The Rich Life On a Budget

Make Hair Color Last

Adelina is my hairstylist. I’ve blogged about her before, here and here. She is the owner/stylist of a well-known salon here in Sonoma County. What I like most about Adelina, besides the fact that she is a great person, is that she truly cares about her clients and takes the time to assess, consult and educate.

I took full advantage of Addie’s wealth of knowledge during my appointment last Wednesday. I interviewed her about how to make hair color last. What led me to stop coloring my hair about a year ago was the cost and inconvenience of frequent visits.

Here are a few tips, courtesy of Adelina, to help keep your color last longer:
(even if you don’t color your hair, these tips can still help you maintain healthy tresses) 

1) Limit how often you wash your hair. I used to be a daily washer, but my hair became dry as a broom. Now I wash my hair every other day. Adelina says that is an improvement, but every three days would be better. With the hot summer months right around the corner, I told her I thought that might be too challenging.

Adelina’s solution?

This product:

At $24, it came with a free refill. It smells good – kind of fruity – and it goes on like your mineral powder makeup, only you dab it on your hair where it looks a bit oily. It’s small which makes it easy to bring along in your handbag or for travel. Is it the same as washing your hair? No. But it does make your hair look more fresh when it’s not.

2) Use a quality color protecting shampoo and conditioner from a salon. Although it may be more expensive than the type you buy at the drugstore, don’t worry: Adelina says it’s okay to rotate it with a brand from the drugstore to offset the cost (but don’t buy the super cheap, color-stripping $1.99 stuff. Find something better than your average shampoo).

Adelina recommended this travel pack of Shu Uemura shampoo, conditioner and hair masque for $40.00.

My “cheap” dugstore brand that I rotate is Root Awakening by John Freida, about $8.00

Don’t feel too badly about spending the cash on the salon products because if you follow the advice in #3, your shampoo will last much, much longer. 

3) Stop using so much shampoo!  I have very long and thick hair. I’ve always believed I needed lots of soap to get my hair clean. We have all seen the ads on TV with the woman in the shower, her hair lathered up in a soapy foam from root to end.

That is a total waste of product, according to Adelina. She’s says not to think of your hair as being “washed”, but as your scalp being “exfoliated”.

– First, concentrate your energy on your scalp. Don’t worry about the rest of your hair unless it’s dirty for a reason, like you went to an outdoor concert and partied in the dust and cigarette (or other) smoke. Or you rode around on your boyfriend’s motorcycle and you have bugs in your hair. Normal, day-to-day activities are not going to get your hair very dirty. Why waste your fancy shampoo?

– Second, get your hair very wet before you apply your shampoo. Saturate it.

– Third, pour a tiny amount of shampoo into your palm – I’m talking a dime-sized amount. Massage it into your scalp, paying close attention to your hairline. Add a tiny but more, smaller than a dime size, and a few drops of water (add with your hand, not the shower head). Continue to massage the shampoo onto your entire scalp. Don’t worry about the absence of lather and suds. Trust me. Your hair will be clean.

– Finally, rinse well, making sure you run the water through all of your hair to the ends.

4) I love hot showers. The hotter the better. But my hair and my skin, not so much. It dries them both, and it leeches color from my hair’s cuticle. Keep the temperature warm and finish with a good cool rinse on your hair. It will shut the cuticle down and make your hair shinier and softer.

5) Adelina used a relatively new type of color technology on my hair. It’s called INOA, made by L’Oreal.

It’s ammonia-free, oil-based and has no scent, which is a huge improvement over traditional hair coloring. My color will not only last longer, but it has made my hair shinier, softer and healthier than with the old ammonia-based color. I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in my hair since getting this new type of color.

The first time I washed my hair after getting color (which was three days later) I plugged up the tub so I could see how much color rinsed out. Usually, I can see the brown dye rushing down the drain. But not even the slightest tint of brown was seen in the water. The clear water is a good sign my color will last.

If you color your hair, ask your salon if they use INOA or another ammonia-free color.

My Color Lasting Plan
To wash my hair, using substantially less shampoo, every three days. On the first day, I style my hair and wear it down. On the second, I pull the top half back and the third day is a pony tail or bun day using dry shampoo if needed. Of course, if I am on my third day and it happens to land on a date night, or someone’s wedding, or the like, I will be washing it. With shampoo and water.
I will shampoo primarily with my Shu Uemera color protectant shampoo (which at the rate I am going, will last me until Christmas).
I will wash with cooler water and finish with a cold rinse.
Do you have any secrets tips for hair color, shampooing, conditioning, or any hair related advice to share?

20 thoughts on “Make Hair Color Last

  1. hostess of the humble bungalow

    I use Aveda damage control conditioner and I use Aveda shampoo every other day. The conditioner is very important as it restores sheen and puts back some moisture.

    I also wear a hat in the bright sunshine so as not to further bleach the colour.

    My colour is a demi permanent so every 5-6 weeks I need to go back and get it done again…plus my hair grows and inch a month so some tinsel grey appears.

    I appreciate your sharing these strategies on hair care with us Adrienne.

  2. ~ B.

    Wow! What great tips! I think I’m going to try that Keratin Complex. My hair always feel so yucky if I skip a day of washing, but if that helps it feel fresh then I’m willing to give it a shot! Thanks for posting these tips!

  3. Beth - In My World...

    Your hair is GORGEOUS!

    I have short hair and stopped coloring years ago so it is salt-and-peppery. I love it! I am with you, I try not to be a daily hair-washer but it it so hard. I had never heard of these products but if I can get my hands on them, I’ll give it a go. Let us know how you like the dry shampoo after a few weeks – I think it sounds neat!

  4. L

    lots of great info! I’m glad you have such a great relationship with your hair stylist and that she gives so many tips for you to share.
    Good luck with your colour. Also, I’m looking for a good dry shampoo so I’m glad you had a review!

  5. Emily

    Love all those tips!!! There is such a thing as too much shampoo??? I’m baffled, and kinda sad that my hair will be sudsy no more!
    One thing I’ve started doing lately when I go run/walk/bike outdoors with the humidity, sun, and wind is spray in a really good leave in conditioner! My hair is noticably more manageable (which could very well be my imagination) but we’ll see come the end of the summer! You seriously have such great hair! xo

  6. Jessica

    Thank you for such great tips!! I love how hair looks after it’s just been colored, but the fade is brutal, and like you, I don’t spend much time at a salon if I can help it. I’m going to look into the Keratin Complex for sure!!

  7. Paula

    Hi Adrienne, you know how to treat hair!
    I learned a lot on makeupalley, the forum provides a hair-channel.

    I absolutely agree: Shu Uemura is worth the money.
    please, take a look – I also started with Inoa, only it was too reddish and since I wanted cooler tones I switched to another brand.
    Shine is the most important thing of all!

    Did you know we are privilegded with our long hair since we can knot the hair back, the pony tail saves us when the hair gets greasy.
    Happy you have a good relationship with your hair-stylist. 🙂

  8. The Distressed Mother

    Shampoo is our enemy. No matter how much you spend on it, you shouldn’t use too much of it. ‘Squeaky clean’ is actually your hair stripped of natural oils and is a bad thing.

    I try to be careful because I HATE splint ends and also want to protect my colour. I just bought Matrix Biolage for the first time and am loving it.

    Baby powder is my best friend. Sprinkle it lightly over your hair and spread through and you get an extra day without washing. Heaps cheaper than dry shampoo.

    TDM xx

  9. Hines-Sight

    Great information. I use too much shampoo, and I shampoo daily. My hair looks too bad not to do so. It’s all over the place, wacky looking so I have to shampoo to control. My stylist says I should just wet it. I guess that it is true.

    I just cannot style my hair from how I get up in the morning.


  10. fojoy

    It can be a difficult (torturous) process getting your hair used to an every 3 day washing cycle – but it does, eventually adapt, and it really is so much better for your hair.
    Thanks for the other tips!

  11. Adrienne


    I forgot to ask about the sun. You brought up a very good point – the sun does fade color. I will have to remember to wear a hat if I am to be out of doors for an extended period.

    I think my color is a demi, too. I may have to go back sooner than end of July, but I am going to try my darndest to keep that color in as long as possible.


    The dry shampoo aids in reducing the oiliness in your hair, but you can’t beat washing for true freshness. I thin dry shampoo is a good thing to have around even if you’re not trying to cut down on washing. If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to wash, or you are traveling, dry shampoos can come in handy.

  12. Adrienne


    I will let you know about the dry shampoo after I have given it a go a few more times. So far, I am happy with it.
    I think short hair probably needs to washed more frequently than long – don’t you?


    I haven’t tried Keihl’s hair products, only the skin care. I will have to pick up some conditioning treatments next time I go to Nordstrom.

  13. Adrienne


    I am very fortunate to have found Adelina. I strayed away for a couple of years with disastrous results – now I will never leave!


    Honestly, I like and miss the suds and lather. I like it as much as you. But the wasting money thing really caught my attention. I would rather give up suds to save a few bucks.
    Good idea with the leave in conditioner. I have some and will try that soon.

  14. Adrienne


    I forgot about the bonus of dry shampooing in the styling department. Heat is terrible for your hair – blow drying less often is helpful.


    Fading hair color is not pretty – I agree!


    I will have to check out makeupalley for more tips.

    Shine is so important to good looking hair. We take it for granted when we are kids – with age and processing, it can fade and it’s hard to get back. I will check out your link to the other brand. I wondered if other companies had the same technology (ammonia-free/oil-based) and you have answered my question. Thank you!

    Long hair is pretty easy to deal with when it’s not so fresh. Thank goodness for pony tails. They are very stylish right now!

  15. Adrienne


    Good tip in the baby powder – it really does seem to be the same consistency and color as the $24 stuff. I may do a little experiment and see which performs better. Thanks!


    Maybe you could try the water only method your hairstylist recommends – just every other day – and see if you can get used to it. It might make your hair more manageable if you wash it less – the oils wouldn’t be stripped.
    For me, I had to force myself not to use the gobs of shampoo I usually do. I am still getting used to it – hard to break the habit after so many years. I can’t say I loving this 3 day thing, but I know it will pay off in the end with healthier hair and fewer visits to the salon.

  16. Charlene

    Hi Adrienne,
    Your hair looks amazing! I typically look like the “sudsed up” picture in your post when I shampoo–and I suds it up TWO times. When I read your tips, I realized that was probably overkill and a huge waste of shampoo. So I tried it your way yesterday and was amazed at how clean it felt. Using less shampoo and paying closer attention to how I did it really seemed to make a difference. It’ll be interesting to see if doing it that way makes the color last longer. I’ll bet it will. Thanks for the advice.

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