The Do's & Don'ts Of Low-Maintenance Hair Color

Coloring your hair can be a bold way to change up your look, but it can also be time-consuming and expensive. If you want to give your hair a little extra dimension without committing to touch-ups, here are seven tips for low-maintenance hair color. Because, honestly, who's got time to sit in a salon chair once a month?

Some of the most exciting hair color trends aren't exactly the most low-key — personally, while I would die to have platinum blonde or cool gray locks, I'm not so keen on the major upkeep that dramatic dye jobs require (not to mention the moolah involved with visiting your stylist every four to six weeks. Ouch.)

Plus, giving your hair that much of a makeover over and over again can create serious damage. Think: dullness, breakage, and dryness. Once you're plagued with these issues, you end up dropping more cash on treatments to reverse 'em (cue the credit card swipe.)

Yeah, hair color isn't always a win-win situation, but that doesn't mean you have to forgo dye jobs entirely. Haleh Lekkos, the founder of LA's Base Color Bar (they offer premium salon color and treatment services for under $60 — how cool is that?) gave me the scoop on keeping your hair color low-maintenance.

Here are seven things to think about when you book your next color appointment:

Don't Stray Too Far From Your Natural Color

"If you can't keep up with the touch ups every four to six weeks, I would stick to something very close to your natural shade," Lekkos says. A common rule of thumb is to stay within two shades of your natural hue.

Go For An Ombre Look

Ombre is a trendy and low-maintenance way to get amazing dimension without the touch-ups. Lekkos herself is a fan — "I get mine done every six months," she says.

Get Glossed Up

John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine, $8, Amazon

A gloss is a great way to preserve your color or add shine to your natural shade — however, beware of doing it at home. "You would need to make sure you have the proper color or tone, otherwise you can change the color of your hair," warns Lekkos. If you're doing a DIY job, stick to clear (hint: a glaze wears off quicker than a gloss, so you can try it out before you commit.) Otherwise, leave it to the pros.

Avoid Foiled Highlights

Jason Kempin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

If you're going to do highlights, go for hand painted, or balayage, so your stylist has more control. "Usually with foil you will need to get them done every six to eight weeks," Lekkos says.

Try Temporary Cover-Ups

Rita Hazan Root Concealer, $25, Amazon

To disguise root grow-out, try a spray, stick, or hair mascara to stretch out your time between salon visits. These products wash out with every shampoo, Lekkos reminds us, but they're a good DIY fix if you can't squeeze in an appointment for a week or two.

Don't Commit To Something Your Wallet Can't Handle

Before you dive into a new hair color, consider whether your schedule and your bank account are up for the task. If either of those answers are "no," consider going with something less high maintenance (see the two shade rule.)

Be Clear With Your Stylist

The number one rule of low-maintenance hair color? Be clear with your stylist, and honest about your plans to keep up your color. If you're not going to make it back in every six weeks, tell him or her — they'll have a better idea of how to give you the result you want without chaining you to regular touch-up appointments.

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