What hair color fades the slowest?

By: | Last Updated: May 14, 2022

When you finally find the perfect shade for you, sometimes maintaining the color can be a hassle since you don’t always have the time to re-apply.

So instead of just picking any shade for your next hair color session, you thought you’d pick a hue that won’t need a lot of maintenance.

Since there are plenty of pigments to choose from, which hair color lasts the longest?

This article will break down why hair colors last differently on your hair to help you determine which hue needs the least amount of touch-ups. Read on to find out.

Why do some colors last longer than others?

Why do some colors last longer than others

Before you find out which hair colors last the longest, let’s discuss what factors determine why each hue fades faster than the others.

Color molecules

Have you ever noticed how darker colors tend to fade out longer compared to lighter ones? That’s because each color contains a different amount of pigment molecules, where the higher the number of molecules a color has, the longer it will last on your hair.

For instance, purple consists of 8,000 color molecules, red has 3,000, and blue has 1,000.  So darker colors are more saturated because they contain more pigments than lighter hues, so in turn, it will take more washes to strip all their molecules off.

So if you’re looking for a hair color that will stick for a long time, you might want to consider a darker hue.

Natural hair color

Your natural hair color will also affect how long a shade will last on your hair since how much melanin it contains will affect how certain colors will behave.

Melanin is responsible for producing the pigments in your hair. So if you have naturally black hair, it will contain the most melanin.

Melanin also contains 2 sections, the eumelanin and the pheomelanin. The eumelanin produces the black and brown pigments, while the pheomelanin produces the red, orange, and yellow pigments.

So if you apply hair dye on unbleached dark hair, the color will last longer since the eumelanin in your hair will help lock the pigments in.

But if you bleach your hair, the process will remove the eumelanin from your strands, leaving only the pheomelanin. So once you apply hair dye to your bleached hair, the color won’t last as long since there will be no eumelanin to seal the color molecules in.

Hair porosity

If you and your friend both have bleached blonde hair with the same hair color, but you notice how yours fade faster than hers, it might have to do with your hair porosity.

So if you have highly porous hair, it may absorb permanent hair dye quickly, but it will also fade the color out as fast since no barrier will seal the pigments in as your cuticles are open permanently.

Porous hair can be genetic, but it’s usually the result of regular chemical treatments.

But if you have low porosity hair, your hair color will fade out fast since your hair cuticles are tightly-packed together, so the color molecules have a hard time getting into your strands.

So it’s ideal to have medium hair porosity since it will absorb hair dye and allow it to remain longer in your hair.

Which hair dye color lasts the longest?

Which hair dye color lasts the longest

The hair dye color that will last the longest is black, followed by brown. 

When applying permanent hair dye, the developer will open up your cuticles to allow pigments to go inside your hair cortex. Since black and brown have smaller color molecules than other hues, they can penetrate deeper into your strands, so getting the colors out will take a lot.

Also, since black and brown are highly-pigmented, it will take about 6 weeks on naturally dark hair before you notice any significant fading, so you won’t have to do constant touch-ups.

What unnatural hair color lasts the longest?

As much as you want fantasy colors to stay on your hair, they mostly fade faster than natural colors since they contain fewer pigment molecules. 

But if you still want to experiment with unnatural hues, which hair color fades the least?

What color fades the slowest?

Just like black and brown, deeper colors like dark blue and purple will fade out longer than other shades because they contain more pigment molecules.

So if you want to maintain dark blue or purple hair, you’ll need to freshen up your color every few weeks, so it’s best to pick a semi-permanent hair dye since it’s less damaging and won’t alter your hair structure.

Picking a good quality hair dye, like Punky Colour, will ensure your hue will last longer and fade true to tone.

What color hair dye fades the fastest?

Aside from pastel shades, red hair color is notorious for fading the fastest since it has larger pigment molecules than other colors so that it won’t go as deep into your hair cortex.

If given proper care, red hair can last for 2 weeks, but if you wash it with a regular shampoo, you’ll notice significant fading with just 1 wash.

So if you want your bright red hair to last longer, a quick tip would be to find a color-depositing conditioner to refresh your shade whenever you wash your hair. But if you can’t find one, you can also make your own by adding a bit of red semi-permanent hair dye with a white conditioner.

Longest lasting hair dye for gray hair

When it comes to covering grey hair, it’s best to pick a hair dye close to your natural hair color, so the result won’t make it too obvious that your hair has color. 

So make sure to stick to a dye color that’s 1-2 shades darker or lighter than your natural color.

Black or brown permanent hair dye will also provide long-lasting coverage for stubborn gray hair since they contain the most pigments. 

So look for a dye kit meant for gray hair since its formula will penetrate your hair better, so it gets an even coverage.


How to make hair dye last longer

How to make hair dye last longer

If you want to maintain your colored hair, you’ll need to change your hair care routine to ensure your perfect hue will last longer.

So it’s recommended to limit washing your hair to 2-3 times a week to make sure the pigments won’t fade as fast. 

But once you do wash your hair, make sure to rinse it with cold water to close your cuticles down to seal the pigments in.

Switching to sulfate and paraben-free hair products will also prolong your hair color since they won’t strip as much of their pigments as commercial products.

Avoiding heat styling tools will also make sure your color stays vibrant since the heat will open up your hair cuticles, making the pigments strip off faster.

CHECK OUT: Why is my hair changing color by itself

The final takeaway

If you want a hair color that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, black and brown hues will work best if you’re going to keep it natural.

If you’re looking for fun and vibrant hues, dark blue and purple tend to fade out the longest on bleached or blonde hair, while red and pastel hues will strip out the quickest.

But if you really want long-lasting color, going to a professional hairstylist is still the best option since they can customize a hair color formula that will work best on your hair type and condition. Plus, they can provide you with some tips on how to keep your hair color vibrant.

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