When you've run out of funds it can be difficult to justify spending what little money you have on a salon appointment - while your hair is crying out for a colour refresh, your debit card is begging to be left alone. While this is good news for your bank balance, your hair can begin to look a little lacklustre; from brassiness to dullness, neglecting your mane maintenance can throw up all manner of hair colour conundrums. However, a few clever product swaps can make a world of difference to some of the most common dilemmas. Here’s our five-point plan for giving your colour a boost until you can afford to sit down with your stylist again.
1. Colour correct
Working in the same way that colour correcting makeup does, multicoloured hair products designed to neutralise unwanted undertones can transform brassy ends. A general rule of thumb is to go for a purple-tinted product for blonde hair or a blue-tinted one for brunettes. Our purple pick is Kerastase's Blond Absolu Masque Ultra Violet Treatment , £26.25, while we recommend brunettes reach for Redken's Color Extend Brownlights , £19.50.
Colour depositing haircare eliminates brassiness and warmer tones, and while violet shampoos have been big news for years, blue haircare is only just having its moment - in fact, last year saw a 70 per cent increased in Google searches for blue shampoo for brunettes.
A word of caution when it comes to violet and blue products, though - only use when required. “Don’t use them straight away between salon visits, only when the brassiness starts to appear and limit to once a week or as needed,” cautions hair colourist Jack Howard . His top picks include L’Oreal Professionnel’s Colour Correctors , £10.40, a range of leave-in conditioning CC creams, as well Kerastase’s Reflection Touche Chromatique collection , £25.33 - four different colourways that are designed to be mixed in with your conditioner. We were also hugely impressed with Christophe Robin’s Shade Variation Care , £39, when we tried it recently. The Ash Brown shade subtly erases the red and orange tones that can emerge from light brown highlights and it also leaves hair really soft too.
2. Use a colour refreshing shampoo and conditioner
Not to be confused with the colour correcting formulas above, repigmenting shampoo and conditioner is a different kettle of fish. It makes colour deeper and fresher by depositing pigments onto the hair, reviving the intensity of your colour - it won't cover grey but it will inject vibrancy into your hair colour enough to put off that salon trip a few more days.
GTG's editorial director Victoria Woodhall swears by Leonor Greyl's Soin Repigmentant Nourishing Conditioner in Icy Brown , £39. It comes in shades for blondes, brunettes and redheads; you simply leave it on your hair for ten minutes and emerge from the shower with re-energised, repigmented colour.
Use a silver shampoo
Another effective way to combat brassiness is swapping your usual shampoo for a silver one instead. “I always recommend that my blonde clients use a silver shampoo to cool any brassy tones down,” says Francesca Dixon, Senior Creative Colourist at Hari’s . Ideal for a quick at-home fix, she highlights that its benefits aren’t just restricted to blondes - it can prove useful for anyone whose areas of concern include oranges tinges, zebra stripes or yellow tones. Her go-tos are L'Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Magnesium Silver Shampoo , £9.65, and Bleach London Silver Shampoo , £7.50, for keeping unwanted warm tones at bay.
3. Add shine with an intensive treatment
“The smoother the cuticle, the better the shine,” says Nicola Clarke, Creative Colour Director at John Frieda Salons , “It’s all about maintaining the condition of the hair and there are some fabulous products that can help.” Her top product picks include Colour Wow’s Pop & Lock , £19, to add gloss and the brand's Coconut Cocktail , £17.60, for adding shine and strength.
Rita Hazan True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss , £21, is also great in this regard and comes in five different varieties to fit your specific concern. If you’re looking for a leave-in treatment for dry to very dry hair though, Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Overnight Serum , £28.35, will sort you right out. A good cold rinse with water after washing your hair to close cuticles also works wonders too.
MORE GLOSS: The best budget conditioners
4. Use a hair oil to add vibrancy
“Oils are fantastic to add vibrancy and instantly lift dull coloured hair,” says Francesca. “Add a few pumps to the palm of your hands and apply generously throughout the hair to give it extra shine (it can be used wet or dry).” For lightweight nourishment for finer hair types, Percy & Reed’s Smooth, Sealed and Sensational Volumising No Oil , £15, fits the bill very well and for thicker hair types, Moroccanoil , £13.45, is pretty hard to beat in my experience.
5. Swap box dyes for touch-up tools instead
At-home dyes are certainly an appealing option to extend time between colour appointments and while products such as Clairol’s Root Touch-Up , £3.70, do have their place, they could result in a few extra problems having to be fixed next time you're in your colourist's chair. “Salon colours are different to box colours,” says Fran. “Although you may think that you’re matching your hair colour to what’s on the box, it’s often wrong and can result in root glow or uneven coverage." As an alternative though, there’s a wide variety of root cover-ups now available that provide an easy and less damaging way to disguise greys or give highlights a new lease of life. The double-ended brush and high pigment mineral powder of Color Wow’s Root Cover Up , £28.50, makes it a favourite of both Francesca’s and ours and for more targeted elimination of individual greys, Rita Hazan’s Root Concealer Touch-Up Stick , £20, hits the spot.