Here’s How to Maintain Shiny Highlights if You Have Dark Hair, According to Pros

Rachel Dube
·3 min read
dark hair highlights
dark hair highlights

If you have naturally dark hair and have, at some point, gotten highlights or have lightened your hair, you know that maintaining your color is a job in itself. Amongst other things, you can't wash your hair every day, are supposed to lay off the hot tools, and you need to amp up your hair's moisture levels. After a couple washes, the reality will hit you: taking care of highlighted hair requires a routine change. Don't worry—as a newbie looking for expert tips and tricks, you've come to the right place.

To help other darker hair highlighted newbies, HelloGiggles interviewed three professional colorists on how to properly take care of highlighted hair so you can keep your color looking super fresh and feeling hydrated—there's no space for brassiness or dryness here.

What should you know before highlighting dark hair?

Before highlighting dark hair, you want to keep the end goal in mind. "Highlighting dark hair requires bleaching or a high lift tint," explains Richy Kandasamy, a Miami-based professional colorist and R+CO Collective Member. So, the darker your starting shade is, the more work it requires. "It might take a few sessions depending on your hair's underlying pigment, tone, or porosity," says Jonathan Colombini, a California-based L'Oréal Paris Celebrity Hair Stylist. Additionally, if you've recently dyed your hair it could take longer to get your desired results, so he recommends being honest with your colorist so they can make a plan of action that'll help you get your dream highlights while also maintaining your hair's health.

What's the best way to prevent brassy highlights on dark hair?

If you have dark brown hair with brunette highlights, Kandasamy says that neutralizing it with a blue shampoo will do the trick. However, if you're a brunette with blonde highlights, he recommends using a purple-based toning product to avoid brassy hues. On the other hand, if you opted to add in a few lowlights (highlights a few shades darker than your base) or have super dark brunette color in your hair, consider using a green shampoo and conditioner to keep them looking glossy and fresh.

Best blue shampoo and conditioner:

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Best purple shampoo and conditioner:

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Best green shampoo and conditioner:

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What's the best way to maintain highlights on dark hair in between salon appointments?

"If you feel like your hair isn't shiny or your color looks dull or brassy, hair gloss is great as it can be applied on any hair type," says Sharon Spellman, California-based Colorist and Matrix Brand Ambassador. She further explains that you should get a professional gloss treatment every four to six weeks depending on what your maintenance looks like. "Getting a gloss after your color service is a good option if you want to cancel any yellow/orange tones," explains Colombini. However, if you don't want to pay the price of a professional gloss, there are many at-home options at a fraction of the price.

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What's the best way to care for dark, color-treated hair?

If your hair is becoming more dry and brittle, you need to show it some love. "Up your game with some quality products for your hair," recommends Spellman. Colombini gets specific and says you should use a heat protectant when blowing your hair out or using hot tools, as exposure to heat can quickly make your color fade. "Also, do a weekly hair mask or deep conditioning/strengthening treatment in the shower," he adds. For deep restoration and hydration, Colombini recommends the Elvive Total Repair 5 Power Restore Treatment, a protein-rich mask that will help keep colored hair strong and healthy.

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