When it comes to low-maintenance hair color, there are two major factors to consider: the time and expense of salon visits, and the time and energy spent washing and styling at home. If you want to reduce the number of visits you make to the salon, you might have to upgrade your home hair care routine. Of course, the ultimate in low-maintenance hair color is to stick with what nature intended, but if you have other ideas, here are some ways to extend the gaps between salon appointments.
Break it up. Demipermanent and permanent allover hair color will require touching up every four to six weeks, notes Mark Garrison, New York stylist, writing, “A Beginners’ Guide to Hair Color,” for People magazine. Highlights, lowlights and baliage, hand-painted highlights that “emphasize the lines and layers of a hairstyle,” however, only need attention every three months or so. So opting for subtle blends of color rather than a solid block could cut out half your trips to the salon.
Break it down. Whether you want to grow out your hair color or just want to reduce time spent in the salon, opting for an ombre hair color could be the best move. Ombre is French for “shade” and is used to describe hair color that gradually fades from one color at the root to another at the tips. You’ll need a trip to the salon to get the shading right, as New York stylist Moran Gallagher points out: “You cannot just dip your hair in bleach!” After that, however, you can leave it as long as you like between colors, since there are no roots to touch up, unless you need gray coverage.
Cover it over. Highlights and lowlights also will help to disguise gray hair by breaking up the solid block of color of your natural hair and blending several tones together, distracting the eye from the gray strands. If you have a solid color and like it that way, use a home root touch-up kit to tide you over between salon visits. This trick works for minimizing the effects of dark roots on blonde hair, too. Jenifer J, hairstylist to actress Cate Blanchett, has this advice: “To combat visible roots, pick up a box of dark, ash-blonde hair color at the drugstore. Apply it carefully to just your roots with a toothbrush and leave it on for no longer than three minutes. This will take the edge off dark roots and will buy you a few more weeks sans salon.”
To avoid fading colors, Garrison advises using a color preserver two or three times a month from the outset, because, “Once hair color begins to fade, it's too late to return it to its original shade.” Complement this routine with color-enhancing shampoos and conditioners for maximum effect.