While blondes have always had the reputation as being preferred by gentlemen, and brunettes are admired for their dark mysterious persona, redheads garner attention for their spicy personalities, fiery tempers and untamed sassiness.
Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Lindsay Lohan have made their marks as sizzling hot redheads in the film world.
While shades of brilliant red are stunning, red hues, especially chemically applied, have a known tendency to fade much faster than any other hue.
Why? It has been proven scientifically that the color molecules in ruby tones are much smaller than those in other color molecules. As a result, they tend to fade or wash out much more quickly than other hues.
Although red hues fade fastest, every shade of color is subject to premature fading.
Millions of people, both men and women, enhance the hue of their hair but then do nothing to preserve the life of their expensive hair enhancements.
Whether you pay dearly to a top colorist or color your hair at home, there are tips that will maintain your gorgeous hair color for as long as possible.
How quickly color fades depends on several different factors:
Home Versus Salon Color
Home hair color kits, especially semi-perms and demi-perms are fabulous for trying out new hues without a long-term commitment. The truth of the matter is that at-home color, whether temporary or permanent, will never last as long as color applied at a salon.
While L'Oreal, Clairol, Garnier and Revlon are all great brands, as a rule, the colors are not designed to last as long as professional salon strength colors.
Just like with everything else in the hair world, some formulas work better for some types of hair. If you find that your color fades quickly, you may wish to switch to another brand to see if that makes a difference.
Some strands need to be pre-softened to help the color penetrate deeper and last long. This means that you increase the porosity of your hair with a mixture of bleach, developer and shampoo. Usually, 5 minutes is enough.
Permanent Or Semi-Permanent Product
At-home color manufacturers generally suggest that permanent colors can last 6-8 weeks. The reality is you will probably start to see the total color fading after the first few shampoos.
While root growth brings a definite need for spot touchups, the overall color will also fade to the point that you may feel the need for an overall color infusion before six weeks is out.
It is generally not recommended that the entire head of hair be recolored after the first application of permanent color. However, overall color can be refreshed with demi-color washes or perked up with color shampoos and conditioners.
Re-color every 4 weeks or at the first signs of fading to keep that vibrant color glow intact. Consider using a demi or semi-permanent shade or other temporary shade that gradually washes out with repeated shampoo sessions to punch up the depth of your red hues.
Compatibility Of New Shade To Natural Color
Extremes in color change will cause hair to fade much faster. If you go from a dark brunette to a blonde shade, the blonde will generally fade much faster than if a dark blonde go just a few shades lighter.
Choosing a hue in the same family as your natural color will last longer. For example, if your hair is a warm medium brown and you choose a beautiful shade of auburn, the new warm red hue will tend to last longer and look more natural. It will also be more flattering on your eyes and skin tones.
Overall Condition Of Hair
The overall health and condition of the follicles plays a part in how long the color will last. Strands that are overly porous from previous overuse of chemicals can either resist deep color absorption or may over absorb. This means that some sections of your color may fade more quickly than others. When hair is damaged it may be best to work with a professional colorist to guarantee the best coverage and prevent rapid fading.
Frequency Of Washing Strands
The hotter the water and the more often you wash, the faster precious color will escape. Hot water helps to open the cuticle and allows pigment to take a hike.
Cool water temperatures keeps color looking vibrant. Using cool to cold water to rinse newly colored hair helps to close the hair cuticle and retard the escape of color molecules.
If you can stretch your schedule to shampoo less often, this gives your color a break. Waiting two or three days between shampoos will help your color last so much longer.
Products Used On Colored Hair
Whether you color at home or at the salon, keep it lasting longer by using specially formulated shampoos and conditioners that won't strip color.
Starting with the very first shampoo after you color utilize products designed specifically for color treated hair. Color shampoos, conditioners and even styling products are available from all the major manufacturers and will definitely help extend the life of your hue.
Color-enhancing shampoos work to freshen or tone the color. They are available for all hues ranging from blonde, brunette or redheads.
Avoid harsh shampoos which are designed to clarify, control dandruff, remove oil, add volume or have a high level of acid or sulfates. Hot oil treatments and some deep conditioners will also eat away at your pigment.
When you bake your body with prolonged unprotected exposure from the sun, surf or wind, you literally cook your hair and its delicate color.
To much fun in the sun can lead to damaging overexposure causing hair to fade quickly and/or change color. If you're out catching some rays, riding free in a convertible or hanging by the surf, pop on chic headgear to keep your beautiful hue from fading.
If hats aren't your thing but you still want to protect your hue, spritz a sunscreen enhanced leave-in conditioner on your strands.
The sun's heat will activate the conditioner while the sunscreen will prevent UV rays from causing damage to strands. For even more sun protection, wrap hair in a tight knot on top of your head.
Salt from the ocean can alter or damage delicate hair color by literally leeching out color. Chlorine can wreck havoc with any hair but is even more explosive when mixed with colored tresses.
In some extreme cases, exposing color hair to pool chemicals may result in unusual or unnatural hues such as pink, blue or green.
Protect your hair before taking a dip by saturating the strands with water. After you finish your swim, immediately rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar finish with a club soda rinse. The carbonation from the soda will lift excess chlorine and salt water out.
Use Of Hot Tools
Daily or constant use of a blow dryer can speed up color evaporation. This is because prolonged blow dryer heat may cause color to oxidize, turning dull and brassy.
Experiment with blow-drying only the perimeter of your strands instead of all of your hair. When possible let your hair air-dry.
Heat will damage newly colored hair. It is recommended to let newly colored hair, at least for the first week, air dry at room temperature for longer lasting and best results.
If you must blow dry your colored strands, be sure to use a good heat protection product or a good leave-in conditioner. Opt for using a blow dryer with a slow or cool setting.
By understanding what causes premature fading of hair color you can avoid take steps to prevent it, even before it is applied to your hair.
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- Revised Publication Date: 02/05/11