How do I keep my hair looking this awesome?
December 31, 2011 5:39 PM   Subscribe

As a Christmas present, my awesome mom paid for me to get glorious purple highlights done at an excellent salon in my hometown. How do I take care of them and keep them vivid for as long as possible?

This is the first time I've ever had my hair dyed, so I really have no idea what I'm doing. Do I just buy the shampoo and conditioner that say "for color treated hair" on them? I assume I should try not to wash too often (my hair is long enough that I usually only wash it every other day in any case.) Should I wear a hat to protect it from UV radiation? Use special conditioners to keep the bleached/dyed hair from frizzing and tangling? Re-dye it at home every now and again (and if so, with what, and how?)

Worth noting: my natural hair color is very dark brown, so it had to be pretty severely bleached in order for the color to take. Stylists have always told me my hair is very healthy, so presumably the 2/3 of my hair that is non-bleached and non-colored is still fine.
posted by fermion to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This doesn't answer all of your questions, but here are at least a few tips from a colorist at Sally Hershberger (via Allure): "Don't wash your hair everyday—do it every few days and use dry shampoo in between," he said. "When you do shampoo, focus on the roots and avoid scrubbing the ends where the color is. Use cold water, since warm water will cause pigment to come out faster."
posted by argonauta at 5:49 PM on December 31, 2011

When I had fire-engine red hair (manic panic) I used baby shampoo, which both smelled evocative and was very gentle on the homestyle dye job (I could tell by the amount of red smudge on my pillowcase). If you can tolerate the retraining period, you could also get away with 3-4 day periods without using any shampoo, baby-scented or not.
If you hair is relatively virgin, and healthy, even the severely bleached and dyed sections will be hale despite their mistreatment... A good "color treated hair" conditioner should keep you from frizzing out too much.
Finally, don't cover it up with a hat! You got it, flaunt it! If you're worried about it fading, check out the Manic Panic or other OTC dyes to see how well they match your current color, and then do touch ups, as needed.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:07 PM on December 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just dyed all of my hair purple/blue at a salon. Initially it was kind of a lilac/ice blue thing, but that washed out pretty bad in about a week. When I went back to get it touched up a couple of days ago, they said that the drugstore shampoos are still pretty strong, even if they say "color safe" and the internet backs my colorist up. Apparently stuff like Herbal Essences and L'Oreal Color Safe has almost as many surfactants as normal shampoo. Now that my hair is royal purple and teal, I'm following her instructions of washing every few days in lukewarm water with *just* conditioner, and have ordered a travel-sized Kerastase, to use occasionally when it just gets too gross for just conditioner (what they were using in the salon, and didn't *seem* to strip it too much).

Since it's only been a few days this time, I don't know how well this plan will work, but I wanted to warn you about the "color safe" thing.

Oh, and I didn't not follow instructions initially, either. I was doing the every few days + lukewarm water thing, but the cheap color safe shampoo was what did the damage.
posted by wending my way at 6:08 PM on December 31, 2011

Best answer: If the rest of your hair is very dark brown, you could probably color glaze your whole head to freshen up your highlights as needed - it's an easy and cheap DIY thing. Go to your nearest Sally Beauty Supply and pick up a tub of Queen Helene Cholesterol Cream, a tub of whatever shade of Manic Panic dye is closest to your highlights, a bag of plastic gloves, and a mixing bowl. When you want to refresh the highlight color, mix 2 parts of Queen Helene Cholesterol Cream with 1 part of Manic Panic. Apply to your hair (use the gloves so you don't end up with purple hands!) and leave it on for an hour or so before rinsing it out in the shower. This should keep the purple nicely vivid, and your natural hair shouldn't show anything more than a very subtle gloss of color.
posted by timeo danaos at 6:12 PM on December 31, 2011 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Hey, I have dark brown hair and had purple highlights for a long time. The bleaching is definitely the hard part, so it's great that you got that done professionally.

Eventually, the vividness of the purple will fade, and at that point you will probably want to re-dye. I recommend Special Effects hair dye - it lasts quite well. I have used Deep Purple many times, it's a great color. Don't use Manic Panic - it's the easiest to find, but crappy quality and washes out easily (it lasts about half as long as Special Effects, in my experience).

To get the color to stick to your hair really well, wash your hair without conditioning it - this will roughen it up and help the color stick. Apply the dye over the streaks. Don't worry about getting it on the brown, it won't really show up anyway. Leave it in for at least an hour. I prefer to sleep in it to make it last longer, but that's kind of messy. Then, rinse it out really really well, but wait another 24 hours to wash it. It's messy and annoying, but leaving the color on this long REALLY helps it last.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:53 AM on January 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

I have medium brown hair and I get my purple highlights done at a salon, using the bleach/color method. My hair is very fine but otherwise healthy, so I can't help you with the frizz thing. Color, though, I can talk about.

Due to texture/oil issues, I have to wash every day (otherwise my short hair sticks out like Dennis the Menace). I use the Paul Mitchell "buy it at the salon" shampoo right after my highlights, and when they start to fade I use a Procolor shampoo and conditioner (currently using the pink, which is on massive closeout discount, but I've also used the burgundy) to give myself mixed highlights until it's time to go back. Bonus: the Procolor shampoo/conditioner does NOT require cold/lukewarm water. When I walk/exercise outside, I wear a hat, but for everyday going around I simply use the Paul Mitchell protectant spray that matches their shampoo.

For me the hassle of redyeing isn't worth it; I just have mixed highlights (some pink and some purple) until the next time I get to the salon. I generally get highlights done every 2-3 months; by the end I'm mostly whatever color the shampoo is but since I like those colors, that's OK too.

(The glazing advice sounds good--I've had my hair professionally glazed and it darkened my hair to almost black with purple highlights. Awesome!)
posted by immlass at 8:39 AM on January 1, 2012

If you can afford it, Pureology products have been very good to my hair and the color. I would avoid 99% of what you find in the drugstore.
posted by mrs. taters at 1:25 PM on January 1, 2012

I have violet and burgundy colored hair. The best thing to do is wash only with the coldest water you can stand, as infrequently as works for you, and protect your hair from the sun. The cold water helps keep the dye in the cuticle and your hair shaft smooth and shiny. UV light is bad for hair in general increasing porosity and dryness, but also causes dye to degrade faster than it would otherwise.

I've had better staying power with the color since I started using Coppola Keratin Complex. The keratin helps fill and smooth the hair shaft, which is great for chemically treated hair. I have fine hair that is prone to being weird and frizzy and breaking, and this shampoo has helped thicken it somewhat as well. Your stylist may have some recommendations for shampoo/conditioner, and may even give you samples to try for free.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:35 PM on January 1, 2012

I've went to salons and had blue, teal and pink highlights put into my blonde hair before-- unfortunately, since they're just highlights, it's very hard to deposit more of this coloring into your hair yourself (everyone else is right...just avoid shampooing whenever possible)-- however, what I did do that looked just as cool once the highlights faded away was mix hot hot pink manic panic in with conditioner and let it sit everyday in the ends of my hair while I shaved. Obviously the result was pink ends in my hair that stayed vibrant since I had been redepositing color into my hair everyday. This is much more cost effective and easier to maintain than constantly paying salon prices for highlights!
posted by camylanded at 7:49 PM on January 1, 2012

Best answer: When I've dyed my hair, I never let it touch non-cold water. That means cold showers, or just cold shampoo/conditioning. It's painful at first, but you get used to it, and it makes a big difference.
posted by R a c h e l at 10:40 PM on January 1, 2012

Best answer: I also recommend Special Effects' Deep Purple. When it does fade, it goes to a fairly pleasant pink rather than to dull bluish stuff. (And I re-dye at home, but I don't need to bleach, and I have my partner help me out with getting the streaks in the right places. The advice from timeo danaos on color glazing sounds good if your normal hair is a dark enough color--just use Special Effects instead of Manic Panic if you want it to last really long.)
posted by rivenwanderer at 11:31 PM on January 1, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great advice! It sounds like a combination of cold water wash, high end shampoo, and the occasional re-glaze with Special Effects is the way to go. How much of the fancy shampoo do I need to use per application? Should I get a small bottle or buy in bulk to save money? (And speaking of saving money, does anyone have recommendations for where to find it on sale?)
posted by fermion at 1:47 AM on January 2, 2012

Ulta has a lot of salon shampoos for cheaper than you can get them at the salon. They have an in-store salon so they can sell them legitimately. I only use a little dab of shampoo and conditioner but my hair is above-the-ears short; I don't buy in bulk because it's not worth it for me.
posted by immlass at 8:01 AM on January 2, 2012

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