By Lisa DeSantis

Switching up your dye job based on the latest hair colors trend is fun and all, but let’s be honest: Nobody wants to spend more time or money at the salon than necessary. While there may not be a magic wand for you to wave each time you need a refresh (especially when it comes to red hair and blonde hair colors, which are currently trending), there are certain colors and in-salon techniques that ensure that your hair continues looking great long after you leave your color appointment.

It’s always smart to consult with your colorist about what you’re looking for, but it can also be helpful to go in knowing what you want. A quick Instagram scroll can help provide timely hair color inspo.

To help you save time and money, we spoke to top colorists to get their expert advice about which colors grow out best and will buy you more time between salon visits.

What is the most low-maintenance hair color?

According to Lorena M.Valdes, a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, “anything that leaves your natural hair alone and only adjusts the mids and ends” is best for not needing so many touch-ups. With something harsh like highlights, you would get a band of growth from the roots down, but if you’re not touching the roots and leaving them natural, there won’t be a recognizable “line of demarcation,” she says.

“Balayage is amazing for low maintenance as it starts off as a soft point at the root to a thicker ribbon towards the bottom, which mimics what the sun does to our hair naturally,” says Valdes. Balayage is a highlighting technique in which colorists hand paint the highlights strategically, so that the lightened pieces appear more naturally placed.

Celebrity hair colorist Brian O’Connor, who is co-owner of Fruits Salon in Nashville, adds that “baby lights are always a nice way to leave a soft blend and an easy grow out.” Baby lights are more delicate than highlights, and they’re woven throughout the hair for a more natural blend of colors.

What are the most difficult hair colors to maintain?

Red hair is notoriously difficult when it comes to upkeep. While it’s the hardest color to fully strip from your hair, it’s also the first to fade, often lightening drastically within the first few washes. So unless you’re wanting to touch-up your own color at home, it would be wise to skip the scarlet shades.

In general, Valdes says to avoid “solid colors that are the same from roots to ends.” Single processed colors—whatever the hue—will grow out pretty obviously whether your natural hair is light or dark. This coloring is a surefire way to get that dreaded line of growth.

“An allover bleach and tone is always going to be high maintenance,” O’Connor echoes, adding that allover black is tough too, “especially if you have a lighter natural hair color.”

How do you maintain hair color at home?

O’Connor says to avoid too much heat styling. “It’s the biggest color fader, as well as the sun,” he says. Additionally, Valdes says to steer clear of abrasive shampoos and swimming pools—chlorine can mess with your color.

Instead, opt for a color-locking shampoo and conditioner. We like dpHue Color Fresh Shampoo and Conditioner. And if you are going to use hot tools, always use a heat protectant like R+Co Centerpiece, which hydrates and fights frizz too.

Because colored hair tends to be drier and more damage prone, it’s smart to incorporate a hair mask. One that deposits colored pigments is even better because it’ll give your color a boost between salon appointments. O’Connor’s brand, Good dye Young has Dieposit, which tones and hydrates, and has ten shades to choose from.

Ready for low-maintenance hair color inspo? Ahead, our favorite shades and techniques that will look great long after you leave the salon.

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