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How to Care for Your Highlighted Hair

Summer is here and you went lighter. I love lighter hair for the summer and as a board-certified dermatologist I wanted to share my tips on how to take of your hair post highlights.

After Highlights Wait 72 Hours Before Shampooing

When highlighting your hair, your cuticle layer is opened, making it easy for the bleach to penetrate the hair shaft. When you wash your hair too soon after your appointment, the cuticle layer could still be open. It takes up to three days for the cuticle layer to fully close, so the longer you wait to shampoo your hair after your highlights this will help your highlights last longer.

Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioner

Sodium laureth sulfate, is a type of detergent that is found in hair care products. This ingredient produces the foaming effect to shampoos and conditioners. By using sulfates, you run the risk of stripping your hair of its natural oils and moisture, which can then lead to stripping your beautiful color-treated or highlighted hair. Try using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to keep your hair color from fading

Turn Down Water Temperature When Washing Your Hair

Hot water opens your hair’s cuticle, allowing your color to wash out while shampooing and conditioning. To prevent this, shampoo with tepid water and then rinse with cold water after conditioning. The warm water will allow the shampoo and conditioner to penetrate and cleanse, while the cold water will help seal in the moisture from your conditioner while preventing color from fading by sealing the hair’s cuticle.

Wash Hair Less Often

Washing your hair every day is something you want to avoid if wanting your hair color to last longer, especially if you have blond highlights. You are washing away the natural oils that moisturize and keep your hair treatment looking bright, you also wash away a little bit of your hair dye every time you wash your hair. Try washing your hair every other day or even 2-3 times a week to keep your color vibrant. You shouldn’t wash more than that unless your scalp is oily.

How To Comb Your Hair When Wet

When wet, hair is weaker, when you brushing or combing wet hair it can pull the hair and cause damaging stretching of the hairs that can break the hairs. If your hair is processed (highlighted, color-treated, permed) the chemicals in hair treatments can cause dryness and breakage making your hair even more fragile. Therefore, it’s so important than when you’re brushing/combing highlighted hair, you start from the bottom of the hair and work your way up. I use a wide-tooth comb. This will help minimize the pulling and stretching to avoid tugging the strands. This helps to avoid breakage.

Use leave-in treatments to protect hair color when styling

Colored and chemically-treated hair needs extra hydration and protection from the sun to prevent damage and loss of nutrients to the hair. Leave-in treatments will help keep your hair smooth and hydrated, and it’s important to find one with UV protection so that the sun won’t fade your hair color. Using hairsprays and styling products with UV protection is a great option to protect your hair.

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