5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Hair Color

Color can bring a little spice to our hair and along with that your can add confidence, beauty, and even attention. Most naturals I know have dabbled with a color or two from the brash; to the bold; to the subtle –  all according to the individual.

There is no better time to add color than with a new season. Like it or not the holidays are upon us and before you know it, the temperatures will dip, the snow will fall and we will hear Christmas songs chiming in the background at malls, department stores and on the radio. If you have been thinking about adding some color to your hair, then right now is perfect!
There are a few ways to try color and they each have their own pros and cons:
Go to a salon – You are going to get a better experience and color and if you want a professional to help guide you get the perfect color then this is the best option. This the priciest route to take and you will most likely need to go back to them for touch-ups which will make it an expensive commitment but you may gain a longer lasting color because most salons will use a brand they trust and love.

Color is a chemical so there can be some damage although salons try to combat that by deep conditioning treatments so your tresses do not suffer health wise.
Buy a box – Getting color from a box brand is big and has been big for years. You cut down the price significantly and you have the convenience of doing your hair at home instead of a busy, hectic salon. The down side is you are doing it yourself, it can be messy and the color on the box may not be what you end up with…sorry.

There is a difference with brands and often naturals are sacrificing big-time by using certain brands that may create dryness or even breakage. Some naturals even see alterations in their texture so be careful, read the label and determine if this is the route to take. Make sure to do protein based deep conditioning treatments to combat any damages color may inflict.

Try the natural route – This is by far the less damaging of the three routes because color is a chemical and chemicals can damage your tresses but that doesn’t mean natural alternatives cannot harm or at least alter your tresses as well. Many naturals color using Henna, lemon juice, or even honey concoctions to change the color or hide the gray.

The downside to natural route to hair color depends on your choice. If you choose Henna, know that real henna will turn your hair red and many (who want a darker shade) will color with Indigo to get black. Besides being a 2-step process, both coloring sessions are messy and LONG.

It can take about 4 hours to get each application to work! Using honey, cinnamon or other ingredients are used to lighten the hair but the results vary and oftentimes you need several applications before you see any changes.

5 Ways to get the best out of your color

1. Prepare the RIGHT way
Often women will wash their hair right before a dye application with a clarifying shampoo to make sure it is clean and ready for the color but that may be the worst thing to do if you want a great application.
Your natural oils actually help the coloring process by giving you the fullest and richest color. Basically no washing, no products and no heat styling at least 48 hours before your color application to ensure you get the best color possible.

2. Avoid sulfates
As naturals, we already know the importance of leaving sulfates out of our hair care regimens. You need to know just how damaging they can be on your color-treated tresses. Simply put, sulfates are harsh surfactants that strip the oils from your hair but they also do this to color.
This is why you will see so many products saying, “safe for color-treated hair” because they have either lower levels of gentler sulfates, or do not have them at all. Basically if you want to save your color, stay clear of the sulfates.

3. Avoid heat
Heat styling is popular with naturals, and it allows them the variety they crave as well as getting the wash day to go a little quicker than through air-drying. The problem is heat styling opens the cuticle and makes the hair more porous, which will cause color to fade.
This goes for washing your hair is hot water too because it allows the cuticle to open just enough for even the mildest sulfates to reach in, and removes that color from the hair shaft. The best way to save that color is to rinse your hair in the coldest water you can stand to close that cuticle; seal in the moisture you’ve just applied; add a natural shine, and tame the frizz.

4. Use sunscreen or avoid the sun
We already know the bad effects the sun can have on our skin, and we try to protect it with sunscreen, but did you know those very same effects can occur to your tresses? Daily use of sunscreen on your hair can protect it from harmful UV rays because the sun can bleach your hair and alter your color.
There are tons of leave-in conditioners with sunscreen, but there are some natural oils that have sun protection in them. Jojoba, avocado, coconut, and Wheatgerm oils are just a few that naturally protect you from the sun in varying amounts.

5. Protect hair color for first 72 hours
Color is at its most precarious within the first 72 hours of the application as it continues to penetrate the hair shaft. For the richest and fullest color you want to keep that cuticle shut during this time frame.
No shampooing, but a nice deep conditioning treatment within the first 24 hours should allow the hair to retain its moisture. No heat styling or hot water and avoid hair build-up by using light styling products. If you follow these simple tips, your color should stay nice and vibrant – just the way you like it.

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