Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

What the Hair Pros Know: Keeping Color Wonderful

Jun 28, 2017 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Whether you color your hair out of necessity or you’re eyeing whatever bright hue is currently trending (rose-tinted tresses, anyone?), there’s a lot to consider before heading to the salon for the big job. We checked in with some of our favorite stylists about the dos and don’ts of the process—from consultation to at-home care.

“Dyeing is akin to fabric processes, whereas coloring is the process a professional cosmetologist/barber follows.”

—Owner Donna Brown, Sadona Salon + Spa in Annapolis

Long before any ounce of pigment touches your strands, a dry consultation should be requested, if not suggested by your stylist, to thoroughly discuss your desired look, how it’ll work with your hair type and face shape, and any at-home and follow-up maintenance it may require. “And what the process and cost will be to get you to your end result,” adds Owner Scott Palmer, The Park Salon and Barber in Severna Park.

One of the biggest misconceptions about switching up your color, particularly on the more drastic end—for example, from black to blonde—is time. “We have to explain that the transition can require several visits to achieve the color,” says Wendy Moore, Split Ends Salon in Severna Park. “It’s important to do this process in stages to protect the integrity of the hair.”

On a similar note, another misconception is that coloring hair damages strands. “Coloring can actually improve the hair, especially when you go to a colorist that knows what he or she is doing with the chemicals,” says Master Stylist Mina Hanna, David Alexander Salon and Spa in Annapolis.

That’s not to say frequent bleaching is harmless to your hair, particuarly the cuticle. Hair color works by lifting the cuticle, via ammonia, once its applied to strands, which enables the peroxide to permeate hair’s natural pigment. Damage occurs when the cuticle is open for a prolonged period of time, as in repeated lightening treatments, causing dry, brittle hair that’s prone to breaking.

“Coloring and bleaching aren’t the only culprits in damaging hair. UV rays and heated styling tools, such as blow dryers and flat irons, can wreak havoc, too!”

—Master Stylist, Mina Hanna, David Alexander Salon and Spa in Annapolis

Fortunately, there are ammonia-free products on the market that aren’t as harsh on hair. The substitute ingredient—often ethanolamine—still relaxes the cuticle, but it doesn’t open it up as much as ammonia does. There are even certain brands of hair color, like Aveda, that are formulated with plant-based ingredients to condition hair during color treatments.

“Color has advanced through the years, so keeping damage to a minimum is a bit more realistic now.”

—Matt and Luc, Hudson & Fouquet in Annapolis

After your dream ‘do is achieved, it’s best to nix shampooing for 24 to 48 hours. “This allows the cuticles to fully close, so that the color is ‘locked in,’” says Owner Donna Brown, Sadona Salon + Spa in Annapolis. If hair gets wet shortly after treatment—say, it’s raining and your sans umbrella—that’s okay, but washing should be avoided for a day or two. “We always encourage people to extend their hair washing,” Palmer says. “Remember, the more you cleanse, the faster the color fades.”

And what about touch-ups? Typically, you should revist the salon every three to five weeks. For gray coverage, retouching applications fall closer to every three to four weeks; for highlights, it can often be extended six to eight weeks. However, a longer wait between visits often leads to a higher price tag. “If the color has grown out a significant amount, it could require more service,” Moore explains.

“Clients often think that their hair color has faded at the roots, but really it’s just new growth.”

—Stylist Meghan Harrington, Flow Salonspa in Chestertown

While a trip to the salon is inevitable—at least, if you want to maintain your hair color—there are a few ways to prolong your hue. Always use color protection shampoos, conditioners, and other styling products. “These products are made with specific ingredients that support and protect color services,” says Executive Education Leader Trish Kaiser, The Temple Annapolis-A Paul Mitchell Partner School. Ask your stylist to recommend those that will best suit your hair. In addition to color-safe products, try rinsing your hair with cooler water. “It helps to keep the cuticle closed and preserve color,” says Matt and Luc, Hudson & Fouquet in Annapolis. Additionally, deep conditioning treatments every week or so will help to keep the cuticle healthy, according to Stylist Meghan Harrington, Flow Salonspa in Chestertown.

Fun in the Sun?

Treat your hair as you do your skin—keep it out of the sun during summer days or, at the very least, use products formulated with UV protectants to guard against those harmful UV rays. “Also, wear a hat! They’re super fashionable and fun,” adds Kaiser. And it’s not just the sun that can damange and dull hair, but chlorine too. Before taking a dip in the pool, rinse hair with regular water to prevent it from absorbing the chlorine. “And rinse with regular water once pool-time is over,” says Harrington.

Products We Love

Visible roots? Straggling grays? Check out these fast—albeit temporary—fixes for in between salon visits!

1. Zotos Professional’s Age Beautiful Root Touch-Up $9.99, 2. Eufora International’s Conceal Root Touch Up $30.95, Sadona Salon + Spa, Annapolis 3. Oribe’s Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray $33.92, Hudson & Fouquet Salon, Annapolis


4. L’Oreal Professional’s Hair Touch Up $25, David Alexander Salon & Spa, Annapolis 5. Style Edit’s Root Touch Up $25, Park Salon and Barber, Severna Park


Stay up to date on the latest health, fashion & beauty, and fitness related trends by signing up for our weekly newsletters.