Coloring your hair is a fun, safe, and relatively inexpensive way to alter your image. You can do it at home for less than $40 or visit a salon for professional results.
Whether you’re covering up a few grey strands or experimenting with a brilliant new color, there are a few things you should know when dying your hair. Keep reading to learn a variety of hair care tips that will prolong your new color and help you avoid damage.
The Coloring Process
Changing the color of your hair can be damaging. Your hair will become dryer and coarser after coloring – far more so if you’re going lighter.
Think of it this way: bleaching the hair draws color out of your hair, while dying the hair adds additional color to your natural shade.
The products used by professionals are almost always going to better for your hair than the box dyes you can pick up at your local pharmacy or grocery store. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with doing it on your own; just be aware that the process will be less damaging if you visit a salon.
Don’t be fooled by the box – the shade you end up with might not match the picture on the box. It all depends on your current shade. When in doubt, pick a lighter color (it’s far easier to go darker than to remove color).
Tip: Avoid dying the skin around your hairline by applying Aquaphor or Vaseline to the area before you begin.
It’s important that you lock in your new color with heat after the dying process. My stylist uses a blow dryer to do this. You can do it at home by blow drying and then using a flat iron (focus on the ends).
This one can be hard, but try to avoid washing your hair for at least two days after the treatment. Wait longer if you can. Your color will fade with each wash, so you may need to change your routine if you’re used to washing your hair every day.
Personally, I recommend washing your hair every two-three days and using dry shampoo on the in-between days if you have oily hair.
Trending: Some women have started to grow out their armpit hair and then dye it. Click here to learn more about the #dyedpits movement.
Products for Colored Hair
From dry shampoo to hair spray, you can always find a brand made specifically for color treated hair. These products tend to be mild (in regards to ingredients) with a focus on protecting the hair from the many sources than can cause it to fade.
You’ll want to use a mild shampoo and conditioner designed for colored hair (I use Redken Color Extend for my red hair).
Long hot showers may feel great, but they can dry out your skin and fade your hair color. Wash and rinse your hair with cold water (if possible!) to preserve color and boost shine.
More advice to keep your hair looking its best:
- If you use dry shampoo, make sure to choose a brand that’s safe for color-treated hair.
- Pamper your hair with a deep-conditioning treatment once a week to prolong color.
- A healthy diet = healthy hair; consume fish, lean meat, eggs, grains, nuts, and veggies to keep colored hair looking great.
- Make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of Vitamin C.
- Some advise taking biotin to strengthen the hair. Be aware that this will also cause your hair to grow faster, which means you’ll need to visit the salon more often for touch-ups.
At the Salon
The coloring process makes your hair more porous, which is why it’s so important to choose a moisturizing conditioner. Make sure your stylist uses a high-quality product that will continue to condition your hair after the dye job is complete. Choose ammonia-free brands that contain natural oils.
Apart from unnatural shades like green and blue, red is probably the hardest hair color to maintain. If you’re going for a crimson hue, ask your stylist to use a brand that maximizes high-definition color while minimizing stress to the hair itself.
What to Avoid
Stay away from chlorine – this includes swimming pools – and harsh soaps. Any shampoo that contains sulfates or advertises “clean hair” is sure to suck the color right out.
Avoid beach days and extended sun exposure. The sun naturally bleaches the hair, so it’s also a good idea to minimize sun exposure if you’ve chosen a dark or vibrant color.
If you’re planning on being out in the sun all day, wear a hat or use a UV protecting product (like hair spray or leave-in conditioner with SPF).
Visit the salon for touch-ups and trims. You’ll need to touch up your roots to maintain perfect color, but make sure not to color your hair more than once a month. Dying or bleaching too often can ruin the texture of your hair.
If you’re touching up your roots at home, we suggest dipping a cotton ball into the color and applying it that way.
It’s also important to have your ends trimmed regularly to keep your hair healthy.
Be careful with heat tools like curling irons, blow dryers, and flat irons. Just as a hot shower can draw the color out of your hair, so can frequent blow drying, straightening, and other styling methods that involve heat.
Air-dry your colored hair as much as possible, and make sure to use a leave-in conditioning treatment when you do use heat tools.
An estimated 70% of women living in the US choose to color their hair. Personally, I’ve done everything from “I bought this color for five dollars let’s try it” with friends to shelling out hundreds of dollars at a salon to change my naturally brown hair to red, blonde, black, orange, and purple.
Caring for your hair post-treatment is vital, especially if you’ve spent a lot of money in the process. The last thing you want is to finally achieve that perfect color only to have it fade a few weeks later!
Click here to learn more about our shampoo recommendations for colored hair.