How to make colour last longer 

Pale yellow is the beginning and the end. That is if the life of hair colour can be described as linear. Perhaps it is more of an endless wheel rotating and shifting in hue and tone adjusting almost unnoticeably over the years as we slowly age and accumulate new aspects of ourselves. The marked contrast of which can only be so shocking when we look back at photographs with 10-year intervals. 

The pale hue first appears shyly beneath meticulously folded foil. If colour could suggest the moment of decision that takes place before a clean slate this yellow would be it. There are some restrictions of course. Paths left and right. Do I cancel out the yellow with violet to achieve a clean cold blonde? Do I turn towards the warmer tones and toy with the numerous shades of pink, red, tangerine, pink being fun but socially acceptable? Tangerine being fun, but fun. 

I can chronicle my own turning wheel, ups and downs, loves and loss in a variance from natural soft brunettes, through to vibrant pigments with names that on first reading the tubes could easily be mistaken for oil paint; cobalt, lagoon, daffodil, tangerine, azelea. 

In all roads taken and turns of the wheel of hue, I find myself once a rotation returning to the pale yellow margin. The gap whereby I am able to redirect my path. 

To understand how to make the colour last longer you must remember the pale yellow hue. I am talking here in terms of processes that involve enlightener and of course tints semi and permanent have a history worthy of navigation of their own. That journey is for another day and time. 

In my mind, there are four derivative paths that can be eeked out from the P/y base. Warm, neutral, cool, fun colour. The longevity of each differs slightly and requires different actions and counteractions to sustain their vitality. All, however, have common prerequisites that can be applied here;

Balayage Hair

UV damage

It is no secret that the sun scorches all the layers beneath it. Like a paperback left on a windowsill, your hair colour is no less free from the UV rays that fade tones. Aveda’s sun care protective hair veil is like sunscreen for your follicles. We carefully apply mists and lotions to prevent sun damage and dryness to our skin but often neglect our hair. Alternative options are to wear a hat continuously (sort of cancels out the point of achieving your dream colour) or become nocturnal. 

Colour conserving shampoo 

A key thing to note is that you’ve added tone into your hair, and now hopefully are protecting it from the sun. Some shampoos and conditioners can be harsh on the hair and stripping of colour, especially clarifying or anti-dandruff formulas. 

At Butchers, we use colour conserve as a first shampoo in any guest with colour in their hair before the second more tailored shampoo eg; Be curly for unsurprisingly curly hair or pure abundance for fine lifeless hair. The colour conserve shampoo is protective of the tones it encounters but still doesn’t compromise on the squeaky clean feeling. 

Wash hair less often

With the colour safe choice of shampoo in mind, still, it remains true that the more you wash hair the quicker the colour will fade. For the lazier among you, this will be music to your ears. However, I do know that some people perhaps have showers with water pressure so irresistible they find themselves washing their hair daily. That and the feeling of freshly washed voluminous non-greasy locks is on par with the first sip of a cold carbonated drink on a scorching hot day. The remedy then lies in the unlikely form of dry shampoo. Aveda’s shampure dry shampoo would 100% be my item on desert island discs. It doesn’t have the weird dry claggy feeling that some other options I’ve tried over the years have. (I am in the lazy bracket- or maybe can be passed off as diligently caring for colour?) ‘Touchably soft’ is one of those phrases that in my opinion is overused and makes my mind think of laundry adverts but it does seem to describe perfectly the lightweight powder’s proudest accolade. Touchably. Soft. 

Red Colour Hair

Purple shampoo is it worth the hype? 

Depends, is my answer when I’m at the basins with an expectant scalp asking me for the inside scoop. If you’ve opted for the cooler end of the blonde spectrum then yes it’s probably not a terrible idea to use it as an at-home toner when the pale yellow comes back around and reminds us we are fallible and human, and we get pseudo-spiritual for a week or so while we deliberate our brassy dilemma, aggressively burning sage and inhaling chakra rituals. Ageing, loss, unhealthy attachment styles, holding onto things lightly. Such thoughts enter my mind periodically at points of pale yellow. If you find yourself clutching a bottle of chakra number 1, grounded, and your hairs path is on the cooler or even ashy tonal trajectory then it is probably right for you. In your specific case though I probably would say to simply consult your colourist as it does vary even in the cool bracket. Again we land at depends. 

The antithesis of dryness is hydration 

A way to enhance the look of your tone is to maintain the healthy hydrated glow. Once a week it pays well to put an intensive moisturising treatment on your hair, or even a rich conditioner. Aveda has just launched the Botanical repair range which includes an intense hair mask – perfect for hair care. Other options you have are using a conditioner like nutriplenish deep and leaving it on for 5-10 minutes as you would a mask. Because what is life if not customisable. 

In the age of self-care, booking a slot out each week that is solely for you and your hair’s health is a valid way to rebalance and restore, the physical act of caring for dry tired hair can resonate as a reminder to attend regularly to our mental health and our internal needs. 

White Hair

Go au natural 

My last grain of wisdom for the journey is if you don’t already, to consider letting your hair dry naturally. Overusing heat styling tools can damage hair, of course, there are thermal protecting products available but why not consider getting to know your hair’s natural texture and character? 

If your hair leans towards the curly side then scrunching a bit of Be curly curling cream in will define pieces and tame frizz. Natural doesn’t have to mean frizzy, don’t worry. If however, your hair’s on the wavy/ straighter end but still gets fluffy then you can tame flyaways with a serum or balm, the Aveda light elements defining whip is a lightweight paste with pliability so you can smooth and define a curated natural look. 

With your air-dried, soft, weekly washed, sun-protected hair you are free to go the distance. Only returning to pale yellow, to begin again, when you are ready, when you have chosen. Not because your hair has given up before you.


This article was written by our talented Chelsea.