So you’re walking out of the salon with fresh highlights and you’re thinking, what’s next? How do I take care of these, maintain them, and keep them looking their best? After investing time and money, keeping your highlights fresh and vibrant is extremely important. With a combination of using the right products, protective measures, and some simple tips and tricks, this article will help you keep your highlights looking as good as the day you walked out of the salon.
When buying shampoos, conditioners, and styling products, make sure to keep your eyes out for labels that say they are specifically made for color-treated hair. This ensures they cant be damaging and will be gentle on your hair to maintain the vibrancy of your highlights. Matrix.com says, “dyed hair requires special attention, so invest in salon-grade products formulated for colored hair. Using color-protecting shampoos and conditioners on color-treated hair can help protect the color and add shine, volume, and luster.”
Growing up, we learned that every time our hair gets greasy, it needs to be washed. Now that you take care of your own hair, realizing it doesn’t need to be washed every time is a time-saving (and hair-saving) epiphany. When you overwash your hair, not only do you break down the color in your hair, you also wash away all the good natural oils. “To retain those natural oils […] shampoo just two or three times per week, and never more than every other day.” Focus on your scalp and roots when washing, ensuring your hair is clean and minimizing color loss.
Heat changes your hair. From UV rays to styling products, if you want to keep your hair shiny and new, avoiding these things is pivotal. UV rays, according to robertgoldsalon.com “break down the chemical bonds that are present in dyes, which causes the dyes to fade. That’s why if you have color-treated hair, your color will fade more quickly the more it’s exposed to sunlight.” To avoid this, use a UV-protecting balm or wear a hat on super sunny days.
As for avoiding styling products like curling irons and straighteners, this is important because it minimizes color loss and maintains the health of your hair. Look into heatless options to do your hair like rollers, braiding, and letting your hair air dry.
A secret trick for regular hair dyers is a once-a-week deep conditioning treatment. These can help keep your hair moist and well-nourished. Healthy hair retains color better than dry hair and keeps the color looking the same as the day you walked out of the salon. Check out this list of realsimple.com’s best deep conditioning treatments for 2023, with Olaplex coming in at a resounding #1. They describe the luxurious treatment as “a no-brainer for deep conditioning your hair. The formula is suitable for all hair types, including color-treated, as it has no sulfates, which can fade vibrant color into a lackluster hue. If fixing dryness and damage is a concern of yours, opt for this nourishing conditioner that mends split ends, repairs damage, and prevents frizz and flyaways without weighing hair down.”
Something that is an easy fix to keeping your highlights looking fresh is touching up your roots. This causes a contract with your highlights and can make them look faded. When you first get your hair done, add a few more appointments to the schedule with your stylist to maintain a good blend between the dyed hair and the new growth.
The water temp you use can greatly affect the quality and look of your hair. Hot water is unhealthy for your hair, as it opens up the hair cuticles, which can lead to your color easily fading. Byrdie.com recommends “washing hair with lukewarm water,” and they advise “switching the water to cold toward the end of your shower to lock in moisture. […] warm water is the best temperature for washing hair.”
When it’s summertime, and the beach and pool are calling to you, make sure to protect your hair while swimming. Avoiding chlorine and hard water because both can strip away color and moisture, leaving you with dry, brittle, and colorless hair. Avoid going underwater completely, or swim with a diving cap. If you do decide to go in the pool or ocean, wash and rinse your hair thoroughly afterward, and follow up with a conditioning treatment to lock in moisture and avoid damage.