Why Does My Hair Not Hold Color?

It takes a ton of effort and time to color your hair. So, it can be incredibly frustrating to realize time after time that your hair isn't holding the color. The good news is that there are several easy-to-remedy issues that keep the color from adhering to your strands. In this article, we'll not only share why your hair doesn't hold color, but we'll also tell you how to fix those issues for vibrant, long-lasting color results. 

You Have High Porosity Hair 

High porosity hair is notorious for being unable to hold dye. The issue with high porosity hair is not that it doesn't take in the color - it's that it can't hold onto the molecules like medium to low porosity hair can. Wondering if you have high porosity hair? Do a little test: 

  1. Fill a small cup with water. 

  2. Put a clean, dry strand of hair in the water. 

  3. Wait for 5 minutes or less and see how the hair reacts to the water. 

  4. Interpret your results. If your hair stays on the top of the water, it's low porosity. If it hangs out under the water (neither floating nor sinking to the bottom), it's medium porosity. And if it sinks to the bottom, it's high porosity. 

If you do indeed have high porosity hair, we recommend using a pre-color treatment to even out your porosity. It should be used before coloring. You can also opt for a more saturated dye in a dark hue - black and brown dyes tend to have more staying power than lighter shades. You can also opt for a permanent dye versus a semipermanent or demipermanent dye. Permanent dyes have a much higher probability of adhering and staining high porosity hair than other dye types do. 

You Didn't Use Enough Dye

Regardless of your hair's porosity, if you don't apply enough dye, you won't end up with a vibrant result. When applying dye to your hair, you should always do so in sections to ensure that every strand of hair is saturated in dye. If you apply the dye in large sections, you'll inevitably miss some hairs. These missed hairs can make your final result duller and less impactful than you'd like.

Take your time when applying the dye so you won’t miss any spots – err on the side of applying too much rather than too light.

You Wash Your Hair Too Often

Every time you wash your hair post color job, you're washing out a bit of the dye. Those who wash their hair infrequently will find that they're color lasts as expected, or even longer than the dye manufacturer claims. But if you wash your hair every day or regularly use a clarifying shampoo, it may seem like your hair isn't holding the color well. In reality, it's that you're washing the dye away. 

After coloring your hair, limit your wash sessions to a couple of times per week at most.

You Have Hard Water Buildup

Do you live in an area with hard water? Most Americans do. Washing your hair with hard water can leave your hair coated in minerals that stop dyes from penetrating your hair effectively. If you suspect that you have hard water buildup, you'll have to get your hands on a clarifying shampoo that can remove it - these can be found online or at your local beauty supply store. After using the clarifying shampoo, your hair will be able to readily accept and retain the dye molecules. 

So, there you have it - several reasons why your hair won't hold color, as well as what you can do about it. We hope that you found this article to be helpful, and we wish you the best of luck with your hair color endeavors. 




Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.

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