Whether you just spent half your rent money on a killer dye job, or your entire Sunday morning on a five-step hair-coloring kit, your emotional response will be the same: This shit better last. Sadly, it won't (even most permanent colors start fading within six weeks), but that doesn't mean you can't help slow the inevitable decline with a few hella cheap DIY tricks.
I'm talkin' magical Kool-Aid mixtures, booze-filled rinses, and fruit-filled masks, all vetted and approved by the top hair colorists in the business. Get ready to push that salon appointment back a month.
Perfect for your next boozy Friday night in, since, hey, you've already got the vodka out, right? "Mix a half-cup of vodka with four cups of hot water and pour it over your damp hair, avoiding your eyes," says celebrity colorist Aura Friedman. "The warm vodka will help remove chlorine and mineral deposits that can cause your color to fade faster."
"Once a week, mix a capful of apple cider vinegar with three cups of warm water and pour it over your wet, freshly shampooed hair to seal in color and add shine," says Friedman. Rinse it out, then follow with your usual conditioner.
Yes, the idea of slathering ketchup on your head sounds gross, but it really, truly works. "If your hair turns a little green after swimming in chlorine, try raking a handful of ketchup through your hair (wet or dry) and letting it sit for 15 minutes to neutralize the green and keep your color from fading," says Marie Robinson, colorist at Marie Robinson Salon. "Very pale blondes may turn a little beige, though, so tread carefully."
Brunettes and auburns can reverse summer fade by enhancing their color with a cocoa powder–based mask. Just mix a tablespoon each of cocoa powder, yogurt, honey, and apple cider vinegar and apply it to your recently shampooed hair, leaving it on for 20 minutes before rinsing out.
"The natural acids in these foods will help each strand absorb the cocoa pigments to make the results more pronounced," says Julie Gabriel, author of the Green Beauty Guide.
I know this story seems like a big ruse to punk you into pouring your favorite condiments and beverages on your head, but these classic kitchen ingredients, like tea, really do work. "Brew a pot of chamomile tea with a few drops of lavender oil and three tablespoons of honey, then let it cool to a lukewarm temperature," says colorist Victoria Hunter of Whittemore House Salon.
Pour the mixture over your freshly shampooed hair, leave in for five minutes, then rinse and condition as usual. "The chamomile and honey restore your dye's original shine and any golden tones, while the lavender oil helps soothe your scalp," she says.
We're gettin' into real DIY territory now, but if your hair color has turned dull and blah, this hair mask is the quickest way to restore it. "Mix two raw eggs with equal parts olive oil and white vinegar, then apply it all over your dry hair," says colorist Zoe Wiepert. "Keep it on for 30 minutes (to help your color really shine), then rinse it out thoroughly."
Yes, the last time you drank purple Kool-Aid was probably circa 2005, but it's time to revisit your past: A pinch of grape Kool-aid powder mixed into a handful of shampoo can eliminate brassy, washed-out tones in brown hair. "The blue-based hue of the Kool-Aid will help remove the orange tones your color naturally develops over time," says Kyle White, lead colorist at Oscar Blandi Salon.
Whether you're spending your days frolicking on the beach or just hanging outside, your summer habits are killing your hair color. "Both salt water and the sun can lighten your dye job and break down the color, along with completely drying out your hair," says Wiepert. To keep it hydrated and protected, "massage a handful of coconut oil through dry hair, wrap it with a shower cap or plastic wrap, and sleep on it," she says. Rinse well in the morning.
Anyone with bottled red hair knows that once you find a shade that works for you, you'll do anything to keep it from fading. Which is where fruits and veggies come in, says Gabriel. Purée a handful of carrots and raspberries (which cancel out brassy undertones) with a dollop of yogurt (which helps the pigments better penetrate your hair) and honey (which locks in moisture) in a blender until smooth. Then, apply the mask to your damp hair for 15 minutes before rinsing out.