So you spent all spring scoping out the perfect summer ombré, and your colorist totally nailed it. But if you want your new hue to look as vibrant on Labor Day as it did on Memorial Day weekend, the upkeep doesn't stop at the salon. We tapped Marris Ambrose, color director at New York City's Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa, for her top tips to protect color-treated hair from the summer elements.
1. Swim Strategically
If you're a regular swimmer and have noticed a change in your hair color, chances are the nearest body of water is the culprit. According to Ambrose, both the chemicals in pool water and the natural salt in the ocean can have damaging effects on your color, since prolonged exposure to either can mess with the molecules of dyes. The trick, says Ambrose, is to fill your hair's outermost layer—called the cuticle—to capacity so it's unable to absorb those invaders. You can do so by coating strands with hair oil or conditioner pre-swim.
2. Shield Strands
You wouldn't go to the beach and skimp on sunscreen for your bod, right? Applying the same philosophy to your hair can seriously extend the life of your color, says Ambrose, since the harsh rays of the sun can fade dye fast. "It's not necessary every day, but if you're going to be in the sun for long periods of time, I recommend using an SPF-infused treatment spray," she says. "Hold the bottle six inches away from your scalp, spritzing the entire surface area of your hair every four to six hours." (Try Fekkai Pre-Soleil Hair Mist, $20; hsn.com.)
3. Gloss Over It
In addition to taking the precautions above, Ambrose suggests using an at-home gloss every three to four weeks to keep color looking shiny, even in bright sunlight. New fast-acting formulas from brands like dpHUE and Rita Hazan deposit small amounts of pigment to deliver a fresh-from-the-salon look and feeling.