Galaxy hair, rainbow hair, geode hair, holographic hair. If you’re well informed about the latest hair trends, you’re probably well-acquainted with these hair coloring techniques.
Those who regularly color their hair will surely have a lot of advice for first-timers. Hair dyes are ironically not very hair-friendly. And though they impart beautiful hues to your locks, they interfere with the structural integrity of your strands.
Colored Hair Problems
The most common issues people face when they color their hair are:
- Extremely dry frizzy hair
- Hair that is isn’t very elastic and breaks easily
- Split ends
- Dull, lackluster hair
- Hair that gets sticky very quickly
Because of these problems, you may find that you lose a lot more hair than usual.
Before getting to the ways in which you can care for your hair, you must understand what you’re dealing with first. Each hair strand is called the hair shaft. The shaft has 3 layers – the outermost cuticle, the middle cortex, and the innermost medulla. Hair dyes can cause damage to each of these layers.
1. Cuticle Damage
The cuticle resembles the scales on a fish. Ammonia in hair dyes and bleach (applied before lighter dyes like blue and pink) cause pH changes in the hair shaft. This, in turn, causes the hair shaft to swell and forces open the cuticle layer, exposing the more delicate cortex.
As the cuticle can no longer serve as a barrier to substances entering and leaving the hair shaft, it can leave your hair defenseless to a number of problems. One such problem is the easy loss of moisture from the shaft, causing dry, dull, and frizzy hair.
2. Cortex Damage
The cortex is what really makes up your hair. Its building blocks are the hair protein keratin. Peroxides from hair dyes can enter through the open cuticle and break down keratin, disassembling the very foundation of your tresses.
A damaged cortex makes your hair more breakable and robs it of its elasticity. This leaves your hair more vulnerable to breakage when wet.
3. Medulla Damage
The medulla is the innermost layer of the shaft. It provides some degree of structural integrity to your strands, though its purpose is still not completely understood. Your strands will probably already break before the damage penetrates deep enough to reach the medulla.
Tips To Keep Your Colored Hair Healthy
Colored hair is more vulnerable hair, which is why it requires a lot more TLC. When caring for colored hair, the objective is to reverse the damage caused by chemicals as far as we can and preferably naturally.
Here are some tips on how you can help keep your colored hair healthy:
1. Allow Your Hair To Naturally Dry
This is one of the basic niceties you can show your locks. Allow your hair to air dry after you wash it. Just after a wash, to remove water dripping off your strands, gently pat your hair dry with a soft towel. Do not indulge in rough or forceful movements as it may make your hair even rougher.
2. Avoid Blow Drying Your Hair
When you shampoo your hair, chemicals in the shampoo force the cuticles open so that they can enter the shafts and clean your strands properly. When you wash off the shampoo, the cuticles close and resume their protective function.
Blow drying your hair after you wash it, interferes with this process. The heat from the dryer forces the cuticle scales to stay open. As is the case with all proteins, the heat from the dryer can break down the keratin too, causing further damage to your hair.
If you must blow dry, try using a cold dryer that uses cool air instead of hot air.
3. Avoid Brushing Your Hair When Wet
Hair that is wet is weak. Imagine how weak wet colored hair is. Wait for your hair to dry before you brush it; at least till it is slightly damp.
Don’t be too harsh on your hair when you brush it. Use your fingers to gently undo stubborn knots.
4. Avoid Using Flat Irons And Curling Rods
The logic that applies to hair dryers, applies to flat irons and curling rods as well. Avoid using these styling devices as they cause further damage to already damaged colored hair. The heat from these devices interferes with the integrity of your strands.
5. Reduce The Frequency At Which You Wash Your Hair
The number to aspire for is once a week; at least restrict yourself to 2 or 3 times a week. Pastel colors, in particular, wash off easily. You don’t want to lose all the color too soon, more so because hair coloring is almost always expensive (if you get it done professionally).
The upside of increasing the interim between washes is that you train your hair to produce less oil, which means it will take longer to become greasy. This practice also minimizes the shampoo damage to your hair, ensuring your mane retains moisture and doesn’t dry out too easily. That sweet spot between dry and greasy is maintained.
If your hair becomes greasy before your dedicated shampoo day and you’re tempted to wash it, refrain. Instead, use a dry shampoo to add some volume to a flat crown. Sticking with slick hairstyles like high tight ponytails and wearing hair accessories like head scarves is a good cover up as well.
6. Condition With Organic Coconut Oil
You can do this both before and after you wash your hair. Gently massage some organic coconut oil into your scalp and leave it for about half an hour. Wash it off with a mild sulfate-free shampoo.
After you pat your hair dry with a towel, rub some of the oil on your fingertips and apply it to the ends of your tresses as a leave-in conditioner to avoid split ends.
7. Apply A Mayonnaise Hair Mask
Being a rich reserve of protein, mayonnaise can restore shine and moisture to dull damaged hair. Generously apply some mayo on your hair half an hour before you shower. Wash off with lukewarm water and a mild sulfate-free shampoo. We agree it may get a little messy but it is sure to make a difference in the appearance of your mane.
Hair damage is inevitable when you color your
hair. But what is within your control is how much damage you let happen and how much you reverse.