photo: Victoria Rodriguez

Last summer, I spent most of my time at Hearst Tower, working as an editorial intern at the now-defunct Cosmo for Latinas magazine. On an average day, I was fact-checking, researching, and transcribing interviews, but one afternoon, I pitched the idea for a beauty revolution. Rather than tell girls to dye their hair dark in the winter, I suggested they dye it blonde. To my surprise, I was asked to be the transformation model for the story. Before I knew it, I was sitting in a chair at the Ted Gibson Salon, prepping for a photo shoot. 

I absolutely love my look, and I plan on staying blonde for quite some time. However, because I am naturally brunette, I’ve had to learn a lot about hair maintenance. Check out these expert tips to help you keep your newly blonde hair bright, shiny, and always healthy.

1. Avoid washing your hair every day. Louis Licari, owner and creative director at the Louis Licari salon, explains that when your hair is exposed to the elements, even to something as simple as water, your hair oxidizes. In simple terms, the tone of your hair color changes. So if you want to maintain your hair color and if you have thicker, curlier hair, don’t shampoo every day.

“We are much more active than we used to be. People are working out. They’re doing yoga. They’re going to the gym,” explains Clairol color director James Corbett. “When you live in highly populated areas, like New York City, walking around with the smog and the pollution from the streets can be a little challenging, but it’s best to try and go at least every other day.” 

On days where you feel like you need your shampoo fix, Corbett recommends putting around a quarter of an ounce of apple cider vinegar and three ounces of water in a spray bottle and spritzing the combo on your roots. The apple cider vinegar will not only normalize the pH level of your hair, but it will also absorb oil.

2. Trim your ends every six weeks. Colorist Susana Carranza, from the Marie Robinson Salon, recommends getting a trim immediately after going blonde and every six weeks from then on to keep your ends healthy.

If you schedule hair appointments every six weeks, Carranza recommends taking half an inch off. If your hair goes past the collarbone area and you don't trim your hair regularly, Carranza recommends taking off an inch and a half. If you’re very conservative, keep the trim at an inch. 

Colorists across the board agree that skipping out on a trim can have some damaging effects, especially after a chemical cut, in which your ends get fried. “It will continue to travel up the shaft of the hair and that dried-out look will just never go away,” Licari says. “The best conditioner, oddly enough, is a great haircut.”

3. Apply deep conditioning treatments once or twice a week to moisturize. Carranza recommends applying coconut oil to dry hair. Brush the product through, sleep on it, and wash the product out the next morning. “What your hair will do, especially if it’s dry and brittle, it will just absorb it.”

4. Go to a professional for touch-ups. "When a client comes to see me, yes, I have a formula written down after I have done it a few times, and yes, I look at my records, but then the most important thing is I look at her sitting in my chair and say, "Okay, how does it look?'” Licari says. He analyzes the condition of the hair and asks questions that only a professional would know to ask. Is the color oxidizing? Should you add a few highlights around your face? Book an appointment and find out.

5. Or rock the root trend. Roots are in this season, which is good news for those who can't afford to get professional touch-ups every few weeks or those who simply don't want to (hey girl, no shame). Because your hair color should always provide a little contrast to your natural coloring, "what the darker hair at the root does is shows a little bit of contrast to your complexion, and all of the sudden your complexion comes alive,” Licari says.