hair & beauty

How to Maintain Brightly Colored Hair and Keep It from Fading (Quickly)

How to Maintain Brightly Colored Hair and Keep It from Fading |

I’ve been bleaching and dyeing my hair for five years now so I’m pretty much an expert when it comes to making color last. I think most people are under the impression that colored hair is permanent and it peeves me when people comment on how my hair has faded, has changed or is a different shade of this and that. You guys— I KNOW (I have eyes and a mirror) and THAT’S HOW IT WORKS.

Manic Panic Purple Haze

REAL TALK: your hair color won’t last forever, especially if you dye it with fun, fashion colors that are usually achieved with semi-permanent dyes like Special Effects, Adore, Crazy Color, Pravana, Manic Panic, Directions etc etc. However, there are steps you can take to keep it vibrant for as long as possible before it eventually fades into 50 shades of What the F is That?

Here are some tried-and-tested ways you can maintain and keep brightly colored hair beautiful:

Special Effects Candy Apple Red

Bleach your hair

Semi-permanent dyes won’t work on unbleached or unprocessed hair. It’ll just simply wash off. How light your hair needs to be before dyeing ultimately depends on what you’re aiming for: pastel colors need a very light base while a dark blonde or lightest brown base can work for darker shades.

Special Effects Wildflower Special Effects Cupcake Pink Cruella Hair

Keep your hair healthy

Damaged hair doesn’t hold color, so it’s very important that you don’t go crazy with the bleach. I know someone who would use Vol 60 developer on her hair (I didn’t even know they made developer past Vol 40!) and then wonder why the dye wouldn’t take. That’s because her hair has been bleached to the point that it’s too porous to keep color molecules in!

RELATED: How to Keep Color Treated Hair Healthy

Avoiding heat (blowers, curlers, straighteners) also helps keep damage at bay. I only started heat styling my hair this year and I’ve noticed that my ends fade faster. If you can’t not curl or straighten your hair, a good heat protectant helps.

Adore Blue Black

Wash with cold water

It’s pretty simple: Hot water opens hair’s outer cuticles, rinsing out the dye. Cold water keeps the cuticles closed and the color locked in, making it last longer.

I know what a hassle cold showers are, especially in the mornings. What I do is condition and rinse my hair with cold water under a faucet before throwing on a shower cap to take a hot shower.

Special Effects Burgundy Wine

Minimize shampooing

The sulfates in shampoo strip your hair off of everything— dirt and grime, products, oil, and yep, dye. I only shampoo twice a week, max (unless I’m intentionally trying to fade it). When I wash my hair, I use a color-safe and sulfate-free shampoo and keep it to my roots and just let the suds flow over the ends during rinsing.

Mermaid Hair

Avoid swimming

Think twice about diving head first into chlorinated pools or the ocean if you’re trying to make your color last.

I went swimming a couple of days after I dyed my hair with Adore African Violet and Manic Panic Enchanted Forest. I tried my best to avoid jumping in the pool but I couldn’t resist; once I was in, I made an effort to keep my head above water but that’s just not a good life to live. I ended up spending hours in the pool and my hair turned into a faded, splotchy mess after. Bummer. It wasn’t a big deal, though, because it’s just hair.

Manic Panic Purple Haze

Add dye to your conditioner

Mixing in a bit of dye into your conditioner means you top up/refresh your color every time you condition. Of course, this won’t work if you have more than one color on your head.

Blue green ombre

Accept that some brands or colors just fade faster than others

When I first started dyeing my hair, I avoided using Manic Panic because I had read less than stellar reviews. I decided to give them a shot after a couple of years and tried Mystic Heather; sure enough, that didn’t last very long. However, Enchanted Forest was a rich green/teal that stayed the same shade after the initial fade caused by swimming.

Reds and some pinks are notorious for staying forever and staining (Special Effects Atomic Pink is almost permanent). The same goes for blue. I had to endure mint green hair after dyeing my hair with Crazy Color Peacock Blue and Sky Blue! There are exceptions, of course, like Adore— Blue Black and African Violet weren’t as long-lasting as Special Effects and Crazy Color.

Pastels tend to fade faster because they’re technically diluted/faded to begin with. Instead of buying pastels or light colors, I recommend diluting dark colors with white conditioner to get the shade you want. You’ll also save money because you get gallons out of a bottle.

Special Effects Cherry Bomb

I hope you find these tips helpful! Let me know if you have any questions, I’d gladly help out. :)

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  • Reply Cherry June 25, 2015 at 6:37 pm


    • Reply Helga June 28, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Thank you, Cherry! :)

  • Reply Paoline June 25, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    You look wonderful in all your hair colors! <3

    • Reply Helga June 28, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks, Pao! I’ve had some mistakes, like certain shades of blue that didn’t flatter my skin tone haha.

  • Reply Kisty June 25, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    The only thing I don’t do in this list is mix my dye with conditioner, unless I’m applying new dye, because one jar isn’t enough to cover my thick hair. Last dye that

    I applied was the Manic Panic Electric Lava, faded into orange pink that’s so hard to get rid of. I don’t want to bleach bath my hair anymore.

    • Reply Helga June 28, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      Just cover it up with a darker color! Special Effects Candy Apple Red and Crazy Colors Sky Blue stained my hair and wouldn’t budge. I wish I just went darker instead of bleaching my hair several times to get rid of it =/

  • Reply Domenica June 25, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    You can legit pull off every color, they all look stunning on you. I have never dyed my hair, ever, it scares me. My grandmother tried to scare me from it at a young age because she loves my natural hair, and I do too. I think when I get married I may get highlights just to add some shape to my hair. Great tips though!

  • Reply John Steven June 25, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    I love how this post is like a Greatest Hits of Helgahair. ????

  • Reply Jae June 25, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    I don’t think I’ll recognize you with your natural hair color. Eccentric hair colors suit you well! (I think Camie does, too.)

  • Reply Shayne June 26, 2015 at 12:44 am

    OKAY, so like aside from you being able to pull off basically every color, can I just say that your eyebrows are gorrgggeeee!!!! Anyways, I don’t wash my hair often either. I do a hair mask, baby powder on my roots, and conditioner on the ends on no-wash days. If I ever get the balls to dye my hair like yours, I’ll keep these in mind!

  • Reply Trisha June 26, 2015 at 6:52 am

    I’ve always wanted to try different non-conformist colors but I don’t know if kaya ko siyang dalhin and at the same time we have a dresscode at work. It’s not that strict but pink or blue hair color would be “too much” especially if you’re client-facing. I’m not client-facing but I’m still having second thoughts because mahirap na, baka ma-sita.

    Also, this post reminded me of that time that one of the Hanson brothers recognized you because of your pink hair! <3

  • Reply Kah June 26, 2015 at 7:37 am

    I love your hair!! <3 I wish I can have the guts to have my hair colored and to actually pull it off like you do! :)

  • Reply Corinth June 26, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I used to do that too! Yung wash the hair under the faucet. HAHA. And boy, your hair colors look so good on you! Any color, bagay! <3

    • Reply Helga June 30, 2015 at 11:45 am

      Thanks, Corinth!

  • Reply Trisha June 27, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Also, I’m planning to get my hair colored again but I can’t not use a blow dryer. Do you have any recommendations on what heat protectant to use for my hair? Thanks! ^_^

  • Reply Jill June 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    aw hahah my hair color lasted for only a week; will try your tips on my next dyee thank youuu

  • Reply Jean June 30, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Ang gandaaaa! And I didn’t realize it’s so much work to maintain it!

  • Reply Alex Carpio June 30, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    All the hair colors your tried looks good on you! I envy you.

    A few years back, I also tried coloring my hair crazy (blonde, orange, red) and then I would always check your blog because I actually got the influence from you, plus I was waiting for posts on how to maintain it. I remember being in HBC at least once a week during those days. :D

  • Reply Mae July 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve been planning on dyeing my hair an ombre teal for the longest time, but I’m always so scared that it might permanently damage my hair. Now at least I’m confident that I should at least try it out, these tips will definitely come in handy. :D

  • Reply Sherica July 2, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I’ve been sporting the red hair for months now and I think I will be sticking with this one for another year! Sobrang bilis nga lang magfade kasi I like washing my hair so much cause I hate it when it’s super oily??? I try to use dry shampoo pero still not enough for me! :))))

  • Reply Mapet July 14, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Thank you for the tips! That bit about cold water and the shower cap has been really helpful. :)

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