Coloring my hair is one of those beauty obsessions that never gets old. Even after trying every natural hair color from jet black to platinum blonde, something newer and cooler inevitably catches my eye on Pinterest and I must try it. You probably understand, but if the concept seems foreign then your hair will thank you. Seriously. So when I discovered balayage a year ago I hopped on the bandwagon – of course. I love blonde accents in my hair and balayage proved to be a more natural looking, less damaging, and low maintenance way to go “bronde” without frying my locks (which happened when I went fully blonde).
But even though balayage is a better alternative to coloring your roots, I still had to deal with the consequences of bleach. Healthy hair is already difficult to maintain when it’s regularly subjected to heat styling as my hair is. Luckily I’ve done the hard work for you. I’ve tried dozens of color care shampoos, conditioners, deep conditioning masks, and leave-in treatments to know which ones really enhance and protect color and which ones are full of hype. Since the list of products to avoid is too long, I’ll keep it simple: don’t use anything with sulfates as they dry out your hair and strip out the color. The list of color care products I do love is much shorter; scroll down to check out my picks primarily from Drybar, Living Proof, and StriVectin and let me know what you use in the comments.
If you have blonde locks to protect you’ll need a purple shampoo to ensure brighter color and prevent the horror of brassiness. Drybar – Blonde Ale Brightening Shampoo is my favorite option. The violet formula not only smells heavenly (as most Drybar products do) it also thoroughly cleanses my hair without stripping it of moisture. After one use my blonde highlights looked refreshed like I had just colored my hair.
Another favorite is Living Proof Restore Shampoo which replenished my hair when it was dry and damaged. Even my colorist commented that my hair was healthy – a compliment I rarely hear. This shampoo also significantly reduces breakage, so if you have curly hair this product is for you. Even thought this shampoo doesn’t necessarily enhance color, it is color safe.
A top conditioner doesn’t just moisturize hair – but also reduces damage inflicted by hair dye. A couple of my favorites lately are StriVectin Hair – Color Care Conditioner* and Living Proof Restore Conditioner. Both of these conditioners have made my hair easier to manage, smoother, healthier, and in the case of StriVectin, less prone to color fading.
Deep conditioning masks are a regular part of my hair washing routine. I envy people who can just shampoo, condition, and rinse. I, on the other hand, need a 10-minute mask to revive my hair from any damage brought on by hair dye and my straightening iron. Enter Drybar – Mudslide Nourishing Hair Mask. No other mask heals my hair like this one. After one use, my hair looks shinier and healthier. Plus, it’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t weigh down my hair like other intensive masks or coconut oil. I leave it on for 10 minutes (5-7 if I’m being lazy) while in the shower. Even though it’s not designed to enhance color, it is color safe.
For a quick mask that adds color vibrancy I love StriVectin Hair – Color Care Vibrancy Booster* which nourishes my hair with a focus on enhancing color. I use this mask after conditioner and before the Mudslide to add shine and prevent my color from fading.
My hair routine doesn’t end at deep conditioning masks. Whether I blow dry my hair straight (usually) or keep it natural and curly, I always use a leave-in treatment to tame frizz and seal in moisture. StriVectin’s Protective Spray is designed to do just that while also protecting color from UV rays and heat styling. I also love 12 Benefits leave-in treatment which helps prevent split ends (I couldn’t believe it until I tried it!) thanks to natural proteins that strengthen hair. Both products are excellent for protecting hair but I wouldn’t use both treatments simultaneously since they could weigh it down.
And there you have it! You’re probably thinking my hair routine has too many steps and you’d be right. But they’re all worth it when I can prevent damage.
*StriVectin products provided courtesy of the brand; all opinions my own.