Who doesn’t love that fresh-from-the-salon feeling? Those (ahem) greys are gone, dead ends have been snipped. Your hair has a shine and a swing that only your stylist can magically make happen (they truly are wonder workers). If only we could bottle up that feeling and spritz it on our hair when the colour starts to fade and just look dull (which we all know, happens way too fast). Considering frequent trips to the hair salon eat into money you’d rather dole out for Louis Vuitton’s new kitten heels, every girl needs to know how to get the most out of her hair colour so that it lasts as long as possible. How? We checked in with two hair colour experts for the answers.

Hair colour tips: Make your colour last

To keep your colour lasting longer, first use a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for colour treated hair and avoid frequent shampooing,” says Eric Del Monaco, official hair artist and colourist for L’Oreal Paris in Canada.

And after you’ve just coloured your hair, Michelle Oliver, colour educator for Schwarzkopf Professional and master colourist at Kick Hair & Body in Edmonton, AB, says to wait before you shampoo. “Freshly coloured hair can have first shampoo colour fade.” To avoid this, she says to wait at least 24 to 48 hours before shampooing your hair after having it coloured. “This will allow the structure of the hair to stabilize, locking colour for longer.”

SLIDE SHOW: The best HAIR PRODUCTS to protect your hair colour

Hair colour tips: What to avoid

Heat may be an essential part of your hair routine, but be aware that excessive use is also
causing damage to your hair. “Wash and condition hair using cool water. Hot water will fade your colour,” says Oliver. But water isn’t the only culprit. Oliver says to wear a hat in the sun, and cover up your hair if you use a tanning bed. “Just like a painting in a window, the sun plays a major factor in fading colour. And, she warns, be careful when it comes to flat ironing as the high heat can also fade your colour.

SLIDE SHOW: The secrets to perfectly gorgeous RED HAIR

But since it’s unlikely that you can actually break up with your flat iron (we’d never suggest you do!), just keep an eye on the frequency with which you use it and limit it if you can. Del Monaco says to spray a colour protective product with UV protection on your hair before applying a heated tool like a curling iron or flat iron to it. “And always apply a bit of serum to protect your ends and your fresh colour,” he says.

The best products and treatments for keeping your hair colour fresh on the next page …
Hair colour tips: What to look for in hair care products

Store shelves are lined with products specifically designed for colour-treated hair but how do you narrow down the selection? Oliver says to look for products that have heat protection that you can use before heat-styling your hair. “Flat irons can heat up to 400F, so make sure you see that level of protection on the bottle, and make sure you actually use it,” she says. “Use professional shampoo and conditioner designed to care for and prolong the life of your colour, ideally sulphate-free and containing a UV filter.” She also suggests looking for products with cleansers derived from coconut, which are gentler on the hair.

SPRING HAIR TRENDS: The hottest hair colour for spring

“If you have a solid color or are looking to maintain the tone in your highlights, you can also use shampoos and/or conditioners that have pigment in them. These products will revive your colour each time you wash your hair and can be found in everything from red, brown, or even blonde shades to maintain the perfect tone,” says Oliver. Just be sure to allow the shampoo and conditioner to penetrate the hair for between three and five minutes to make sure you’re really reaping the rewards of the product.

Hair colour tips: The best treatments

In between salon visits, there are various hair treatments you can do that’ll help prolong your colour. “At the salon, have the hairdresser apply a gloss over the colour to create an extra coating of protection for your hair colour and extra shine,” advises Del Monaco. “And in between colour, do a deep conditioning treatment,” he says. “It’s like taking a vitamin supplement to give your colour longevity.”

BEAUTY must-haves: The 7 best HAIR MASKS

If your hair is not retaining color, Oliver says it may be because it is damaged. “Using regular, once-a-week repair treatments can get your hair back in shape so that it can hold on to colour longer,” she says. “Apply the treatment to shampooed, towel dried hair and let process for 10 minutes, then rinse.”

In addition to an at-home treatment like this, Oliver says you can also try salon treatments designed to protect and prolong hair colour. “Many salons offer an after-colour service that can be done the same day as your colour to maximize colour retention,” she says. “This is generally like a conditioner but with very low PH, which causes the cuticle to seal down tightly. This can only be done directly after a colour and is not recommended for at home.”

Read more:
Top 2013 spring hair trends
Glossy hair: The ultimate guide
The best tools for the perfect blowout
Pretty spring hair styles: The center part