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/ Source: TODAY
By Chrissy Callahan

When I found my very first gray hair in my early twenties, I wasn’t at all surprised. While most of my friends would have years (a decade, even!) before contending with silver strands, I was lucky enough to inherit genes from my dad, who just so happened to go gray right out of college.

When history decided to repeat itself — this time, with me — I could only hope that my first gray was my only gray for the foreseeable future. My naturally brunette locks held out as long as they could, but after several years, the number of visible grays sprouting out of my scalp increased tenfold.

After years of avoiding the inevitable, I started coloring my gray hairs last year. Writing about beauty has taught me that color-protective products are the key to making a new hair color last, so I perused my local drugstore for a product to help me get the most bang for my buck. I've always been a fan of L'Oréal Paris, so I decided to pick up a bottle of L'Oréal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Intensive shampoo and conditioner.

L'Oreal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Shampoo, $4, Jet

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Also available at Amazon and Walmart.

L'Oreal Paris Elvive Color Vibrancy Shampoo, $4, Jet

Also available at Amazon and Walmart.

I started by using the shampoo and conditioner duo every other day (I only wash that often) and was immediately certain of two things: The products smelled awesome, and the price was just right. The truth is, I've always had a soft spot for drugstore shampoos. Over the years, I’ve used my fair share of pricey shampoos and have had a few favorites. But over time, I realized that a wash-off product like shampoo isn’t really worth a hefty price — at least not for me.

The Elvive color collection claims to prevent color fading for up to four weeks (thanks to the help of antioxidants) and repair fragile hair (with the help of ceramides). It took me a few weeks before I started noticing those kinds of results, but I did instantly love the shampoo's creamy formula.

I know sulfate-free shampoos are technically better for you, but I've got thick, wavy hair that needs a nice lather. And the Elvive color shampoo's lather is one of its best attributes, in my opinion. The conditioner is pretty darn great, too, and it's got a thick consistency so you only need a little at a time.

Freshly colored hair in May.Chrissy Callahan / Chrissy Callahan

After using the shampoo and conditioner consistently for several weeks, I noticed my hair was still going strong (literally).

One month in, and still looking good in June!Chrissy Callahan / Chrissy Callahan

Several months in, I still didn't need to color my hair again. Sure, a few grays started to pop up here and there, but they really weren't terribly noticeable, and my hair was still nice and shiny.

After four months, it's just about time to color my hair again.Chrissy Callahan / Chrissy Callahan

Now after four months (I last colored my hair in early May), I'm just about ready to color it again. Not too bad for a $4 product, huh?