Keeping your color vibrant, healthy-looking, and soft week after week is more difficult than keeping a fiddle leaf plant alive. One minute your hair is smooth and strong, the next you’re trying to control a spiky patch of breakage going haywire at the crown. And no, we don’t know how it’s possible to go to bed with even color and wake up with a half an inch of root, either… that’s just the way it goes.
But three Byrdie beauty writers who have logged countless hours in the salon chair have some color-extending tricks up their sleeve. Here are their best tips and favorite products for preserving their bottle-given hues.
1. Detox Your Hair (Gently)
The more you wash your hair, the more opportunities your color has to run right down the drain, so aim to shampoo just a couple times per week if possible. The key to cutting back is making the most of each time you do suds up your scalp. Kate Foster is always switching her hair color—“from blonde to pink to purple and back again”—and swears by Aloxxi Clarifying Shampoo. “I love using this sulfate-free clarifying formula to detoxify my hair and scalp without stripping away color,” she says. With powerful plant extracts, including thyme, neem leaf, ginger root, and dandelion, and no sulfates, the shampoo strikes the perfect balance between deep cleansing and nourishing, leaving hair clean but with necessary oils intact.
2. Consider a Purple Shampoo
If there isn’t much product buildup at your roots and throughout the lengths, try Aloxxi Violet Shampoo weekly—it reduces brassiness and brightens blonde tones while gently cleansing. "I use a purple shampoo two or three times a week to keep my color toned-down and bright! A recent fave of mine is the Aloxxi's, which makes my color look salon-fresh, has a super subtle smell, and doesn't dry out my hair" says Amanda Montell.
3. Experiment With Heat-Free Styles
Everyone with color knows: Hot tools are your hair’s worst nightmare. Save them for big occasions and play with styles that give you the same look you love, just with less damage. “When my hair is healthier, the color looks so much shinier and more vibrant,” says Kate. “I sleep in a French braid every night so I wake up with beachy waves rather than having to create them with an iron.” For a sleeker style, Amanda Montell recommends using Aloxxi Essential 7 Oil Leave-In Conditioning Cream to slick hair back into a low ponytail or chignon. “It looks super-chic while also nourishing my hair,” she says.
4. Maximize Your Conditioning Cream
For Victoria, who has had blonde color for the last three years and is trying to grow the length, conditioner is the most important product in her hair stash. “I’m newly obsessed with Aloxxi Essential 7 Oil Leave-In Conditioning Cream. It defines and moisturizes my waves so well that I don’t even have to think about heat styling,” she says.
Amanda Montell agrees that investing in a great mask or leave-in conditioner is a must for anyone who wants to keep their colored strands from looking dull and crunchy. “Aloxxi’s leave-in conditioning cream makes my hair incredibly silky and soft,” she says. To get the strengthening, anti-frizz benefits, comb the cream evenly through damp hair after you’ve already shampooed, conditioned, and rinsed.
5. Space Out Salon Appointments
If you’re shampooing sparingly, conditioning frequently, and not dialing the curling iron up to 400 degrees, you should be able to eke out an extra two to three weeks between color appointments. "I've been maintaining blonde hair for about three years but I've reached a point where I'm trying to really restore moisture, reduce breakage, and get back to my natural texture—I really want to grow my hair super long again, but I'm also not willing to give up my color,” says Victoria, who stretches the time between salon visits as long as possible to reach both goals.
If your dark roots are making that idea seem impossible, Kate offers a trick for blondes: “I like to spray dry shampoo not just on my roots but also on the line where my highlights meet my new growth. That way I can zhuzh it up and play with the texture and I find that the line between my highlights and my roots isn't so obvious."