How to Keep Hair Dye from Fading Plus 10 Things That Make It Worse

Aug. 31, 2020


Improper dye preparation, frequent washing, and harsh shampoos are just a few things that can be fading your hair color. Use color-depositing products and avoid heat to preserve the pigment.
When you shell out on hair dye, it goes without saying you want to make the most of it. 
Unfortunately, it can seem like mere days after you leave the salon your pretty pink or radiant red is already starting to lose luster.
We share how to keep hair dye from fading and what could be shortening your color’s lifespan. 
What Causes Hair Dye to Fade?
Before we work on preventing fade, let’s talk about what could be causing it. You might be surprised what every day habits can promote dye-leeching.


#1. Poor Preparation 
The dying process can vary dramatically depending on your hair health, texture, and color. 
If your hair is ultra-porous—either naturally or because it’s damaged—a protein treatment might be required beforehand to help the color stick better.
#2. Improper Application
Ideally, the application process for your specific hair dye needs to be followed explicitly best effect. 
If the label specifies 30 minutes, but you washed yours out after 20, don’t expect to achieve the color of your dreams.
Similarly, emulsification to “lock” the pigment into your tresses is an essential step. The dye should be massaged into your strands with a dash of water right before rinsing.
#3. Hot Showers 
There’s nothing like a steamy shower to ease the stress of the day away—but hot water is tough on colored hair. The hotter the water, the faster your color will fade. 
#4. Hard Water
If you avoid drinking your tap water because it has a funny taste, you probably have hard water. That means it has a high content of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
You guessed it—this sort of water can be super-harsh on dyed hair. Remember that hair dye is a mix of chemicals: the compounds in your water can interfere with it.
#5. Excessive Washing
Unfortunately, every time you wash your hair, you’re taking color out of it. Daily or frequent (e.g., three to four times weekly) washes could be a big culprit behind fade.
#6. Exposure to Heat and Sunlight
You know that sun-faded umbrella or chaise-longe you have? UV light can do exactly the same thing to your favorite hair color.
Heat falls into the same category. Blow-drying, straightening, or curling your tresses all the time could be responsible for your lackluster tresses.
#7. Harsh Shampoos 
Shampoos packed with sulfates, parabens, and other chemicals are another common perpetrator behind hair dye fade. 
They’re stuff you put on your mane when you want to get rid of the color, not keep it!
#8. Type and Color of Dye 
Naturally, permanent dye won’t fade as fast as semi-permanent or temporary ones. 
The color you chose will affect how quickly it fades too.
Sadly, beautiful unicorn pastels and vibrant neon shades are hard to hold onto. Darker colors such as black, brown, or burgundy tend to last longer.
#9. Too Long Between Touch-Ups
What do you consider a fast fade? Two weeks might seem ridiculously rapid to you, but that might be standard for the dye type and color you use.


How to Prevent Hair Dye Fading: 6 Easy Tips
Now, there’s no way to stop hair dye from fading—especially not pastels or rainbow colors. Still, you can slow it down with these simple tactics:
#1. Use Color Depositing Shampoos and Conditioners
That’s right—there are products that deposit color to keep yours looking fresh! You should find all sorts of colors, from natural ones to neons and pastels. 
They won’t do much for dark roots but should keep the body of your hair looking newly-dyed.
#2. Try Cold Water
Seriously, please don’t knock it until you’ve tried it: cold water can significantly lengthen your color's lifespan. 
Plus, it’s way less damaging than exposing your strands to hot water. If you can’t handle icy-cold showers off the bat, try lukewarm water or have someone wash your hair in the sink.
#3. Cut Down on Washes 
We’re not saying you should turn to a life of grime—but maybe reduce how often you wash your hair. 
Even if you can only manage every other day instead of every day, it’ll help keep your color popping.
#4. Invest in a Shower Filter
If you have next-level commitment to your color, you might want to buy a shower filter. The same applies if your water is extra-hard.
#5. Protect Your Hair
Hair sunscreen for long days outside is a must. If you can’t give up heat styling, buy protective products to shield your strands from your favorite devices.
#6. Maintain Your Color 
You’ll have to resign yourself to the cost of maintenance eventually. Your color will need a touch-up—whether that’s at the salon or a DIY job at home.
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