12 Ways to have great hair (and save money, too!)

After steadfastly sticking to my god-given color my entire adult life, I finally succumbed to the lure of the bottle-and quickly became exasperated by the time commitment and cost. Luckily Prevention's Beauty Director filled me on a bunch of easy ways to spread time between dye jobs and keep my color looking richer longer. So whether you're a do-it-yourself dyer (my preference) or have your color guy on speed dial, here are a few ways to save cash and stretch out time between sessions.

Before You Color

Wash with a clarifying shampoo a day prior to dyeing. Stronger detergents remove excess product buildup, so color penetrates deeper and lasts longer.

Choose fade-resistant shades such as blonde or brunette. Reds wash away a week or two faster because they contain smaller color molecules, which escape from hair more easily.

Pick the right formula. Demipermanents stay up to 28 shampoos, and permanent colors don't rinse out but fade over time. Highlights-from a pro or an at-home kit-buy you the most time.

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After You Color

Wait 48 hours to shampoo. Dye molecules need time to set into strands, so resist the urge to scrub.

Cleanse with a shampoo for color-treated hair, which contains gentler detergents, and rinse with tepid water, since hot water expands the cuticle, contributing to fading.

Install a showerhead water purifier. Tap water contains chlorine, which is a bleaching agent. Even well water has minerals like copper that coat the hair and alter its hue.

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Use a conditioner or styling aid with built-in sunscreens to prevent the sun from stripping your shade.

Spritz on a thermal protection spray before styling. Polymers prevent heat from penetrating hair and breaking down the dye molecules.

Switch to an ionic blow-dryer, which has tourmaline, a type of stone that generates negative ions that reduce frizz and cut dulling drying time in half.

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On a Regular Basis

Apply a conditioning mask once weekly. The added hydration strengthens strands, making them less prone to environmental damage that causes fading. Also, creating a smooth surface helps hair better reflect light, making color look more vibrant.

Three weeks postcoloring, switch to a color-enhancing shampoo every other time you wash. Available in shades ranging from light blonde to dark brunette, these formulas contain ingredients like cocoa beans and sunflower seed extract that brighten your hue and subtly disguise grays.

Monthly, use an at-home glaze or gloss (available in clear and tinted formulas) to add high-wattage shine and intensify a fading shade. I like to think if it like a topcoat of polish on your hair.

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