Whether you’re getting a brand-new look or you want to refresh your current color, you probably know it’s a good idea to wait a bit after coloring your hair. Even if you don’t need to bleach your hair every time you touch up the color, it’s still full of chemicals that alter the structure of the hair shaft. So, what’s the correct waiting period after a hair color treatment? Read on to find out.

Why you have to wait after coloring your hair

Dyeing or bleaching your hair is a chemical process. Every time you dye your hair, you strip off the outer layer so the dye can penetrate the hair shaft. If you dye or bleach your hair too often, it can become dry and brittle. Split ends and breakage are common, but it could also just look dull and lifeless.

That’s why it’s important to give your hair some time to “rest” before you dye or bleach it again. Some people have naturally strong hair, which can take more frequent coloring—but they won’t escape completely unscathed. Try to space out your hair coloring as long as possible no matter how strong your hair may be.

Common hair color treatment waiting periods

As a general rule, you should wait about four weeks between any hair color treatments—at minimum. As always, ask your stylist what they recommend. Everyone’s hair texture and strength are different, and your stylist is the expert.

Here are some common hair color treatments and their suggested waiting periods:

  • Color retouching: If you’re just retouching your roots, you can wait four to six weeks in between treatments. Generally, dyeing your hair a darker color is less damaging than bleaching to a lighter shade, so you may be able to get away with once-per-month retouching on darker shades and more fragile hair.
  • Bleach retouching: When you need to touch up your roots with bleach and dye, wait at least four weeks. Since the bleach is primarily applied to fresh roots, it’s not likely to damage your hair as much as rebleaching down the shaft.
  • Toner: Toner should also be done no more than once every four weeks.
  • Highlights: When it comes to highlights, try to wait at least six to eight weeks between treatments. The more you bleach your hair for highlights, the more damaged it gets.
  • Balayage: Balayage should be done every eight to 10 weeks. Since it usually starts partway down the hair, it’s not as noticeable when you let it go longer.

There are a few things you can do to improve your hair’s condition between treatments. First, do a deep conditioning treatment once per week, which will improve its strength and shine. Second, consider trying a color depositing shampoo to keep your hair fresh while you’re waiting between hair color treatments. Finally, keep heat styling to a minimum, and use a heat protectant when you do.

For your next hair color treatment—after the appropriate waiting period, of course—book an appointment at Claude Thomas Salon & Spa today.

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