I've been dying my hair red for nearly six years now, and it doesn't get any easier. Red dye has larger molecules than other colored dyes, so it doesn't penetrate through the hair's cortex as deeply, making it fade more quickly. Visits to the salon are *not* cheap, so we fake redheads have a veritable arsenal of hints and tips up our sleeves to make our dye last as long as humanly possible. If you're thinking of taking the plunge or are a veteran member of the Fake Hair Club trying to learn some new tricks, these life-changing hacks will keep your hair radiant in-between dye days because not all of us can be naturally blessed like Madelaine Petsch.
You can take it from me, from basically any stylist, or from the good people over at Byrdie — cold showers aren't just for horny teens. Warm water will make your shower look like a scene straight out of Psycho faster than you can say, "Mother!" Warm water opens your hair shaft and exposes the dye, so it fades out more quickly. Cold water, on the other hand, actually closes your hair cuticle and seals in the moisture that makes your beautiful, dye-damaged locks shine. Oh, and speaking of showers, if you live in a city with iffy water quality or the dreaded "hard water," spring for a filtered showerhead that gets rid of the gross sh*t in your H20 that makes the color fade.
This is my *biggest* beauty secret, and I'm sharing it with you. Either I'm very, very generous, or I should never be trusted with the nuclear codes. Castor oil can help your eyebrows grow thicker in this post Lily Collins, Cara Delevigne world, beef up your eyelash game, and heavily hydrate your hair. It also does tons of other stuff like work as a lip balm or moonlight as an additive in biodiesel fuel, but the ricinoleic acid and omega 6 essential fatty acids promote hair growth, its Vitamin E prevents hair loss, and it has antiviral properties that fight dandruff. Don't just take my word for it, Style Salute has tons of factoids on the miracle product, and it's actually good for your color to boot.
Sulfate-free favorite Pureology actually makes a red revival formula for its already "serious" color care line, and Byrdie says its Christina Hendricks-approved. Don't let the $33 per bottle price tag put you off — a little birdie told me Pureology products pop up at TJ Maxx all the time. Sulfates and salts rob your hair of color, and as a rule, purer shampoo with less artificial colorants or parabens will always be better for your color. Sulfates basically make it so your shampoo can get all fun and foamy, but the chemical can literally damage your hair cells in addition to stripping away hair proteins and oils.
This seems like it should be a no-brainer, but I'm going to go ahead and state the obvious: Wash your hair less, dummies! Just, like, as a general rule, overwashing isn't good for your hair, but for died hair specifically, shampooing is the number one culprit of color fade. With fake redheads, your hair color changes a little bit with every wash, so the best way to keep it brighter for longer is just avoiding shampoo to begin with. This is where our ardent love for dry shampoo comes in, and our tendencies to plan our lives around which days we can actually wash our hair.
As a native Southern California, I know more than anyone how hard it can be to avoid the sun entirely, so this little tip isn't one I've personally put into practice. Actually, it's the only entry on this list that hasn't been author tested-and-approved, but Allure and Beauty Heaven both agree that staying out of the sunshine will cause your hair color to fade. The nation's top scientists have created sunscreen for your hair, but if that freaks you out, there's always hats.
That no-wash rule stars the minute you leave the salon, but they should be giving you a complimentary wash with purchase, so staying cute for those first few post-dye days shouldn't be too hard. For those of us who don't dig a freshly-dyed look (too dark, *too* red, too blown-out), resisting the temptation to wash your hair until it looks right can be harder, but InStyle and Allure say that waiting forty-eight hours to wash after the dye has been applied locks in the color for a necessary strong start to the uphill battle that is red dye maintenance.
This is less of a red-specific tip and more of an ~everyone~ tip, but heat tools aren't good for your hair. Heat dries out and damages your hair, and for artificially colored hair that's already predisposed to being dry and damaged, regular curling, straightening, or blow-drying will bring your locks past the point of no return. Ariana Grande's ponytail extension wasn't just a style choice, you know — legend has it the constant dying and styling for Victorious damaged her hair so badly that she refuses to let her natural hair see the light of day. Regular red dying doesn't have to be a hair death sentence, but giving up the heat styling will go a long way for its defense.