Whether you’ve been giving yourself haircuts at home or you’ve been playing around with box hair-dye, the last couple months of lockdown have led to many of us experimenting with our hair at home. I’ve been dyeing my hair for almost 10 years, both at home and in the salon, and within the past few months, I’ve also come to realise that I’m not nearly as reliant on hair salons as I thought — I generally only go to the salon when I feel like bleaching my hair, and it took almost three months for me to go out and get my bangs trimmed.
After a decade of trial and error, I’ve developed a few hair maintenance habits that have worked well for me, maintaining my hair colour for as long as possible and keeping my hair soft and strong, even after bleaching.
Most hair dyes fade, especially brighter colours like pink or blue, even when professionally done at a salon. The lighter the colour, the faster it fades, so it’s important to use shampoo made specifically for colour-treated hair to improve the longevity of your hair colour.
While there are shampoos that have been specially made for specific hair colours, I’ve found that purple shampoo works well to maintain most shades, including blue, pink and green. It neutralises the hair, reducing any brassiness, and doesn’t wash off as much colour as regular shampoo does.
Tip: If you don’t have dyed roots, you can also use both coloured shampoo and regular shampoo, lathering the regular shampoo into your roots and the coloured shampoo on your ends.
I didn’t bring a hair dryer with me when I started university, and I ended up never getting one. After air-drying my hair for the majority of my first semester, I realised how much softer and smoother it was, compared to when I would blow-dry it in high school. Since I don’t straighten or curl my hair, leaving heat out of my hair routine is pretty easy, but for those of you who rely on heating tools, I recommend using a heat protectant.
Tip: I’ve found that creams and oils with heat protecting qualities work a bit better than heat protectant sprays — they usually double as a hair styler and are more hydrating and priming.
Bleaching your hair strips pigment by opening up the hair cuticles, which can also cause roughness and dryness. On top of conditioning your hair, applying an additional hair mask can provide extra moisture after just a few minutes, strengthening the hair over time with regular treatment.
Tip: If an additional hair mask is out of your budget, use your regular conditioner as a mask instead. Immediately after shampooing, apply a generous amount of conditioner to your ends, and keep the conditioner in for the next 5 minutes, or until the end of your shower.
I first started using Olaplex five years ago, and I haven’t looked back since — I schedule an Olaplex treatment at least twice a year, and every single time I bleach my hair. Although I find that my regular salon treatments are more than enough, there are also take home treatments that are more affordable and can be used more regularly.
Tip: For those who regularly bleach hair, if Olaplex is available at your salon, you can request to have it mixed into the bleaching formula, so your hair is protected from the get-go.