Contributed by Chez Vous Team of Associate Salon Directors: Echo Er, Khim Toh, Jamie Seah, Shawn Chia, Sam Chok and Veyond Chong
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Cover Photo Credits: Jessica Chaw
WHY YOUR HAIR COLOUR DOESN'T LAST
We know that many women have spent great amount of money and time getting a great new hair colour, and many would want the colour to last or stay the same for as long as possible!
You would have heard these too many times. “This stylist is so bad because the colour they did don’t last!” “This salon is bad because the colour fades to such copper looking gold within a few months!”
What if we told you that more often than not, these statements have nothing to do with the quality of the products used, the competency of the stylists or the salon. (At least for most of them; especially the more reputable ones.) Will you believe us?
All colour fade. Yes, even for permanent colours!
Why does colour fade?
The main culprits that cause your coloured hair to “bleed” are exposure to water, cleansing agents, heat styling tools and sun. The more you are exposed to these elements, the faster the colour will fade. These elements cause the colour pigments to be “stripped” out. Washing and heat cause cuticles to “open” hence releasing the colour pigments. Also, UV rays cause dye molecules to oxidize, thus altering the colour.
Why do certain types of colours fade faster than others?
To keep it simple*, we have made some form of generalization and broadly categorized them into 4 different categories.
- Hair colours that are red, violet, magenta and purple
Photo Credits: Jessica Chaw
Such colours tend to have bigger colour pigment sizes, which results in lesser pigment deposits in the hair. The more pigments deposited inside the hair, the more lasting the colour will be and vice versa.
Also, these fashion shades tend to “fade” faster because of the nature of its colour changes. For easy illustration, let’s take a look at basic colours such as dark brown. When brown fades, it remains brown or light brown. Hence, the transition is not that obvious. Whereas for purple, it will transit to red, copper and at times (if pre-lightened), yellow. Hence, the transition is much more obvious.
A good stylist will mix in a calculated amount of basic colour to prolong the hair colour. That said, there is a limit to how long the colour will last as too much base colour will overshadow the fashion shades.
- Semi-permanent colour
Such colours tend to contain less or zero ammonia and peroxide, thus only a small amount of colour permeates through the hair shaft and get deposited.
Ammonia and peroxide help open up the cuticles so that colour molecules can be deposited into the hair. Also, peroxide lightens the hair and swells the colour molecules through oxidization so that they can be “locked” inside the hair for a prolonged period.
Many stylists use semi-permanent dye to refresh existing colours. This barely lightens the hair colour due to the low or zero amount of ammonia and peroxide.
- Hair colour with high contrast between artificial hair dye and natural (or existing) shade
The easiest analogy is when we dye black hair black. Even when it fades, the hair is still black.
For artificial hair dye that is closer to your hair’s original shade, you will realize that the colour does not fade so easily. Because even when it fades, it will fade to your hair’s natural colour and the contrast is not significant. That’s because your natural hair colour already has those colour pigments.
Naturally, for bleached or white hair, the colour will fade faster because the hair does not contain those colour pigments.
- Temporary hair dyes (Many bold and bright funky colours you find in the market)
Many bold, bright and funky colours you find in the market are temporary hair colours and they do not contain ammonia, so your hair shaft will not beopened during the process and the colour will just be deposited on the hair surface.
As we mentioned just now, for vibrant colours, the colour pigment molecules are larger in size thus making it harder to get deposited into hair.
Which is why for many of these bold and funky colours, the stylist will usually pre-lighten the hair so that the colour can be absorbed due to high porosity. But of course with high porosity, the colour will fade faster too.
*Technology is evolving and some of these might not hold true especially in the near future.
Why do certain types of hair fade faster than others?
Porous (damaged) hair absorbs colour pigments quickly and intensely. However, it loses the colour pigments very quickly as well. Think of it as a sponge, it absorbs water fast but loses them fast as well.
The recent trends such as Silver (Grey) hair, Balayage, Ombre or Ecaille will require hair to be pre-lightened (bleached) so that the hair colour will be lightened and the original hair colour can be “removed” and be replaced with a new colour.
Photo Credits: Stella Lee
When hair is pre-lightened (bleached), the hair will become porous, which explains why hair colour will fade faster.
How to prolong your hair colour?
- Avoid immersing your hair in swimming pools
Exposing your hair to water (especially high chlorine or sodium content water) will strip hair colour faster. However if you do swim, simply wet your hair with clean water before you dive in. This will saturate your hair with clean water so it does not absorb as much chlorinated water.
- Modify your cleansing process
Many online websites will advise readers to reduce the frequency of washing their hair. However, in Southeast Asia, it is almost impossible for us to not wash our hair daily due to the weather. Also, dry shampoo are not readily available in these markets.
We would strongly recommend Redken Pillow Proof Dry Shampoo (if you can get your hands on one) as it keeps hair looking fresh and absorbs excess oil from strands. More importantly, it is easy to use and does not leave any residue.
Otherwise, apply a lightweight hair mask such as Kerastase Masque Force Architecte (Resistance Range) on your hair first before washing it with shampoo. This can reduce “bleeding”.
Also, swear off any deep cleansing or scalp shampoo as these cause the colour to “bleed”. A good range of haircare for coloured hair will be Kerastase Reflection collection.
- Use a good leave-in UV / Heat protector
Protecting colour-treated hair from exposure to UV light and heat is vital if you would like your colour to last longer. UV light and heat damages hair, causing dye molecules to oxidize and fade or, in the case of most blonde tones, turn brassy. A good leave-in treatment has heat protecting and UV filtering functions. Try out Kerastase Chroma Thermique from the Reflection range if you have not already done so.
- Use a Colour Depositing Conditioner
Unfortunately, this is not readily available in Southeast Asia market. They are your best bet in prolonging and boosting the vibrancy of your hair’s. These conditioners deposit low amounts of colour each time you use them while conditioning your hair. Also, they are easy to use!
Just use them like a conditioner (after shampoo), thrice a week, and leave on for 5 minutes then rinse-off. It is advisable for you to use gloves and avoid using expensive towels to dry your hair to prevent staining. They usually comes in assorted browns, red, violet, copper, golden, platinum and silver.
Our favourite brand Vitality’s Espresso Colour Depositing Conditioner. You might have to purchase them online. Otherwise try getting it from Paragon Traders Private Limited at 254 Middle Street for those living in Singapore.
- Treat Your Hair
We know this sounds like a marketing gimmick but it is true that healthy hair retains colour better. Focus on both protein and moisturizing treatments either in the salon or back at home using quality products like Redken Extreme CAT or Goldwell Kerasilk Deep Smoothing Mask twice a week.
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391 Orchard Road, #05-05, S238872