Changing your hair color is one of the easiest ways to update your look. Whether you choose a head full of platinum blond strands, a few subtle sun-kissed highlights or a vibrant wash of the latest color trend, you can instantly become someone totally new with just a visit to the hairdresser or your own bathroom sink.
Unfortunately, repeatedly exposing your hair to the harsh chemicals found in most hair coloring products can wreak havoc on your delicate strands. Over time, even the healthiest hair will begin to show signs of damage, including dullness, breakage and frizz.
When signs of damage begin to show, the following suggestions can help you to reclaim your hair and return it to a healthy state.
Don’t Color As Often
Instead of reaching for the peroxide bottle every six weeks, give your locks a break and wait at least 8-10 weeks between coloring sessions. The extra weeks will help your hair recover from the last coloring session, and you will need fewer treatments overall. This not only saves your hair but your pocketbook, too!
Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate In Your Hair Products
This seemingly harmless chemical is added to shampoos to help create those mountains of voluminous foam that make it seem like your hair is getting extra clean. The truth is the cleansing agents in shampoo don’t need to lather to be effective. What’s worse is that sodium lauryl sulfate is actually quite harmful to your hair, especially hair that is already damaged by repeated color treatments.
When choosing your shampoo, look for sulfate-free versions that are also extra moisturizing for fragile, damaged hair.
Condition, Condition, Condition
You may think that a quick rinse with daily conditioner in the shower each day is sufficient to keep your hair moisturized. Some women who have healthy hair may get away with that. But when you have hair that has been damaged by repeated color treatments, regular deep conditioning is absolutely required. Whether you purchase a store-bought deep conditioning treatment or make one at home from the contents of your pantry, a weekly deep conditioning treatment is a must.
For a quick and simple conditioning treatment, saturate your hair with olive oil or coconut oil, cover your hair with a plastic shower cap and let the oil penetrate the hair shaft for several hours or even overnight. Then, rinse out the oil and wash with a mild, sulfate-free shampoo. Both olive oil and coconut oil are proven to penetrate the hair shaft down to the core, giving you maximum repair for your damaged strands.
Protect Your Tresses During Styling
When you color your hair, your locks become extra sensitive to additional assaults like heat from blow dryers, curling wands and flat irons. While the best option is to simply avoid any heat at all, the reality is that today’s styles require at least occasional use of a heat-producing styling tool. When the need to dry, curl or straighten arises, be sure to first coat your damaged tresses with a thermal protection product.
Turn Down The Heat
When you absolutely must expose your damaged hair to the heat of styling tools, try and keep the heat as low as possible. One option is to wash your hair at night and allow it to air dry while you sleep. Then, when you get ready the next day, you can avoid the need for a hot blow dryer at all. If your hair needs a bit of shaping, use a round brush and your hair dryer on the cool setting to smooth and style your strands.
Likewise, when choosing a curling wand or flat iron, make sure you choose one with variable heat settings, then select the lowest heat possible to achieve the desired results. Look for styling tools with ceramic or tourmaline ceramic heating surfaces, as this material provides for the most consistent heat distribution and allows the tool to glide effortlessly over the hair causing minimal damage.
If you’ve tried the above suggestions and still not seen results after 6-8 weeks, your best option for dealing with hair that has been damaged by coloring may be to chop it off and start over. While it may sound harsh at first, today’s short styles are versatile and flattering. Think Halle Berry or Michelle Williams. No matter what your face shape, there is a short style to suit you.
You can look cute or sexy while letting healthy hair grow out. Just remember to ease up on coloring on all that fresh, new hair!