If it isn’t constant sunshine and blasts of air conditioning stripping the toners in our hair colour, we have swimming pools, chlorinated water, and daily shampooing (often with the wrong products) to blame. So what can we do to keep the colour looking brighter for longer when we live in the UAE?

We’ve asked two volunteers who regularly colour their hair to visit a local salon for a colour and consultation with an expert – and whether you opt for the brightest blonde or the darkest black, the tips will come in handy for everyone opting for professional colour in the UAE.


We asked reader Nadine Tuscott, a mum-of-two living in Umm Suqeim, to visit Pastels Salon Jumeirah for a professional colour. Her colourist was senior stylist Anessa Safodien, who took time to analyse her hair type and her concerns about dullness, before highlighting her hair and advising her about how to keep it brighter for longer.

The problem

Nadine says: ‘I have lived in Dubai for nearly 12 years and have been highlighting my hair since I was 18. The Dubai climate and regular highlighting causes my locks to be very dry and sometimes brittle. I also find it very hard to keep the blonde colour looking bright after I leave the salon – I’m not sure if that’s caused by the quality of the water or by the sunshine, but I’d love some tips.’

The colour

Nadine’s stylist Anessa explains: ‘Nadine’s hair is naturally dark blonde. She likes her hair light, but also natural-looking, so I used two different shades of blonde on her hair – a warmer, more natural tone and a lighter brighter blonde colour that uses bleach. Using the two shades together makes the regrowth a bit softer and not as obvious, making the colour last for longer too.’

Hairdresser’s tips

Anessa says: ‘Living in a warm climate can contribute to brassiness. Lots of sun and swimming in chlorinated water can strip the toners out a lot more quickly. I recommend Nadine uses a purple shampoo every two weeks to keep the blonde fresh and eliminate yellow tones. It’d also be a good idea to use a leave-in conditioner with heat protection for both heat styling and sun exposure. Once a week, I also recommend a deep conditioning hair mask to combat dryness and brittleness.’

‘It’s important to visit a salon and stylist with an excellent reputation for creating blonde hair as they will understand how to achieve the perfect colour that will last. And make sure you head back to the salon at least every eight weeks to keep the colour as fresh and bright as possible between visits.’

Shopping list for blonde hair

Sachajuan Silver Shampoo (Dh145) and Silver Conditioner (Dh150, Glamazle.com). Containing violet pigment to combat and neutralise unwanted brassy and yellow tones, this clever duo preserves cool shades of blonde. They also contain UV protectants that penetrate the follicle, and remain after rinsing, keeping your colour protected.

KeraStraight Sun Protect (Dh130, Pastels Salon). This lightweight spray delivers up to eight times your hair’s natural protection from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays, as well as protecting blonde hair from salt water and chlorine.

Color Wow Brass Banned Mousse (Dh140, Basharacare.com). Specifically designed for blonde hair, this colour-correcting mousse helps to eliminate unwanted yellow or brassy tones. It does a great job of boosting volume too.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Light and Blonde (Dh30, Boots nationwide). Need to freshen up your hair between washes? This dry shampoo is designed for lighter hair, avoiding dullness and build-up.

L’Occitane Repairing Mask for Dry and Damaged Hair (Dh159, L’Occitane nationwide). Recommended for use on colour-treated locks, this mask nourishes and strengthens dry, brittle hair. Expect a silky texture and the kind of glossy sheen that is often difficult to achieve on lighter hair colours.


Journalist and mum-of-three Louise Emma Clarke tried out the new Colour Express Menu at Marquee Salons (available across the UAE) for brunettes; a bespoke colour service to bring out the best in darker hair. After a chat about her hair and concerns, colourist Catherine Hawkes used three different colours to create the perfect look, before giving advice on how to fight the fade.

The problem

Louise says: ‘My hair is mid-brown, but I think it suits me better to go a bit darker. My problem is that the colour fades so quickly in Dubai. I don’t know if it’s the shampoo I’m using, the water quality, or the fact I am always out and about in the sunshine. Within weeks, I can see the odd grey strand poking through again and the colour seems washed out. I’d love some tips on how to stop it fading – and also would love the stylist to create some texture, as sometimes I find the colour looks a bit flat when it starts fading.’

The colour

Colourist Catherine Hawkes explains: ‘At Marquee we’ve created a special Colour Express Menu, which is made up of five different looks clients can choose from. Each look was especially designed to add depth or dimensions through colour, and it’s perfect for brunettes. By using a sectioning pattern and slightly changing the shade of each section, it can create an illusion of texture and even appears to change the shape of the head.’

‘For Louise, I used a sectioning pattern I call tricolour chic. This is a section in the front, the crown and the back. I decided to keep the section of the crown a mid-brown, the front section a shade darker with an ashy feel, and the bottom a shade darker again with a rich chocolate brown to draw in the whole look.’

Shopping list for dark hair

Joelle Color Protect Shampoo (Dh90, Wojooh.com). This luxurious shampoo is formulated with quinoa and amber extracts to protect against antioxidant aggressors and premature colour 
fading, making it ideal for brunettes fighting the fade.

Sachajuan Hair in the Sun (Dh120, Basharacare.com). With a UV filter that promises to stay in your hair even after a bath or shower, this silky cream promises to protect hair colour when you are exposing it to sunshine. It’ll also add a glossy sheen, which works very well on darker hair colours.

L’Oreal Professional Vitamino Color Masque Treatment (Dh155, Thebeautyfloor.com). Targeting weakened areas of the hair, this intensive mask wraps each strand with a lightweight film to protect and strengthen it. Expect impressive shine and a new vibrancy to your colour.

Color Wow Root Cover Up in Dark Brown (Dh210, Glamazle.com). Need to hide your roots between colour treatments? It takes seconds to brush this dark brown powder onto your roots to instantly disguise regrowth.

Colab Luxe Shine Spray (Dh50, Beautysolutions-me.com). Brunette and dark hair always looks its best with a shine – and when your colour is starting to fade, a gloss will help to revive the colour. This spray offers instant shine and lasts between washes.

We went to Pastels Salon, Villa 1186, Al Wasl Road, 04 388 3534, pastels-salon.com and Marquee Hair Salon, Arabian Ranches, 04 420 7700, marquee.ae

Say yes to swimming caps, says the hairdresser