Hair Colors · Hair Dyes

The Truth About Dyeing/Coloring Natural Hair


Changing the color of your hair can really spice up your look & add a bit of personality.

Some assume that coloring or dying the hair means that it will become damaged & break off. The truth is, you can have natural color treated hair if done correctly – you just have to be proactive in preventing dryness & breakage.

While going darker, adding lowlights or coloring within your natural color range won’t cause you too many problems—the drastic color leaps upward (more than 3 shades beyond your natural color) can really take a toll on your hair. Before you engage in any hair altering experience, first understand and weigh the risks. Never ever color your hair on a whim or without a gameplan for aftercare.

You May Experience:

1. Curl pattern changes.

Yes, coloring textured hair can sometimes result in temporary, unpredictable changes in your hair’s curl pattern. Sometimes, the changes are permanent. Whenever you alter or manipulate the hair’s protein bonding arrangement a slight relaxing effect can occur. These curl pattern changes are less likely to occur in coarse hair textures (coarse refers to the diameter of the hair fiber, not the feel of the fiber), and are more likely to occur in those with fine to medium hair textures. Prior damage may also influence whether or not you experience changes in your curl pattern. Using a protein reconstructor after coloring may help some lost curls find their way again.

2. Increases in hair porosity.

Products that lighten the hair always require direct access to the hair’s cortical layers. When the hair’s cuticle is breached in this manner, the hair’s natural porosity increases leading to a dryness that hardly ever lets up. When porosity increases, dryness becomes a major complaint because moisture is next to impossible to hold securely within the fiber. Your hair becomes like a bucket with holes poked in the sides. Color-treated hair can be unforgiving, too. Miss a regularly scheduled deep conditioning and you may find yourself parting with strands prematurely. A strict, moisture and protein-focused regimen is absolutely essential if the hair is to thrive in this condition. If you never cared before, now is definitely the time to learn how to balance protein and moisture sources in your regimen!

3. Loss of Elasticity.

Because color-treated hair has lost much of its natural moisture (and its overall ability to retain supplemental moisture given), the hair may lose some of its elasticity. Elasticity refers to the ability of our hair fibers to stretch gently and return back to their normal shape and character without damage. The elastic quality of our hair is what makes putting our hair in a ponytail or drawing a puff effortless. When hair lacks elasticity, it does not move, bend and recover when pressured like healthy hair does— it simply gives up under pressure and snaps in its fragile condition. Again, moisture and protein balancing become critical for establishing elasticity because it’s that careful mix of moisture and strength that gives our hair the ability to resist breakage from being stretched and handled day to day.

4. You Will Need to Moisturize More Often

Color treated hair loses much of its natural moisture and its ability to retain any moisture that you add.  This causes a loss of elasticity and ultimately results in breakage.  When hair loses its elasticity, it does not move, bend and/or recover like healthy hair does.

5. Horrific Color Result.

Color is very, very unpredictable and all the swatches, box comparisons and focus groups in the world can’t prepare you for the end result you will be able to expect. Why? Because color uptake is dependent on a number of factors— namely your hair’s current color, porosity and texture (strand size). At best, the hair color on the box is just the product manufacturer’s best corporate guess at what your hair will look like (with a bit of photoshopping thrown in for good measure.) Sometimes, multiple steps will be needed to get your color right. It is always best to have an experienced professional take color more than three shades out of your natural color range.

Here are a few signs that color may not be for you:

1. Your hair is already in a damaged state.
2. You are on a healthy hair or hair growth journey.
3. You don’t have much time to spend on your hair.

If you’re someone who has never colored before and is ready to take that plunge, just be prepared for how much your regimen will change. You will definitely have to moisturize and deep condition more. Also, your hair will behave differently because it has gone through a chemical change.

In the end, do what’s best for you and your hair and rock it with confidence!


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