Switching up your dye job based on hair color trends is fun, but sometimes what you really want (or need) is an especially low-maintenance hair color.

Whether you’d like your hair blonde, brown, or red, nobody wants to spend more time or money at the salon than necessary. Fortunately there are certain colors and in-salon techniques that ensure that your hair continues looking great long after you leave your color appointment.

Of course it’s always smart to consult with your colorist about what you’re looking for, but it can also be helpful to go in knowing what you want. A quick Instagram scroll can help provide timely hair color inspo. To help you save time and money, we spoke to top colorists to get their expert advice about which colors grow out best and will buy you more time between salon visits.

What is the most low-maintenance hair color?

According to Lorena M. Valdes, a colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, “anything that leaves your natural hair alone and only adjusts the mids and ends” is best for not needing so many touch-ups. With something harsh like highlights, you would get a band of growth from the roots down, but if you’re not touching the roots and leaving them natural, there won’t be a recognizable “line of demarcation,” she says.

“Balayage is amazing for low-maintenance hair, as it starts off as a soft point at the root to a thicker ribbon towards the bottom, which mimics what the sun does to our hair naturally,” says Valdes. Balayage is a highlighting technique in which colorists hand-paint the highlights strategically, so that the lightened pieces appear more naturally placed.

Celebrity hair colorist Brian O’Connor, who is co-owner of Fruits Salon in Nashville, adds that “baby lights are always a nice way to leave a soft blend and an easy grow-out.” Baby lights are more delicate than highlights, and they’re woven throughout the hair for a more natural blend of colors.

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What are the most difficult hair colors to maintain?

Red hair is notoriously difficult when it comes to upkeep. While it’s the hardest color to fully strip from your hair, it’s also the first to fade, often lightening drastically within the first few washes. So unless you’re wanting to touch-up your own color at home, it would be wise to skip the scarlet shades.

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