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  • Writer's pictureEmma Ward

How to Care for Vivid Hair Color

Vivid colors are a world of fun, but they also come with responsibilities. Let’s talk about how to keep your vivids looking fresh for longer.

In case anyone doesn't know, vivid hair colors or fashion colors, are semi-permanent direct hair dyes. Semi-permanent means that the colors shade progressively and don't have any power to lift your hair. This is why you get best results on pre-lightened hair. Hair that has already been lifted, has a raised cuticle which allows the semis to sink deeper into the hair shaft.

Vivid colors aren't just drugstore bleach and Manic Panic anymore, now professional stylists can help you achieve beautiful results that last much longer and look stunning. The difference comes from understanding the science of the hair and how to properly care for it. When applied correctly. vivid colors will fade beautifully and not show uneven tones and unwanted hues. I've done my fair share of home hair coloring when I was younger (with Manic Panic, duh) and let me tell you, this is a very different ball-game. Professionally done vivids don't compare to at-home.


Rule one: COLD water The top layer of your hair (the cuticle) helps to keep your color sealed in and looking gorgeous, hot temperatures cause the cuticle to rise or "swell". Color molecules are stored in the cortex (middle layer) and are protected by the cuticle. If your hair is damaged, chances are that your cuticle is already swollen, so it becomes even more important to keep it as sealed down as possible.

Rule two: The more you wash, the faster you fade. People who wash their hair every single day will also have to top up their color more frequently. Shampoo slowly takes off color and semi-permanent colors fade progressively. This means that with each wash, your color will fade more and more.

I wash my hair once a week, but that's because I have thick hair. My strands are larger and have a better ability to absorb oil. Finer hair looks oily much faster because the strands don't absorb as much oil. I'm not saying you can only wash once a week, but the more you reduce, the better. If you wash everyday and change to every second day, you're already doubling the life span of your color.

These selfies are taken two months apart! My client, Katie, gets her vivids done every three-four months. It's a long process, usually around six hours total, but it lasts and fades beautifully. These are stolen from her Instagram (with permission) @goddessreborn.

Rule three: Avoid cheap products ingredients like sulfates, sodium chloride, alcohols, and SLS strip the hair of not only color, but also moisture and health. These ingredients are also commonly found in car wax and laundry detergent. Most drugstore shampoos are the equivalent of putting dish soap on your hair.

These shampoos aren't chemically balanced to be on your hair. Our hair and skin are on the 4.5-5.5 level on the pH scale. This means that our shampoos and products should also fall in the zone. Unfortunately, cheaper made products aren't pH balanced.

Rule Four: When possible, always get your hair lifted professionally. The real determining factor on how your color looks and fades is what's underneath it. If you place vivid color over an uneven base, it won't fade evenly because it will start to reveal what's under it. It's also very very important to maintain the integrity of your hair while lifting. If your hair is over-processed from lightening, it won't latch on to the color. That cuticle will be blown wide open and it won't have the ability to hold color pigment.

Vivid coloring isn't a single step process, it has to be done in at least two (unless you're using high-lift colors, but that's a whole other topic). First, the hair needs to be lifted or "stripped" of the pigment already inside of it using lightener. This process becomes even longer if the hair already has permanent color in it. After it's lifted, the new vivid tones have to be placed on top.

Vivid hair is becoming much more accepted in society, most people don't even bat an eye anymore when they see someone with funky colors. I love seeing it become more socially acceptable because it means people can have the freedom to let their freak flag fly. Life is simply too short to not experiment with your hair (if that's something you enjoy), but always keep the health of your hair as a priority.

Do you have any questions about vivid colors? Send them my way! See ya soon,


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