How Often Should We Really Be Going Into The Salon For Hair Color Touch-Ups?

So, you've just left the salon rocking a new 'do, and you feel like you're on top of the world. Take advantage of that fresh color while it lasts because soon you'll be tying your hair up in a bun to hide those brassy ends and mismatched roots. However often you choose to go for touch-ups is often a matter of personal preference and depends on individual factors such as your hair routine and hair type. You may find, for instance, that you require more frequent touch-ups than your friends, and vice versa, despite sporting matching and trendy brilliant brown balayage. So, how do you know when to book your next salon appointment, and is there a way to prolong your color?


Typically, following your stylist's recommendations is the best move, but sometimes you can get away with stretching out your appointments past the recommended date, but try not to exceed past eight weeks. Not only will this help you save money, but extending the time between color treatments also allows your color-treated hair to recover in between the onslaught of chemicals. If you want to get the most out of your appointments, consider these color guidelines before you pre-book your appointments.

Tend to your roots

The frequency of your hair appointments depends on the type of color touch-up you need. Does your hair need a simple root touch-up or a toner for maintenance? Root cover-ups require standard hair dye, and stylists recommend an appointment every four to six weeks. If you wait too long, your roots will grow out and you'll likely end up paying more for your appointment as your stylist will need to balance the color with the rest of your hair.


Toners uses semi-permanent dye to keep your hair looking fresh and radiant in between balayage or highlights. Hair toner "can be used to add pigment to hair color that has faded over time and it can be used to counteract unwanted colors like yellow tones or brassiness," L'Oréal Paris style and color expert Jonathan Colombini explains to Elle. Keep in mind that salon toners only last for two to three weeks, and that largely depends on how well your hair holds toner.

Hair health and color retention

What determines how well your hair holds color? In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, celebrity hair colorist Zoe Adams explains, "The general rule of thumb is that previously colored hair which is more porous will hold color for less time than natural or 'virgin' hair, which can hold colour for up to six weeks." Hair porosity refers to how close or far apart your hair cuticles are, which affects how well your hair retains water. Highly porous hair means that your cuticles are much farther apart, so your hair will have more difficulty retaining color for a long time.


The state of your hair also determines how often you need to revisit the salon. Frequent dye jobs and chemical treatments lead to dry, brittle hair. Damaged hair cannot hold color as long as healthy hair, so you also need to factor in your hair type when booking a touch-up. Washing your hair too frequently also ties in with hair health. "If someone has artificially colored hair, every time that person washes their hair a little color will be lost," stylist Connor Daniels shares with Marie Claire. "This means the more often that you wash with shampoo, the quicker the color will fade." So, try to wash your hair no more than three times per week to avoid fading and dullness.

Tips to extend your color

If you use the right products and practice color-safe hair care habits, it's possible to prevent your color from fading prematurely. Maintain your color by using products specifically designed for colored hair. In other words, swap out your shampoo and conditioner for color-safe options, especially if your current products contain ingredients that lead to fading or dullness. Look out for sulfates and sulfate substitutes, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol, as they will strip the color from your hair. The same applies to styling products such as curl creams and mousses.


Another way to extend your color is by using a leave-in conditioning treatment. You can also use an at-home toner, which will last between one to two weeks, and can help stretch out your color. If your hair appears brassy, use a purple shampoo to keep the orange undertone at bay. If you remain consistent with hair care, trims, and at-home toning products, it will help hold you over until your next foil treatment, salon toner, or root touch-up. That way, you can save money and protect your hair from over-exposure to harsh dyes and chemicals.