Whether you dye your hair a sun-kissed blonde, a sultry chocolate or another fabulous hair color you already know that color-treated hair is expensive to maintain. Fortunately, we’ve uncovered some expert strategies to make color last longer, saving you time and money. Read on for hair coloring tips from Shan Casey, a DevaCurl educator and owner of Shan Hair in Boston, MA, and Elsa Rhodes, co-owner of Platform Color Style Salon in San Dimas, CA.

  1. Avoid Over-shampooing Rhodes advises clients to limit hair washing to two or three times a week, tops. The amount of shampoo you use matters, too.

    “Most of the time people are still using too much shampoo, because they think they have to put more in to make it foam.” says Casey. He suggests halving the amount of shampoo you normally use and pouring it into your fingertips instead of your palm. No need to rinse and repeat. Once should be enough to cleanse your hair without drying it out.

  2. Turn Down the Heat Like over-shampooing, excessive heat styling with a blow-dryer, curling iron, or straightener can cause fading. That’s why Rhodes advises applying a hair serum before styling to protect the hair shaft.

    “Think of putting a ‘shield’ over your hair,” she says. “This will protect the hair from damage, and also make the color last until your next appointment. And consider getting a professional conditioning once a month to keep hair hydrated.”

  3. Choose the Right Products Not all hair products are created equal, so pay attention to the ingredients in your hair color, shampoo, and styling products. One of the hair coloring tips Casey offers to clients with color-treated hair is to steer clear of products containing silicon, parabens, and waxes since they don’t allow moisture to penetrate the hair. Rhodes recommends using a shampoo that’s specifically formulated for color-treated hair. Also look for non-ammonia hair color.

    “Ammonia tends to strip hair and make it more vulnerable to breakage and color-fade.” says Rhodes.

  4. Shield Your Hair From the Sun Headed to the beach or a BBQ? Sun exposure can fade color (not to mention burning your scalp”>, so Casey suggests wearing a hat to protect your hair and scalp. Spraying your hair with a leave-in UV sun protector can help, too, according to Rhodes. You might also consider postponing your salon visit until after you return from the beach to minimize sun exposure on newly treated hair.
  5. Minimize Chlorine Damage Chlorine is another hazard to hair color, particularly in the summer.

    “Leave your regular conditioner in as long as it’s silicon free,” says Casey, who also recommends using lemonade mix before swimming. “Cut up a lemon and put it in some water with a dollop of conditioner and rinse your hair in that.” he says.

    “The hair is like a sponge. You should always wet the hair and put conditioner in it to minimize damage.” Afterwards, Rhode suggests using a clarifying shampoo and deep conditioner to maintain shine and prevent fading.

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