4 Scientifically-Proven Ways to Extend the Life of Your Hair Color


Hair modelAbout The Author:  FutureDerm is pleased to welcome Leah Argento to our staff as a Contributing Writer. For a complete bio please visit our About page.

Professional salon color costs the big bucks (but it’s oh so worth it!). And if you’re like me, you invest regularly in color at a professional salon. So how do we prolong that color and safeguard our investment? We all know about shampooing less often and about using sulfate-free shampoo, but what else can we do?

1.  Cool It

One of the simplest (and cheapest!) safeguards is to wash your hair with cool water. Hot water opens the hair cuticle further than it already is and therefore color fades faster.

2.  Antioxidants


Pureology was among the first to introduce the concept of antioxidants in hair care products with their “AntiFade Complex”. Some skeptics thought they were out of their minds. Today we know better. Antioxidants are free radical scavengers. That is, natural compounds that neutralize the harmful effects of Reactive Oxygen Species (or free radicals). UV exposure increases free radical concentrations in the hair (Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology), opens the hair cuticle and breaks down color molecules (Proctor & Gamble). Thus, color fades faster.

So use a shampoo and conditioner that contain antioxidants like Vitamins C or E. And don’t forget the antioxidants in your styling products too (Journal of Cosmetic Science). Try a product like Moroccan Oil that contains Argan Oil – a natural source of Ferulic Acid (one of Nicki’s favorites!).

3.  Watch the temperature!

UV isn’t the only devil though… In fact, heating the hair beyond 100’C has a much more marked effect on free radical production (Science Direct) so beware your hot tools… It’s not actually the heat that damages the hair, it’s the free radicals that are produced in the process (Mibelle Biochemistry). In this study, even rinse-off products (i.e., conditioner) that contained antioxidants (grape seed extract and Vitamin E) proved effective at protecting hair from free radical damage.

4. Coming Up

Some of the newest technology I’ve come across is CP Sweet Blue Lupin Peptide from Oat Cosmetics of Canada. CP Sweet Blue Lupin is an ECOCERT-certified natural ingredient that has been scientifically proven to keep hair color vibrant for up to 30 washes, even notoriously fast-fading red dyes! Testing by an academic body showed it was equivalent to the best synthetic alternatives, resulting in a 24% improvement over a control group treated with water after 10 washes, and 13% after 30 washes. I can’t wait until this new ingredient shows up in a consumer product!

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  • Jessica, I did breeze over sulfate-free products (see my first paragraph) simply because they are more common place. But yes, absolutely sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are the first line of defense! Thank you.

  • Great article. I’m a “red-head by choice” so prolonging my color is something that’s always at the forefront of my hair concerns!

    One thing I notice you don’t mention is sulfate-free hair care. It seems even the experts don’t agree on this issue; I’ve seen reasonable, well documented arguments on both sides. I’ve even experimented a bit myself and I’m still not sure where I fall! I’d love to hear your opinion on the issue.

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