What Happens When You Dye Your Hair & It Fades Quickly?

A color-protecting shampoo can minimize fading.

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There are two things you never miss: a fabulous sample sale and an appointment with your colorist. So when your roots are showing and your color is looking faded much faster than it should, you may wonder what exactly caused it and what you can do about it. A couple of factors can contribute to fast fading. By addressing those, you can keep your hair color shiny and vibrant.

Why the Fade?

When you dye your hair, you are transferring pigments onto your hair shaft. Over time, your hair shaft starts to release these pigments, which results in color fading. While this naturally happens over time, there are several things that can speed up the process. This includes exposing your hair to the sun or washing your hair with harsh products. By using some precautionary measures, you can extend the life of your color following your next dye job. Also, you may notice that your hair color fades very quickly within one to two weeks after dying. This is because not all the pigment applied to your hair shaft takes to the hair and therefore the excess washes away easily.

Color Matters

Other factors that can cause your hair to fade quickly are how many shades away from your natural color you are dyeing your hair and what type of hair color you are using. Semi- or demi-permanent hair color typically doesn't last as long as a permanent hair color and therefore may fade faster. Also, the more drastic the color you dye your hair -- for example, a natural brunette dyeing her hair platinum blonde -- the faster your color fades. While it might be hard to let go of your favorite hue, dyeing your hair closer to its natural color can help.

Protect Your Hair

Dyeing your hair costs time and money. That’s why it’s better to protect it in the first place, instead of having to dye more frequently. Consider using a color-protecting shampoo, which infuses moisture and helps to retain pigments in your hair. If you go out in the sun a lot, products also are available that contain a sunscreen protection factor (SPF), just like the sunscreen you put on your body. By using these products, you can keep your hair from fading as quickly as usual.

How Often You Should Color

The general recommendation for hair coloring is to wait four to six weeks between dye jobs, according to eSalon.com. Because the hair-dye process can rob your hair of moisture, dyeing it too frequently can make your hair dry and brittle. When your hair becomes dry, it’s not able to hold color as well, which can make it fade faster. Talk to your stylist, however, about whether your hair texture is such that you could dye your hair every four weeks or possibly less.

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