You colored your hair? Now save your investment

I don't know if it's simply a reflection of my astrological sign (Leo), but my hair has always been really important: the color, the texture, the style… It all counts to me.

I have been coloring my hair for past 20 years or so. In the early years, it was to add zest to my dull brown color. Now, it's also to cover the grey hairs that are a little too prominent for my taste.

This post is about – mostly – Madison Reed, a company that I really love and respect. I am a fan because their products work marvelously well, are made with high quality, good-for-your-hair ingredients AND are free of nasty toxic chemicals (the list here). Plus, gorgeous colors…

Madison Reed Hair Colors

While we have written plenty about hair coloring products (hair color, root touchup, gloss), we've never explored the whole “how to protect your hair color” thing.

Hence, this post.

Even though you can save a ton of money and still get professional quality results by coloring your hair at home – with a product like Madison Reed – you still want to protect your investment. There are a few simple precautions that will prevent hair color from fading prematurely AND will help keep your hair looking healthy.

Why does hair color fade?

  1. Hair is porous to varying degrees for each person. Porosity means that the hair cuticle is lifted. This leaves hair looking coarse and frizzy. Damage and increased hair porosity can be caused by hair–bleach, excessive heat from styling tools, sun, salt water and chlorinated pool water.
  2. Hard water damages hair. Hard water means that calcium and magnesium – and sometimes chlorine – are present in our home. This causes buildup (aka soap scum) that dulls hair. Here's a map that can give you a hint of the water hardness in your area. Unfortunately, 85% of U.S. homes have hard water.
  3. Using hot water. This causes the hair cuticle to open and the color to leak out.
  4. Shampoo too soon after coloring. The color needs to settle for a while. Wait at least 24 hours. Though 48 hours is best. And don't use hot water!
  5. Clarifying or harsh shampoos or products with SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfates) cause the hair cuticle to open and can, little by little, strip the color (and the life) out of the hair.
  6. Hot styling tools or UV rays: It's that hair cuticle thing again. Exposure to too much sun or hot hair styling tools open the hair cuticle, creating an open door for the color to escape.

What's a girl to do when there are so many inherent threats looming as I try to maintain my hair color? Actually, it's not that difficult.

Easy things that will help your hair color last longer

After avoiding the color-harming behaviors listed above, hair products become the most important things in maintaining hair color:

  • Choose your haircare products carefully. Pick color-protecting shampoos and conditioners that are sulfate and parabens free as these chemicals will strip the color off your hair. Madison Reed has a shampoo and conditioner that is formulated specifically to lock in hair color while also providing the UV protection that prevents sun damage. These also contain natural, beneficial ingredients that moisturize hair to make it softer and more manageable.
  • Dry shampoo helps stretch days between hair washing days and also acts as a great volumizing and styling product. Perfect for days 2 and 3. I'm definitely a fan of this classic drugstore product: PSSSST Instant Dry Shampoo Spray. Inexpensive and works great.
  • Styling products matter too. Apply leave-in hair treatments that will at the same time condition and protect your hair from heating tools and UV rays. Also, make sure that the products are sulfate-free to prevent color from fading. Madison Reed has two styling products that I really enjoy using: Style is a lightweight styling cream and Tame is a finishing product that helps eliminate frizz. I use them together. They work great to encourage natural curls and abate frizz. Both contain Monmongo oil to add a layer of protection against UV rays and hot styling tools.
  • Condition it. Try a home remedy of coconut oil as an inexpensive and easy way to condition your hair on an evening when you need to catch up on your Netflix series. Or, try Olaplex, a fashionista cult favorite.
  • Gloss it: Hair gloss is a great way to boost color and provide shine between scheduled hair-coloring sessions. I wrote about the Madison Reed hair gloss here. Quite a fan. The results are clear in the photos. It's really easy to apply and it has been the perfect remedy for hair suffering from winter blahs or summer frizzies.

With so many of our classically cherished beauty traits taking a beating as we age, I'm happy that I can still keep my hair in good shape. All of the above has helped. You?


P.S. a disclosure: The curated content in this post contains affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything that I recommend from these links, I may receive a small commission from the merchants. It’s at no extra cost to you and you may even be made aware of discounts and offers. I only mention products that I truly believe in. Thanks for supporting this site!  

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