Color Expert: Why Does Hair Color Fade?

Color Expert: Why Does Hair Color Fade?

You spend a lot on your color. We get it, which is why Colorproof exists. Our sole reason for being is to keep your hair healthy, radiant and with lasting color vibrancy long after you leave the salon. To live up to this promise, we tackle all the reasons hair color fades with a 360-degree approach to color care. So, let’s back up for a moment and take a closer look each of these causes: 

What Causes Hair Color to Fade?
Hair color can fade due to a variety of factors, including frequent washing and styling, using products containing sulfates, added salts, and even alcohols, exposure to sunlight, UVA and UVB rays, and even minerals in your water, chlorine and other chemicals. Here’s a deep dive into each cause…


What are Sulfates, and Why are They Bad?
Sulfates are a type of surfactant, or a substance that helps to remove dirt and oil from the hair. They are traditionally used in shampoos, soaps and other hair care products as foaming agents. However, sulfates can be harsh on hair, especially for those who have color-treated hair. They can strip the hair of its natural oils and color molecules, causing accelerated fadeage and damage. Additionally, sulfates can cause irritation and dryness of the scalp. Luckily for customers, in the last decade or so, most professional haircare manufacturers now recognize this and now steer clear of using sulfates in their formulas. Not all sulfate-free surfactants are created equal, however. Extremely mild versions do exist. Colorproof always uses an extra gentle blend of sulfate-free surfactants derived from Coconut and Palm to gently cleanse while maintaining hair and color integrity. Sulfate-free is just the tip of the iceberg; however. Read on to learn more about how Colorproof combats other factors bringing on the fade.



What You Need to Know About Salt…
Salt (Sodium Chloride) is often added to beauty formulations, such as shampoos and body scrubs, as a thickening agent and to provide a gentle exfoliating effect (obvi, something you don’t want for your color). Salt can help to increase the lather of a product, making it feel more luxurious on the skin and hair, however, salt can be extremely drying and damaging to the hair and skin. It can strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle, and can also cause color fading or damage, which is why Colorproof NEVER adds salt to our formulations.



How about Sunlight and UVA/UVB Exposure?
While the sun provides us with essential Vitamin D, it is one of hair color’s biggest enemies. UV exposure and sunlight can cause hair color to fade by way of free radicals. These unstable molecules damage cells and break down the pigments in the hair. UV rays can penetrate the hair shaft and cause the color molecules to degrade, leading to fading or discoloration. Sunlight can also cause the hair to become dry and brittle, making it more susceptible to damage. 

Antioxidants work to protect hair color by neutralizing free radicals before they can cause harm. As part of our color defense, Colorproof includes our antioxidant-rich, Advanced Color Last System in every single product. It includes potent antioxidants derived from sunflowers and

Vitamins A, C and E to counteract external damage from environmental stressors so it can retain moisture, strength, softness and color vibrancy. This takes color protection well beyond shampoos and conditioners and through every step of your haircare routine.



Chlorine and Hard-Water Minerals
Think twice before you take the plunge. Chlorine and other chemicals found in swimming pools and salt water can discolor hair and cause hair color to fade due to their oxidizing properties. Hard water minerals, such as iron and magnesium, can also cause hair to look dull or discolored. This is because minerals can build-up on the hair and react with hair color, causing it to fade or change. The key is not to leave these minerals and chemicals on your hair. Colorproof Essentials Collection has two incredible formulas to help shield hair from these color-fading culprits. Pre-Tox Spray is a pre-shampoo treatment that gently and easily filters away hard-water minerals, chemicals and environmental pollutants. Simply spray on dry hair before shampooing, wait 1-3 minutes to activate, followed by your normal shampoo and conditioning routine. Clear It Up Shampoo is a gentle clarifying shampoo to remove color-dulling build-up and impurities to reveal amazing clean and vibrant hair. Keep these two on hand as part of your color maintenance plan.



The Scoop on Alcohol
Products containing certain types of alcohol can fade hair color by stripping the hair of its natural oils and dehydrating the hair shaft. When the hair is dry and brittle, it is more susceptible to fading. Alcohol can also cause the hair cuticles to rise, making it easier for color molecules to escape. Additionally, some forms of alcohol, such as isopropyl alcohol, can be harsh and abrasive on the hair, causing color to fade more quickly. Note: not all alcohols are “bad.” Some forms of alcohol, such as Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl alcohol, are often used as emulsifiers or thickening agents in hair care products and are considered to be "good" alcohols. These types of alcohols are derived from natural sources and can help to add moisture and improve the texture of the hair. These are the ‘good guys,’ so don’t be alarmed.



How Does Heat Styling Contribute?
Heat styling, such as blow-drying, flat ironing, and curling, can cause hair color to fade by breaking down the pigments in the hair. High heat causes hair cuticles to open allowing color molecules to escape. This can cause color to fade or appear uneven. Additionally, heat styling can also cause damage to the hair structure, leaving it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage, which can further contribute to color fading (see below).


It's important to use heat protectant products before heat styling to help reduce the amount of damage caused by the high temperatures. Colorproof’s leave-in formulas are formulated with a thermal-protecting blend, including Pea Protein, which envelopes hair, shielding it from heat damage while helping dissipate static electricity and flyaways. We also recommend using a low heat setting and avoiding applying heat to the hair too frequently.



Damaged Hair Fades Faster.
Did you know that if your hair is damaged, dry or brittle, it is less likely to hold onto color? This is because damaged hair has a porous structure, which means that the cuticle (the outermost layer of the hair strand) is raised and no longer tightly bound together. This increased porosity allows color molecules to more easily escape from the hair strand, resulting in color fading more quickly. Additionally, damaged hair can have a reduced ability to retain moisture, which can also lead to color fading. Furthermore, damaged hair can also show uneven color because the hair's cuticle is open, and the color molecules can penetrate the hair strand unevenly. This can cause color to look patchy or deliver uneven results. Ughhh.

With Colorproof, our products are designed to strengthen, repair and deliver optimum hair health so when your colorist does her job, your hair is ready and able to accept and hold onto that color. Our Protein Power Complex* (also part of our Advanced Color Last System) combines powerful Amaranth and Pea Proteins to deeply nourish, rejuvenate and restore youthful brilliance. Amaranth, high in lysine and squalene, acts as a natural hair strengthener, locks in moisture and helps protect against breakage. Pea protein, rich in essential amino acids, creates a protective structure to help prevent the cuticle from cracking while boosting moisture retention in each strand for increased elasticity. In every CP product, this intuitive Complex will keep hair in optimum condition for lasting color vibrancy. 


The Wrap-Up.

While most manufacturers claim to be “color-safe” because they are merely sulfate-free, we know maintaining color vibrancy involves a whole lot more. Colorproof goes beyond just being ‘color safe’ by defending hair against EVERY color fade trigger. We got you covered so you can shine on boldly and brilliantly. The proof is in your color.

Curious which Colorproof products are right for you? Take our quiz and we’ll help create your perfect color-loving mix whether you are shopping for a blue hair shampoo, the best formula for keeping your balayage brilliant, or a super shine treatment! We’ve got you!





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