When it comes to washing your hair, you’ll want to wash it as little as possible, and always use cold or lukewarm water. The more you wash it, the more the color is stripped out. Hot water also strips the color, so the colder, the better. Even just rinsing the hair can take out color, so pin it up if you’re showering and not washing it. You’ll also want to use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, as the sulfate will take the color out very quickly. My personal favorite is Joico Cleansing Conditioner paired with Toni&Guy leave-in conditioner afterwards. I wash my hair once a week, and my colors stayed fairly vibrant for six months. I know it sounds gross, but my hair is never greasy or dirty unless I’ve been out doing something (in which case I wash it anyway). After a few weeks of adjustment, your hair will grow accustomed to it and your life will be much easier, I promise. The last thing you’ll want to be careful about is brushing wet hair. Wet hair stretches and breaks a lot easier than dry hair, especially if it’s been bleached. So when your hair is wet, you’ll want to avoid brushing it. Gently comb through with your fingers first, then a wide-toothed comb if you have one, then gently with a brush, starting at the ends and working your way up. Bleached hair also tangles easier, so you’ll need to be even more careful with that.
If you’re someone that heat styles their hair regularly, you’ll want to invest in a good heat protecting spray. Too much heat styling fades the colors. And if you’ve had your hair bleached, it’ll be more susceptible to damage. Bleached hair also tends to be frizzier and harder to manage, and many heat styling products help with that. My favorite is Kenra Blow-Dry Spray; it protects from the heat, makes your hair dry faster with a hairdryer, and makes your hair smoother when you’re finished. I recommend a dryer with adjustable heat settings, because you really don’t need to be torching your hair every time you wash it. Medium or low heat works just fine for me, and I have very long and thick hair. You’ll also want to be careful with things like curling irons, because bleached hair doesn’t require as much heat, and will damage a lot easier. Color-treated hair is also more prone to split ends and breakage, so you need to be careful when styling it. Try not to just rip a brush through your tangles, gently comb them out first. And try to avoid tight updos when you can, because too much of that, even in healthy hair, will cause breakage and therefore flyaways at the front of your head. Opt for a loose braid or messy bun if you can.
Sun can also bleach out color, so try not to spend too much time in direct sunlight. If you have to, try to wear a hat or even lightly spray your hair with sunscreen. There are legitimate sunscreen sprays for hair, but normal spray sunscreen will work just fine. Believe it or not, sweat can also remove hair color. There’s not much you can do to avoid it, but just be aware of it and avoid it if possible.
If you take proper care of your hair (and you have it professionally done), most colors should stay very vibrant for at least 1-2 months. You’ll start to really see the fading after that, but you shouldn’t have any blonde hair showing through until about six months have passed, provided you’ve been maintaining the care. If you don’t change anything about your routines, the color will fade very quickly. Washing every other day with normal shampoo will cause severe fading and blonde to show in about a month, maybe two. It’s all about how committed you are to keeping the color looking nice. That being said, dyeing your hair is well worth the money and the effort. You’ll feel better about yourself and you’ll be more confident — it’s a total game-changer. If you’d like to read more about that, see my previous post — What I Learned From Dyeing My Hair.