Hair Dye: How do I make my hair colour last longer?

A change in look always improves self-esteem, boosts your confidence and makes you feel more beautiful. Trying out a new hair colour, for example, communicates something that is going on inside you and your desire to show off something different. Where the real trick comes, is in making your hair colour last longer after you leave the salon.

Brighter hair colour can bring more luminosity to the face and rejuvenate it. A darker shade can convey seriousness and confidence.

Warmer coloured hair can point to an intense and bold temperament. Brunette hair shows self-confidence and determination.

Even so, hair colouring has a lifespan and depending on the shade it starts to fade.

Over time hair begins to wear out, especially at the ends. This can be caused by what are known as natural aggressive agents, which can be: sunlight, rain, wind and sea water or the damage can come from the chlorine in a pool, the heat of dryers, curling irons and other heated styling tools.

You may have already had a bad experience using a hair colour outside your skin tone – tried a colour that came out completely different from your expectations – or done something on your own and regretted it.

Perhaps you still haven’t prepared yourself well to receive a transitory colour like purple or blue, and in the end, all you could think of was your hairdresser, how much you miss them and how much they were needed!

Whenever you decide to colour your hair, plan your preparation and care. Chemically treated hair will be more vulnerable to external factors and will require greater care.

Here you will find tips to care for and keep vibrant hair colour from fading and hopefully manage to avoid some mistakes.

How to Keep Your Hair Colour for Longer

Shiny chocolate brown hair, jet black hair, platinum blonde hair, and rich brunette hair colour

When it comes to colour treated hair, any shade of hair will fade, this is inevitable. So be sure to commit to maintaining it and touching up your roots.

Darker colours last longer

You may have already noticed how lighter and fantasy hair colours –  hair colours that are not found naturally – demand more care and attention. The colour fading process can be more flattering depending on the colour but ultimately they last less because during their application it is necessary to open the hair cuticle.

When choosing your colour, find out How To Find The Best Hair Colour For Your Skin Tone beforehand and make changes that fit into your routine.

Trying fun colours different from yours like red and blonde hair is always very interesting. But, if your routine and disposition do not allow you to dedicate so much time and care, or if you’re prone to contact with major aggressors like high heat, it’s best to stick with hair dyes closer to your natural colour – these are the shades that last the longest.

Rainbow of semi-permanent hair colour swatches in focus. Colours range from canary yellow hair colour swatch to forest green.

Which Hair Colour Fades the Fastest?

The fastest colour to fade is red, especially the brightest and most vibrant shades. If you want to experiment with this colour, you can opt for shades of auburn or auburn-red, or opt for red-toned shades like copper, rust and strawberry blonde.

What Hair Colour Brand Lasts the Longest?

Some people think that the colouring brand does not interfere, but they are completely wrong. Brands like Wella and L’Oreal are recognised around the world. They stand out with great results and have proven to provide rich, lasting colour.

Types Of Hair Colour

Colours range from warm, honey blonde to a vibrant, carrot ginger hair colour.

Permanent Hair Colour

Permanent hair dye lives up to its namesake by permanently changing the colour of the hair and acting on the entire structure of the hair. 

It acts directly on the inside of the hair shaft, and covers 100% of the white hairs, making the colour more intense and strong. This procedure can only be performed in salons.

This type of tincture usually has ammonia and hydrogen peroxide and, consequently, has greater durability. It really changes the colour of the hair shaft, as it penetrates the hair fibre so that the pigments are fixed. But, it is not compatible with all types of chemistry.

Permanent Hair Colour – How Long Does it Last?

Its duration is usually 6 to 8 weeks – depending on your hair growth.

When the hair starts to grow, the roots will appear again. But the colour molecules inside the hair cuticle and cortex will react with the melanin in the hair and change its colour.

This is the only way to change dark hair to light or make a really drastic but inevitable change.

Semi-Permanent Hair Colour

The toner has pigments that act on the outside of the hair fibres and its formula contains less aggressive components. 

It is ideal for hiding the first grey hairs and for chemically treated hair, bringing colour to the hair without losing its naturalness. It is less durable, but it is also less harmful.

How Long Does Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Last?

Its average duration is usually 4 weeks (if you wash your hair daily) and can reach months, if you wash your hair once a week – it can last up to 24 washes.

As the pigments are not able to penetrate the inner part of the hair, the colour tends to fade a little with each wash.

Woman with long, shiny brunette hair colour

What Can Cause Hair Dye to Fade?

Both the colour itself and your hair type will interfere with the duration of the colouring and the way the process will be. Finer hair absorbs dye more easily than thicker hair.

Changing your hair from light to dark is much simpler than the other way around. If your hair is brown and you want to dye it blonde, first you will need to get rid of the natural pigment in your hair.

Bleaching will be essential and during this process, you should make sure that your hair is well hydrated to prevent breakage and damage. Consider adding oil to your hair routine in the lead up to bleaching, this will work with your hair’s natural oils to create an extra barrier of protection during the process. It is important to remember that excessive bleaching can lead to hair loss.

Hair Health

Damage control is essential before dyeing your hair. Any procedure involving chemistry or temperature changes should involve products that help protect the hair.

There are different factors to the longevity of hair colour, sometimes the duration of the hair colour will not only depend on the products and chosen colour. Most of the time it depends on the health of the hair.

If you are suffering from hair loss or have rough and damaged hair, the colour will not last. This happens because the hair cuticles are open and more porous. And when the cuticles are open, the pigment doesn’t stick to the hair.

Therefore, before dyeing your hair, the first step is to investigate the causes of hair damage and make it strong and healthy again.

Does heat fade hair colour?

Hot bath water or hot showers can be harmful to both your skin and your hair. So if you want more beautiful hair and skin, consider washing your hair less often during the week and lowering the water temperature.

The high temperature opens the hair cuticles and wears out the colour of the strands. Cold water has the opposite effect.

How to Wash Dyed Hair Without Losing Colour?

When you wash your hair, apply the shampoo to the roots and let it fall down the length of your hair. Avoid shampooing directly through the lengths, as it can dry out your hair or fade the colour.

Also, you can use dry shampoo between each wash to remove oil while preserving the colour.

Shower filters are also a great alternative because they remove chemicals, chlorine and minerals from your shower water and minimise hair colour damage.

Don’t Overuse Hot Tools

The first week after colouring requires more moderation and care.

You should wait at least 24 to 48 hours before washing your hair and stay away from the styling tools.

If you still need to use a hairdryer, don’t use it at the highest temperature and be sure to use a heat protectant spray or serum to serve as a protective barrier and prevent any damage.

Professional Hair Colour

Have an upcoming event? Plan ahead to leave the recommended interval between dyeing your hair and styling your hair.

If the event is your wedding, for example, here are 6 things to avoid the week before your wedding.

 Does dyed hair fade in the sun and the pool?

When you have any kind of sun exposure, choose to wear an SPF hair protector or a hat.

The care is very simple, you can mix water with conditioner in a spray bottle, and spray before and after entering the sea or pool water.

Avoid contact with chlorine, especially if your hair is light. Some pools receive salt water treatment.

How to Prevent Colour Fading

Hairdresser dyeing hair

Prep Your Hair Before Colouring

Preparing the hair to receive hair dye is very important because it helps the strands withstand the damage of the dye components. Like ammonia, which opens the hair cuticle and compromises the hair fibre.

Damaged, porous and dry hair finds it difficult to maintain its colour and can also contain brittle and stained strands.

So, a day or two before you dye your hair, use a chelating shampoo to remove the buildup of styling products. You can also use a deep hydrating mask once a week.

Izabella recommends a 30day preparation before colouring. You can learn more about Izabella’s Specialised Hair Treatments

Dyeing Hair: Shampoo & Aftercare

Your hair care routine should contain a sulfate-free shampoo, masks, oils and heat protectants – these are essential so you don’t have to give up styling tools – they help reduce the appearance of faded colour.

Avoid products that contain alcohol – they dry out your hair a lot – use products that contain protection from UV rays and try using oil on your hair to protect it from sun damage.

Very important: Do not be fooled by products containing salts, sulfates and detergents. They usually come at cheaper prices in supermarkets and pharmacies, but their ingredients take the colour out of your hair.

We recommend a professional treatment at least once a month, and having your hair professionally toned every 6 – 8 weeks to maintain the intense colour.

Wavy, rainbow coloured hair blows to the left, displaying all colours - bold dyeing hair

Do you know How to Keep Your Hair Colour Looking Better for Longer?

  1. Prepare the hair with hydration.
  2. Check with your hairdresser if the procedure is compatible with your hair chemistry and routine.
  3. Wait to wash hair at least 24h or 48h after dyeing (never before that).
  4. Avoid hot water and use dry shampoo where possible.
  5. Use a shower filter.
  6. Wear a hat when out in the sun and use a leave-in conditioner when swimming in the sea or pool.
  7. Maintain a care routine with specific products for coloured hair, avoiding shampoos with sulfate, salts, detergents and alcohol.

Is Dyeing my Hair safe?

Colouring your hair is not just about applying any colour. It is a process that requires a lot of skill from the professional hairdresser and that goes through an analysis process to understand what colour and the appropriate method for applying the paint will be.

The hair colourist is able to prevent a chemical cut – when two chemicals come into contact – with a test. The hair strands can be broken or very tangled.

They will be able to tell if your hair is able to undergo the chemical procedure you want. They can also tell you, based on their analysis, if your hair is unable to go platinum, for example.

Working with a professional hair colourist is important because exposure to hair dyes can lead to an allergic reaction. As they are trained to notice signs of damage and hypersensitivity to hair dye they can take all necessary steps to safely produce your desired hair colour, as well as being able to provide well-founded knowledge on ingredients in hair dyes and suggest alternatives such as natural hair dyes – these can contain ingredients which are less intense than those which are found in traditional hair dyes, causing less irritation.

If you want to try a blue, pink or purple colour – fantasy colours – or even a lighter shade. Your hair will need an assessment to make sure it has enough strength and resistance to bleach.

This process is very invasive and as already mentioned, lighter and fun shades have less durability than dark ones (like brown and black). After the diagnosis, the colourist will be able to define how to lighten the strands.

If you’re looking for Balayage Services, we are here to help – check it out.

Should I Dye my Hair at Home?

When you dye your hair at home, it is very common to stain your skin with dye or suffer irritation leading to itchy skin. With a salon appointment, this problem does not happen, because of all the care and products needed to do everything right.

In addition to having an experienced professional hairdresser performing all the steps your hair colour lasts longer when applied at the hair salon, because the colourist can give you all the aftercare guidelines and will know how much colour cream to apply; if the application is too thin, the colour won’t be able to penetrate to the cortex layer.

The right developer and ratio of different colour creams are also integral in achieving a long lasting colour.

Any mistakes in the above steps would result in hair colours that fade in.

Again, don’t forget these 7 tips to keep your hair colour from fading

  1. Prepare the hair with hydration.
  2. Check with your hairdresser if the procedure is compatible with your hair chemistry and routine.
  3. Wait to wash hair at least 24h or 48h after dyeing (never before that).
  4. Avoid hot water and use dry shampoo where possible.
  5. Use a shower filter.
  6. Wear a hat when out in the sun and use a leave-in conditioner when swimming in the sea or pool.
  7. Maintain a care routine with specific products for coloured hair, avoiding shampoos with sulfate, salts, detergents and alcohol.
Two ladies with long, blonde hair flicking through colourists' book of hair colour swatches

Where Can I Dye My Hair?

We are Hair Colouring Specialists and we are here to help you get the best from your colour hair and in every step of the way. Avoiding any kind of disaster. We want you to have good stories to tell and always bring something exciting with your new colour.

We have a world of possibilities inside our hair salon in Islington London, but everything needs to be done according to you and your reality.So if you want to dye your hair for the first time, try something completely new or renew your hair colour. The first step will be to call us or send a WhatsApp message here because colouring is our expertise.