What Happens When You Dye Your Hair as Often as Nicole Richie?

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Nicole Richie stepped out in New York City yesterday sporting new, indigo hued locks. Starting with lavender in March, the star of Candidly Nicole has spent the last few months experimenting with a rainbow of hair colors. The blue dye feels just right for cool, fall weather, but made us wonder about the consequences of spending that much time in the salon chair, drowning your hair in chemicals-even if they are that pretty.

Related: 4 DIY Ways to Lighten Hair Naturally

'Nicole has dark hair, so first, you have to lighten the natural hair color,' says Jeffrey Tam, a colorist at the Frédéric Fekkai Fifth Avenue Salon in New York City. 'For indigo, which is in the vibrant range, you have to go to a pretty pale color, like a blonde. The more pastel you want the color to be, the lighter your hair has to go,'

For natural blondes, this process tends to be a lot easier. Brunettes may have a little more trouble achieving a vibrant shade like indigo, and are better candidates for a bright red or aubergine. 'You have to lift the hair up to the point where it would be light enough to show the color,' says Tam. 'If it's not light enough, the color will be very dull.'

With these vibrant hair colors, you'll likely need to touch up your dye every two weeks, depending on how often you wash it, since these shades tend to fade fast. And frequent use of chemical dyes does come with a price. 'Over time, the process can be extremely drying,' says Tam. 'The hair can become more porous because you are removing all the natural pigment.' Environmental factors like staying out in the sun, or chlorine from a pool can cause the color to fade faster.

Related: The Do's and Don'ts of Home Hair Color

You can keep your hair healthy by using a nourishing hair mask in place of your conditioner. 'The key is to make sure you put in a treatment,' says Tam. 'Anything to seal in the color will help.'

While keeping up a rainbow of hair colors is certainly not a low maintenance process, we hope Nicole continues to experiment (and inspire us!) with her colorful strands.

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