Highlights strengthen your appearance and confidence. However, they require special care to last and to prevent hair damage. If washed too soon after application, the color fades or washes off completely.
On the other hand, you don’t want to go too long without washing your hair to prevent build-up of oil, dirt and hair products.
How long to wait before washing hair after lightening?
You must wait at least 72 hours before washing your hair after lightening. This allows the color pigment to set and seal into the hair. If you wash your hair before the 72 hours have passed, the color washes off and fades.
Although you can wash your hair after 72 hours, there are guidelines to follow to ensure the color doesn’t fade too quickly. For example, do not use sulfate shampoo or hot water.
How to wash highlighted hair
Below are instructions for washing highlighted hair after 72 hours.
Use the appropriate shampoo for colored hair
Do not use sulfate shampoos because they contain detergents, which corrode the color. By checking the ingredient list, you can easily tell if a shampoo contains sulfate. Avoid shampoos containing “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate” or “Sodium Laureth Sulfate”.
Go for those specified as suitable for colored hair. They are more expensive but ensure that your highlights will last longer. Use purple or blue shampoo and/or conditioner on your highlights once a week.
Use purple shampoo for platinum and blonde highlights and blue shampoo to remove red, orange and yellow tones. They enhance the color of the highlights for a more vivid look.
Do not wash highlighted hair every day
Even if you use the right shampoo for colored hair, washing your hair daily makes the highlights fade faster. It also strips the hair of natural oils, resulting in hair dryness. Limit washing cycles to one to three times a week. Use a dry shampoo between washes to remove accumulated dirt.
Do not use hot water to wash your hair
Hot water opens up your cat’s nails, allowing the color pigments to shed. On the other hand, cold water closes the nails and prevents the color from washing off. Therefore, when taking a hot shower, cover your hair with a shower cap. When washing, use cold or lukewarm water.
Keep your hair moisturized
One of the disadvantages of hair coloring, including highlighting, is that the pigment can cause dryness in the scalp and hair strands. As a result, your hair becomes frizzy and makes it dull.
Therefore, one of the most important aspects of aftercare for highlighted hair is maintaining moisture. Use a color safe deep conditioner after washing. Use a moisturizing hair mask at least once a week for smooth, soft and shiny hair.
Let the hair dry
Allow hair to air dry whenever possible instead of blow drying or flat ironing. Use a soft microfiber towel to remove excess water. Do not rub the hair roughly; Instead, pat it down to prevent it from getting tangled.
Exposing the hair to high heat makes it drier and prone to breakage. It also fades the color. If you must tumble dry or flat iron, do so on low heat settings and use a heat protectant.
Tips for taking care of highlighted hair
Apply light oils
Oils contain vitamins and antioxidants that promote the health of your hair. They also add shine to the hair. If you spend a lot of time under the sun, the oil creates a protective layer against the UV rays.
Use the oil that best suits your hair type and texture. Castor oil helps fight scalp and hair dryness and prevents split ends. Avocado oil is super moisturizing, and argan oil is rich in antioxidants. Almond oil fights a flaky scalp, while extra virgin olive oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are heavy and can leave your hair heavy and greasy. Therefore, they should be used sparingly. In contrast, grape seed oil and grape seed oil are light and suitable for daily use. You can infuse a few drops of essential oil in the carrier oil for additional benefits.
Avoid swimming without a hat
Apply a strengthening conditioner to your hair and wear a swimming cap before entering the pool. Chlorine dries the hair and blurs the color pigment.
Avoid the sun
If possible, avoid being under the sun for extended periods. UV rays dry out your hair and also fade the hair color.
Wait at least 72 hours before washing the hair after highlighting to allow the color pigment to fully set into the hair strands and for the nails to close and seal with the color.
After 72 hours, you can wash your hair once to twice a week using a sulfate-free shampoo and apply a moisturizing conditioner. Be sure to care for highlighted hair correctly to keep the color vivid and bright for longer.