Though your fresh-out-of-the-salon color should last you at least 3 months, certain external factors can cause your pristine hue to fade fast. Some elements aren't so unexpected—take the sun, for instance. The UV rays beating down on your highlights can cause them to shift in color, so your sun protection should be extended to include your strands. "You can use organic coconut oil to protect it, and Leonor Greyl has an oil ($66; net-a-porter.com) that I really love. It has a UV protectant and palm oil in the formula, so it doubles as a treatment, and we're always selling out of it," says colorist Heather Cie of Malibu's Sparks and Cie Salon. "It makes your hair look wet, so if you go in the ocean, reapply a little more once you get out."
Other factors that trigger serious fading, however, aren't so obvious. They may seem unassuming, especially when posing as products within your very own shower, but they can wreak total havoc on your hair color. We asked Cie to tell us exactly what to avoid, and what to look out for in an ingredient list. Read on to see four factors that could be causing your color to fade prematurely.
Tinted Oils or Serums
Though that super-rich argan oil has a glorious sienna tint when poured into your hand, it could be the reason your blonde is starting to tip toward the brassy end of the spectrum. "Any orange oils that you put on your hair will turn your hair orange, for both blondes and brunettes," Cie tells us. "Clear and translucent oils are the way to go. Since it comes out clear, you know it won't alter your hair color." Also, keep a close eye on how far the perimeter of the vitamin C serum for your face spans. When it makes contact with your hairline, it can give blonde and white hues in particular a slight tangerine filter.
"How hard or soft your water is has a huge impact on your hair color. Soft water is always better for your hair and skin—you save a ton of product because it emulsifies better, so you don't need as much shampoo or body wash," says Cie, who recommends using an individual showerhead filter if you live in an area that does have hard water. "A lot of hard water has chlorine in it, which turns your hair green. There's something called Malibu Crystal Treatment that I use on my clients to remove the chlorine. I'll apply it, my client will sit under the dryer for 20 minutes, and when we rinse it out, I practically squeeze all of the green out of the hair."
VIDEO: The Best Dry Shampoos for Every Hair Need
Not all color-preserving products are made equally. Though you should always go for a sulfate-free option, you're going to want to get a recommendation from your stylist on exactly what to use, rather than entering your shower blindly and lathering up in a formula that isn't color-safe. "Your colorist should either be selling it to you on hand, or giving you a recommendation, because you're not going to use the same thing on a blonde as you would a brunette," Cie tells us. "Especially for my redheaded clients, I like to mix up a color conditioner for them so they can use it once a week, like a gloss."
Alcohol and Silicone
Pay close attention to the ingredient list of your hairsprays and serums in particular. "Be careful of any products that contain alcohol, as well as anything that has silicone in it," Cie says. "A lot of hair serums have it because people think it makes your hair shiny, but it doesn't. Silicone puts a seal on your hair, so you end up with a lot of buildup, which can make your color look dull."