The Best Long-Lasting Hair Color

Hair color can get expensive, so go with one that can last the longest.

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Why is it that bottled color can't last forever? Probably because hair-color companies would go out of business, but that's beside the point. There is a difference between hair color brands and types. Some last longer than others and also make your hair look and feel better. There are also ways to retain your hair color for as long as possible. So grab your favorite coloring gloves and brush and prepare for long-lasting color.


The hair industry may seem all fun and glamour, but there are chemists behind the scenes hard at work trying to create a color that can actually last. Naz Kupelian of the Naz Kupelian Salon in Massachusetts says that women should look for a hair color brand that incorporates nanotechnologies. "Think of color like a granulated sugar and powdered sugar. The smaller the color molecule, the more there are and the better the coverage," said Kupelian. He said that nanotechnology would be powdered sugar, "covering your head with more color molecules than you would get with granulated sugar." Due to this technology, when you wash your hair or are in the sun and lose molecules, you will still have many more molecules to compensate.

Salon Approved

It seems like the colors that salons use look more vibrant and end up lasting longer than the over-the-counter colors. Avanti South salon owner Avi Elkayam in Boston, Robert James of the Robert James Color salon in San Francisco, Mosaic Hair Studio owner Mike van den Abbeel in Orlando all love Wella. Elkayam says that Wella has the most vibrant and multi-faceted hues, especially for red-heads. James loves Wella because the color lasts long with minimal fading and always gives super shiny results. He said "the reds are vibrant, the blondes are lustrous and the browns are rich."

Drugstore Color

Although some experts, like James, don't believe in drugstore hair products, there are professionals who do. Elkayam recommends L'Oreal's MajiBlond because it's gentle on hair. It doesn't use bleach and it neutralizes orange and brassiness, which sometimes is hard to do for dark hair going light. "I love the very cool, ash blonde hue that you can achieve with just one step," said Elkayam. Alan Gold, creative director of the Haig & Co. Salon in Philadelphia, loves L'Oreal INOA. It is ammonia-free and is driven into the hair shaft by an oil delivery system. "It lays on the outside of the hair shaft and lasts longer," said Gold.

The Right Shampoo

Women may spend hundreds of dollars on one visit to the salon to get the perfect color. Then they'll buy the wrong shampoos that quickly wash all the color, and 'moola' spent, down the drain. Moran Gallagher, head colorist at the Mizu New York salon, recommends using Oribe Shampoo and Conditioner for Beautiful Color. The products are paraben- and sodium chloride-free, color- and keratin treatment-safe and provide UV protection for the hair. "The Oribe color shampoo and conditioner keeps your hair in the best condition for both before and after you color your hair," said Gallagher. Oribe's ingredients counteract the dulling and drying effects of regular color treatments. The conditioning agents coat the hair shaft to add moisture and protect the hair against color fade from sunlight. Abbeel recommends using a dry shampoo in between washes. He says that how often a client shampoos is still the number one reason for early color fading.

What Can Cause Fading?

Although there are shampoos and colors that will lock in your new hue, there are other ways to avoid your color fading quickly. James said that the best way to keep your color from fading is avoiding the sun and pool. "UV rays fade the color while damaging your hair," he said. "Be sure to wear a hat and apply UV protection product to your hair." Another tip James gives for avid swimmers is to wear a swim cap. He said that sweat is water soluble, so there really isn't a need to use shampoo every day.

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Avi Elkayam; Avanti South Salon; Boston, Massachusetts Robert James; Robert James Color Salon; San Francisco, California Naz Kupelian; Naz Kupelain Salon; Lexington, Massachusetts Mike van den Abbeel; Mosaic Hair Studio; Orlando, Florida Alan Gold; Haig & Co. Salon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Moran Gallagher; Mizu New York; New York, New York

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