To color or not to color? This is one question that crosses everybody’s mind be it male or female. Whether it is the youngsters wanting to experiment, or the older generation wanting to hide the greys, coloring is something practically everyone does at some point in their life. Coloring your hair comes attached with a lot of negative myths of how it ruins the hair. In today’s time, these myths are far from true, and with the right products and care, experimenting becomes fun.
- Prepare in advance:
Once you decide to color or dye your hair, it is a must to give them at least two months of tender loving care, before coloring them. Regular warm oil massages, trimmings, applying hair masks are a few things that can be done to improve hair quality and texture. Coloring deteriorates hair texture to a certain extent and so it is important to make sure the hair is healthy before coloring. Also minimizing the use of heating products like straighteners and curling irons will help in maintaining healthy hair. Oiling the hair the night before coloring will also give it some extra moisture.
- Know your color:
Coloring can be fun, especially for those willing to experiment. But it is very important to know the products that are going to be used for coloring. Talk to your hairdresser to make sure that the products used will not harm your hair. Make sure the products used are ammonia free.
If the hair needs to be bleached before coloring, make sure the volume developer is of the appropriate number, a high numbered developer can practically fry your hair!
Before the advent of dyes and colors, natural plant based dyes were used for coloring hair. They not only colored the hair, but also provided the hair with the extra nutrition needed to make it healthy and strong. People skeptical of artificial dyes and colors still prefer this option.
- Using clarifying shampoos:
There is something called a clarifying shampoo available in stores, which is not your regular shampoo. These shampoos have high levels of detergents specially meant for removing excessive grease, dust and accumulation of hair styling products. So in essence they are very harsh shampoos. They should be used right before one wants to get their colored. It helps in making the hair squeaky clean and the hair color latches on better to the hair. One should be very careful of not using these shampoos after coloring, as they will shorten the life of the hair color.
- Seek professional help!
One of the best ways of making sure the color stays in the hair for a long time is to get it done by a professional. Not only will they help in guiding on what will best suit you, the way in which the color is applied also defines how long it will last.
- Read carefully:
Going to the salons every time for hair coloring can be quite an expensive proposition. For regular dyers, a lot of do it yourself kits are available in the market. Make sure to select good quality colors/ dyes and always do a patch test to make sure your body does not react adversely to it.Read the instructions very carefully and thoroughly for optimal results. Special care should be taken to not leave the dye in the hair beyond the mentioned time.
- Reds have a tendency to bleed:
The red color amongst all the color families is the most prone to bleeding. It has the lowest colored life due to bleeding at every wash, so special care should be taken when choosing what color you want for your hair.
Care should be taken to use a lilac colored shampoo if one opts for this color! Otherwise the color tends to fade and thus needs re dying very fast.
- Avoid immediate head wash:
To lock in color in the freshly dyed/ colored hair, one should wait at least for 48 hours before washing the hair. This helps in letting the color dry and settle in well, which in turn improves its chances of lasting longer. If possible, the longer the wait before first wash, the better it is.
- Be judicious with your washes!
Depending on the length of hair, most people wash their hair either everyday, alternate day or thrice a week. The trick to maintain colored hair is to wash them not more than twice a week. Every time you wash your hair, the color bleeds, so more the washes, less is the longevity of the color staying. In between the washes, one can invest in dry shampoos to get rid of excess oil in the hair.
- Wash hair with cold water:
Though hot showers feel great and relaxing, they strip the hair of moisture, thus making them frizzy and dull. If they are colored hair then the lack of moisture strips the color faster from the hair. Care should be taken to wash hair with cold water, if not then warm and not hot water should be used for washing the hair. If you are using warm water, then the last wash should be with cold water, so that the moisture gets trapped in the hair.
- Invest in a good shampoo:
Though a very obvious solution, it is very important to use a shampoo especially meant for treated /colored hair. Normally shampoos for color treated hair come without sulfates. Sulfates contain salt, and this is one of the main reasons for color loss as the sulfates dry out the moistures in the hair. Sulfate free shampoos also help in cleansing the hair while retaining the natural oils, thus helping in maintaining the color.
- Use leave in conditioners:
Sun, dust and pollution also dry and damage the hair. Applying a leave in conditioner after every wash, preferably one that has SPF and is especially made for colored hair, can ensure the damage from these factors can be minimized. The conditioners also help in detangling the hair.
- Wash your hair in the right manner:
Everyone knows how to wash hair, but washing hair in the correct manner is what is most important, especially in the case of colored hair. Shampoo should always be applied in the roots and should be avoided in the lower part of the hair. Over a period of time the color loss is rapid with incorrect washing.
- Keep hair dry when showering:
On days when the hair does not need to be washed, care should be taken so that they do not get wet while showering. Either a shower cap can be used or the hair can be tied in a pony high up, but they should not be unnecessarily made wet. This can help in improving their colored life.
- Regular cuts and trims:
Hair should be trimmed if not cut at least once every six to eight weeks. This is even more important if you have colored hair. Colored hair is more susceptible to damage like split ends and breakage, and trimming helps in controlling it. It is recommended to get a hair cut right after coloring, as hair gets damaged in the process of coloring and cutting them helps in stopping the damage from spreading.
- Avoid subjecting hair to heat:
Colored hair becomes more sensitive to external heat as opposed to untreated hair. Use of hair dryers, curling irons or hair straighteners should be avoided as much as possible. On a regular basis dryers should be avoided and one should let the hair dry naturally.
- Sun is bad!
For that matter even direct exposure to the sun should be avoided, and care should be taken to cover the hair with a scarf or a hat if stepping out in the harsh sun, especially during summers.
- Avoid chlorine:
This one is not good news for the swimming lovers. Chemicals in chlorine in the pool water react with colored hair changing them to an unattractive green hue. This is especially true for lighter colors. To try and avoid this unpleasant scenario, care should be taken to apply a leave in conditioner before the swim, as well as wear a water proof swim cap to protect the hair from getting wet.
- Home spas:
Colored hair can start looking frizzy and dull after some time. To avoid this, deep conditioning hair masks available in the market can be used once a week at home to make sure the hair keep on looking beautifully shiny and healthy. All you have to do is comb in the masks from roots to the tip of the hair well, and then cover them with a warm towel for around half an hour before rinsing it out with cold water.
- Use oils:
This age-old home remedy works wonders in maintaining colored hair.Applying warm oil on the hair and scalp, cover the hair in a hot towel, or sit in the sun or use a blow dryer to heat the hair so that the oil gets well absorbed in the roots and hair. Once the hair cool down, wash them off with a color friendly shampoo with cold water.
- Home made hair packs:
Home made hair packs can be applied for maintaining a healthy mane.
* Mix egg white with a few drops of lemon and apply to the scalp to stop hair fall.
* Yogurt can be mixed with olive oil and lemon drops and applied on the scalp for a softer and shiny mane.
* Application of warm castor oil helps in making the hair thick and strong.
- Use hair styling creams:
The market is flooded with products meant for hair styling. Care should especially be taken with colored hair before using a straitening or curling iron. Apply the creams and conditioners before using any heating products for styling. Once done, use sprays to lock in the moisture as well as styling!
- Make sure hair are absolutely dry before styling:
Special care should be taken to dry the hair before any styling product is used. Otherwise the moist parts of the hair will end up frizzy, fried and damaged.
- Let your hair breathe:
Coloring your hair can be very addictive and once you start, the urge to recolor them once the roots are visible is very high. One should though make sure to gap the colorings, as the hair needs to breathe to remain healthy and absorb the next round of colors coming its way.
- Eat your way to healthy hair:
What you eat is what you reap literally! The effects of a good diet can be easily made out by the way your hair looks. If the hair is healthy, it automatically helps in retaining the color. Protein and iron rich foods help in building keratin in the hair. Keratin is a protein, which helps in hair growth, strengthening of the roots and improving the texture of the hair.
Foods like eggs, fish, cheese and lean meat are a great source of iron and protein. For vegetarians most green leafy vegetables like spinach, beetroot, cottage cheese and soya can be consumed. Lentils and fruits rich in proteins and vitamin c also help in maintaining a lustrous mane.
Hectic lifestyles do not always allow one to take care of their diets. In this case essential vitamins can be replenished in the body with over the counter supplements. Vitamin C and E are very important in promoting hair follicles growth, which in turn keep the scalp healthy. For vegetarians, iron can be absorbed from plant proteins only if there is sufficient amount of vitamin c in the body.
To sum up, coloring ones hair, whether completely, highlighting, dying or streaking is a very personal choice. It is one of the easiest ways of changing one’s look and feeling good about oneself. All one has to do is take a little extra care before and after and there can be a new you in the mirror every six months! Only thing to remember- Too much of anything is always bad, so be responsible with your hair and colorings!