Strand & Lock

How to take care of highlighted hair

Whether you’re thinking about getting highlights or already have them, you probably want to know how you can better look after them.

Post-treatment everyone wants their locks to stay looking just as fabulous, so it is key to protect your new highlights and nourish the hair.

If you want to maintain your new look, we’ve got some useful tips to make sure you keep your highlights looking bright and healthy.

Read on for the best care for highlighted hair.

Why do you need to look after highlighted hair?

Highlighting is a lightening process that most commonly uses bleach. When bleach is applied to the hair, the hair cuticle is opened to remove the natural or coloured pigment in the hair.

This can result in the hair becoming more porous, which can lead to:

  • Yellowing/dullness

  • Dryness

So, does highlighting cause damage?

Highlighting causes minimal damage as the bleach does not coat every strand of hair. By following our tips, you can keep your highlights bright and your hair healthy.

Immediate aftercare tips

1. Wait as long as possible (at least 24-48 hours) before washing your hair

This is especially important if you have received a toner with your highlights. The hair cuticle layer has been opened which means any colour can be washed away more easily. Post highlights, it can take up to three days for the cuticle to close!

By waiting to shampoo, you are allowing that colour to be fully absorbed into the hair. This will ensure your highlights stay bright and at the tone you want them to.

2. When you do get around to washing it, use a moisturising, sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner

After highlights, it is important to maintain moisture in the hair. Not only can highlights dry out your hair, but re-adding moisture actually helps to keep the colour locked in place.

We recommend something like the Aveda Nutriplenish Deep Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. Its rich and decadent formula of potent plant butter and oils gently cleanses without stripping hair.

The range is also sulphate-free (sulphate is the ingredient used to help produce a foaming reaction). Sulphates strip the hair of natural oils and moisture, and in turn, can run the risk of fading your beautiful highlights.

3. Apply hair masks for extra moisture

Hair masks can leave the hair feeling incredibly soft. We love Aveda’s Dry Remedy Moisturising masque, which has a patented deep-moisture complex featuring buriti oil.

An intensive mask will moisturise and help seal in intense hydration to your recently highlighted locks, leaving them feeling soft, supple and looking shiny. We recommend using one at least once a week.

Long term at-home maintenance

1. Wash hair less frequently 

As we’ve already mentioned, make sure to wash hair less frequently to maintain your bright colour. You should not be washing your hair every day if you want your highlights to last longer, because you’ll be washing away a little bit of your hair dye each time you do. To keep your natural oils that moisturise and maintain your hair colour, try washing the hair every other day or 2-3 times a week.

If you’re struggling between washes, invest in a good dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is the perfect quick-fix to revamp the hair without washing it. Our go-to is Aveda’s Shampure dry shampoo, which is suitable for all hair types and revives hair using naturally derived powders that absorb excess oil and impurities.

2. Use a purple shampoo 

A great way to ensure your blonde highlights stay bright is to use a purple or silver shampoo. The colour will counteract yellow and brassy tones. However, you should avoid using these too often as they can dry out your hair if used frequently, but they are a great way to maintain your colour.

3. Turn down the water temperature 

If you’re a fan of taking hot showers, be wary that hot water is not great for your new highlights. Using hot water opens your hair’s cuticle, which not only means the natural oils in your hair can be stripped away more easily (causing dryness), but also the colour can be stripped away a lot faster too. So, on hair wash days, ensure that the water is not too hot.

Use slightly warm water for shampooing and rinse with cold water after conditioning to reseal the cuticle. This will allow for a deep cleanse and lock in the moisture.

4. Use fewer heat tools 

Highlighted hair is more prone to damage as the hair cuticle has been opened up. Using hairdryers, straighteners and curling irons can cause a lot of damage, so try to use them less frequently. When you do use them, we always recommend using a heat protectant.

Aveda’s brilliant damage control is great as a pre-styling treatment and will protect hair from the hazards of combing and heat styling. The spray even protects against UV damage, which will help reduce moisture loss from the sun and maintain colour.

Maintenance at the salon

1. Get regular trims 

Is your hair looking dry at the ends? Often dry ends in the long term are unavoidable after a hair lightening process. Regularly getting cuts at the salon can help to keep hair appearing healthy, even baby trims!

2. Prepare your hair for the next highlight appointment

The day before your next colour appointment at the salon, use a clarifying shampoo. By stripping the hair of any oils, you are ensuring that your colour will penetrate your hair’s cuticle more deeply.

Our favourite is Aveda’s brilliant shampoo, which uses plant-derived cleansers to wash away product build-up and debris. Plant oils also deeply nourish the hair fibre and enhance shine.

3. Come back to the salon every 6-8 weeks 

If you want to maintain your highlights, root growth will need to be touched up. We recommend booking every 6-8 weeks depending on how fast your hair grows. It is important not to over-process the hair, so highlighting the hair frequently could compromise the condition of your hair.

Highlighting at Strand & Lock

If you’re thinking about getting highlights or looking to add some long-lasting bright tones to your hair, book now for when salons open or get in touch with us if you have any questions.

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