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Hair Color Fading After One Week? What Could Be Wrong?

Is there anything better than walking out of the salon with the exact shade and tone you were picturing for your gorgeous, blown-out tresses? We know the feeling!

Getting a color treatment or even just a quick balayage touch-up can be a boost of confidence for anyone.

The only thing that can rain on your parade after a refreshing coloring job is when, just a week or two after your appointment, your hair starts to dull in color or even – gasp! – start fading with no explanation.

This happens to many people, which is why it’s important for any hair color lover to know the most common reasons why your new shade could start fading quickly.

As long as you know what to watch out for, you have a better chance of extending the lifespan of your new color.

hair color fading after one week

So, Why Is Hair Color Fading After One Week?

Here are seven reasons why your hair color can start fading just a week after getting your hair done, and what you should do to avoid being in such a situation.


You’re Using The Wrong Hair Dye

If you experience premature fading after an at-home dye session, a possible culprit could be the use of the wrong type of dye.

There are many hair color treatments in the drugstore aisle, all with different benefits and claims for longevity.

So, it can be quite confusing picking the correct one for your needs.

There are basically three common types of hair dyes out there.

The first is temporary color, which fades immediately when you shampoo your hair.

This type of dye merely coats your hair instead of penetrating the cuticle, making it super easy to wash away.

Then we have semi-permanent color, which can last around four to eight weeks, depending on how often you shampoo your hair.

Lastly, we have permanent dye, which is made with ammonia and peroxide to enter deep into your cuticle for long-lasting color that lasts many months.

Picking out the right dye for you is one of the most crucial parts of coloring your hair.

Temporary color is not the best fit for someone who wants their color to last forever, and picking out a permanent dye to try out a color for the first time is not what I’d recommend.

If your color starts fading in just a few weeks, double-check your dye’s packaging to see how long it’s good for.

Many temporary and semi-permanent dyes can fade very quickly, especially if they’re from brands that aren’t that renowned.

Next time, if you want your color to last as long as possible and you’re sure about the shade, try going for permanent dye instead.


You’re Dyeing Your Hair A Deep, Vibrant Red

But it’s not always the dye’s fault if your hair color starts fading quicker than anticipated.

Sometimes, it’s the color you choose that could lead to such a problem.

A bright, firetruck red, for example, is notorious for washing out more easily than the usual blondes, brunettes, and blacks.

It’s a gorgeous, vibrant color that could fit anyone with a fiery soul and big personality.

However, the cold, hard truth is that you should reconsider it if you don’t want it to fade fast.

Artificial red pigments are known to be super finicky not just in hair dye, but in all cosmetics.

That’s why your red lipstick often stains your mouth and takes a while to wash away!

But it has the opposite effect in hair dye – it’s shampooed out easily because it doesn’t adhere to the strands as well as other colors.

This is because red color molecules are innately larger than that of other hair colors.

hair color fading after one week

Because of that, it has a hard time penetrating deep into your hair cortex, especially if you have less porous locks.

Instead of entering your actual strands, the red molecules could end up just sitting on the surface of your hair.

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your gorgeous, eye-catching red shade.

You can still take extra measures to ensure your red stays as vibrant and glossy as ever.

One thing you can do is use a color-depositing shampoo and conditioner once a week to “re-dye” it and enhance the red.


You’re Washing Every Single Day With A Harsh Shampoo

The main reason your color fades gradually is that you wash your hair.

As you shampoo your locks, you gradually rub away some of the pigment in your strands.

That’s why hair dye packages usually have a claim that goes along the lines of “good for x washes!”

So one obvious game plan for prolonging your hair color is to just not wash your hair as often.

This will save your hair color and keep it more moisturized since shampooing too much will dehydrate your strands and make them more brittle.

Try spacing out your wash days by two or three days.

Color fading because of frequent shampooing is even worse when you use shampoos that contain sulfates.

Sulfates are harsh cleaning agents that can strip your hair of the natural sebum that keeps it shiny and moisturized.

So if you use them daily, your hair is bound to thin out and feel super dry.

Sulfates are also a nightmare for colored hair.

They’re basically what washes away the pigments in your locks.

And more than that, they can also irritate the scalp by encouraging flakiness.

Related Post: Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo For Permed Hair


You’re Rinsing With Scalding Hot Water

So now, you have the perfect, sulfate-free shampoo on your bathroom shelf.

But that doesn’t mean your showers are already fade-proof.

Another factor of premature color fading in the shower is the kind of water you use – specifically, what its temperature is.

Anything that is hot will strip your hair of colored pigments.

That goes for heat styling and the sun (more on those later!), but it also applies to the water in your shower.

If you use scalding hot water to rinse your hair, you’re going to dry your locks out and speed up the process of fading your new hair color.

This is because hot water will force your hair cuticles to open up.

hair color fading after one week

When that happens, the colored pigments trapped in them start to escape and be washed down the drain.

So, you should do the opposite.

Rinse your hair with cold water to seal the cuticles, keeping your color in.

Yes, super hot showers are relaxing after a long day, especially in the colder months.

But this tiny sacrifice will allow your color to go a long way, so it’s absolutely worth it to turn your temperature down as you wash your locks.


You’re Heat-Styling And Going Under The Sun Without Protection

In the same way as hot water, high-temperature levels from heat styling with tools like flat irons and curling wands will hasten the fading process in colored hair.

Not only will they make your color deteriorate in just a few days or weeks, but they’ll also fry and weaken your strands.

When your hair comes into contact with your heat stylers, the natural moisture coating evaporates, leaving it thirsty and straw-like in texture.

The best way to go about this fact is to avoid heat styling completely.

But we all know that’s not very sustainable.

So when you can’t fight the temptation to quit heat styling, it’s pertinent that you use a heat protectant before you take any hot tools to your colored strands.

The harsh UV rays of the sun work the same way.

When they hit your head when you’re walking outside with no SPF for your hair, they can quicken the fading of your color.

If you can, wear a hat or beanie when you go outdoors.

Better yet, use a leave-in spray that provides your hair with SPF.

One terrific hair sunscreen we love is the COOLA Organic Scalp Spray & Hair Sunscreen Mist.

This mist is the perfect leave-in to spritz into your hair before you walk out the door each morning.

It nourishes parched strands with a blend of hydrating botanicals while locking in your color with SPF.

It’s enriched with monoi oil, panthenol, and gotu kola extracts to strengthen and condition your strands.

They also help add luminosity to your locks for extra shine.

Recommended Post: Best UV Protection For Color-Treated Hair


You Don’t Seal Your Hair Cuticles After Styling

If you’ve made it this far into the article, you’ll probably have an idea that the main reason why color fades is that it escapes your cuticles because of a stimulus, like heat or harsh chemicals.

One way to get around this problem, especially after washing and styling your hair, is to seal your cuticles.

We already talked about cool water helping in sealing and smoothening your hair cuticles in the shower.

But there are other ways to seal them, too.

One of them is by using the cool shot button on your hairdryer after giving yourself a salon-like blowout.

This locks in not just your cuticles, but the waves and volume you just styled.

Another way to seal your cuticles once you’re done styling your hair is by using a finishing oil on your hair.

In addition to locking in your color and the moisture from your other products, it also prevents frizz and adds shine.

The Herstyler Hair Repair Serum is an excellent example of a finishing oil that can do all those things.

It’s formulated with argan oil, which is loved in the hair community for its ability to hydrate and add luster and gloss to lifeless strands.

It also has aloe vera and vitamin E to soften and smoothen the hair.

All you have to do is rub some of this oil serum into your hair after styling.

Concentrate your application to the ends of your hair, which are likely the driest part.


You Expose Your Hair To Chlorine And Other Mineral Deposits

If you’re an avid swimmer or have been hitting the pool more often over vacation, then chlorine build-up could be another reason why your hair color is fading so fast.

Not only will it fade your gorgeous color, but it may also leave a blue-green tint on your locks.

Hair experts will usually recommend for you to clarify your hair to get rid of chlorine in your hair.

But you must remember that using harsh shampoos will wash away your color.

Instead, just make it a point to rinse the chlorine out with water after getting out of the pool before your hair dries.

Another culprit of mineral build-up is hard water, which is common in the shower pipes of so many cities.

Hard water is laced with contaminants like magnesium and calcium, which can dehydrate and weaken the hair.

Because of all that, hard water also fades color faster.

One way to get around having hard water at home is to use a shower filter or have a water softening system installed.

This will filter out all the minerals in your water, leaving you with pure, clean water.

That type of water is ideal for preventing premature fading and lessening damage to colored strands.



Sure, it’s fun to flaunt your new hair color at a night out or through Instagram selfies.

But on top of just enjoying and admiring your beautiful new shade, you should also keep an eye out for things that could result in hair color fading after one week.

If you love color treatments at home or your favorite salon, you should be prepared enough and keep these seven reasons for premature color fading in mind.

Make sure you’re extra vigilant in not letting them get in the way of you and your fresh new look.

As long as you know what to watch out for and how to prevent and combat those issues, you’re golden.

Always look out for your hair and what could damage it.

This will help your color stay intact for months to come.

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