Fun hair care fact: blonde hair color doesn’t actually fade, unlike brunette and red shades that require frequent touch-ups to maintain their hue. That said, blondies do have other maintenance issues. The biggest is that blonde color is more vulnerable to its surroundings than any other shade. “The issue is with blonde is that it can easily pick up unwanted tones depending on your lifestyle, your routine and external elements,” says Rick Wellman, celebrity colorist to Brooke Shields, Lindsay Lohan and Petra Nemcova. Exhibit A: Winter sucks the strands dry and leaves them full of static, which makes your color susceptible to dullness. That's why moisturizing treatments are so important for blondes. Bet they didn't tell you that at the salon.
Whether your preferred look is platinum, champagne, strawberry or honey, here are five other ways to maintain your color:
Minimize sun exposure
It’s not summer, but UV rays still penetrate your strands and break down color (yep, even on cloudy days, UV light bounces off clouds and get absorbed by your skin and hair). “Discoloration occurs by UV rays causing the hair cuticle to open and lifting color by a couple of tones,” says celebrity hairstylist Frank Barbosa for IT&LY HairFashion. Ultraviolet sunlight also reduces the effectiveness of any toner you may put in your hair to counteract brassiness. "That’s how blonde hair turns yellow,” says Barbosa. To prevent discoloration, try applying a hair sunscreen like Rene Futerer Protective Summer Fluid on damp hair after shampooing, then style as normal.
Invest in some blonde insurance
Any blonde will tell you her biggest issue is brassy, yellow (even gold) tones creeping into her ash white strands. Thanks to hair science, there’s a solution: purple shampoo. Because purple sits directly opposite yellow on the color wheel, the former helps counteract the latter. “A violet or lavender shampoo is a great tool for blondes to calm unwanted brassy tones,” says Wellman, and it's especially useful if you're around a lot of cigarette smoke. “Even sensitive blonde hair can be dulled from just being around smokers,” Wellman says. Just restrict usage to once a week use to keep your color from becoming overly dull and also to avoid buildup, adds Barbosa.
Check Your Water
If you are still encountering brassiness, it may be your shower that’s the problem. "One of the biggest issues for blondes is minerals attaching to the hair shaft," says Debi Dumas, an L.A.-based colorist who has worked with Chelsea Handler and Ali Landry. "Copper is one of the major culprits, and it's in various waters, especially when you are traveling. Think older buildings — everything from a landmark NYC apartment to a five star Parisian hotel."
Wellman suggests using a clarifying shampoo that'll remove mineral deposits, followed by a conditioner and rinse with distilled water. Try Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo, and picking up distilled water from your local drugstore, or making it yourself. If that’s too much effort, Dumas recommends installing a shower filter in your home instead, and just keeping the clarifying shampoo on hand for vacays.
Select your oil wisely
Many blondes have a story about a hair oil turning their lengths green. “Avoid certain oils that contain alcohol ingredients. They coat the hair and do not allow future color applications to penetrate, leading to a quick color drop,” says Barbosa. Try IT&LY Pure Water Drops, which are water soluble, so they won’t overcoat your hair.
Try this quick fix
Another quick fix to maintain the freshness of your color is to deep condition at home and then finish with a DIY vinegar rinse. The vinegar mixture should be half water, half white vinegar. Add a couple of drops of peppermint oil (to kill vinegar smell). When you style it, you'll see the difference. “Vinegar closes your cuticle properly, so product sits on top of the strand and bounces off for a high shine,” explains Barbosa.