5 Hair Color Preservation Rules For Brunettes

Being blonde is my calling. I was a blonde, curly-haired child and--even though my natural color eventually went brown--I maintain myself as a blonde, curly haired adult.

Whenever I dabble in brunette I know it won't last--in a couple of months I'll be back in my hairdresser's chair for a full head of highlights. But this time I've gone brunette and I'm sticking to it, at least until my natural color grows out and I have a blank canvas to do who knows what with.

Unlike in the past, I actually need to maintain my rich brown hair color this go-round. (I've got stubborn blonde natural color underneath that's clawing to get out, which is part of the reason I went dark brown this time.) Here’s what I've learned about looking after my delicious brown hair.

1. Lay Off The Shampoo

I only wash my hair when it's necessary. And luckily, since my hair isn't oily (thanks, bleach), it isn't necessary that often. If I get a little itch on my scalp or become oily I know I've gone too long.

It's a good idea to get your hair acclimated to a lesser shampoo schedule. Show it who's boss. And when you do wash your hair, use lukewarm water so as not to watch your hair dye swirl down the drain.

2. Protect Against The Sun

Your skin isn’t the only thing that needs protection from the sun. Because UV rays fade artificial pigments, there are a ton of SPF hair products out there. I get my UV protection from VO5 Extra Hold Hairspray.

Alternatively, a hat works.

3. Switch Your Products Up

You don't have to change EVERYTHING you put in your hair, but a little color protection in a shampoo/conditioner can go a long way. I no longer just buy the first shampoo that says “extremely dry, damaged, hopeless hair.” Instead, I look for the one that also says “color safe” or “color protect,” like Moroccanoil's Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner.

4. Go Au Naturel

I have tried a billion products--expensive, cheap, cult status-y--on my hair, and none of them have had any lasting impact. Although I'm not a great DIYer, there are a couple of hair recipes that have made a huge difference in my hair. Firstly, my beloved egg yolk and olive oil hair mask. It made my hair feel thicker, silkier, and sexier. And yes, the smell is 100% worth it.

Another DIY thing I do is an extremely simply castor oil mask. I know people traditionally use castor oil on their scalp to help their hair grow, but I mix it with a dash of olive oil and a tiny bit of conditioner and use it on my ends. Leave it on for as long as possible before washing your hair. You won't be able to stop touching your hair afterwards! And it will be stronger.

I've also heard that black coffee rinses can protect and restore brunette hair color, but my hairdresser says marjoram tea works better.

5. Glaze Is Your Friend

Instead of re-dyeing your hair a million times, you can use a gloss or a glaze. For those who aren't familiar, a gloss deposits color and lasts longer, while a glaze lends shine and is more translucent and temporary. I recommend John Frieda Clear Shine Luminous Glaze ($8.99) because it’s budget-friendly and easy to use on any and all hair colors. In three minutes your color will look brand new.

Now I want to hear from all you brunettes out there--natural or otherwise. How do you care for your hair? What are your favorite products? Have you tried a marjoram tea rinse?