2011 Billboard Music Awards - ArrivalsAchieving the perfect shade for your hair can cost serious time and money, whether you are trying out an on-trend tone or topping up your current colour, so when your colour fades within a number of weeks it can be very annoying (even more so for those with matching dyed extensions or hair pieces.)

To stop it from fading so soon, there are a number of things you can do before and after taking a trip to the hairdressers, or dying your own hair. Read on to find out how you can get longer-lasting, vibrant tones that don’t end up dull and lifeless so soon!Vibrant Hair (enunisonsalon.com)

The first thing to take note of is the overall condition of your hair before you apply a colourant. Hair that has been damaged through chemicals or frazzled by heat are less likely to retain colour for long, so ensure that your hair is amply moisturised at least a week before you decide to dye your hair. A good product to use for this would be Osmo Deep Moisturing Hair Repair in the form of a leave-in spray to reconstruct, strengthen and moisturise your tresses in preparation for colouring.Osmo Deep Moisturising Hair Repair

Follow this with a clarifying shampoo, such as KMS California HairStay Clarify Shampoo which will rid the hair of product buildup – especially products containing silicon, which will prevent colour from taking to the hair as well. However, do not wash your hair less than 24 hours before visiting the hairdressers, otherwise hair will be unable to regain its natural oils that will help absorb the colour better.KMS Shampoo (hairandbeautyconnection.co.uk)

Just as it is important to not wash your hair too soon before you colour your hair, it is equally as important to leave some time before washing it afterwards. Wait at least 48 hours, as the colour pigment is most likely to be diluted by water at this stage, and used to soon, shampoos will seriously fade your perfect shade.

Also, pay attention to how you are washing your hair; using water that is too hot can open the hair follicles, making your colour more prone to fading. If you can’t bear to use cold water, just try turning the heat down a little to a lukewarm temperature which will be less damaging. Similarly, ‘hard water’ with a high mineral content can be a factor in hair fading prematurely – however there are filters available that are attachable to your shower head available for this.

Another harmful factor which can accelerate fading hair colour is the sun. Harsh UV rays can fade dyed hair no matter how healthy it is, so it is important to keep it covered with a hat or head scarf when out in the sun for prolonged periods of time.

For vibrant, non-faded hair in the long run, there are a number of products available which can be used for the upkeep of your colour. Use a colour protecting shampoo like Redken Color Extend Shampoo which resists a number of ways in which your hair can fade – including a UV filter.Redken Color Extend Shampoo Tigi also has a ‘Colour Combat’ range of shampoos and conditioners, which are colour specific to suit your shade; to stop blonde hair from becoming dull, try their Colour Combat Dumb Blonde Shampoo, and for redheads and brunettes, their Colour Combat Colour Goddess Shampoo will keep darker hair looking vibrant!Colour Combat Range (thehairroom.co.uk)

Alternatively, you can use a conditioner to prolong the life of your colour – or use it alongside a colour protecting shampoo. Sebastian Professional Color Ignite Multi Conditioner is particularly effective in a light, mousse-like conditioner form – tailored especially for coloured hair.Sebastian Professional Color Ignite Multi Conditioner

Finally, choose your colour carefully – considering the longevity of your desired tone. Shades of red are known to fade the quickest, so if you are after a brighter red (á la Rihanna in 2010) then be aware that it will require a lot of maintenance. Similarly, those of you with naturally dark hair will struggle to keep blondes shades light and full of life without a lot of effort – so make your decision wisely!