Since my junior year of high school, the very first time anyone ever put glorious globs of bleach on my naturally mousy-brown hair, I have been getting my hair dyed every 12 weeks on the dot—that is, obviously, until 2020 hit.
I’ve dabbled in just about every blonde hair color trend you could name: highlights, babylights, balayage, ombre—you name it, I’ve done it. But when I couldn’t get to a salon for eight whole months last year, I really started to dip my toe in the world of hair care products for the first time since I no longer could rely on a hairstylist and a bowl of toner and dye to keep my strands looking fresh. Nothing could replicate the exact fresh-from-the-salon results that professional hair color gives me, but to my absolute surprise, I found a whole host of new products that keep my hair color looking better, longer, so my salon trips are fewer and further between.
After sifting through dozens and dozens of products promising to keep my hair color looking fresh, these are the ones that now have a permanent spot in my shower.
For a good portion of last year, getting your hands on this stuff was like mining for gold, and for good reason. I used to go to my hair colorist between appointments to get my hair toned, but this has made me stop doing that altogether, as it literally gives me the same exact results. I use this when I really need to pull in the big guns and get brassiness out of my hair, and not only does it do that, but it makes my existing blonde look brighter and smooths it out in the meantime. I keep a whole personal stock of these in my storage closet and break one out about once every six weeks, and it's made all the difference.
If you're blonde, you know that sometimes you just need to use a product that will wipe your hair clean of orange and yellow tones, but it's hard to find products that do that without also leaving your hair feeling like straw. This bad boy is the answer to that.
This mask is perfect because it takes out all of my brasiness without me worrying that it might leave me looking too gray or silver (or worse, actually purple). It also leaves my hair super shiny and healthy feeling, and I've found that it's the perfect product for once-every-other-week maintenance.
My fellow editors and I constantly talk about how this is an unexciting product to buy, but a completely necessary one. Unlike a traditional mask, you don't see results from this right away, but do over time—so if you color your hair in any capacity, this is an absolute must. My hair is leaps and bounds healthier than it was a couple of years ago, and I credit it to this.
I have tried just about every purple shampoo I have ever seen on the market, but I always go back to this one that my old hairstylist recommended to me years ago. This stuff is super strong, but I've found that since it's a bit more powerful than other purple alternatives, I can get away with using purple shampoo less—which means combating less dryness. I use this about every fourth wash to maintain the neutral blonde tone I want but that can feel impossible to get.
This is a newer product to my routine, but I swear to you, if a perfect hair mask exists, it is this. This is the opposite of my aforementioned Olaplex No 3. in that I see the results from this immediately after using it, and those results are healthy, shiny, bouncy strands. Every time I wash my hair, I put a little of this on my ends, but about once a week, I'll put it all over my hair and will leave it for a little while. I already know this will be a forever staple in my routine.
I'll be honest: I used to overlook my scalp fully and absolutely could not be bothered to add yet another niche product to my routine. But as I should have learned from those late aughts commercials with Heidi Klum talking about how the scalp is like the roots of a tree, taking care of your scalp really does matter, especially if you're an avid dry shampoo user like me. After I use this, my hair has double the body and feels like a completely different texture, since it removes the icky buildup on your scalp. Another bonus? This stuff lasts me forever.
I have fine, pin-straight hair, which means that with my old every-12-week appointments also came a trim. In an effort to combat the stringy, lifeless hair that grows on my head with more spaced out trims, I started focusing more on the health of my hair's ends. It seals the cuticle of the ends of hair, and I've found that with consistent use, I feel like I get significantly less breakage and that my ends look eons healthier.