“Baby powder is my best friend.”
When I dyed my naturally black hair to silver last December, and then purple-pink in February, I faced a steep hair-care learning curve. It opened up a whole world of products and techniques my formerly low-maintenance self never even knew about. The best way I learned was to talk to women with brightly dyed hair — I’d literally stop them in the street and ask them what shampoo they used. Thankfully, you won’t need to do that. I asked experts who have tried every wild color under the sun how they keep their hair looking vibrant and feeling healthy. Judging by the ongoing unicorn craze, this will come in handy for all of you ready to take the rainbow-colored plunge.
Kristen Leanne (@kristenxleanne)
“I’ve been dyeing my hair for so long! The first time I ‘dyed’ my hair, it was with Kool-Aid, and I was about 15. I always had a hard time maintaining semipermanent colors — these are all the rainbow colors you see. So my husband and I decided to create our own semiperm color line, Arctic Fox Hair Color. We spent two years of R&D creating the best base and color we could. In addition to being a semiperm color, because of the deep-conditioning base, it really helps to moisturize your hair while it sits in your hair. So that’s one way I’m able to keep my color fresher for longer.
“I do also use tons of dry shampoo. I only wash my hair once a week (typically) and I do use cold water. I also use sulfate-free shampoo, I use UV color protection spray (yes, the sun fades color!), and last but not least, I add some of my [dye] to my conditioner and shampoo to keep it bright. This all helps to keep the color fresh. Save extra color from your coloring [session] for touch-ups! Don’t condition your hair before you color it. Don’t sleep with your hair in a bun or ponytail at night—it will pull out your fragile hair!
“I also like to maintain the health of my hair as much as possible before stepping into the fried-hair zone. Super-porous hair does not hold onto color well at all; it will simply wash out quickly or hardly stick at all! So to maintain the health of my hair, I will not have it bleached without Olaplex or Formula 18. These are products you add to your bleach mixture; they are protein bond builders. At the moment, I am taking a break from bleach altogether — I’ve been super into having dark roots that fade down into a light blue/turquoise shade.” —@kristenxleanne
Sita Abellan (@sitabellan)
“I have been coloring my hair since three years ago. I’ve been blonde, pink, purple, blue, orange, red, then back to blue. I dye [my hair] every month. I wash it, like, every two days, at least, but I try to go to salons to get those Keratin treatments, and I also cut it every month so it’s always healthy. It looks really healthy because I have quite a bit of hair. People always ask me if I have a wig!
“I use Shu Uemura products. I use the red [Color Lustre] line they have: the shampoo, the mask, and the heat protector. It’s really nice because it’s for [dyed] hair, and it maintains the color and doesn’t make your hair dirty. Now that I have short hair, it gets dirtier faster. With this product it’s fine. I love that.
“I wash it like normal — I just divide it into parts because I have green [under the blue]. I hold it with a clip and I wash the blue because the blue of course is darker than the green, and if I wash together, part of the green gets to the blue. I try not to put oils or products with alcohol because they take the color away faster and I like the color to be very intense, electric. I especially like a midnight blue. I hate dry shampoo because it feels dirty. If [my hair] feels heavy, I don’t like it. I try to not put a lot of spray and stuff that makes your hair thicker. I like the hair when it has movement.” —@sitabellan
“I wash my hair every Sunday. I actually use kid shampoo and conditioner now because it’s just so gentle for your hair and when your hair is colored. You want to protect it, so kid shampoo is actually better, believe it or not. It’s made for gentler hair. I like Cantu for kids. Even Aussie has a kid’s line and theirs is good as well.
“I deep-condition, meaning that after I wash my hair, I heat my conditioner up, and you could either do that in the microwave for maybe 10 seconds or you can do it like a baby bottle: Put some hot water in a cup and stick your conditioner in there if it fits. I like to use the Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioning Treatment. That’s my favorite right there. I’ve been using that for years. I like to use Adore semipermanent color and will mix a teaspoon of the dye with the Miracle Moist. It refreshes the color again. All you have to do is make sure your conditioner is light in color, meaning, like, white or yellow. You don’t want to mess with any other colors.
“Every morning when I take my colors down I use a light moisturizer — Cantu for Kids Curling Cream — and I just put a little bit on my fingertips. I run it through my hair to pull my curls apart and I can just go. I’m really low-maintenance. The most I do is color my hair. Other than that, I just let my curls kind of do what they want to do. One way I take a ‘break’ from color is to do hair shadowing, which is using eye shadow (my favorite is Maybelline Color Tattoo) on my hair. Those all wash out, so I find that one way of conserving my hair and not doing the big overhaul.
“I figured out a better way [to lift hair color] than having to use bleach. You get vitamin C pills, you crush them up and mix it with dandruff shampoo — generic works better. You put that in your hair, and let it sit for maybe 15 to 20 minutes, and it works just like a color stripper. I just use semipermanent colors on top, so that’s how my hair doesn’t fall out.” —@naturallytash
Jessika Petten (@jessikapetten)
“I’ve had colored hair off and on since 2005, so I’ve learned what’s best over the years. If possible, try to limit the number of times you wash your hair in general. I wish mine twice a week, max! And I never use hot water; it’s always lukewarm.
“Baby powder is my friend. Especially when it’s nearing wash day! I’m sure dry shampoo also does the trick, but I’ve yet to find one that I like as much as baby powder. I never blow-dry my hair. If you find that your hair gets too oily when you let it air dry, though, then try blow-drying just the roots. Many people swear by a thermal protecting spray, but honestly, I usually forget to use it. Any heat tools I use are always on low heat. (This is partly thanks to that video Guy Tang shared with the straightener on a high setting.)
“There are some products I use on towel-dried hair: Milk Shake Incredible Milk, SexyHair Soy Tri-Wheat Leave In Conditioner, and Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum. I’ll try to use a treatment once every couple weeks. I’m currently loving Bed Head’s Urban Antidotes Resurrection. It smells amazing.
“Thankfully, some companies have caught on to maintaining colored hair. I recently started using a new shampoo by Viral, a shampoo geared specifically for fashion-colored hair! I’m currently using the Pastel Light Pink shade, so it adds pink color to my hair as I shampoo it. A great product to keep color fresh between visits to the salon.” —@jessikapetten
Sophie Hannah Richardson (@sophiehannahrichardson)
“I’ve been dyeing my hair for the last 10 years. It started with me bleaching, and then about six years ago, I experimented with color, and I have been blue for the last few years. Unfortunately with blue and green shades, they actually stain your hair so are very difficult to get out without bleaching. I layer different shades of blue over the previous color, so over time, it’s stained my hair. I like to use Maria Nila. To maintain a nice blue shade, I try to wash my hair every three to four days, as with semipermanent shades, the more you wash, the more it fades.
“I love Ouai shampoo and conditioner. I use their repair products when I wash my hair about every three to four days. I also use System Professionals Repair Mask and get Olaplex salon treatments every few months. Dry shampoo is my savior when I don’t fancy washing my hair for a few days, and I also like to wear hats! If I ever get greasy hair, it’s always at the roots, so a hat can cover this up.
“Don’t sleep with wet hair! Or, if you’re going to, make sure to braid it. I found that my hair is like elastic when wet, so when sleeping on a pillow and tossing and turning during the night, my hair was breaking off. Do use repair products and masks that are meant for colored or bleached hair. Don’t go to your local supermarket and buy whatever is on offer. If you’re going to have colored hair, you need to look after it. It’s hard to upkeep but well worth it!” —@sophiehannahrichardson
Gaby Borromeo (@gabyborromeo)
“I normally get my roots and all-over hair bleached and recolored by my hair stylist, @Asilsmsk, every two to three months as needed. Because my purple is so deep and rich, whenever I wash my hair, it doesn’t fade nearly as much as people with lighter colors. But my roots tend to lose color faster than the rest of my hair, so I usually color my roots with a bit of color mixed with a conditioner (It’s a 10) to make the color less potent. I leave it on for 45 minutes, then wash my hair.
“I wash my hair every three to four days, cold or lukewarm water, using shampoo mostly on the roots. I deep-condition my hair once a week using L’Oréal Total Repair 5 — it’s cheap and works wonders. My favorite color product is Iroiro. Their color tends to last longer and their purple is more vibrant than most hair colors I’ve been using for the past year. My favorite heat protector for blow-drying is Bumble and Bumble Blow Dry, and my favorite heat protector for styling is the Chi Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray. I like to use coconut oil/castor oil as a treatment for my hair/scalp once a week. Helps with strengthening your hair, keeping it nice and soft, and strong.
“No washing your hair with hot water! The color bleeds so much faster! Whenever I go on vacation to a sunny place and will be in the water, I use Sun Bum 3 in 1 for a heat protectant. Definitely don’t let your hair go out in the blazing sun without a protectant. Try to stay away from getting your hair in chlorine, but wet your hair before going in a pool so it won’t absorb the chlorine or leak color into the pool!” —@gabyborromeo