10 Low-Maintenance Hair Colors That Let You Skip the Salon
Let's turn down those salon visits from monthly to seasonal—who's with us?
This article originally appeared on Southern Living.
Try as we might, whenever we sit down in that salon chair to get our hair colored, we can't help but feel as though we’ve signed our soul over to either monthly touch-ups or heinous roots. The commitment made once getting a high-maintenance color is unlike any other outside the bond of matrimony. When the roots start showing, we’re not always coincidentally booked at the salon that week, nor do we eagerly anticipate the task. When it comes to the Southern beauty law of distraction, we usually think: “Slap on some more lipstick, that’ll do the trick.” Poof! Worries be gone. But, sadly, last time we checked, you can’t cover up bad roots with a fresh swipe of lipstick. (Though, wouldn’t that be nice.) So we’ve been thinking: why don’t we just color our hair strategically in ways that can eliminate the endless hours (and dollars) spent at the salon for upkeep? Turns out there is such a thing, and we like to call it low maintenance hair color. For hassle-free color in general, you should always think twice before going more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural color and never underestimate the power of a good gloss. These low maintenance hair colors show the types of highlights and the right shades that can make your life just a tiny bit easier. It’s officially time to turn those salon trips from monthly to seasonal.
This warm shade is achieved by blending a few different shades, such as golden blonde, rich caramels, toasty chestnuts, and darker brown for a natural, soft result that grows out flawlessly.
This term refers to the undertone of your hair, rather than how light or dark the shade is. It’s the opposite of warm, golden undertones; more of a cool undertone. Champagne blonde is an example of an ashy blonde, while ashy browns don’t have the common copper, chestnut, or reddish tint. Ashy color looks great on those with naturally paler skin—throw some striking lipstick on and you’ve got a fall-winter look that won’t quit! It's about enhancing your natural undertone, and by not fighting it, you won't require as much maintenance.
This natural take on the ombre trend is softer and subtler for a cascading blend of color. The look captures a very gradual turn of color from roots to ends, with the roots left natural for minimal upkeep! Ask for the ends to be two to three shades lighter than your roots.
For brunettes, especially darker shades: Instead of going lighter, enhance your brunette locks with warm chestnut lowlights to add depth and dimension. Since the color is so subtle, it’s low maintenance enough to grow out gracefully if you feel like skipping a salon visit.
This technique is used to create natural-looking highlights using a free-hand painting approach that sweeps on hair color. Each stroke blends into the hair to create a cohesive look. Read: no harsh lines that force you to make that touch-up appointment. These highlights work super well on blonde hair.
Whether you’re a natural redhead or not quite-full redhead, this technique is an easy way to get vibrant color without weighing yourself down with salon visits (red hair is usually seen as high maintenance!). You can start with subtle highlights moving towards your desired hue, but not right up against the roots and not all over, then you can choose an accompanying red gloss to give all-over tint. Definitely research the shade of red you're wanting to get beforehand—there are so many very different options!
If you’re tired of dyeing your hair to cover up gray strands, we say it’s time to embrace it in style! The best way to help yourself go gray is to blend your gray and non-gray strands together seamlessly with highlights and lowlights. It’ll make the transition so much better.
This trend helps out fine-haired ladies the absolute most and works well for lighter blondes (who don’t want to constantly be running for a touch-up), but the technique—like its name implies—creates very subtle, fine highlights that won’t grow out near as noticeably as regular highlights. You place very small amounts of hair in foil with very little separation between to achieve the seamless look.
Celebrity hair stylist, Johnny Ramirez, coined this technique, and it’s been called a “six-month hair color.” He insists it’s neither balayage nor ombre, but rather a fluid head of highlights (using his blurring technique) that often fall in the bronde or blondette category of shades.
Sunkissed Face Framing
This option is great for the most ultra-low maintenance of women, as you’re committing to some super flattering face-framing highlights, but not a full head. It minimizes your touch-up time tremendously! For blondes, go just two shades lighter. For brunettes, choose a caramel or chestnut color a few notches lighter than your natural color.