Posted by All-Nutrient Professional on Jun 14, 2017
Prevention and protection keep haircolor from fading...to fight summer shade fadage, start planning before the color goes on.
The Case for the Canvas
Think of hair as a fabric that creates a canvas you can color. Is the canvas tightly woven silk, or worsted yarn? Are the threads pulling, pilling, or fraying? There are fixes for those and they are particularly important pre-color because the healthier the hair, the longer haircolor will last.
Prior to coloring, a professional analysis can reveal everything from poor condition (which can cause hair to release color molecules faster) to an abraded cuticle or structural weakness. The pro’s plan: Remove product build-up from hairsprays, silicones and oils first by clarifying the hair with a chelating treatment to remove hard-water mineral build-up. Think of these as important pre-color hair detox treatments.
Next, restore the moisture/protein balance and re-establish the natural pH of the hair and scalp to put the hair on the perfect path to color that lasts. Super-damaged hair might require multiple reconstructive treatments. For hair that is over-lightened or über-blonde, adding back missing pigments or “filling” the hair will help it hold a new darker color longer.
Prime Product Picks
Gentle, color-safe shampoos and conditioners provide prime protection against losing that gorgeous rose gold—or intense blue. While sulfate-free is all the buzz in shampoos, just like “ammonia-free,” sulfate-free can often mean a chemical substitute was used and that substitute can fade haircolor too (sometimes even worse). Instead, look for plant-derived cleansers or products with amino acid-based surfactants. These products will include ingredients such as Glucosides, Taurates, Fatty Acid Isethionates, Glutamates, and Amino Acid Sulfosuccinates.
If shampoos and conditioners include UV protection and a hint of tint, all the better. The latter should always be carefully selected for warm, cool or natural color-boosting, depending on your shade and color.
Moisturizers, conditioners and deep-conditioning masks can also inhibit color fadage because they keep the cuticle smooth and help hinder excess dryness, which leads to damaged, porous hair and color loss. Best uses under the sun include wetting the hair, then applying a conditioner before swimming or sunning. This way, the hair absorbs less salt or worse, chlorine from a pool.
Water Play Tips
Washing hair less often and in lukewarm water also helps keep color vibrant. Now, the only question is which comes first, the shampoo or the conditioner? A new trend, called reverse washing has everyone asking.
Because hair absorbs over 30% of its weight with water when it is healthy and even more if it’s not, some pros say that large water molecules take up considerable space and create a water barrier, preventing the beneficial ingredients in a conditioner from fully penetrating. However, water also raises the cuticle to let those ingredients in.
Conditioning first can work best for fine hair that could be weighed down by over-conditioning. For fine hair, apply a moisturizing conditioner to dry hair, wait 10 minutes, then lightly shampoo or rinse. For most hair types, shampooing in the traditional order delivers maximum color protection because applying a conditioner last smoothes and seals the cuticle.
Dos and Don'ts in the Mix
If raised cuticles and damaged fibers cause color to fade faster, making minimal use of thermal tools is a must, especially after sun exposure. Move blowers continuously as you dry and use cool shot features. When it comes to hot irons, temperatures over 180˚C (356˚F) can damage the cuticle and fade color faster.
Fortunately, many freeform summer styles require little heat styling. Finger twisting, wrapping and braiding all create sizzling styles, heat-free. For super TLC, lose the nubby towels and opt for friction-free ones that ease the squeeze-dry. Finally, always keep color guards on hand: smart styling products with UV and thermal protection.
Color Specific Tips
Colorists have dozens of ways to slow color fadage, from simple to intricate. The most fade-resistant permanent colors use double-dye loads or maximum pigments that allow more dye molecules to form, penetrate and anchor in place. During summer, 5-to-10 minute glossers or glazes add shine and harmonize haircolor that went off-tone in the sun. The time frame suits busy summer schedules, and pros can adjust and customize color glazes to lighten and brighten or add an intense color infusion.
Pastels and vibrant hues present the biggest color challenges. In summer, pastels and pearly blondes go off tone the most, while intense fashion shades are bound to fade—especially if hair was pre-lightened before green, blue or rainbow shades were added.
Summertime solutions start with custom-mixed color formulas that intentionally counteract warmth. When it comes to delicate blondes, pre-lightening enough to get past red and orange stages prevents sun-lightening from exposing anything but gold undertones, which can be counteracted with violet-based glossers or violet shampoos. To avoid brass, start with cooler highlights, too.
For that Kristen Stewart white blonde, brunette hair must be lightened in stages, then foiled and toned—and not always in one sitting. Flat-ironing will take this hair off-tone—many hair oils can, too. A water filter can be a game changer for pale blondes. Another blond trick: Leave highlights un-toned, then see what the sun does before adjusting and toning them.
High-intensity tones will eventually weaken no matter what, so plan ahead with a custom color formula that starts out brighter or richer than desired. A few drops of a fashion color in the permanent-color formula puts in the fix. Another solution is to go intense with direct semi-permanent dyes that are intended to fade away. In fact, pre-planning for fade to happen is the newest trick in colorists’ play book. When by fall, perfectly placed, color-calculated ruby red “un-ripens” into soft strawberry, you’ve got a whole new hue by nature.