The Reason Behind the 5-6 Week Rule For Color Maintenance

Are you someone who loves experimenting with different hair colors and highlights? Do you want to keep your hair looking fresh, vibrant, and healthy? If so, it's crucial to understand the importance of maintaining your hair color and highlights every 5-6 weeks. Regular upkeep not only keeps your hair looking its best but also helps prevent damage. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into why consistent hair color and highlight maintenance is vital for achieving and maintaining luscious, beautiful locks.

This is a photo from Oway America showcasing the four women with different hair styles and color, alongside nature images that compliment the colors and showcase ingredients. This image is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Reason Behind the 5-6 Week Rule For Color Maintenance”.

The Magic of Hair Color and Highlights

Hair color and highlights can work wonders in transforming your look and boosting your confidence. Whether you want to add depth and dimension to your hair or completely change your appearance, the right hair color or highlights can make a significant difference. But achieving the perfect color and maintaining it requires effort and regular touch-ups. So, how often should you be visiting the salon? Let's find out.

 Understanding Hair Growth and Color Regrowth

One essential factor to consider when determining how often to maintain your hair color and highlights is your hair's growth rate. On average, hair grows about half an inch per month. This means that after 5-6 weeks, you can expect to see approximately an inch of regrowth. When your roots start showing, it's a clear indication that it's time for a touch-up.

The Science Behind 5-6 Weeks

You might be wondering why the recommended time frame for touch-ups is specifically 5-6 weeks. Is it an arbitrary number, or is there a scientific reason behind it? The truth is, there's more to it than meets the eye. 

When color and or toner is applied to hair, it helps seal the hair’s cuticle, thus providing a barrier to damage-causing elements. This barrier is not permanent, and will begin to go away when the hairs’ cuticle opens up, which exposes the hair’s cortex. The cuticle will open when it comes in contact with water, heat, sunlight, and/or chlorine. Once the color has faded, there is no longer a protective barrier, and the damage will increase every time the hair comes into contact with water, heat, sunlight, and/or chlorine.

By scheduling touch-ups every 5-6 weeks, you ensure that your hair remains in optimal condition while maintaining a consistent and even color.

Factors That Influence Color Maintenance

Several factors can affect how often you should maintain your hair color and highlights. Understanding these factors will help you make informed decisions and ensure that your hair always looks its best. Let's explore the key factors that come into play.

This image showcases five girls with different hair types wearing jeans with neutral color tanktops. This image is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Reason Behind the 5-6 Week Rule For Color Maintenance”.

Hair Type and Natural Color

Your natural hair type and color play a significant role in determining color maintenance frequency. Different hair types, such as fine, coarse, curly, or straight, have varying needs. Additionally, the contrast between your natural hair color and the desired color affects how noticeable regrowth is. For example, individuals with naturally dark hair who opt for lighter shades may require more frequent touch-ups to prevent stark contrasts between the roots and the dyed hair.

Type of Hair Color Products

The type of hair color products you use also influences how often you should maintain your hair color and highlights. Permanent dyes and bleaches typically require more frequent touch-ups to maintain an even color. However, they also come with a higher risk of hair damage (unless the stylists use organic color or bleach, like we do here at Ippodaro Natural Salon). On the other hand, semi-permanent hair color products can be used more frequently as they fade over time and are gentler on the hair. Understanding the characteristics of different hair color products will help you determine the best maintenance routine for your hair.

Desired Color and Style

Your desired hair color and style can also affect the frequency of touch-ups. For instance, if you have highlights or balayage that don't extend all the way to the roots, you may be able to stretch the time between touch-ups. Conversely, if you have a full-head color or a dramatic color change, regular maintenance is necessary to keep the color looking fresh and vibrant.

The Benefits of Regular Color and Highlight Maintenance

Maintaining your hair color and highlights every 5-6 weeks offers several benefits beyond just aesthetic appeal. Let's explore the advantages of regular upkeep and why it's worth the effort.

Consistency in Color

Regular touch-ups ensure that your hair color remains consistent from root to tip. This consistency enhances the overall appearance and helps you achieve the desired look. By addressing regrowth and maintaining an even color, you can confidently rock your chosen hair color or highlights.

Prevention of Inconsistent Color

Allowing too much time between touch-ups can lead to inconsistent color results. As your roots grow out, the contrast between the new growth and the dyed hair becomes more apparent. This can result in an uneven or patchy appearance, even with a fresh batch of color. By adhering to the recommended maintenance schedule, you can prevent inconsistencies and maintain a seamless color transition.

Preservation of Hair Health

As discussed above, regular color and highlight maintenance can help preserve the health of your hair. When you space out touch-ups appropriately, you minimize the risk of over-processing or damaging your hair. By giving your hair time to recover and using high-quality hair care products, you can maintain strong, shiny, and healthy locks.

How to Extend the Life of Your Hair Color and Highlights

This is a photo from Oway America showcasing the Oway Color Protection product line staged on rocks, with plant leaves, and both a burgundy and taupe cloth. This image is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Reason Behind the 5-6 Week Rule For Color Maintenance”While regular touch-ups are essential, there are steps you can take to extend the life of your hair color and highlights between salon visits. By incorporating these practices into your hair care routine, you can enjoy vibrant and long-lasting color.

Use Color-Protecting Hair Care Products

Investing in color-protecting hair care products is crucial for maintaining the vibrancy of your hair color. Look for shampoos, conditioners, and styling products specifically designed for color-treated hair. These products help preserve your color, prevent fading, and keep your hair looking fresh and vibrant for longer.

Color-Protecting Product Suggestions: Our go-to option for hair products are from Oway. They have a Color Protecting line of products such as the Oway Color Protection Hair Bath (the shampoo) and the Oway Color Protection Hair Mask (the conditioner). However, the entire Oway lineup is safe on color. So if you need to use specific products for your hair type, you are safe to use any of the Oway products on your hair!

Minimize Heat Styling

Excessive heat styling can cause color fade and damage to your hair. To extend the life of your color, minimize the use of heat tools such as flat irons, curling irons, and blow dryers. And/or, use the correct heat setting! (This can make a major difference). When you do use heat styling tools, always use a heat protectant to shield your hair from damage.

Heat Protectant Product Suggestion: When it comes to heat protectants, our favorite product to use is actually considered a smoothing fluid — Oway Smoothing Fluid. This amazing product not only protects against heat damage, but it also protects against UV rays, locks in moisture, combats frizz, and provides luminous shine!

Protect Your Hair from the Sun

UV rays from the sun can fade your hair color and cause damage. To protect your hair you can do the following:

  • Wear a hat. Now if you do this often, be sure sure to clean your hats often so you’re not just soaking your hair in its’ own oil (which can be a breeding ground for bacteria) which can seriously effect the health of your scalp. Additionally, use a good clarifying shampoo  like the Malibu Un-Doo Goo at least once a week to help remove excess oil and buildup on your hair and scalp.  
  • Use UV-protecting hair hair products when spending time outdoors. 

Heat Protectant Product Suggestions: When it comes to protecting your hair against UV damage, we strongly recommend the Oway Smoothing series which includes the, Oway Smoothing Hair Bath, Oway Smoothing Hair Conditioner, Oway Smoothing Cream, and the Oway Smoothing Fluid. We specifically recommend using the cream or fluid!  

Limit Exposure to Chlorine and Saltwater

Chlorine and saltwater can strip away your hair color and leave it looking dull and brassy. (Remember, chlorine in a swimming pool is bleach). Before swimming, wet your hair and apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to create a barrier between your hair and the water. Rinse your hair immediately after swimming to remove any chlorine or salt residue.

The Importance of Consultation with a Professional Stylist 

This is a photo from Oway America showcasing a model with Oway hair color after the treatment. This image is used in the Ippodaro Natural Salon blog post titled, “The Reason Behind the 5-6 Week Rule For Color Maintenance”.

To ensure that your hair color and highlights are properly maintained, it's crucial to consult with a professional stylist. A skilled stylist can assess your hair type, color goals, and maintenance preferences to create a personalized plan that suits your needs. They can also provide expert advice on the best hair care products and techniques to keep your hair in optimal condition.

In conclusion, maintaining your hair color and highlights every 5-6 weeks is essential for healthy, vibrant, and beautiful hair. By understanding the factors that influence color maintenance, utilizing proper hair care techniques, and consulting with a professional stylist, you can achieve and maintain the hair of your dreams. Embrace the power of highlights, balayage, and hair color, and let your true colors shine! Remember, a little maintenance goes a long way in keeping your hair looking its best. So, don't wait too long before scheduling your next touch-up appointment—it's time to make your hair the highlight of your life!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Always consult with a professional stylist or colorist for personalized recommendations and guidance regarding your specific hair care needs.