By Lexi Novak, Allure
(Photo: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD)
Just as the first cardinal rule of perm maintenance is avoiding water for 24 hours for the risk of deactivating the ammonium thioglycolate (as every Legally Blonde fan knows), the first cardinal rule of blonde hair maintenance is avoiding the pool for the risk of turning it green. But what if you haven't been for a swim and your color still resembles lime Jell-O? Or what if you just really, really want to go in a pool? Dana Ionato, a colorist at Sally Hershberger Downtown in New York City, let us in on four tips for maintaining beautiful -- not brassy or chartreuse -- blonde hair color.
Get a filter for your shower. "Hard water with high levels of copper, and chlorine to kill the copper, is a threat to blondes," says Ionato. And even if your water isn't especially hard, copper piping could contribute to mineral deposits, so step one to preventing green hair is installing a shower filter. Ionato recommends ones from T3 and Jonathan Product.
Never get in a pool with dry hair. "If you jump into the pool with dry hair, it's going to suck up the chlorine-and-copper water as fast as possible," says Ionato. "Wet it before you go in to prevent that." To take your color protection a step further, coat your wet hair with a product that's going to hydrate it while blocking out the absorption of pool water. Philip Kingsley Swimcap is designed for that specific purpose, but Ionato also likes coconut oil or any regular conditioner.
Keep your hair healthy. Unhealthy hair -- either from hot tools, exposure to the sun, or coloring -- will have the highest degree of green coloration, because the protective cuticle is damaged and more copper can get absorbed into the hair shaft, says Ionato. Staying on top of hydration (think weekly deep conditioning) definitely helps. Malibu also makes gentle shampoos and conditioners for hair exposed to hard water (Hard Water Wellness) and pool water (Swimmers Treatment).
If it does turn green, visit the salon. The good news is your hair didn't actually change color. That green you're seeing is actually just an oxidized mineral buildup. "Copper, magnesium, and chlorine bind to the proteins on the surface of the hair shaft," says Ionato. But don't reach for a purifying shampoo -- not only will it not remove the grassy tinge; it might actually strip hair dye. Instead, Ionato recommends a Redken Pre Art treatment, which you can book at most salons. If you use it at home, saturate damp hair with the formula, let it sit under a shower cap for 20 minutes, and then squeeze the product out before rinsing hair and washing with shampoo and conditioner.
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