Virginity has its merits, depending on who you’re speaking to, or about. For example, when the subject is our hair, many of us are less about saving ourselves for Luke Perry and more about trying ombré at some point. And ain't it strange how you never really hear a grown woman pining for her corporeal purity the way she reminisces about her virgin hair? Because what you gain in adventure, you lose in luster, texture, and general health (i.e. treating hair ties with the fearful respect you’d usually reserve for your Craigslist roommate’s collection of samurai swords, and getting “breakage” hair cuts, which, if you’re not familiar, is a form of damage control that attempts to make color-induced breakage look almost intentional—but that's for another article). So, if you’re going to throw caution to the wind in terms of color, play it safe when it comes to hair care. Which is to say, do everything in your power to keep your dyed hair feeling virginal. Here’s how:
After your shower, towel dry. If you ever want to see shiny, long lengths again, do not, I repeat, do not wrap a towel around your head. It’s going to cause breakage. You want to treat your hair with the same sense of fragility you would dried flowers or your relationship with your boyfriend’s mom. I’ve even been told to delicately dab dry with paper towels, but, in the spirit of the environmentalism, a high-density (read: soaks like a sponge) organic cotton version like Gaiam’s Thick and Thirsty Towel will suffice.
Then, with damp hair, apply a double blast of AG Hair Cosmetic’s Colour Care range. First, AG’s BB Cream—consider this your coconut- scented, one-way ticket to “expensive” hair. A dime size of the silky lotion, combed from ends to roots, makes hair look fuller by restoring strand density, erases frizzies, and seals in moisture to protect against heat-styling tools, space heaters, and UV damage. This is a product that you can go the distance with, because you share a common goal: maintaining your hair color. God bless. And, because it dries to feel like absolutely nothing, it won't hurt your relationships with whatever other beloved styling products you’ve got in rotation.
If you’re planning on blow drying (if it’s cold outside, I'd recommend it—frozen hair can lead to breakage), or expect to spend the day in a dry, non-hair-friendly environment, mist your damp hair with an even coating of AG’s Deflect Fast-Dry Heat Protection. It’s pretty clutch even if you’ve never used so much as a vegetable dye on your hair, because it shields from your blow dryers’ full-blast setting, and, through some kind of beauty voodoo, commands the water droplets remaining on your hair shafts to dry faster—no joke. (That voodoo is actually Abyssinian oil.) Your dry time is reduced by, let’s say…30 percent. To paraphrase There’s Something About Mary, would you rather do eight-minute abs or seven-minute abs? Exactly. And just like the BB Cream, it doesn’t feel like you’ve put a thing in your hair.
Now, blow-dry with a hot, but not steaming dryer. Your hair should be damp, because you’ve already towel-dabbed, so a low heat setting is all that’s really necessary to complete the task. A ceramic dryer is ideal for its heat-distributing abilities, or dryers with ionic options, because that will diffuse negative ions to lock in moisture and eliminate static electricity! (SCIENCE.) Next-generation dryers, like Harry Josh’s minty fresh Pro Tools 2000, have an app for that. Before, during, or after, ever so gently brush your hair starting from the bottom and work your way up. Pulling a brush immediately from root-to-ends is the hair equivalent of cutting through a cornfield with a machete. A boar-bristle brush like the much-lauded Mason Pearson will give your hair an extra boost of shine without tearing and pulling.
Now that your born-again virgin hair is set, try to stay celibate for as long as possible. Any colorist will tell you, the less you wash your hair, the longer your color will last.
Photos by Elizabeth Brockway; in collaboration with AG Hair Cosmetics.