Who can relate to spending big bucks to get your hair professionally coloured, only to have the colour fade off in just two months? Because we certainly can, and it’s really frustrating. In an ideal world, the hair colour you get at the salon should last for more than two months. Unfortunately in the real world, hair colour oxidises and changes over time, leaving our once gorgeous colour looking brassy and awful. 

Hair colour, like foundation oxidises. This basically means that at a microscopic level, your new hair colour molecules can lose electrons, triggering a chemical reaction that turns hair brassy. Depending on your hair colour, the brassy shade will show up differently.

Blonde hair looks more yellow or orange, while brunette or black-coloured hair may start to look more orange or red. This can happen for a lot of reasons—some of them inevitable and completely unavoidable—like hard water exposure and UV rays, factors we cannot avoid. But you can prevent your colour from changing by following these smart hair maintenance practices:

Not Using The Correct Shampoo And Conditioner

You can pay top dollar for the perfect colour, but if you use the wrong products in the shower, that’s literally money down the drain. This is because a lot of hair care products contain sulphates, which while great at keeping hair clean and smooth, is not-so-great at maintaining hair colour.

Sulphates contain sulphuric acid, which can penetrate the hair colour and remove colour pigment so to prevent fading, invest in a a colour-safe shampoo and conditioner that is sulphate-free.

Washing Your Hair With Hot Water

Cooler water is the way to go when it comes to colour maintenance. That’s because heat raises the cuticle, giving colour an easy escape route.

Go Easy On The Hot Tools

Hot tools can make brassiness come out faster, so make sure to add a heat protectant before styling. Look for something that includes heat and UV protection for when you leave the house, because just like your skin requires SPF to keep it safe against UV damage, so does your hair.

Limit The Time Spent In The Pool

Chlorine and salt water both work against you if you are trying to keep your colour from fading. They can strip the hair of its lustre, making the hair appear dull. Even worse, extended time in water also keeps the hair cuticle open longer than usual, allowing the colour molecules to be stripped from the hair. If you can’t give up swimming, consider putting your hair in a swim cap or avoid wetting your hair in the water, and be sure to apply a generous amount of hair oil post swim, to help protect the cuticle from water molecules.

Skipping The Toner

Toning products can eliminate unwanted brassy and red tones and revive your strands. They work like a semi-permanent dye by depositing certain pigments that cancel out tones you don’t want to see. Even better, you can do it yourself with at-home toners so you don’t find yourself in the stylist’s chair every other week. 

Do bear in mind however that a toner is not a permanent solution, so if you want to maintain your preferred shade, you’ll need a toner every month to six weeks, dependent on your hair texture and how often you wash your hair.

And if all else fails, book a colour-corrective appointment with colourist, to give your brassy hue a complete makeover. They’ll most likely use a stronger toner to hide warm undertones and help blend the colours together.