Your hair color deserves some love this fall

Dusty, ashy, dishwater. These aren’t the most flattering descriptions of hair color, but it seems to be the pattern to match one’s hair to the weather when gray skies hit. While you might feel obligated to tuck your hair into a beret or let your color fade over winter, we’re making a case for forgoing the predictable. So go for the gold. Or the platinum. Or the red. Whichever hue you choose, here’s how to make the most out of your color.

Babylights Collage 3

Good things come in small packages

Tis the season for sipping cocoa by the fire, being close to your loved ones, and enjoying the festive lights. Babylights, that is. Babylights are very delicate highlights that mimic those fine strands you had as a child from playing in the sun. Master colorist Cassondra Kaeding is a believer in these teeny, natural-looking lights for subtle touchups and brightening, because the art of the glow up is not just about the face.

“They give a pop of brightness to the face-framing layers and provide a wonderful refresh of highlights without doing the entire head,” Kaeding says. That’s great news to those who want a more subtle look or are simply looking for less maintenance. By opting for babylights, Kaeding says she’s “allowing the rest of the strands to take some time off and just popping in bright blond where I want it.”

"staying moisturized will keep your color looking natural and healthy."

Red Hair Collage

No sun, no problem

In case you needed a pep talk to nix your seasonal blues, less sunlight during these seasons means your color is safer from sun damage and fading. Kaeding muses that in the past, everyone was crazy about deepening the overall blond color for cooler months, but now it’s all about embracing the light and adding richness with tone. Creamy and golden, buttery hues, “even strawberry reds or coppery gingers are stealing the show,” she says. Reds are fun to play with in the winter because there’s less sunshine to strip the intensity from your color, and you can get away with washing your hair less.

It all starts with the scalp… literally

But it’s not just blondes and redheads who need some TLC this time of year. All textures and colors can use a little extra attention. Christophe Robin, renowned French colorist and the founde of his own extensive haircare line, favors care first, color second. “It all starts with the scalp,“ Robin says. “Staying moisturized will keep your color looking natural and healthy.” He recommends scalp scrubs because they remove product buildup and dead skin that lead to overproduction of oils—and hence, overwashing, which will fade your color. It also allows for better moisture penetration. We love his version and this one by Ouai.

Blonde

Go the extra mile

Before being extra with your color, consider making an additional effort to treat your hair this season by switching up your suds. Kaeding recommends Redken Color Extend Magnetics as a good shampoo and conditioner duo for color-treated hair. “The formula is sulfate-free and packed with amino acids to help seal in color, repair and protect. You’ll visibly notice that your color lasts longer after using these.” And even though sun protection might not be top of mind this time of year, don’t skip it. Kaeding suggests following your wash with a hair product that has a UV protectant (we like Rita Hazan Lock + Block Protective Spray), claiming that it can lengthen the time between salon visits. The dream.—Nicole Lesmeister

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