By Leah Fletcher
Jill Shante has a fantastic hair color that she loves. It complements her complexion, makes her feel younger, and strangers on the street constantly stop to ask her about her hair color and where she got it done.
The 39-year-old Philadelphia executive admits that she wants her color and the adoration to last as long as possible.
But why do women choose to color their hair at all? Some women color their hair to feel more attractive according to industry expert James Y. Hunter of Philadelphia-based Go Small Biz. “Regardless of the color, it is the same reason behind the choice to color in the first place,” explained Hunter, who referred to the extensive research performed by hair color companies. “Companies conduct studies on this topic every year and those studies reveal that over 70 percent of respondents report they are coloring their hair to enhance their own sense of beauty,” noted Hunter, who supports a network of Philadelphia salon owners interested in expanding their businesses.
Hunter’s corporate resume in the beauty industry provided him a seat at the table when the research statistic were analyzed and sales strategies were developed. He learned early, while at Revlon, that people pick their hair color in very much the same way they pick their make-up, clothes or accessories. “Women pick what makes them look their best or feel more attractive,” Hunter offered. “If they feel it looks good on them, suits or reflects their personality, or is an external show of how they see themselves, they go with it.
Despite the reasons behind your decision to color, there are hair maintenance concerns that accompany your choice. The primary one being maintaining the color. Stylist Sherry Dean’s attention to detail and following a few tips and tricks will help your tresses hold onto your radiant color for a long time. Here is what she recommends:
The right shampoo matters
When it’s time to shampoo, remember the right shampoo matters. Be careful to use sulfate-free shampoos that strip away natural oils. They also have a tendency to fade great hair color. According to Dean, a 15-year industry veteran, sulfate-free shampoos are better for black hair, so, if you have a favorite, you can continue using it. However, there are color-safe shampoos that make color last longer. “You don’t have to change your shampoo if it does the job, but you might consider alternating your regular shampoo with one that conserves color occasionally, explained Dean, who has specialized in color for most of her career.
Vibrant shades close to natural shades work best
If you opt for permanent color and it doesn’t differ greatly from your natural shade, it’s much less noticeable as the color grows out. While this tip doesn’t prolong the life of your color, it diminishes the frequency of touch-ups and/or salon visits. Without deviating to far from your own color, the Philadelphia stylist does not discourage you from attempting a vibrant shade. In Dean’s opinion, colors like Burgundy, deep auburn and chocolate are all gorgeous colors that can impart a richness and depth to your hair style without requiring you to camouflage your roots every six to eight weeks.
Seal your hair with a color-caring oil
There are quite a few hair oils on the market specifically designed to make your hair color last.
Matrix Oil Wonders: Egyptian Hibiscus Color Caring Oil is one that Dean prefers. “Although I have sampled a number of the oils, each has its own unique character and serves a different purpose,” explained Dean, who opined, “The Egyptian Hibiscus is incredibly light, but gives amazing shine to the hair. Plus, it smells wonderful!” The added benefits, according to Dean, are that this type of oil generally keeps your hair color vibrant for a longer period and it works with all hair textures.
Keep the water temperature cool
When you arrive at your post-conditioner rinse, which signals the end of the shampooing process, Dean said that the water temperature should be cool. “Hot water can make your color fade more quickly than it should, so when cleansing your hair, keep the water warm and end with a cool rinse” Dean explained. She believes the same rule applies for heat to thermal styling tools or any direct heat. On the other hand, indirect heat, in the form of diffuser dryers, hood or bonnet dryers, she said is fine. The caution taken, Dean said, will prevent the heat from turning your color brassy or causing it to fade.
Do everything to protect your tresses
Hunter advised that it’s imperative that your hair color be protected during cold and hot weather. “During the changing seasons our hair is subjected to varying elements that include wind, sun and, for swimmer, pool water,” said Hunter. He also added that the sun’s rays can make your color appear dull before its time and the harsh chemicals in swimming pools can change your color to an unflattering tone. If you plan to spend long periods of time outdoors, he recommends sporting a hat, scarf/head wrap or wearing a protective hairstyle that keeps the majority of your tresses covered. If you swim most of the year, before taking a dip in the pool, wet your hair thoroughly with water and then apply conditioner. This will protect your hair and prevent the chlorinated water from depleting your color. The better protected your hair is, the longer your color will last.