Whether your hair is platinum blonde, fiery red or Goth black, hair color is an investment that you want to last as long as possible. You may think you’re taking every precaution to protect your color, but there are hair color threats that may surprise you. See these 6 shocking things that are destroying your hair color, adapted from a post on Folica.com. Dr. Joe Cincotta of Color Wow shares the biggest threats to color-treated hair. They will shock you!
Your shampoo is critical to the quality of your hair color. Most of us know about how sulfates and harsh detergents can penetrate color-treated hair, causing swelling and color leaching. This can even break down your hair’s natural proteins (keratins). But what’s surprising is that a sulfate-free formula doesn’t guarantee a gentle or color-safe wash. Dr. Joe explains, “Many sulfate-free formulas in the marketplace still swell the hair and cause color fade in as few as ten washes.”
So, how can you tell if your shampoo is truly safe? Dr. Joe says “Read the labels. If you see Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate or Sodium Xylene sulfonate on the ingredient list, your shampoo formula is too harsh for your color-treated hair and will cause your color to fade more quickly.”
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2. Shampoo Build-Up
When it comes to shampoo, it’s not always about what it takes off, but what it can put on top of your hair color. Dr. Joe cautions, “Many shampoo formulas can layer on a dulling film that builds up with each use, corrupting your color”. Some can also oxidize, which can cause blonde hair to turn yellow. Dr. Joe says, “Look for crystal clear shampoos that won’t deposit anything on your color.”
Another big threat to color-treated hair is water temperature. Dr. Joe says, “Washing and rinsing hair with hot water swells the cuticle of hair, allowing color to leach out.” The fix is simple – always wash and rinse hair with lukewarm to warm water. Also beware of the quality of your water. “If you have high levels of chlorine in your water, this will alter the quality of your color or highlights”, adds Dr. Joe.
4. Styling Products
The most common fear about hair color is fading. But Dr. Joe advises that there are other, more unexpected factors to fear. “Typical styling products have polymers, resins, silicones, etc. that can dull, darken, and discolor your hair and really scale down the brightness and vibrancy of your color”. Dr. Joe says, “It’s simple to test your favorite products to see what they leave behind on your hair.” Take a little of your favorite styling cream, wipe it on your mirror and let it dry. If it leaves behind a waxy film, that’s what it leaves behind on your hair.” For hairsprays and leave in-conditioners, “spray a shot onto a white piece of paper and let it dry. If it leaves behind a yellow or dark stain, it will have the same effect on your hair.”
5. Heat Styling
It’s a fact that heat accelerates color fade. If you can’t live without your blow-dryer or flat iron, look for products that can shorten the amount of time you spend heat-styling. Dr. Joe says, “Try a blow-dry spray to reduce blow-dry time, but make sure it’s alcohol-free.” Avoid heat styling whenever possible. Instead, use a product like a dry shampoo to refresh second-day hair.
6. The Environment
Another risk to your color-treated hair is right outside your door. “Air pollution will affect the quality of your hair and your hair color. Pollutants can attach to strands and dull your hair.” What’s more, the sun is also a threat. “UV rays can attack color molecules and break them down, which can change your hair color and even damage the proteins in your hair, making it weaker and more porous.” Whenever you are in the sun, protect your hair just as you’d protect your skin. Wear a hat or use a product with a UV filter to keep your color just how you want it.