All you need to know about Hair Discoloration & Color Fade

All you need to know about Hair Discoloration & Color Fade

You may have heard murmurs about hair discoloration & color fade, and whether you’ve noticed any yourself, here’s our guide to what you REALLY need to know. Let us dispel a few myths along the way too.

What is Discoloration?

Many recognise this as an instant change in their hair, maybe when it’s been exposed to chlorinated swimming pool water, but actually this can also be a gradual change. Mostly seen in blonde hair as a brassy, pink or peach colour coming through, and sometimes only in patches of hair and not the full length of the hair.

Discoloration is caused by a chemical reaction from mineral elements in hard water, such as iron, that is reacting with the hair colour. This is often accelerated as a reaction with an ingredient found in sun lotions (and many other products) and the heat from sunshine, so many come across this when on holiday.

It’s worth checking with your local water provider if you live in a hard water area, and also be aware of this when you are away.

It is important to remember that Hair Extensions are more porous than your own hair. Because they are not longer attached to the scalp, they no longer received natural nutrients to protect the hair. This will make hair extensions more prone to damage, discoloration and fade than your own hair. 

Color Fade and Discoloration

It is important to understand that color fading can, and will happen, the same as your own natural hair would if it was colored. Color fade is usually gradual and completely natural due to wear and tear throughout the complete life of the hair through washing, styling products and heat damage. Problems can arise when the color fades or discolor at a quicker rate than it normally would, and this usually occurs when the hair is exposed to certain ingredients or substances, and UV rays.

Our founder, Victoria, and International Educator, Abigail Nicholls, have been testing hair, sun creams and water around the globe for years – and had some very funny looks for the other poolside sunbathers whilst in the process of getting this research; but here’s what they have uncovered.

In the interest of being fair, the team took other hair extension brands on tour too. This is an issue across the board for brands, and we share this not in any way to discredit another hair brand, but in the interest of sharing more information and educating everyone to be more aware.

It is a bigger issue for blondes, with ashier blondes taking a salmon hue on, and warmer blondes becoming a brighter, brassy orange. Often with the clients reporting an issue, the color change is patchy, where the hair hits the shoulders or where you run your hands through your hair regularly. If it’s just the ends, you might be able to pull off a dip dye look, but ultimately you are going to want to sort this out.

So, what is really going on? You have three main factors contributing here, so let’s take one at a time.


We are all for protecting our skin first and foremost but how choosy are you when picking your sunscreen? The NHS guidelines have some interesting information to help and explain the star rating and SPF a little more for you. But the main ingredients to note are:

  • Avobenzone (Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane) an oil-soluble ingredient used in sunscreen products to absorb the full spectrum of UVA rays.
  • Benzophenone is a UV filter that is commonly found in hair care products.
  • Octocrylene is added as a stabilizer as the Avobenzone degrades in light. Together they are found in differing quantities in sun protection; the more you have the higher SPF and star rating your product will have.

There are plenty of sunscreen products for your hair popping up on the market so be wary that these two might have ingredients that will accelerate the color change effect.


Water is cleaned, filtered, chemicals added giving different areas of the world differing water types from hard or soft water and pH levels. Water systems abroad often use more chemicals than back home and the water you are dealing with can change between the pool, sea and shower. So, even if you think you have avoided the chlorine, having a shower before getting dressed up for a night out will also be causing your hair woes.

“If you can’t drink the water, that kind of gives you an indication of the quality of it.” Victoria

Water testing at the beach in Dubai

    • Hard water has high mineral content. Minerals such as Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Calcium and Silica, which attach to the hair cells creating the color for the reaction.
    • Alkalinity and pH levels need to be at the slightly acidic level of around 4.5-5 for our skin and hair

Want to see more? Head to our Water Testing IGTV and you can see Victoria testing seawater in Dubai and explaining more about the issue.


Sun worshipper or not, the sun’s UV rays get through everything. Known for drying out the hair to leave frazzled ends, dull and lifeless locks as well as color fade.

Fundamentally, the heat from the sun accelerates the chemical reaction going on between the sun cream and mineral water deposits.


Essentially, the color change is as a result of a chemical reaction. The sunscreen, mixed with the water minerals and speeded up by sunshine, brings about the color change we see.

When testing hair extensions with various sun cream products (all with different levels of Octocrylene Avobenzone) in the sunshine and chlorinated pool water, a color change will start. When the sun cream is absorbed into the hair and exposed to the UV light, it causes the cells to break down in a process known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). The cells break down and seek out the Electron particles to form a new cell structure.

So wherever you are in the world, enjoying the sunshine and protecting your skin properly with sun cream, just think of protecting your hair too to ensure the cream does not come into contact with your color hair and hair extensions. Wash your hands after applying sunscreen and remember our other preventative top tips.


Well, prevention is better than cure as they say, so read more with three tips to ensure your hair escapes the hair curse. If you require a quick fix then you need to invest in some Malibu C and watch our short video to show you how to use them properly


You need around one sachet  of the Hard Water Wellness Remedy for 50g of hair. So, if you have a full head of extensions, make sure you buy enough sachets.

Summer is surely our favorite time of year and we are looking forward to a glorious one here. Just be a little wiser now before you head out and feel good, from those lovely sun’s rays, but that you now are converted to protecting your hair properly from the sunshine.

In Conclusion:

Tips for avoiding discoloration:

  • Follow our Aftercare Guide and use the Remi Cachet Haircare Products and take extra care when on holiday
  • Do not use hair care or styling products that contain ingredients that protect from UV
  • In high hard water areas, you can use the Malibu C Hardwater Wellness Kit as a preventative measure
  • In bright sunshine (or when using sunbeds), wear a sun hat or tie up your hair

Tips for avoiding color fade:

  • Follow our Aftercare Guide and use the Remi Cachet Haircare Products
  • Avoid washing your hair too frequently and reduce the water temperature
  • Reduce the temperature of your heat tools when styling your hair
  • Treat your hair with our Hair Oil to keep it hydrated
  • In bright sunshine (or when using sunbeds), wear a sun hat or tie up your hair
  • Use a color retaining product to help keep the color correct
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