What can I do to slow down the fading of my red hair?
April 1, 2010 10:53 PM   Subscribe

Argh! I need a good color-restoring product for my (dyed) red hair. The products I've tried either didn't work at all or were difficult to use. My stylist suggested a toning shampoo in between salon visits but had no particular recommendations. I've tried a couple but haven't noticed any slow-down of the fading. What have you tried that worked?

So far, I've tried two shampoos (Ted Gibson - Captivating Copper shampoo and Alterna Caviar Red shampoo) that have not really reduced the fading at all nor temporarily restored any color. I've also used a toning mousse (Schwarzkopf Igora Toning in light copper brown) that worked amazingly well except I could never apply it very evenly, so I'd end up with slightly darker red in sections of my hair (and orange fingernails for a couple of days after each application). I'm out of ideas, and it would be great if I could go to the salon just a little less frequently!
posted by katillathehun to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Artec/Loreal color shampoo, I've used this professionally and it is strong deposit I recommend diluting it with water initially.
posted by hortense at 11:16 PM on April 1, 2010

Best answer: FWIW, red is the hardest color to retain. I don't have any specific shampoos off the top of my head, but things I do know that help are: 1) washing as infrequently as you can stand 2) using the coldest water you can stand and 3) using a 'for color' (non-strippy) shampoo when not using a toning shampoo.

if there's conditioner or styling product buildup on your hair already, it could be keeping the shampoo pigments from getting a good grip. try a good lather with a plain shampoo and a generous handful of baking soda in the mix, rinse well, then the toning shampoo and let it sit for a few. another thought: if you apply conditioner after, is it maybe pulling all the pigment off that you just deposited? (again, look for a color-safe formula ... or a toning conditioner that matches the shampoo.)

also, the supermarket brands of haircolor are starting to offer "gloss" colors to do at home, which are the equivalent of a salon "demi," (L'Oreal "Healthy Look", John Frieda "Luminous Color Glaze") which might beef up the color more than a shampoo in between salon visits. good luck, gorgeous!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 11:26 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I just try not to shampoo it at all.
posted by fshgrl at 11:36 PM on April 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Use any "color-safe" shampoo (even something like Suave, which is pretty good, actually) and Aveda's Madder Root Conditioner. The stuff deposits quite a bit of color, so you can even dilute it with another conditioner.
posted by houseofdanie at 2:51 AM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: From the highly experienced -- and adventurous -- Hair for Bunnies:

redheads rejoice. Once a month, mix two parts cholesterol creme with one part red manic panic [pillarbox, or wildfire for gingers, vampire red or divine wine for burgundy and ruby tones] and apply to the entire head, sit tight for forty five and, voila! you just put a chemical-free better-than-john-frieda fade-proof glaze on your hair. just make sure you rinse with lukewarm to cool water.
posted by timeo danaos at 3:29 AM on April 2, 2010 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I came in to pretty much suggest what timeo danaos is suggesting, but a toned-down version. Buy a semi-permanent, vegetable based red hair color (so manic panic or punky colors will do, but also beauty supply store brands like adore work just as well and only cost about $3.99 a bottle as opposed to the $8+ you'll fork over for hairdye from Hot Topic) and a conditioner that you like, and glop a whole bunch of the vegetable dye into the conditioner and mix. When you shower, wet your hair, apply the conditioner for a few minutes, then rinse out. It will lightly deposit color without stripping it.

But yeah, generally red is almost impossible to keep. You want to shampoo your hair as infrequently as you can possibly stand and use cold water, but know that it's pretty much guaranteed to fade faster than any other haircolor.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:20 AM on April 2, 2010

Like fshgrl said, limiting the amount of shampoo (if shampooing at all) is the only thing that has helped me. Unfortunately if I am on an exercise regimen I cannot stand using "conditioner only" washing for any length of time... and if you are using the Manic Panic/Special Effects type of color I have not found one "color safe" shampoo that will help.

Adding the color to a conditioning treatment is a good way to extend it.

I also switched from Manic Panic to Special Effects about 6 months ago and it lasts a *lot* longer than Manic Panic did (but I suspect if you are going to a salon, Manic Panic isn't what you're doing).
posted by getawaysticks at 6:18 AM on April 2, 2010

Shampooing less frequently is astounding in the difference it makes. Using a glosser or styling product with sunscreen helps too.
posted by desuetude at 6:21 AM on April 2, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, all! I already shampoo in very-nearly-cold water and only shampoo every two days. I can't skip shampooing altogether, unfortunately. Like getawaysticks, I've got an exercise routine, and conditioner alone doesn't cut it for me. But the conditioner I am using might be part of the problem. I never really thought about that! I'm just using a Bumble & Bumble hydrating conditioner, and it's not specifically for color-treated hair. (I don't use Manic Panic, by the way.)
posted by katillathehun at 7:24 AM on April 2, 2010

Oh, and just to warn you--if you use my conditioner+veggie dye rinse, be sure to wear gloves. Red dye likes to stick to everything but hair, it seems! Don't want you walking around with rosy palms.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:38 AM on April 2, 2010

It may not be something you're interested in, and I can't personally vouch for it, but you may want to explore some of what's available on http://www.hennaforhair.com . They say that henna doesn't fade like commercial hair coloring; I keep wanting to try it, but haven't yet.
posted by lemniskate at 7:56 AM on April 2, 2010

There are lots of good shampoos and conditioners for color treated hair out there now. I use Garnier Nutrisse and like it, but L'Oreal has one, Pantene has one - they're everywhere. You definitely want to be using both shampoo and conditioner that are specifically for color treated hair; it makes a HUGE difference. I dye my hair red, wash my hair about twice a week and use only that kind of shampoo and conditioner and it's amazing how slowly it fades.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:27 AM on April 2, 2010

I've always liked the Aveda Madder Root Conditioner, myself.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:34 AM on April 2, 2010

warning, lemniskate! henna is something a lot of colorists are reluctant to color OVER, as wacky chemical reactions can occur. if i remember correctly, a lot of "henna" preparations on the market aren't purely plant-based; they add mineral salt compounds (to make variations on color). the horror story i recall was: henna + l'oreal "Feria" = mass of melted hair. so you would be stuck with not coloring that hair with a "permanent" formula until it GROWS OUT AND IS CUT OFF (not merely until that colourant fades).

the punky color thing would probably still work okay over henna'd hair. & yes, gloves with punky color, and dark, patterened pillow-cases will be your new best friend.

& yes, aveda is worth the bucks and the effort to track it down, in my opinion. everything of theirs i've used works well and smells delicious.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 4:27 PM on April 2, 2010

I should mention a colorant that penetrates deeply without any chemical damage or lift, it is a pigment rather tan a dye, it is patented so only one company has it. I use it a lot at work and the red is the most durable color in the system. elumen. your colorist will be able to color over with out a problem
posted by hortense at 9:29 PM on April 2, 2010

Best answer: former brunette who has been a redhead (without bleach) of one shade or another for over ten years (the same very bright red shade for the past several years, and almost every other color prior to that). i can not recommend l'oreal artec color depositing shampoo and moisturizer (either marigold or red clover depending on whether your red is warm or cool) enough. i mix them together with a salon brand color specific shampoo and conditioner—i recommend wella color preserve (i would recommend any product from this line as well)—and try not to wash my hair more than 3 or 4 times a week. i also have my hair colored religiously every six or seven weeks and try not to wash my hair for 3-5 days after getting it recolored. my hair stays nearly the same shade of red from the first week to the sixth/seventh—even my colorist is impressed with how long my color lasts. and yes, it's the shade in my profile picture.
posted by violetk at 7:24 PM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

btw, i see that you are in the LA area. mefi-mail me if you would like the contact info for my colorist in LA. she is in alhambra and she is a miracle worker, and her rates are incredibly reasonable for what she is able to achieve in terms of color. i've been with her for over ten years. i don't know of anyone who does red better than she does. i pay twice as much for my colorist in portland and she is nearly as good, but whenever i am down in so.cal, i will always make an appointment with my girl there.
posted by violetk at 10:32 PM on April 4, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, violetk! I'm actually pretty happy with my colorist now, and her rates are great for what she does (her salon is also eight or nine miles away from me, as opposed to Alhambra, which is 20-30 miles away). I just don't have time to visit the salon as regularly as I probably should, so I put it off until my hair is an utter embarrassment. lol
posted by katillathehun at 2:02 PM on April 5, 2010

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