Ask the Experts: Your Hair Color Questions, Answered

We’ve asked the SmartStyle color experts your most pressing questions. Here are their answers:


Why does red fade faster than other colors?

The molecules in red dye are larger than those of other colors and don’t penetrate as well into the hair cuticle. That’s why reds are notorious for being the fastest fading shades, so you may have to visit your salon more frequently than women with other hues. Using products designed for color-treated hair and protecting your hair from the sun can help extend your color.

Highlighted hair
Redken Color Extend shampoo
A shampoo like Redken Color Extend can help keep your new hair color looking fresh longer.

How can I cover my gray without coloring the rest of my hair?

To hide grays, it’s actually best to dye your hair all over. But your colorist will likely use a demi-permanent hair color in a shade one level lighter than your natural hue. This method blends grays into the rest of your hair without making your base color look too dark. The bonus of a demi-permanent dye is that it gradually fades over time, so you won’t see a telltale regrowth line.


When my roots grow out, should I color just the top two inches?

Actually, no. You want to make sure that not only your roots are covered, but also that your hair stays all one color. This takes two steps. Your colorist should apply a demi-permanent shade in the desired hue to your roots, and then refresh the rest of your hair with a second dye that’s one shade lighter.


My hair color seems to fade or turn brassy no matter what I do. Why?

Oxidation (the way dye molecules change when exposed to air) and minerals in your water can turn dyed hair brassy. You can’t prevent it, but you can slow it by avoiding harsh shampoos, hot irons, and the sun, which all speed fading. A product that can help protect your colored locks is a thermal spray, like Hot Stop Style Primer Spray. To truly keep your hue the best it can be, come in for a touch-up every 4-6 weeks.

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