Hairstylists Are Begging You To Make This Easy Shower Tweak To Preserve Your Dye Job

Photo: Stocksy/Susana Ramírez
POV: you’ve just left the salon, and you’ve got the glossiest, most vibrant, and beautiful color—you’re feeling brand new! Fast forward a few weeks, and that stunning color is already fading. What gives?

Well, it might be your shower. And no, not your shower head (no need to run out and buy anything new), but your shower temp

If you’ve been cranking up the temps lately (which, let’s be honest, we all are considering it’s the middle winter), it could spell bad news for your style. A searing hot shower is an amazingly grounding experience—not to mention excellent relief for a migraine—but it’s best to leave your hair out of it. This is particularly true if you have colored hair.

If you’ve been noticing that your dye job isn’t lasting as long as you’d like, and you’ve also been taking several steamy showers this winter, that hot water could be the culprit. “Exposure to super-high temps will lead your hair to look dry and lifeless, while also fading color faster,” says Garret Markenson, hairstylist and founder of haircare brand REVERIE. In the same way that hot showers can strip your skin, they can have a similar effect on your strands. For starters, scorching water has the potential to strip away the natural oils you need to keep hair healthy, which can dry it out and mess with your natural texture. And on the color front, hot water opens up the hair cuticle, which can cause dye to fade more quickly.

When it comes to protecting your tresses, Markenson says, “There’s no proven ‘perfect’ hair temp, but warm [instead of] hot is the way to go.” Courtney Resch, stylist, color educator, and founder of Ashen Salon, confirms this. “This is absolutely true,” she says. “If your goal is to preserve your hair color, you have to take cooler showers, or at least keep your hair out of the hot water if you’re taking a hot shower.”

“If for whatever reason you absolutely have to take a hot shower—maybe your head hurts, or you’re just really craving a hot soak—rinse your hair with cold water at the end,” says Resch. This helps seal the cuticle, locking in your dye job for the long haul. Pros also recommend limiting your washes as much as possible (ideally to once or twice a week), which will further help keep your color in place.

A gorgeous dye job can run you hundreds of dollars, so it’s crucial to keep in mind that something as innocuous as a hot shower could be threatening your investment (and costing you more money over time). The good news? You don’t need to buy anything to remedy this situation; the fix is free! Just turn down the heat.

Keep your hair healthy *outside* of the shower with these routine hacks, straight from a dermatologist.

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