There is something about every changing season that makes us all crave something new. For some of us, that means a wardrobe refresh, trying out a trendy wellness class, or testing out a recipe in the kitchen. And, at one point or another, you have probably wondered if you should experiment with new hair color. Sure, there are the classics — brunette, blonde or something in between — but we wouldn’t be surprised if your Pinterest boards are filled with purple hair inspiration. For starters, purple is easier to pull off than other colors. And since it has both warm and cool undertones, there is a guaranteed option that will complement your skin tone. Plus, we love how the color instantly gives you a boost of confidence.
So, whether you are considering getting your hair dyed purple or you have already taken the plunge, here is your purple hair 101 guide to maintaining the look. Following these tricks and tips will help your color look vibrant for up to six weeks.
Get your hair into a healthy state
Even before you step into the salon, you want to prep your hair in advance. “The healthier your hair is, the longer the color will last,” says Kelly Noonan, colorist at Frédéric Fekkai Salon in NYC’s SoHo. “If the hair is too damaged, the less vibrant the color will be, and it will fade faster.” Split ends look even more obvious with colored hair so “make sure you get a trim before going purple,” she says. At home, use a weekly hair mask in the shower like The One by Frédéric Fekkai The Ultimate One Repair Mask in lieu of your regular conditioner. Let it sink in for up to five minutes to strengthen and smooth hair overtime. Or, if your hair is already dry, use a nourishing styling cream like Ouai Leave-in Conditioner to protect your hair from heat styling (one of the main causes of damage).
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Take your natural hair color into account
“Your natural hair color plays a big role in which shades of purple can work for you,” says Noonan. “Since your hair must be pre-lightened before adding in the purple dye, if you have naturally dark hair it can only be lifted so light without causing too much damage. That’s why darker hair works best with deep purple or eggplant shades. If your hair is naturally on the lighter side, you can pull off more color options as the hair is easier to lighten. Anything from pastels to deep shades can work for you,” she says.
Be strategic about your first post-dye job shampoo
“You should wait at least two days to wash your hair after a fresh dye job,” says Graham Nation, UNITE stylist at Ken Paves Salon. It takes that long for the cuticles to fully trap in the color so that it lasts as long as possible. “After that initial period, know that the more you wash your hair, the quicker the color will fade,” he says. The chemicals in hair dye make your hair more vulnerable to the elements of water, which can strip your color every time you wash.
Consider getting used to cold showers
The hotter the temperature of your shower, the faster your color will fade. “If you can handle a cold shower — or at least, a lukewarm one — it’ll help seal in your color,” says Nation. “Also, if you live in an area with hard water, you can get a showerhead that purifies the water. It’s a great investment for your hair,” he adds. When you are just washing your body, keep your hair protected from getting wet by pulling it up into a practical, yet stylish, shower cap like the ones by Shhhowercap.
Invest in a specific, color-saving shampoo
“Since lighter shades like lavender or lilac use less pigment, they’ll automatically fade faster than darker eggplant or violet shades,” says Nation. If you go for a pastel purple dye job, a purple shampoo like UNITE Blonda Toning Shampoo can cut out the brassiness that may begin as your color fades. Purple shampoos work best on neutralizing warm shades like pastels, blonde and white hair. So, if you have a richer tone of purple, a sulfate-free shampoo (it won’t strip your color) like Living Proof Color Care Shampoo is a great option to protect your dye job from fading.
Discover new hero styling products
Instead of washing your strands every day, use a dry shampoo like Bumble and Bumble Bb. Pret-a-Powder Tres Invisible Nourishing Dry Shampoo to soak up oil at your roots and make your hair smell great (it has a light hibiscus scent). While heat styling with a blow-dryer or a curling iron can certainly be damaging to your hair, it doesn’t mean you need to avoid it entirely. Use your hot tools at their lowest heat setting and “incorporate a heat protectant spray like UNITE 7Seconds Glossing Spray to not only prevent your hair from heat damage but to add an amazing, healthy-looking shine,” says Nation.
Try to mask your hair from the sun
As much as you want to show off your purple hair to the world, try to shield it from direct sun exposure whenever you can. Just like your skin, UV rays can damage your hair (and importantly, in this case, your hair color). Before stepping out into the sun, throw your hair up into a hat or spritz on COOLA Scalp & Hair Mist Organic Sunscreen SPF 30, which adds protection, but is lightweight enough that it won’t ruin your style.
Extend your color — without a trip to the salon.
“You can mix a little bit of the direct purple dye in with your conditioner to replace any pigment that’s lost during your shampoo session,” says Noonan. Let your conditioner sink in for 3-5 minutes before rinsing out to fully reap the benefits of the moisturizing properties and the dye. “There are also semi-permanent products like Manic Panic to touch up your color when it’s really starting to fade.” If you do touch up your own hair, focus only on the areas of your hair that have been pre-lightened. And, make sure to do a strand test first before applying it all over to make sure you like the look of the dye.
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