Why Does My Hair Color Fade So Fast?

July 14, 2016
Tiffany Alvano

There’s nothing better than stepping out of the salon with fresh, vibrant color — just like there is nothing worse than drab, faded color. You want as much time between the two feelings as possible but lately, it seems like one day your color is on point, the next you’re calling your colorist begging to get in as soon as possible.

The good news is, you have more control over the time it takes your color to fade than you may think! The five things you’ve been doing that are making your color fade are listed below, and the good news is that by simply stopping and making a few changes, you can help preserve your color for weeks on end!

Hot Showers

If you love hot showers, it’s probably noticeable by the state of your hair color. Rinsing with hot water lifts the outer cuticle layer which holds your color in, making it completely vulnerable to fading. The hotter the water and the more often, the faster your color will fade. Instead, wash in warm water and rinse in cold. The cold water will actually seal the cuticle and leave your hair looking extra glossy.

UV Damage

The ultraviolet rays in sunlight break down the chemical bonds in your hair, making the color fade. Besides fading your color, UV damage can also make your hair more dry, brittle, and dull. Save your hair and color by limiting your exposure to the sun. Wear a hat, or sunscreen (yes you can buy it for your hair!) or at the very least replenishing the moisture with a daily leave-in conditioner.

Counterproductive Products

If you’re not using a shampoo and conditioner that is safe for color treated hair, you are doing yourself a disservice each time you wash. Be absolutely sure your shampoo and conditioner are made for color treated hair! Not only should they be safe, but look for something that will preserve color and help minimize color fade. As a general rule, and one that will also help you maintain your color, remember that shampoo should be focused on the roots only and the conditioner stays on the mid through ends of the hair shaft. Avoid clarifying shampoos or anything with sulfate or alcohol which can all strip your color.


You already know that heat is the enemy to your hair and it’s not just because of the damage! Heat also compromises your color. Protect your hair from heat and over-drying with a lightweight oil or heat protectant before you style.

Over Washing

After you wash your hair, avoid washing it for as long as humanly possible. This means taking advantage of your dry shampoo and baseball caps! Okay, okay, that can be gross. But at the very least you should wait at least 24 hours before washing your hair after you get it colored. This allows the dye to settle in. After that, try to space out your shampooing days as far apart as you can. Washing your hair too often will strip your color and natural oils.

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