Color Me Healthy-Haired Most women have experimented with hair color at some stage, and I'm no different. I love the way extra highlights or color can give hair more depth and lightness or shadow, or transform your whole outlook. I started highlighting my hair after college. Caring for it took some trial and error, but over the years this is what I've found works to keep my color longer, more vibrant, and with minimal damage. Five Tips for Longer-Lasting Color 1. Clarify your hair before coloring. Clarifying re-sets and detoxifies the hair, so the color applies directly to the hair shaft, not the build-up that may be coating the hair. 2. Use a deep conditioner BEFORE applying color, and again AFTER the color has been on about 24 hours. I apply Deep Conditioner to my dry hair, cover with a shower cap, heat with a hood dryer for 15-20 minutes, allow it to cool naturally, then rinse and style as usual. You can also substitute with a wet towel placed in the microwave to heat it up. 3. Use a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates strip hair and prematurely fade color. 4. Avoid shampooing and water as much as possible to retain color longer. 5. Avoid heat tools. Embrace your natural beauty!