Woman choosing new hair color from salon swatch book

How Water Temperature & Quality Affect Colored Hair

After looking online for inspiration and researching trending hair colors, you finally chose a flattering new hue and booked an appointment with a stylist. Whether you brighten your natural shade or embrace something more adventurous, the longevity and vibrancy of your new hair color depend on your at-home hair care regimen. If you wonder, "Why does my hair color fade so fast?" a few days or weeks after a dye job, the temperature and quality of the water you use while shampooing and conditioning could be the answer. 

Why Water Temperature Matters

The ideal water temperature for taking a shower is debated. Some people prefer the invigorating feeling of standing under ice-cold water, while others prefer the relaxing sensation of a hot shower. However, when washing dyed hair, your personal water temperature preferences may not be beneficial for preserving that new hair color. Rinsing with hot water isn’t ideal because it causes each strand's outer cuticle to rise, creating openings for the pigment to seep out.

How Water Quality Contributes to Fading

When color-treated hair is exposed to hard water, the high concentration of magnesium, calcium, and other dissolved minerals can negatively affect your tresses. Hard water creates a film that coats the strands, making it difficult for the new hue to last. The minerals can also lift the outer cuticle, dulling the color and increasing the likelihood of hair breakage. Additionally, the mineral deposits can alter the pigment of your hair, causing sun-kissed blonde locks to turn yellow or orange, and darker shades to appear orange or reddish.

While shampoos and conditioners may lather better in soft water, people with fine or oily hair may find that it can also leave behind product residue. Washing your hair frequently to revive it can cause color loss. 

Chlorine is a common enemy of hair color, too. The chemical is present in hard and soft water, commonly used as a disinfectant to treat water supplies. It contains bleach, which can break down the hair dye and cause the natural pigment to fade. Take precautions before jumping into a swimming pool if you have bleached hair. Hard minerals in the water oxidize when exposed to chlorine. The oxidized minerals can turn these intentionally lightened locks green

How to Keep Hair Color from Fading

Use Cold Water

Woman braiding red hair

Although it may take time to adjust to washing your hair in colder water, your locks will thank you in the long run. Cold water doesn't have the same effect on hair as hot water does. Instead of causing a strand to swell and the outer cuticle layer to lift, cold water closes the cuticle to prevent the dye from escaping. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with icy showers every time—it's okay to shampoo and condition using warm water and then lower the temperature to rinse.

Wash Less Often

In addition to water temperature, wash frequency also affects the longevity of dyed hair. Can you wash your hair after dyeing it? Yes, but not immediately. It takes some time for the outer cuticle layer to close and lock in the pigment. For this reason, it's best to wait 24 to 72 hours before lathering up.

Washing your hair daily is not recommended, as water can affect the pH balance of your strands. This can cause the outer cuticle to pull away and allow the deposited color to fade. A better approach is to shampoo your hair every other day while using dry shampoo in between to prevent oil buildup. It is also vital to avoid rinsing your hair too often, as this can increase the risk of fading. To reduce the odds, tilt your head back and let the water cascade over your hair to wash away the shampoo and conditioner thoroughly.

Invest in a Filtered Shower Head

To improve your water quality so it doesn't ruin your hair color, update the shower heads in your home. Unlike standard models, filtered shower heads contain carbon media that extract hard minerals, chlorine, and other hair-harming substances from the water before they reach your mane.

Canopy is your choice for reimagined household devices that effortlessly optimize your home for beauty and wellness, from your bedroom oasis to your active family spaces. And we’re ready to help you upgrade one of the most important parts of your routine—the shower. Our new easy-to-install filtered shower head reduces dissolved minerals, added chlorine, and other contaminants in your household water, providing clean water that supports healthy skin and hair. Say goodbye to dull skin, brittle hair, and flaky scalp and hello to healthy skin and scalp and longer-lasting hair color.