Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to look after your hair colour in the sun

If the summer sun has left your blonde tresses looking distinctly brassy or your brunette bob looking is more beige than brown, don't panic - here's how to ensure your hair colour lasts all summer long.

Colour crisis
It probably won't come as much of a surprise that when it comes to dyed hair, lighter colours, such as silver, light blue and lilac are easier to maintain. But let's face it: Kelly Osbourne's pale purple locks may well work for her, but not all of us are ready to join the blue-rinse brigade just yet.
The bad news for (artificial) red heads is that red is the hardest colour to maintain. Tones — hints of colour added to enhance natural hair colour — are also incredibly prone to fading.
"Reds and tones (such as ash, platinum and added gold) will always fade the fastest," says Scott Cornwall, hair expert and hair image consultant.
"With reds, the artificial colour molecule is very small and can be easily flushed from the hair with water.
"Tones within hair colours can also fade quickly, but sometimes for the opposite reason. Many colourants use a larger pigment molecule for tones (as opposed to depth) which means that the molecule may sit within the cuticle layer and never fully affix within the hair permanently.
"Again with washing (and particularly swimming and sea water) the tonal pigment molecule can slip from the hair. However, this tends to happen most in tonal light blondes and less so in brunette and mid-blonde bases."
Kelly Osbourne and Katy Perry © RexIndeed, brunette tones are generally much easier to maintain, but be warned: "What brunettes may find is that their hair lightens a small amount and the natural (underlying) red pigment begins showing through," says Scott.  "This can cause an unwanted copper hue to appear in the hair."
Be sun savvy

While salt water and chlorine can all spell disaster for hair, it's the sun's rays which cause most damage - whether you've dyed your hair or not.
"Because the hair's cuticle layer is transparent in colour and is ultimately a dead substance, the ultra violet rays can penetrate this layer (which forms a protective shield around the hair) and begin destroying the melanin - the natural pigment," explains Scott.
"This causes a form of lightening in the overall hair colour." Additionally, just because your colour hasn't faded doesn't mean that your hair hasn't been damaged.
"Harmful rays don't just shorten the life span of dyed hair but can also damage the structure of our hair," points out Scott.
[Related article: Show-stopping summer hair]
"Just as UV rays can damage skin, these same UV rays will not only deplete Melanin but also keratin levels (the hair's protein) and natural lipids. This ultimately causes the hair to become dry and brittle."
While hair which has been dyed is generally more at risk of damage, bleached hair is especially vulnerable.
"Artificial blonde hair has often been treated with bleach and so has already been stripped of pigment and some natural condition," explains Scott.
"When UV rays hit this hair they will cause damage and strip the hair of its artificial tone. This will cause a brassy or yellow shade to appear in the hair as the hair's natural keratin colour (which is deep yellow) is being exposed."
We love these products for coloured hairWe love these products for coloured hair
Fight the fade
So what can do to prolong the length of coloured hair during the hot summer months?
Start by investing in a spray designed to protect hair from harmful rays, and apply it regularly.
If you're going to be spending a significant amount of time in the sun, wear a bandana or hat.
Where possible, avoid using straightening irons or curling tongs during your holiday - especially after a day on the beach.  Your hair's already-weakened state will be even more vulnerable to damage.
If you need to top up your colour while you're away, stick to ammonia and peroxide-free products - using a product such as Colour Restore is a great way to boost your colour as and when.
"Use the sun to your advantage," says Scott. "If you have very dry hair consider applying a hair mask before sitting in the sun - the heat will open the cuticle and allow the product to penetrate deeper." Now that's the kind of multi tasking we love!
We love:
Fudge Colour Lock Shampoo and Conditioner £7.11,
Colour Restore Hair Toner £7.99,
Lee Stafford Argan Oil Deep Nourishing Treatment, £14.99,
L'Oreal Professionnel Vitamino Colour Gel Masque, £12.80, 0800 072 6699

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