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Bring dye-, bleach-, and highlight-damaged hair back from the brink with these at-home and in-salon treatments.
Written By Jess Basser Sanders
Solutions for Color Treated Hair | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey

— PHOTOGRAPHY BY GUY AROCH FOR THE VIOLET FILES


BEAUTY CREDITS
FASHION CREDITS
  • STYLING BY LIZ MCLEAN
  • DEMYLEE TOP
Call it a true beauty conundrum: While gray-banishing root touch-ups and warm winter highlights make life feel brighter, over time they can also leave your hair a little bit dull. Long-term dyers know the occupational hazards of constant coloring—fading, breakage, split ends, and drying, to name a few. But The Violet Files very much believes in having it all, so we consulted experts on the best in-salon and at-home treatments to keep color-treated locks lush and lustrous.
Below, colorist Chelsey Pickthorn of Pickthorn hair studio (aka the woman New York’s most discerning model bookers keep on speed dial for editorial-worthy hair transformations during Fashion Week) reveals the best options on salon menus, while Violet Grey flagship director and hair-color expert Merrady Wickes weighs in on protecting and powering up colored hair at home.

Post-COLOR
ESSENTIALS


 

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This pre-shampoo treatment specifically addresses any breakage and dryness resulting from one double process too many. The extremely hydrating formula delivers moisture straight to the hair cuticle and provides instant bounce. Results improve even more with regular use.

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Protecting hair from the elements is crucial, as sun, chlorine, and saltwater can fade and damage the new color (and your hair). Leonor Greyl’s L’Huile has natural UV filters, which prevent fading when you’re in the sun. Says Wickes, “It’s great if you know you’re going to be in the sun—just massage it into your hair.” Doing laps in the pool instead? The sustainably sourced, palm oil–based formula solidifies slightly when wet and protects the hair cuticle.

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Using the right products for keeping color salon-perfect after that first blissful week is essential. Wickes cautions that coloring can cause blondes and brunettes to go brassy, reds to fade, and grays to yellow. Wickes likes Sachajuan’s purple-hued shampoo and conditioner to prevent these disaster scenarios. “Think of the color wheel,” she explains. “Purple is opposite yellow, so it keeps brassy tones at bay in blond and gray hair, and it brightens up reds and browns.”  

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Overshampooing is one of the biggest causes of color fading. Stretch out the days between washes with a good dry shampoo. Wickes recommends René Furterer’s Naturia aerosol, which, she says, “really absorbs and isn’t too white.” It also hits the perfect note between texturizing and drying. As Wickes explains, “If hair is coarse, dry, or damaged from coloring in the first place, it gets too dry when you put a lot of texture on it. This version gives a tiny bit of texture, but not too much.”

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Pickthorn uses a range of in-salon treatments from Italian line Davines to restore to health dry or otherwise beleaguered scalps and strands. Calming Superactive helps soften and soothe irritated scalps, as does the Royal Jelly Superactive, which is packed with the protein- and vitamin-rich super-ingredient (made by bees!). “It’s really great for hair that’s overprocessed from heavy lightening or previous chemical damage,” she says. She also calls out Davines’ Replumping Hair Filler Superactive, which plumps hair strands from the inside out: “It’s like Botox for the hair!”
DAVINES
Royal Jelly Superactive

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A cult favorite of colorists everywhere, Olaplex (which Pickthorn calls her “insurance policy”) is a three-step salon-only treatment that builds up the broken bonds in hair that result from chemical color processes. The first step is mixed in with color, the second after rinsing, and the third comes home to continue strengthening hair and ensuring it’s in the best shape possible for the next go-round. “I mix it with my lighteners and especially my double processors. It’s a great addition,” Pickthorn says.
Olaplex

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Pickthorn likens the Ten Mask—which she uses in the salon and also sends home with clients—to “putting butter on your hair, in the best way possible.” Ultra-hydrating and moisturizing, the mask contains ten active ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, Italian white truffle oil, and Champagne-quality grape seed oil. Results are almost instantaneous, according to Pickthorn, lending hair shine, strength, and color retention.
ALTERNA
TEN MASK

COLOR-EXTEND
TIPS

Do’s and Don’ts from the EXPERTS
Solutions for Color Treated Hair | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey
PICKTHORN’S SALON RULES: 
Don’t be foiled... Opt for a painting approach to color rather than foils, which can lead to overprocessing.
 
Hydrate... Moisturizing treatments maximize color retention, not to mention shine and strength.
WICKES’S AT-HOME RULES:
Wait it out... Hold off on that post–dye job wash for as long as possible. Then, increase the time between washes by using dry shampoo. 

Choose wisely... Use sulfate-free shampoos to prolong your color.

Wear sunblock...UV-filtering products are key to maintaining color and overall hair health.

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