to protect your color from humidity and water splashes.
  • Consider co-washing (conditioner only washing) if your scalp feels itchy or dry in between shampoo days.

“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 
How to Make Hair Color Last Longer - before nad after hair dye image

#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.

PRO TIPS:

  • Patch test new products to ensure they don’t cause unwanted reactions or color changes.
  • Rotate between a few trusted brands to see which one keeps your color vibrant the longest.

TOP PICK!

Label.m Color Stay Shampoo

Cleanse by label.m Colour Stay Shampoo & Conditioner Set

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.

How to Make Hair Color Last Longer - examples of hair conditioning products

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 out the hair dye with shampoo.

PRO TIPS:

  • Apply conditioner to the lengths and ends of your hair, avoiding the scalp to prevent oiliness.
  • Leave the conditioner in for a few minutes to deeply nourish hair strands.

“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
Do's and Don'ts for Colored Hair infographic

Keep your hair color looking vibrant and beautiful with these essential tips!

DO:

Use Color-Safe Shampoo: Opt for sulfate-free shampoos specifically formulated for colored hair to prevent fading.

Wash Less Often: Limit shampooing to once or twice a week to retain color and moisture.

Deep Condition Regularly: Apply a deep conditioning treatment or hair mask weekly to nourish and protect your color-treated hair.

Protect From Heat: Always use a heat protectant spray before using hot styling tools to avoid color damage.

Rinse in Cold Water: Finish your shower with a cold water rinse to seal the cuticles, locking in color and adding shine.

Trim Regularly: Regular trims help prevent split ends, keeping your colored hair looking healthy.

Invest in a Shower Filter: Hard water can fade hair color quickly. A shower filter can help protect against this.

DON'T:

Avoid Sulfates & Alcohol: Steer clear of products containing sulfates and high concentrations of alcohol which strip hair color.

Skip Heat Protection: Never use hot styling tools without applying a heat protectant to avoid color fade and hair damage.

Over-Wash Your Hair: Washing your hair too frequently can strip away color and essential oils.

Use Hot Water: Hot water opens up the hair cuticle allowing color to wash out easily. Opt for lukewarm or cold water instead.

Neglect Your Scalp: A healthy scalp promotes vibrant color. Use gentle, nourishing products that balance scalp health.

Forget UV Protection: Just like your skin, your hair needs protection from the sun’s UV rays which can fade color. Use hair products with UV protection.

Overlook Color-Specific Products: Whether it’s shampoos, conditioners, or styling products, ensure they’re suited for your specific hair color needs.

#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 dyed 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.

PRO TIPS:

  • Apply to the roots and massage gently to absorb oil without disturbing your color.
  • Choose a tinted dry shampoo that matches your hair color to avoid white residue.

TOP PICK!

Batiste Dry Shampoo For Colored hair.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Dark 162g/5.71 oz.

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.

PRO TIPS:

  • Focus on the ends, which are the oldest and most color-treated parts of your hair.
  • Look for products with natural oils and butters for intense moisture.

“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 roots 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

Watch & Learn: How To Deep Condition Your Hair Properly

Here’s a great video tutorial that talks you through how to deep condition your hair the right way to stop breakage – you may be surprised!

YouTube video

#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 those hair dye pigments in for longer.

PRO TIPS:

  • Make it the last step of your shower routine to maximize shine and color retention.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner afterward to detangle and add an extra layer of protection.

“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.

PRO TIPS:

  • Schedule appointments every 6-8 weeks to keep ends healthy and prevent split ends from traveling up the hair shaft.
  • Ask your stylist for a dusting if you’re growing your hair out but still want to remove split ends.

#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 the health of your hair and make your color last longer.

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

PRO TIPS:

  • Use protective styling methods like braids or buns to create waves without heat.
  • Invest in ionic or ceramic tools that distribute heat more evenly and reduce damage.

“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 Ups.

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.

PRO TIPS:

  • Select a shade that closely matches your hair color for a seamless look.
  • Use a makeup brush for powders or a sponge for sprays to blend the product into your roots smoothly.

TOP PICK!

COLOR WOW Root Cover Up.

COLOR WOW Root Cover Up - Medium Brown | Instantly Cover Greys + Touch Up Highlights | Water & Sweat Resistant

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.

PRO TIPS:

“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.

How to Make Hair Color Last Longer - woman spraying hair oil into her natural hair

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.

PRO TIPS:

  • Apply to damp hair to lock in moisture and protect against heat styling.
  • Use a few drops to smooth flyaways and add shine to dry hair without weighing it down.

“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

Frequently Asked Questions About Colored Hair Care

How often should I wash my colored hair?

Keep it to a minimum! Washing once or twice a week is plenty. This helps maintain your color’s vibrancy and keeps your hair’s natural oils in check.

Can I still use heat styling tools on my colored hair?

Yes, but with caution. Always apply a heat protectant before styling. Try to lower the temperature of your tools and limit their use to keep your hair healthy and your color bright.

Is it true that cold water is better for rinsing colored hair?

Absolutely! Cold water helps close the hair’s cuticle, locking in moisture and color. So, give your hair that final cold rinse after conditioning.

What ingredients should I avoid in hair care products for colored hair?

Stay away from sulfates and high alcohol content. These can strip away your color and dry out your hair.

How can I make my hair color last longer?

Besides using color-safe products and minimizing washes, incorporate a deep conditioning treatment weekly. Also, protect your hair from the sun and heat styling.

Do color-safe shampoos really make a difference?

Trust me they do! Color-safe shampoos are formulated to gently cleanse without stripping your hair color. They’re a must for extending the life of your dye job.

Can coloring my hair damage it?

Coloring can stress your hair, but with the right care, you can keep it healthy and vibrant. Use nourishing products and treatments to mitigate any potential damage.

How soon after coloring can I wash my hair?

Wait at least 48 hours before washing your hair to allow the color to set fully. This little bit of patience goes a long way in preserving your new hue.


Parting Words

In the colorful world of hair care, maintaining that fresh-from-the-salon vibrancy is an art as much as it is a science.

With these pro tips in your beauty arsenal, learning how to make hair color last longer; you’re embracing a hair care routine that celebrates the unique beauty of your colored locks.

From the gentle art of shampooing to the protective rituals of trimming and deep conditioning, every step is a step towards radiant, healthy hair that tells a story of care and attention.

Remember, the secret to long-lasting color doesn’t lie in a single miracle product or routine—it’s in the daily decisions you make.

Choosing the right products, minimizing damage, and nurturing your hair with love are the pillars of color retention. Embrace these practices, and you’ll find your hair not only retains its color longer but also flourishes in health and shine.

So, whether you’re a vibrant redhead, a cool blonde, or a bold brunette, let these pro tips guide you to a future where color fades only when you decide it’s time for a change. Here’s to turning heads with your stunning, long-lasting hair color!

Found your perfect shade? We’d love to see it! Tag us on Instagram @coloredhaircare or Facebook and share your hair dye success stories. Looking for more hair care tips? Check out How to Look After Colored Hair: 11 Expert Secrets For Long-Lasting Color.

hair dye icon

Our Research & Review Process

To ensure our recommendations are as comprehensive and reliable as possible, we’ve undertaken an extensive research effort.

We cite scientific evidence and journals, collect real user reviews and gather impartial perspectives from hair stylists, users, and experts in the field.

Additionally, we conduct hands-on testing by using products and applying hair dyes not only on our own locks but also on real human hair extensions and hair pieces of different hair type, textures and lengths.

This rigorous approach allows us to provide you with insights into which products genuinely live up to their promises.

As always – please consult with a professional hair colorist or stylist for advice on how to color your own hair at home. It’s different for everyone!

Authors

  • Nicola Freeman, 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!

  • Enza Piazza, Hair Stylist & Color Consultant

    I’m Enza Piazza, your go-to hair stylist and color consultant with over 23 years of professional salon experience bringing vibrancy and life to hair of all hues. My Italian roots from sunny Sicily infuse passion into every snip and color, a passion that’s been recognized with top honor awards including bridal and party hair at the National Hairdressers Federation’s Championships. After training in Surrey, UK’s most prestigious salons including Head Master Academy, I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit and set up Enza Hair Styling, offering tailored hair care for 13 years, and treating each client like family. Away from the salon, I cherish moments as a proud Nonna to grandson Joseph and as a playful companion to my Jack Russell, Bo.