I’ve had coloured hair for close to 10 years now (gosh I’m old!). For those of you who’ve known me for a while, you will realize that I’m especially drawn to light brown/ash shades. Unfortunately, such colours are very prone to fading and require higher maintenance as touch-ups are needed every 4-8 weeks. After seeking advice from hairstylists, doing research on the internet and learning through trial and error, I decided to compile some tips to make the most out of your colour by prolonging its life. They’ve worked well for me, so I hope you’ll find them useful too! 

1) Do not wash your hair 1-2 days prior to your colour job 
Natural oils from your scalp not only protect the hair shafts, they also smoothen the colour application process as the hair absorbs the dye much more easily.

2) Always invest in colour safe shampoos and conditioners 
After spending a bomb on your beautiful tresses, you wouldn’t want to wash your money down the drain by using hair products that strip your hair colour at home. The key is to find products that are suitable for your hair and scalp. 
Expensive products don’t always work (e.g. Kerastase causes my scalp to itch). On the contrary, I find drugstore brands just as effective, if not better.
I started on Marc Anthony’s Colour Shampoo and Conditioner (S$16.90 each from Watsons) a couple of weeks ago, and I’m happy to report that it makes my hair soft, shiny and manageable. More importantly, my hair colour remains vibrant and I don’t see any signs of discolouration at all. Although these are colour enhancing products, their hair volumizing properties are especially apparent, an additional perk that left me pleasantly surprised! I have very fine and limp hair, so any volume is greatly appreciated. 

 The entire range of Marc Anthony products was developed by World Champion Hair Stylist and Celebrity Hairstylist Marc Anthony. The shampoos and conditioners also come with broad spectrum UV protection and Vitamin C, important ingredients that prevent discolouration and promote healthy hair growth. With hair products that are choke full of goodies, everyday can be a good hair day!
 3) Use a colour save leave-in conditioner with UV protection
We all know how important UV protection is for our skin, but did you also know that exposure to sunlight will dry out your hair, leaving them lifeless and dull?  To complement my shampoo and conditioner which already come with UV protection, I also use a colour save leave-in conditioner with UV protection. I skipped this step previously as I was lazy, but I’ve turned over a new leaf and am a lot more hardworking these days.

Why? Because this step probably makes the biggest difference to retaining hair colour vibrancy, especially since sun exposure is practically inevitable thanks to our tropical climate.

I discovered Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Color Save Spray Conditioner (S$21 from a neighborhood shop at Bukit Timah Plaza) recently and I have never looked back.This is a salon exclusive product but I’m sure it retails online too.
The BC Bonacure range promises to renew the strength and elasticity of your hair with its signature Amino Cell Rebuild technology. I have tried several leave-in conditioners prior to this, and besides being fragrant, none of them really did anything to my hair except weigh them down. 
I particularly like the lightweight formula of this leave-in conditioner as it gives me tangle-free and silky smooth hair without weighing down my hair at all. I have a lot of baby hair, and this is the only product that could tame those flyaways, making my hair look shiny and well-conditioned all day. The best part is, I have been using this for a couple of weeks now and my coloured hair still looks fresh out of the salon!
4) Do not over shampoo. I actually find it difficult to follow this rule because I prefer to shampoo everyday. Unfortunately, the lather in shampoos washes away both your hair’s natural oils and your artificial colour as well. Now, I try to shampoo only on alternate days to extend the life of my hair colour.
5) Be cautious about the water temperature when rinsing your hair. Hot water is damaging not only to your hair shaft, but to your hair colour too as it causes the colour to fade much faster. It’s best to use lukewarm water to rinse off the shampoo, followed by cold water to close the cuticles on your hair shafts.   

Are there any other tips that worked for you too? Do share them here! 🙂