Here’s How to Keep Dyed Hair Looking Great

We already know that dry shampoos are great for excessively oily scalps, and to give hair an extra lift between wash days, by absorbing excess sebum at the root. Norris champions them for dye jobs, too: “Over-shampooing can lead to color fading and dulling,” she says. “Dry shampoo gives your hair that clean feeling without compromising on your color. The less you wash, the longer your hair color will last.”

2. Use color-safe shampoo + conditioner (with the proper frequency)

How often you wash and condition your hair might be a matter of preference and personal need, but there are a few universal things to keep in mind. First, anything you put in your name (namely the shamoo, in this case), should be free of sulfates and surfactants (SLSs). Hopefully you ditched these products long ago, but it’s worth double checking. “Products formulated without these harsh additives will help to prevent your color from fading, not to mention they’re better for the pH levels of your scalp,” says Norris.

R+Co BLEU color-preserving shampoo

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R+Co BLEU color-preserving conditioner

You might already be familiar with the purple “toning” shampoos and conditioners that many bleached/platinum/silver-fox types use. This helps prevent the “brassy” effect that the hair experiences, due to a permanently lifted cuticle and the presence of warm hair pigments that compromise your chosen color. However, because dyeing hair almost always starts with a bleaching, it is equally susceptible to the brassiness. (This further underscores the importance of a professional dye job, wherein they can minimize the damage to your hair, and recommend proper bonding/treatment products to restore cuticle function). Regardless of your chosen color, Norris says to use these purple toning shampoos/conditioners once every other week. (You might also get this nourishment from a toning hair mask.) People with more vibrant colors, can do it once every month, she adds. “Less is more with this stuff, because overly toning your hair can actually create a buildup of color,” she says Suddenly, you have an unwanted rosy, purpley tone to the hair. “Do not use toner products as your primary shampoo or conditioner for this reason,” Norris warns.

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Sachajuan purple-toning conditioner

3. Get touch ups every month or two

How frequently you get your color touched up is a matter of the color itself—and possibly your hair length, quality, and texture. (Your colorist can advise on those aspects, with your hair health and overall aesthetics top of mind.)

Here is Norris’ general recommendation, across the primary types of colorings she administers:

Most Uniform Color Jobs: 6-10 weeks; shorter styles will require more frequent touch ups given the ratio of dyed/undyed hair

Platinum: 4-6 weeks; the hardest to maintain since it requires a double processing (leaving it especially vulnerable to damage); the pro can balance this color as safely as possible and match the roots carefully

Gray Roots: 4-7 weeks, since it only requires a single process.

Highlights: 7-10 weeks, to ensure that they err more on highlights rather than full-on dye

4. Double down in summer

Summer seems like the best time to unleash a vibrant new hair color and carefree persona—but it comes with a steeper list of color balance and care. “If you’re exposed to a lot of sand, sea, and chlorine, chances are your hair is dry and lacking moisture. You’ll want to up the heat protection by using something serum-based,” Norris says, since the serums are much more concentrated than other options. “Be sure to specifically look for UV protection. And you’ll want to up your mask usage to 2x monthly.”

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Aveda UV-defense heat protectant serum

5. Use “professional styling” brands and products

When it comes to the best color-friendly hair styling products, there is a general rule of thumb to follow, says Norris. You can best trust the brands that are backed by salons—whether they’re the salon name itself, or are frequently carried by hair professionals. Think Sachajuan, Kérastase, Davines, R+Co, Oribe, Kevin Murphy, Living Proof, Olaplex, Mizani, Bumble and bumble, Aveda, Redken, K18. It doesn’t hurt to shop these brands for hair care products, either.

6. Consider a shower filter

Regardless of where you like, there is probably something in the water that can impact the color of your hair, from hard-water minerals to rust properties.

“If you live in a more rural area, you’re likely exposed to well water, which is going to be very drying to your hair, and create a lot of frizz,” says Norris. “And if you live in a more densely populated area, you’re likely exposed to rust in the pipes, which is going to dull your hair color. In both instances, you’ll benefit greatly from a hard water shower filter, which will catch all the harsh minerals before they deposit onto your hair, thus saving you money in the long run on color maintenance. ”

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7. Get regular haircuts

One underrated aspect of hair health (especially for color-processed hair) is getting routine cuts. “Products alone won’t save your hair from breakage and split ends,” Norris says. “This is frequent advice I have for people who want ‘effortless’ platinum hair. Hair is never effortless if you want it to be healthy.” She suggests getting longer hair trimmed quarterly (every 3 months). For shorter styles, it’s of course more frequent, especially to mind the ratio of dyed to natural-toned hair. 

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