Hair color can be an awesome way to switch things up but if not done right or cared for, the process can lead to dryness, damage, and breakage.
Here are 4 things you can do to minimize the negative effects or repair hair damaged by hair color.
Hair color is a great way to be creative and add a little funk to your natural hair. It can be done in moderation or in extreme with the new fashion colors hitting the market. Which ever you chose is totally your preference. After proceeding, you may find your hair to be extremely dry, brittle, damaged or over processed.
Here’s my experience with hair color: Since June of 2014 to January of 2015 I had lifted my hair with bleach approximately 10+ times as I experimented with color. I am a bit of a color enthusiast and love to experiment with my hair. But after excessive coloring treatments mixed with heat styling, I noticed my hair became extremely dry (though the winter weather didn’t help), it lost its elasticity and the curls became very limp and fragile. I wasn’t devastated because I knew the risk I was taking. I then found myself standing in front of the mirror wondering…what am I going to do now?
Well, it is true, once you reach a point of chemical damage, there isn’t a repair. This is also true with heat damage. But there are steps that you can take to keep hair from further damage, as well as minimize breakage.
Deep Conditioning Treatments. Color and other chemical services break down the natural protein and keratin in the hair, creating gaps and holes in the strands that leaves hair feeling rough. So, what you have lost, can be replenished with keratin and protein enriched conditioners. My go to is Redken Extreme Strength Builder and/or Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Conditioning Treatment. Now this doesn’t reverse the damage, but it does help counteract the results of the chemical damage, yielding less breakage.
Protective Styling. Utilizing protective styles is always a great option. But when you are recovering from chemical and/or heat damage, you have to be sure not to further damage the hair with styling options that applies too much tension on already distressed hair. So, in cases like this, I recommend two strand twists or flat twist updos with your own hair (to be worn for 2 – 3 weeks).. You may also consider other styles that require low heat, low manipulation such as braided or twisted halo, finger coils; and for shorter lengths, wash and go styles that do not require constant rewetting with water.
Adjust Regimen. When hair has become chemically damaged, it becomes extremely porous. This means it requires more moisture due to its high porosity levels. It absorbs moisture well, but loses it easily due to raised cuticles.
To close cuticles, a)) use pH balanced products, b)) be sure to rinse conditioner with cool water c)) use protein and keratin deep conditioners on a regular basis as mentioned above.
Regular trims. I found myself trimming my hair every 3-4 weeks because I didn’t want the split ends to ruin the length I had (which is minimum because its a taper) So, in order to keep it from breaking excessively, I just trimmed often until the damaged ends had eventually grown out. You can also opt for a big chop if you don’t have the patience.
But trimming natural hair at least every 3-4 months is ideal.
I anticipated this because I knew of the risks I was taking by processing my hair as much. I, in no way, endorse or encourage anyone to process their hair that much. But, damage from color doesn’t have to come from too many processes, as it can happen the first attempt at color. Nonetheless, these steps will help you along your road to recovery.
Photo Credit: Julia Robbs