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Expert tips for keeping your hair colour fresh, reducing fade and maintaining the condition and shine at home between salon visits.

copper hair colour

Let’s be honest hair colour fades....

Over time the colour molecules discolour and look duller. Red tones lose their vibrancy, brunettes their richness and blondes discolour and look "brassy".

We look at the various reasons hair colour fades and what you can do to prevent it happening so quickly to help you maintain that fresh-from-the-salon look for longer.

Many factors cause hair colour to fade but, the primary cause is oxidation. When oxygen interacts with the hair or skin, it leads to the formation of free radicals. These unstable molecules attack the pigments in your hair, causing them to break down and fade over time.

Other factors include:

  • The condition and porosity of your hair

  • Chemicals found in water

  • The sun

  • Using products that are high in sulphates and sodium

  • Heat and thermal styling

  • How often you wash your hair

  • The type of colour used

How long should your colour Last?

To determine how long a colour should last and what fading to expect, you need a basic understanding of how colour works and the types of colours used.

hair colour diagram

Semi-permanent & gloss (think of it like a lip gloss)

  • Sits on the outer layer of the hair

  • Adds colour & tone without changing the natural colour

  • Lasts 6-12 shampoos (starts to fade each wash)

  • Can't lighten your hair

Demi Permanent (think of it like a lipstick)

  • Sits in the outer and inner layer

  • Adds colour Can change your natural pigment slightly

  • Lasts about 12 - 20 washes and will fade off each wash

  • Can leave a demarcation line depending on hair and shades

Permanent hair colour (think of it like a long-lasting lip stain)

  • Colour molecules develop on the inside layer of the hair and are trapped

  • Will lighten the natural pigments

  • Colour grows out and molecules break down and fade over time leaving altered natural pigment (which is always warm yellow/orange)

  • You will get regrowth that needs to be touched up regularly.

Lightening and bleaching

  • Lighteners (Bleach) are used to permanently lighten the natural pigment and remove colour Colour is left “raw and will always be warm”

  • A toner, either a Demi or Semi is applied after lightening to give the hair tone and colour

  • Hair is permanently lightened but the tone will fade out

  • tone will last between 6 - 20 washes depending on hair porosity.

External factors that affect your colour longevity

Sulphates and Salts

Kevin Murphy everlasting colour wash and rinse

Sulphates, commonly found in shampoos and other hair care products, are surfactants that help remove dirt and oil from the hair. However, they can also strip away natural oils and colour molecules, leading to accelerated fade and damage. Similarly, salt (sodium chloride), often added to beauty formulations as a thickening agent, can be extremely drying and damaging to the hair, causing colour fading and damage.

To make sure your shampoo doesn't fade your colour :

  • Use a shampoo that is sulphate and salt-free.

  • Wash your hair less often.

  • Using cooler water can help longevity as very hot water can strip the colour.

Shampoos we would recommend

Dry and damaged hair

hair shaft cuticle damage
damaged open cuticle smooth healthy cuticle

The more porous your hair, the more open the outer cuticle layer and the faster it will absorb colour but the faster it will lose colour.

If your hair is already damaged, dry, or brittle, it's more susceptible to colour fading.

Damaged hair has a porous structure, allowing colour molecules to escape more easily, resulting in uneven colour distribution and premature fading

To prevent further damage and colour fading,

  • Incorporate deep conditioning treatments into your hair care routine

  • Have a colour treatment such as K18 when colouring your hair

  • Don't over-colour your hair.

Products we recommend


diving in water

If you swim frequently You may have noticed your hair colour fading faster than usual.

Chlorine and other chemicals found in swimming pools, and hard water (especially Adelaide water) can build up on your hair and oxidise hair colour causing the colour to fade prematurely and your hair to look dull.

To protect your hair from water and minimise the amount of chemicals that are absorbed:

  • Wear a swimming cap

  • Wetting your hair before you swim with fresh water.

  • Saturate your hair with a leave-in conditioner or slick it into plaits or a ponytail with a gel or wax

  • Rinse your hair thoroughly with clean water after swimming

  • Use a clarifying shampoo to give it a deeper clean

  • Once a week use a Detox shampoo in place of your usual shampoo.

Products we recommend

The Sun

woman in hat

  • While the sun provides us with essential Vitamin D, prolonged exposure can wreak havoc on our hair colour. UV rays cause faster oxidisation and break down the pigments in the hair, leading to faster colour fade.

Sun exposure can also leave the hair dry and brittle making it more prone to damage

To protect your hair from sun damage and colour fade:

  • Use a leave-in-conditioner and styling products that have heat and UV protection

  • Wear a hat or

  • Treatments for colour-treated hair and bond-building maks can help

Products we recommend

Heat Styling

straightening iron

Heat styling tools like blow dryers and flat irons can help you achieve your desired hairstyle, but they can also contribute to hair colour fading.

High heat opens the hair cuticles, allowing colour molecules to escape and causing uneven fading.

Heat styling can also cause damage to the hair structure, leaving it dry, brittle, and porous, which will contribute to colour fading

To minimise heat damage,

  • Use heat-protectant products before styling

  • Avoid high heat temperatures whenever possible.

Products we Recommend

Care for your colour at home

Understanding the causes of hair colour fading and by taking proactive measures to protect your hair from oxidation, UV exposure, sulphates, salt, chlorine, and heat styling, you can prolong the life of your colour and keep your hair looking fresh and vibrant.

All of the products we use and sell at Orenda Hair are free from these colour-stripping chemicals, and Our Stylists at Orenda Hair can recommend the right hair care regime and products, specifically formulated for your colour-treated hair, to care for your colour at home.

you can also purchase any of the products mentioned from our hair care shop

OH and we offer a free consultation service you just need to book an appointment


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