Taking Care of Rainbow Hair

If you have rainbow hair, conditioner is your best friend. I never wash my hair without using conditioner afterwards, and I think this step is really important for keeping it in good shape. Also, my hair looks horrible when I skip that step. It is also advisable to not handle your wet, bleached hair too much before putting in the conditioner. Even if it’s in a relatively good shape, bleached hair tends to break when it’s wet. I am using a natural cosmetics brand for shampoo, as well as various conditioners and hair masks that I am constantly switching between.

chop chop

Water and dye

I wash/shampoo my hair about twice a week, and with that schedule my dye jobs last about four weeks most of the time. Sometimes it’s only three, but often I only touch up the lengths every 2 months or so. When getting your hair wet, semi-permanent dye will fade much faster than permanent products. The more often you wash your hair, the quicker it will fade. The color builds up though: If you dye for the second or third time, you will notice that the dye job will last much longer than in the beginning. You will also notice that after some time the roots will start fading a bit faster than the lengths because of this.

You can touch up your hair in between dye sessions during your everyday routine by just adding a bit of dye to your shampoo or conditioner. I mostly wash my hair with purple shampoo. But: The dye will bleed out and if you dyed it an actual rainbow, that can affect the other colors. If the hair at the top of your head is blue, and the bottom is yellow … you might want to wash your hair so the water all flows from yellow to blue – and not the other way around. For this reason it is generally much harder to maintain gradients or actual rainbows  if the light colors are at the bottom.

Heat does also factor into the longevity of your dye job. Hot water opens the hairs scales, so the pigments can wash out more easily. If you want semi-permanent dye to last as long as possible, you should wash your hair with relatively cold water. I did not believe that for quite some time, but it actually makes a huge difference if I wash my hair in hot water versus lukewarm.

Chlorinated water (especially swimming pools) are the worst enemy of your rainbow head. Being in a swimming pool for a few hours will likely strip all the dye out of any hair that stays in contact with the water. This can be used to one’s advantage when fading/bleaching out old dye. Swimming in natural water works fine for me.

Keeping the color vibrant

There are a few things everyone knows are bad for you hair, but they have a much higher impact on hair that is bleached and dyed with a semi-permanent product.

Being in the sun too much will visibly fade the color, and it also easily damages the structure of hair that is already damaged from bleaching. If I’m in the sun a lot I usually wear a hat anyways, but if you don’t maybe try using sun spray. Doing a hair mask when after getting a lot of sun also never hurts.

Regular haircuts

I’m quite radical when it comes to chopping off my hair. If the tips are in a really bad shape, I will let the hairdresser cut off 10, or 20cm without hesitation (depending on my hairstyle at that time). It is generally advisable to get your haircut a few times a year in order for the color to look it’s best: The whole bleach situation really does not make the tips of your hair any nicer, and damaged tips do not take dye all that well. This means the color will fade much faster at split ends and such, but you might never notice that at all I guess.