Men and women all around the world have been coloring their hair for ages. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Celtic people were well-known for adopting a range of natural (and unnatural) colors. Using many of the plants commonly employed to dye textiles, our ancestors enjoyed hues which ranged from blondes and whites to wild shades of red, blue, and even purple. Today, many hair colorings are synthetic, washes of chemical concoctions that achieve a wider range of colors than ever possible. However, these synthetic treatments come the need for specialized care for color-treated hair.
Coloring your hair can be a fantastic way to accentuate your natural beauty and really make your presence pop. Read on to learn about our favorite tips for keeping your hair gorgeous, happy, and healthy no matter what color you sport.
First Things First: What You Should Know Before You Dye Your Hair
We’ve come a long way from the days of using henna and indigo to achieve a rich black, or fermented berries to achieve reds and deep purples. These days, the full spectrum of the rainbow is at your fingertips (depending, of course, on your hair type).
However, even though commercial hair coloring has become cheap and accessible, there’s still more to it than simply picking out a color at the grocery store, throwing it into your hair and calling it good. Before you color your hair, consider that:
- Hair dyes can be quite harsh. Many hair dyes contain ingredients like ammonia, ethanol alcohol, or tongue-twisters like para-phenylenediamine. These are designed to chemically manipulate your hair so that it takes the dye better to achieve your desired color … they can dry out, damage, or even ruin your hair.
- The color on the box might not be what you end up with. The color on the front of the box is rarely what you’ll get. First, you don’t know what the model’s natural hair color is. Therefore, you don’t know how close or far this color is to her natural color. Second, your hair (and scalp!) may react differently to the chemicals used.
- It’s best to go to a professional for significantly lighter or unnatural colors. To achieve shades that are radically different from your own color, it’s best to visit a professional. Such colorings require stronger chemicals than what is found in store-bought hair dyes and a hairstylist is trained to apply them without ruining your hair.
4 Proper Color-Treated Hair Care Techniques
Color-treated hair care isn’t difficult as long as you’re prepared and mindful of the way chemicals will affect your strands. Follow these four easy tips for the best possible outcome of your coloring treatment.
1. Prepare Your Hair Before Coloring
Make sure that your hair is primed and ready for not just handling the chemical ordeal but accepting the dye itself. A day or two before the coloring, use a clarifying shampoo to remove whatever product and oil buildup may have occurred. Follow that with a deep conditioner to replace any lost moisture but resist the urge to apply styling products if you’re able to before the coloring.
Don’t shampoo your hair immediately before you color it. By shampooing your hair a day or two prior to coloring, you’ll give your scalp a chance to rebuild a layer of natural oils. This will help protect it from any undue irritation caused by the chemicals.
2. Get Smart About Shampoo
It’s important to be careful with shampoo after you’ve colored your hair. Once colored, hair becomes much more porous. That’s why it will lose its moisture more readily, but that also means it can lose its dye more easily as well. Shampoos, which are designed to remove buildup from the scalp and strands, can strip both dirt and buildup as well as your hard-earned color.
Be very careful about what shampoos you use on your color-treated hair. It may take some experimenting to discover what you like best. Consider:
- Using dry shampoo. This is a type of water-less shampoo which improves the appearance of hair and helps you go longer between actual shampoo sessions.
- Using children’s shampoo. Suggested as a tip for ladies with unicorn hair, children’s shampoo is much gentler on both the skin and the hair.
- Going sulfate-free. Many stylists will warn you to choose a sulfate-free shampoo because it’s gentler. However, we weren’t able to find any research supporting the belief that sulfates result in color loss.
3. Keep Your Head Cool – Don’t Take the Heat!
Once colored, your hair will be especially sensitive to heat. Part of that has to do with the dye molecules themselves in your hair, but your hair proteins have also been changed chemically. Protect your hair from the heat by:
- Protecting it from direct sunlight. Unlike sulfates, scientific evidence does exist which supports hair color changes caused by ultraviolet radiation.
- Turn down the water when you shower. Hot water will strip hair coloring faster.
- Ditch the blow dryer. Blow drying your hair already isn’t great. For colored hair, it’s a recipe for frizz, fading, and damage. Use a hair towel
4. Moisturizer Is Your Friend
Making sure your wonderfully colored mane gets enough moisture should be among your top priorities. Since hair dye affects the porosity and structure of your hair, you’ll need to make extra sure that you keep the moisture level topped off. Consider:
- An avocado-honey treatment. Avocados are an emollient, rich in proteins, vitamins, and hair-nourishing fatty acids, while honey makes your hair shine. Blend avocado and a heaping spoonful of honey into a smooth paste, allow it to sit for 25-30 minutes in your hair and rinse it completely.
- Oil treatments. Oils like argon, almond, and avocado can help restore moisture without making your hair feel greasy.
- Leave-in conditioner. Get yourself a good leave-in conditioner and apply it whenever your tips are feeling dry.
Look Fabulous and Give Your Color-Treated Hair the Best Care
Color-treated hair care revolves all around protecting your beautiful new coloring from things that might dry it out. From using the right shampoo to making sure you keep your hair protected from the heat, these tips can help you enjoy a gorgeous mane in any color of your choosing.
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