Skip to Content

Why is my hair color fading so quickly?

If you’ve recently had your hair colored and noticed it fading faster than expected, you’re not alone. Many factors can cause hair color to fade quickly, leaving you with lackluster locks before you’re ready for a touch-up.

Causes of Rapid Hair Color Fading

There are several common culprits when it comes to rapid fading of hair color:

  • Washing too frequently – Frequent shampooing, especially with hot water, can quickly strip away hair color. Limit washing to every 2-3 days if possible.
  • Using sulfate shampoos – Sulfate shampoos are harsh and can fade hair dye. Opt for a gentle, sulfate-free formula.
  • Swimming – The chlorine in pools is bleaching to hair color. Always wet hair and apply conditioner before swimming.
  • Sun exposure – UV rays oxidize hair color pigments. Wear a hat when outdoors.
  • Hot styling tools – Heat from blow dryers, straighteners, etc. can fade color. Use lower heat settings.
  • Hard water – Mineral deposits build up on hair, causing dye to fade. Use a clarifying shampoo weekly.
  • Medications – Some medications like birth control pills can strip color. Talk to your doctor.
  • Diet – Lack of protein, vitamins and minerals may affect dye retention. Eat a balanced diet.

How Hair Structure Affects Fading

In addition to external factors, the actual structure and condition of your hair can influence how quickly color fades:

  • Porosity – Hair with high porosity quickly absorbs color but also releases it faster. Use a porosity equalizing treatment.
  • Damage – Dry, damaged hair holds onto color poorly. Deep condition regularly to improve integrity.
  • Density – Thin hair with fewer cuticle layers fades faster than thick, dense hair.
  • Texture – Straight hair tends to fade more than curly or coily hair types.
  • Elasticity – Stretchy, elastic hair resists fading better than rigid, brittle hair.

Tips to Make Hair Color Last

While you can’t completely prevent fading, you can take steps to significantly extend the vibrancy of your hair color:

  • Wait 2-3 days between coloring and first shampoo.
  • Rinse with cool water and finish with a cold blast.
  • Apply a deep conditioner weekly.
  • Blot wet hair instead of rubbing to dry.
  • Avoid brushing when hair is wet.
  • Allow hair to air dry instead of heat styling.
  • Use an anti-fade shampoo and conditioner.
  • Take biotin supplements to strengthen hair.
  • Switch to naturally derived hair products.
  • Refresh color between salon visits with a semipermanent gloss.

When to Schedule a Color Touch-Up

As a general rule, permanent hair color lasts 4-6 weeks, while semipermanent options fade after 6-12 shampoos. Here are some signs it’s time to schedule a touch-up appointment:

  • Roots are showing – This is an obvious indicator it’s time to retouch.
  • Color looks muted – When vibrancy fades evenly all over, a gloss restores shine.
  • Yellow tones appear – Brassy undertones signify color needs refreshing.
  • Dark/light bands form – Contrast between new growth and faded ends means a full redo is needed.
  • Tones don’t match – If highlights, lowlights or grey coverage fade faster, targeted touch-up foils even out color.

Best Products to Maintain Salon Color

Using salon quality products will help prolong your fresh from the salon hair color. Here are top products to help maintain hair dye:

Product Benefits
Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo Repairs bonds to prevent fading and damage
Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate-Free Shampoo Anti-fade formula with amino ions to nourish color
Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Color Freeze Silver Shampoo Neutralizes warm, brassy tones in blonde and grey hair
Pureology Strength Cure Blonde Purple Shampoo Counteracts yellowing in lightened hair
Celeb Luxury Viral Colorwash Color Depositing Shampoo Gently refreshes and boosts color vibrancy

When to See a Doctor

Rapid fading that persists despite your best efforts to protect hair color may indicate an underlying health issue. See your doctor or dermatologist if you experience:

  • Hair that breaks easily
  • Scalp that’s red, itchy or inflamed
  • Sudden hair shedding
  • Loss of hair volume
  • Sensations of burning or tingling
  • Hair fading within days of coloring

Thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases, infections, stress and nutritional deficiencies can all impact hair health and cause abnormal fading. Getting to the root cause and treating any imbalances can improve hair’s ability to retain color.

The Takeaway

It’s normal to see some fading between salon visits, but rapid color loss indicates your hair needs extra care and protection. Be gentle, use an anti-fade shampoo, protect hair from sun exposure and heat styling, and maintain a healthy diet. Schedule regular touch-ups with your colorist before color fades too far. And if extreme fading persists, see your doctor to rule out any underlying issues.

With a strategic haircare routine and methods to optimize color retention between appointments, you can keep your hair looking salon-fresh for weeks.