photo: matrix.com

If you’re wondering why color won’t stay in your hair- you’re not alone!

I get a lot of e-mails and comments about making hair color last longer, so I thought I would share it with everyone.

Remember- not all hair color dilemmas are the same, so the perfect solution for one person may not work for everyone.

It all depends on what is causing your hair color to fade or “not take”.

Some factors that can contribute to color fading are improper formulation, improper application, using the wrong shampoo, over-washing, sun exposure, using DIY hair treatments(like those that include vinegar, for example), and more.

Why won’t color stay in my hair?

Here’s the reader e-mail:


I get my hair colored silver/grey and I wait 3-4 days before I wash my hair. But when I do shampoo, which is with purple shampoo, a lot of it washes out and has a coppery color and then there are grey streaks as well. Is it possible to have hair that can’t be dyed?



Here’s my response:

Dear Anonymous,

It sounds like your hair wasn’t lightened enough before the semi-permanent color was applied. Silver/grey tones are tricky and take best when the hair is lighter.

Keep in mind that most of the time this color is applied with a deposit-only product, so it will not last as long because your hair isn’t really being “dyed”.

Purple shampoo is not meant to be used in this situation. It is for blondes and natural grey/white hair. It’s meant to reverse yellow/gold/copper tones and deposits on the hair.

It’s also a little more harsh like a clarifying or cleansing shampoo. It’s probably stripping the color rather than saving it.

You should be using a color care shampoo. I know you said that this happens at the first wash, so the shampoo may not make a difference until your hair is properly colored.


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Professional Hairstylist | American Board Certified Haircolorist | Makeup Artist | Beauty Blogger

6 Responses to Why won’t color stay in my hair?

  1. Aleah says:

    I use Joico, a mixture of 1N and 3N with equal parts developer. I let it process 45 minutes.

    I have tough gray around the temples and sideburn area. After about three days, the gray is showing again. What am I doing wrong?

    • Erika says:

      What volume of developer are you using? I use 30 volume for gray coverage and formulate for 1/2 shade darker than I would with 20 volume(this will result in the same color you get with 20 when you use 30).

      If you’re already doing that…you have a few easy options:

      1. Put some developer on the grays for about 10 minutes before applying the color.
      2. Use a gray coverage series hair color. This is the best option for stubborn grays. For example, you could use Redken Cover Fusion in 1NN and 3NN. Double N series are specifically for gray coverage!

  2. Jeanie Murray says:

    So im dying my friends hair purple. Not like a pastel, but A dark purple, and we are using good product and one that we have used before. She has a medium-dark hair but nothing too dark. We bleached it to lighten just a few shades. We put in the dye, rubbed it into her hair thoroughly, her hair was saturated with the dye, and jt looked like it was taking. After the time was up she went and rinsed and washed her hair and half her hair was dyed and the other half wasnt dyed at all. I am confused as to why some of it was dyed and some of it wasnt.

  3. Tina says:

    Have a client who is a level 7 .she wanted to be a 5n. I used a 5n with 20developer and when we shampooed and dried the hair was still a level 7 .the color did not deposit. Have never seen this happen before.

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