Hair Color CPR

So, you just spent a fortune getting the most amazing hair color ever. And what do you do? Flaunt it at the beach, jump in the ocean, wash your hair with your boyfriend's cheap shampoo. Stop.

It’s important to remember that what you do next will determine what happens next with your hair color—does it fade or stay strong? 

I'm a red head, not by birth but by bottle. It is a constant uphill battle to keep my hair vibrant and rich looking between color appointments. Here are the tips I have learned in my 15 years of fighting the good fight to save my color.

First steps are important. After you get your hair colored don’t wash it, don't go surfing, don't go swimming, and don't do anything that is going to disrupt your cuticle layer of your hair from closing. I always wait 48-72 hours after coloring to let that cuticle layer really seal back down. If you have fine, oily hair and the thought of doing this makes you cringe, invest in a dry shampoo like Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair. It will not mess with the process and will give you back some volume while deodorizing, and removing oil. It’s worth a couple days of suffering to keep that color vibrant and rich between appointments.

Wash your hair with cold water. It's miserable feeling, but it really helps keep that cuticle slammed down. I have put this one to the test, as personally I like my shower to be as hot as a standing Jacuzzi, but the results are worth the suffering.

Frequency of washing is paramount. The more you wash the hair the more it’s going to fade. I am curious about people who wash their hair everyday. When I ask why they do this, it’s often simply because they think that's what they're supposed to do. This is not true. How will you ever get to amazing second day hair if you’re washing daily? Our hair uses the oils that our scalp creates to keep its luster. Don’t mess with Mother Nature, she provides the best conditioner.

I can get away with washing once a week. My hair isn’t dirty; I brush it with a boar hair bristle brush from scalp to ends nightly so it distributes the oil down my hair shaft. This keeps my scalp from collecting the oil. I use a dry shampoo if I want a burst of freshness. If your style looks funny, just spritz your hair with cold water and re-style without washing. Try it out; go one day longer than your use to. You’ll love the results.

Shampoo and conditioner make a huge difference. Sulfates that you will find in most drugstore brands rip color out of your hair, even if it says "color-safe." I am a product junkie and I have tried almost everything and trust me, the difference is huge. Make sure to grab a sulfate/paraben-free shampoo and conditioner from the salon on your way out. I understand not wanting to spend a lot of money on this but you just spent a lot to have your hair color look amazing, so protect your investment. If you don't want to by the most luxurious product on the shelf that’s ok, most salons have lower-priced alternative that is still much better than a drugstore brand.

To prevent fading due to sun exposure, cover your hair with a hat, or use a product with UV protection in it. Swimming in the the ocean or a chlorinated pool can really wreak havoc on hair color, so make sure to get your hair wet and apply a leave-in conditioner before entering the pool. Once your done playing in the water, wash and condition your hair, thus removing all residue.

If you can adopt one or two of these methods you will most definitely prolong the time between your color appointments.

Ginger Vaughn is a hairstylist with 15 years of experience in the field. She works at L'Atelier Salon in Santa Cruz, 114 Pearl Alley, Santa Cruz,, (831) 423-4247.

Images: Sunhat from, Kevin Murphy hair product.