How to Keep Colored Hair Healthy

Restore shine to dyed locks with tips from our experts

healthy hair

Photo by: Getty Images

Our pros answer pressing question about your tresses.

Q: My hair is colored. How can I restore its shine?

A: Cuticles, the outer layers of the hair, are like fish scales across each hair shaft. When they’re lying flat, light bounces off them uniformly, and the even reflection produces shine. The active ingredients in hair color (such as ammonia) lift those layers up so the dye can penetrate to where the permanent color molecules reside. Once your cuticles are roughed up, they scatter light, which makes hair look dull. To smooth down your cuticles (also key for protecting the color molecules once they’re in the shafts) and get the shine back:

  • Patch up the cuticles You can’t completely reverse damage, but a repair product that delivers ceramides, hair’s intercellular glue, can help replace what might be missing.
  • Add gloss with a serum or shine spray They both reflect light for a shiny effect, but just a smidge will do: Too much of either leaves hair greasy. Many color extenders also contain UV filters to fend off sun-induced fading. Still, wear a hat for double protection when you’re out in the sun.

Q: How can I avoid washout?

A: Color’s worst enemy is water. In fact, the latest research shows as much as 80% of color-fade is caused by water alone, not shampooing or scrubbing. Colored hair is more porous, which is why in the shower it absorbs and releases water easily. As water exits, it steals some color molecules, sending your dye job, whether applied at home or in a salon, down the drain. To minimize this water-induced fading, take these precautions:

  • Reduce excessive rinsing Once you’ve shampooed and conditioned, don’t tilt your head back and just let the water run over it. And if you rely on the shower spray to wake you up in the morning, try to limit your hair’s exposure to the water. Pay attention to temperature: Heat makes dye leach out faster, and the hotter the water is, the quicker the color loss.
  • Use a color-protecting shampoo They’re specifically formulated to be both gentle and protective. The exception: If you’re using an at-home color, shampoo your hair with a clarifying formula the day before to remove silicone, wax, and hairspray resin. These residues can absorb dye and prevent color penetration into the hair shaft. The result: Less depth of color, so your color fades faster.
  • Shampoo less frequently Refresh on your off days by flipping hair over and spraying a dry shampoo at the roots to soak up oil and restore volume.


Try these recommended products:

John Frieda Liquid Shine Clear Hair Glaze

Biolage Rejuvatherapie Age Rejuvenating Intensive Masque

L’Anza Healing Strength Neem Plant Silk Serum