I’ve been dying my hair for as long as I remember. What started as a box dye job and an attempt to do highlights at home (the skint student life was hard on my hair!) quickly evolved into experimenting with every shade under the sun and many hours spent waiting for colour to develop in salons across the country. My natural shade is a mousy brown ‘nothing’ colour that I’ve done everything in my power to cover up over the years, but since I’ve started to turn grey the struggle is even harder. I was in my mid twenties the first time I noticed a few straggly grey hairs peering out from my scalp, and as quickly as I could pluck them away they grew back again. Seeing as I already dyed my hair for vanity reasons, this sudden eruption of greyness just sped up the maintenance process. Over the coming years I would regularly dye my hair not only to ensure the colour looked vibrant and condition healthy, but to ensure those pesky grey bits were well hidden; I may have pretty great skin for a 35 year old, if I say so myself, but I’ve no doubt my hairline totally gives the game away.
A few months ago my best friend came along with me to my hair appointment and was utterly shocked at the level of grey I was hiding beneath the visible tresses; once you lift up my parting I’m easily about 50% grey under there – much more than even my mum probably battles with. (Thanks Dad.) But the way I see it, grey hair you can easily cover up; wrinkles, not so much. Because of this I dye my hair religiously every eight weeks, whether in salon or at home using a box of painstakingly chosen dye, and am relatively au fait with maintaining that colour for as long as possible between. In order to keep my now red hair vibrant, healthy looking and as minimally grey as possible, there are a few products I use and steps I undertake that make a massive difference. Here’s a breakdown for your enjoyment, alongside some of the products I’ve tried and loved…
If there’s one really important part of colour maintenance, then it’s undoubtedly using an intensive mask or treatment at least once a week. Our hair battles the elements daily, especially if we use heated tools and dye it regularly, and the result can be parched hair that’s super dull; as it’s dead and unable to regenerate itself, we need to give it a helping hand. I tend to leave a hardworking treatment on for at least ten minutes and allow it to inject hydration and goodness in order to keep my colour vibrant and hair looking healthy; you want to look for key ingredients such as keratin and protein, as well as key words that include damage, rebuild, hydration and protect.
PRODUCTS I LOVE
TEMPORARY COLOUR BOOSTS
Often marketed as a way to add vibrancy to hair, colour boosting conditioners are incredibly effective at perking up your ‘do between dye jobs. These simple formulas include temporary dye pigments that will help to breathe life into hair, alongside a conditioner to help hydrate and smooth the surface – so hair reflects the light and looks super healthy. You don’t need to spend a fortune (in fact Superdrug’s own brand is blooming brilliant) and it takes only twenty minutes to see a massive difference. If you need something a bit more targeted, then tinted dry shampoos and brush on colour concealers are amazing at covering up re-growth and giving a healthier more uniform tint to your ‘do.
PRODUCTS I LOVE
HEAT & SPF PROTECTION
Did you know that around 85% of UK women use heated appliances on their
hair daily (that’s hairdryers, straighteners, wands or tongs) but fewer
than 15% of them actually use any form of heat protection spray during
the process? A hugely overlooked category, colour is one of the first things to be negatively impacted when exposed to heat or the sun’s rays – but using heat and SPF protection can stop that from happening. These super clever sprays, creams and oils form a protective layer
around the hair shaft, essentially forming a barrier that prevents it
from being exposed to extreme temperatures, and ensure your colour remains vibrant for longer. Finding one you can spritz onto damp hair pre-styling or over hair while in the sun will make a huge positive difference in the long-term.
PRODUCTS I LOVE
When all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a lightweight shine spray as a final step in your morning routine. I’ve been using these for well over a decade as a way to instantly add vibrancy to my locks and ensure they look glossy, but it becomes even more beneficial when your colour has seen better days. The formula coats the surface of hair in a lightweight oil or silicone to help refelct the light and create the illusion of health, even when your ‘do is super parched – so in five seconds flat you can move from drab to fab.
PRODUCTS I LOVE
It’s pretty easy to look after your hair effectively when you know how; only a few tweaks could make a massive difference, stop you needing such intense treatments when you do finally make it to the salon, and help stretch out the time between dyes. Invest as much time in looking after your hair as you do your skin, and I guarantee you’ll be thankful for it.
Do you have any other tips as to how you can look after your colour between salon visits?
Pictures taken by Kaye Ford
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