Fresh hair color can be extremely uplifting, while faded, discolored and dull hair can be adversely a total bummer.
Many factors contribute to premature loss of permanent and demi-permanent color molecules. Very few color “dyes” are truly permanent, no matter what terms your stylist uses to describe the product being used. Unless the color contain textile dyes, the smaller pigment molecules will eventually dissipate from the hair shaft, causing faded appearing color. Anticipated longevity of color services vary greatly, and should be discussed with your stylist ahead of time. Holding onto the brilliance of your latest color service is a challenge anywhere, and there are some causes that are accelerated in the sensitized environment that our lovely Boulder, Colorado exists in.
- Reason #1: Hard-water. It’s estimated that 65% of Americans have hard water. As can be seen on the map below, Colorado overwhelmingly falls into this statistic. Calcium, magnesium and chlorine cause fading and discoloration by causing little chemical reactions, and creating light absorbing buildup. (Sidebar- silicone’s found in styling products can also build up on the hair, interfering with the color process) Mineral build up can be so significant that it can make hair not only appear dull but can also weight hair down, making it lifeless and dry, to the extent of relaxing a perm. If you’re noticing any residue in your shower or shower door/curtain, chances are you have hard water. In-salon mineral removing treatments exist, and are highly effective at detoxing the hair of build up, returning the hair and scalp to their healthy pH, and exfoliating the scalp. Color that is applied to truly clean hair can absorb fully to allow for longer life, and is less likely to be interfered with through the duration of wear.
- Reason #2: UV Exposure. We all love to frolic in the sun, but much like skin, your hair is not a big fan of UV rays. The technical term for color changes due to sunshine is photodegredation. UV rays break down chemical bonds within the hair shaft, fading color molecules, natural and enhanced. Hair products containing UV filters act similarly to sun screen, protecting from premature color woes. An adorable sun hat doesn’t hurt either.
- Reason #3: Application and Removal of color product. Once your hair color is applied, it will need to process for a specific and sometimes lengthy amount of time. In some cases, a large amount of the pigment is deposited within the last 10 or so minutes of processing, so to the rinse the color prematurely could limit the amount of pigment your hair actually absorbed. More specifically for hairdressers, the way color is removed from hair is equally important to ensuring that your client is receiving 100% of what you gave them. Properly emulsifying the color with a small amount of water before or without shampooing allows more color to remain in the hair during the rinse. Only permanent hair color needs to be followed up with shampoo, but all color should be sealed and conditioned for maximum benefits.
- Reason #4: Porosity: Hair quality can be compromised prior to or during a color service, causing less than hoped for color absorption. Filling the hair before and during the color service creates a consistent and even surface for the color product to work its magic on.
- Reason #5: Aftercare. If you love your new color, its up to you to as well to maintain it. First and foremost, wait at least 24 hours after your color service to wash your hair. I’m not talking just about shampooing, but wetting it in general. The pH of most shower water is higher than the pH of hair, opening the cuticle just enough to allow some color to fall out. Once you’re on to normal washing, which really shouldn’t occur every day, we recommend using color safe shampoo and conditioner, free from sulfates and other aggressive cleansing agents. Treating hair with lukewarm water as opposed to hot water may aid in color retention as well, especially concerning reds and other “fashion” shades. Maintaining a healthy pH for your hair and scalp doesn’t hurt either. In the long run though, proper aftercare greatly extends the life of a color services, but no color is immune to fading forever. If you want exceptional color at all times, make sure you’re visiting your stylist in appropriate intervals for a refresh and a touch-up. A hair plan should be established between you and your stylist so that you always look incredible.
Hoping you love your hair color always,