As someone who has gone through many years of dying my hair, I’ve experienced all the trials and tribulations associated with color-treated locks: dryness, damage and frizz — you name it, I’ve dealt with it. But one thing I’ve learned along the way? Listening to the pros can go a long way in making your color last longer, your hair look healthier, and just making the most of your salon visit.
“It starts with finding the right hair colorist who understands your goals and will help to achieve the right shade,” says celebrity hair stylist Marty Harper, who has worked with stars like Halsey, Naomi Osaka and Alexandra Daddario. “Then [you should] invest in quality treatment products for overall color care.”
“Above all else, people with color-treated hair should look for products that are sulfate and paraben-free,” explains Dallas-based hairstylist Quia Querisma. “These ingredients contribute to hair color fading more quickly than normal.” Harper echoes this, also adding phthalates to that list. “These all strip the cuticle which will leave your hair dry and brittle,” he adds. This also ends up harming your scalp.
When it comes to tips for maintaining your color? It’s all about proper hydration, explains Harper. Conditioning is crucial to keeping your hair hydrated, so you can alternate days where you skip shampoo and just go for the conditioner. Querisma recommends washing your hair with lukewarm or cool water (instead of hot water), and also using a clarifying shampoo only when necessary. A couple more tips to add to your list: stick with color-safe products and try keeping your hot styling tools below 400 degrees.
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If you’re headed to the beach this summer, opt for products that contain SPF. Because just like your skin, your hair and scalp can get dehydrated and damaged in the sun. If you don’t have those products handy, a simple hat and scarf works just as well, shares Colleen Flaherty, a master colorist and color educator at Spoke & Weal in New York City. If you’re going for a swim, applying a leave-on conditioner beforehand can help protect your hair from the sun as well as from chlorine and saltwater, advises Querisma.
Ahead, our experts break down 10 of their favorite products for color-treated hair, all of which will help keep your locks looking flawless and feeling amazing.
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NatureLab Perfect Repair Treatment Masque ($17; amazon.com)
“I recommend using a weekly hair mask to add much needed moisture to color-treated hair,” says Harper. “It’s important to find one that contains pigment to keep single process colors vibrant after every wash.” He loves the use of bamboo stem cells and keratin in this option, which “strengthen and smooth the hair to create a natural, healthy sheen,” he explains.
dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse ($35; amazon.com)
“I recommend this product to all my clients that need to balance their oily scalp while not stripping the color,” says Harper. “It’s a natural cleanser with great added hydrating properties.” And if you’re like me, it’s also a great product to help your hair and scalp feel fresh without having to shampoo.
Christophe Robin Shade Variation Nutritive Mask ($35.25, originally $43.40; amazon.com)
Recommended by both Harper and Flaherty, this hair mask is just what you need if you’re looking for a color boost, but aren’t quite at the point where you need or don’t have time for a full touch-up. Plus, it comes in many shades, all of which can enhance hair of all different colors, from golden blonde to warm chestnut and chic copper.
Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo and Conditioner ($50.30; amazon.com)
Flaherty recommends this shampoo and conditioner duo, which works to keep your color vibrant while leaving your hair soft and shiny. An added bonus is that it also helps protect color-treated hair from environmental stresses like sun exposure, hard water and more.
Pureology Color Fanatic Instant Deep-Conditioning Hair Mask ($41; amazon.com)
Since color-treated hair is prone to dryness, Querisma recommends using this as a 20-minute deep conditioning mask or an overnight treatment for an intense infusion of moisture.
Oribe Invisible Defense Universal Protection Spray Travel ($44; amazon.com)
“This is a great everyday product for UV protection and color-fading prevention,” says Harper. Better yet, it’ll also protect your hair from other environmental pollutants and from heat damage of up to 450 degrees.
K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask ($75; sephora.com)
“I think anyone who colors their hair should use this,” says Flaherty. “It’ll help regenerate the bonds that break when you color your hair and is going to keep your hair the healthiest it can be.” Good for all hair types and textures, apply it to your hair after towel-drying and wait four minutes (during which the product is reversing damage caused to your hair). Then, continue with the rest of your routine.
NatureLab Perfect Repair Leave In Treatment ($16; naturelab.com)
“This product is key to reviving hair,” Harper says. “It evenly coats each strand and hydrates the hair instantly.” Simply apply the foam to hair after towel-drying, and you can blow dry, style or just let it air dry. “I love it because it is light, airy, and doesn’t weigh the hair down,” Harper adds.
Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Shampoo ($9; amazon.com)
Purple shampoo isn’t anything new to us unnatural blondes. This option “packs the double benefit of strengthening and toning,” Querisma explains — perfect for avoiding brassiness. She’s also a fan of the Strength Cure line, which works to repair your hair from damage caused by heat styling, over-manipulation and chemical processing.
Aveda Botanical Repair Strengthening Leave-In Treatment ($34.75; amazon.com)
If coloring your hair has left it dry and brittle, Flaherty recommends this leave-in treatment, which simultaneously protects your hair from future damage while repairing it from past wear and tear. You’ll notice a difference immediately; a single use helps detangle your hair, leaving it softer and shinier and — most importantly — easier to style without breakage.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.