Obviously you wouldn’t purposely spend precious time and money to transform your hair color to a gorgeous shade of caramel or achieve perfect honey highlights only to ruin it the second you step out of the salon.

Unfortunately, many of the seemingly harmless aspects of your daily beauty routine — from showering to using your favorite hair products — may take a bigger toll on your dye job than you think. Here, all the things you should look out for to protect your hair color.

1. Water
While shampoo has long been deemed one of the main causes of premature fading, saturating strands with water alone can wreak havoc on dyed hair. Water swells the hair fiber and lifts the cuticle, allowing water-soluble dye molecules in the matrix of your hair to escape, And if your hair’s cuticle is compromised (which is most likely the case if you color it, heat-style it, and so on), it’s even more susceptible. If your hair is damaged, it swells more easily when wet, making dye even more likely to get out.

2. Heavy Styling Products
Although it seems counter-intuitive, some hair oils and shine serums that you often reach for to soften your over-processed strands could, over time, have the reverse effect. That’s because these types of formulas often contain ingredients like heavy silicones, that coat the outer cuticle layer of hair. Some types of silicones can build up on hair and when product builds up, it can also attract dirt and particulates from the air, all of which can cause color to look more dull even if it’s actually intact in the hair fiber.

3. Physical Aggression
Ripping through tangles with a brush or comb or constantly putting your hair up in tight ponytails and buns. Eventually, it damages the cuticle. Roughing up the hair is going to compromise the integrity of the structure itself, which means dye molecules will release out of strands and lead to your color fading much faster than it should. To help lessen the wear and tear, apply a light leave-in detangling or hydrating treatment daily on wet or dry strands to create better brush glide, and opt for softer, looser ponytails and buns.

4. Heat-Styling
Hot tools scorch strands — literally. And the more damaged the hair’s cuticle layer is, the more susceptible it is to allowing water absorption to increase the loss of color and make your hair’s hue appear dull. Even though the color molecules may be inside strands, when hair is damaged, the surface isn’t in great shape, so it’s not laying flat down to reflect light. The goal: to keep strands smooth and align the cuticle for a natural shine benefit.

5. Skipping Trims
Think about it — the ends of your strands are the oldest, which means they’ve had to withstand the most heat damage and chemical processing. Over time, the ends become more and more damaged. This is why the dye molecules take differently to this section of hair … not because of the split ends. The result: the bottom of your hair doesn’t have the same fresh color as the rest of your hair. Getting regular trims is recommended — every 10 to 12 weeks depending on the length and health of your hair — as well as using a treatment to help keep splits to a minimum.

6. Never Using Conditioner
Not only is using a daily rinse-out conditioner with hydrating styling products essential to keeping your color bright, using a hair mask, regardless of your texture, is crucial. Once you strengthen your hair and get it as close to its virgin state as you can, the easier it’s going to be to get the color that you want and the more choices you have in colors. When hair is extremely damaged from drastic color changes (like that time you went from blonde to black and back to brunette), it suddenly doesn’t hold onto dye as well and can end up looking ombré even thought it’s not.

7. UV Light
The sun’s rays can lead to the break down of hair’s matrix, which, as we now know, can exacerbate hair color fading along with a long list of other not-so-pretty side effects such as making hair dry, brittle, dull, and difficult to style. Unfortunately, hair products are yet to be laced with super effective sunscreen, so the best sun protection for hair is a wide-brimmed hat, says Mancuso. To help replenish lost moisture from over exposure to the sun’s UV rays, use a lightweight leave-in conditioner daily. We recommend applying a hydrating mask to damp hair before wrapping it up into a low bun or loose braid. This helps hide some strands from excessive UV exposure, especially the ends, which are the most prone to damage.

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Let’s find out – once and for all – what is the right temperature for washing hair in different circumstances. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using hot or cold water. If you’ve heard different suggestions from different people on this subject but can’t really put it all together, don’t worry and let me help you. I’ve made this neat little guide, so that you can understand what temperature is the best for your hair: hot, cold or maybe warm.

If you think that water temperature isn’t important, think again because it actually is. If you learn how to use water of different temperatures to your favor then it may really benefit your hair.

Washing Hair with Cold Water

– Well, you have one obvious drawback here – it’s much more unpleasant to take a cold shower to your head than a hot one. However, there are some cases where cold water is definitely the best choice for your hair and you may consider tolerating some of that coldness in exchange for several key hair care benefits.

– Before we get started with all the good stuff, let me tell you about another disadvantage of this whole cold water thing – It can reduce the volume of your hair. Yes, that’s true, so if you’re afraid of it then think twice before adding cold water to your hair-washing routine. This fact could definitely be a concern for all those girls who have naturally thin hair.

Now, the cons aren’t so bad, right? Let’s proceed with the pros!

+ It makes your hair shinier and saves you from frizz. Rinsing your hair with cold water helps with closing your cuticle after your hair is washed. Open cuticle is good while shampooing or conditioning your hair but after you’re done, you want to seal the cuticle, so that your hair doesn’t get damaged too easily. If you use cold water for your final rinse then there’s a much better chance that your hair will stay shiny, healthy and frizz-free for a longer period of time.

+ It makes your scalp cleaner. Just like with closing the hair cuticle, cold water also shuts your pores. Both things are really similar actually – you want open pores when washing hair but closed pores after you’ve finished. It’s because closed pores are much less vulnerable than open ones. What it means is that by rinsing your hair with cold water you protect the scalp pores from things like dirt, grease and oil. If your pores are sealed then you are also much less likely to be suffering from hair shedding.

+ It improves the blood circulation to your scalp. When you’re cold your blood moves faster and your capillaries widen to warm you up. That way your scalp and hair roots get all the valuable nutrients they need to stay healthy. Another thing to mention here is that poor blood circulation can contribute to causing hair loss. You don’t want that, do you?
Washing Hair with Hot Water

Now that we have gone through all the positive and negative aspects of washing hair with cold water, let’s see why hot water is or isn’t good for your hair.

It can make your hair easy to break. When exposed to hot water, your hair can become much more resilient than it actually should be. If you comb it or brush it right after applying hot water then be aware that it’s really easy to break some hair by doing so in these circumstances.

It can weaken the hair roots. If you use very hot water when washing hair then you can do serious damage to your hair roots and let me tell you, it can sure cause a lot of problems later on. Why? Because if your roots are weakened then your hair starts to curl, becomes more frizzy and can be in danger of premature graying.

Yep, hot water can be damaging to your hair but there is one huge advantage of hot showers that you just can’t overlook.

+ It helps with cleaning your hair. An important reason why you need to use hot water when washing your hair was already discussed earlier on in this article. If cold water closes the hair cuticle then hot water opens it up and it needs to be open when you cleanse and condition. Then you can easily remove any dirt, build-up and oils from your hair and be sure that your hair will effectively absorb everything you put in it.
Summary

So, let’s get everything together and sum it up because we need an answer to the question asked in the title of the article: What is the best temperature for washing hair? That’s what you came here for, right?

The thing is that hot water can be quite harmful at times but you also shouldn’t use solely cold water for washing your hair. The best strategy for most girls would probably be to use warm water instead of hot when shampooing and conditioning. Don’t apply cold water at that point because you want the scalp pores and the hair cuticle to be open. If you feel like there’s particularly much grease and oil in your hair then you may turn the water from warm to hot in order to really open up everything and get those things out but remember that frequent use of very hot water is damaging and you have to be careful. Use cold water only for your final rinse in order to seal everything after you’re done and remember that it doesn’t have to be ice-cold – choose a temperature that you can tolerate.

Discussion

Do you prefer using warm, hot or cold water for washing your hair? Are you going to change something after reading this article?