Why is my hair colour fading? 8 ways to stop the fade

Fight the fade and stay box-fresh with these hair-friendly hints.

More and more of us are turning to hair dye to get the hair colour we want, but what do you do when it seems to fade right before your eyes?

[Hairstyles for thin hair and 8 other secrets to making fine hair look thicker]

From switching shampoos to turning down the temperature of your shower, we’ve got some of the easiest and most effective ways to help stop your dyed hair from fading:

1. Switch to sulfate-free

It’s the most useful trick in the book – change your regular shampoo for a sulfate-free one.

You might not normally pay much attention to the ingredients of your shampoo, but sulfates are great at washing out dirt, grease and grime from your hair but also great at being a little harsh on hair colour. Sulfate-free formulas are kinder to coloured strands. 

2. Find some protection

Alternatively, try shampoos and conditioners specifically formulated for coloured hair. They work harder to protect colour, are gentler and can brighten the shade.  We love Rahua’s Colour Full shampoo and conditioner, which are both shade-preserving and Christophe Robin’s Color Fixator Wheat Germ Shampoo plus Mane 'n Tail's Colour Protect range.

3. Turn down the heat

A hot shower is a thing of a beauty but it has the opposite effect on those coloured strands. Too hot a temperature can cause the hair’s cuticle to open, letting some of the colour rinse out when you shampoo. Turn the heat down a few degrees and if you’re really feeling it, finish your shower with a blast of cool water to close and seal the cuticles again.

4. Make Mondays air-dry days

Too much heat on hair can damage it at the best of times, and when your hair is coloured – and therefore weakened – it can make it weaker still, and fade the colour too.

Try and cut down on the amount of times you use heat appliances, including a hairdryer, and make sure you always protect your hair from the heat with a thermal protection product, like Philip Kingsley’s Daily Damage Defence. Or, embrace the natural look and air-dry your hair when you can.

5. Shampoo a little less


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Try to go longer between washes – the more you wash your hair, the more chance of fade. Experiment with hairstyles like a braid or add some accessories into your repertoire. Velvet Alice band anyone?

[Read more: 5 things to consider before lightening your hair]

6. SPF a little more…

…especially if you’re spending long amounts of time in the sun. Yep, the sun’s not just damaging to your skin, but your hair too. If you don’t want to spend money on a hair SPF, try and keep your hair covered when you’re out and about in the sun. The same applies for swimming too; make sure you try and protect your hair before you dive in and, if you can’t, wash it immediately to get rid of the chlorine.

7. Find your filter

If colour fade becomes a consistent problem, it could be down to the water you’re washing it with. Many hairdressers swear by shower filters, which help to cut down and remove colour-bashing minerals like iron.

8. Save your scalp

The healthier the hair, the better the colour – and the longer it’ll last. As well as maintaining good hair health along the way, make sure you look after your scalp too. It is, after all, the literal breeding ground of your hair! You want to provide the right environment for the scalp with vitamin-enriched scalp-friendly serums and products.

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