Beauty Feature Hair

Prepping your Hair for Hair Color

Often when there’s a change in season, we experience a desire to change our hair either with a fresh haircut or new color. This is totally normal since hair is an accessory and something that we should feel totally free to experiment with. However, it is also important that your hair is kept healthy as this is the only way for it to look and feel it’s best. Because of the potential for damage, coloring your hair should be a decision made with careful consideration, especially if you are moving from dark to much lighter hair. The greater the difference between your current and desired hair color, the more likely it is that damage may occur. Fortunately, there are some tips that can help you ensure that damage is minimal. Let’s look at what those tips are.

Ensure your hair is healthy before you color

The process of coloring hair is a stressful one for hair. If your hair is already breaking or is constantly dry, despite your best efforts, then the time is not right for coloring. In the same way, a surgeon won’t perform even the most routine and simple surgical procedure if you have a cold or recently had one, no professional colorist will color hair that is already damaged and unhealthy. You also shouldn’t go to pick up a kit in your beauty supply store to do the job yourself either.

Coloring your hair will exacerbate any dryness, breakage or split ends you already have. Give your hair a trim. Start deep conditioning your hair regularly in order to get it in tip-top shape before you color. Once your hair is colored, keep up with your deep conditioning treatments to fight dryness and use protein treatments to fortify the strands and prevent breakage due to weakening of the hair strands.

Choose your new hair color wisely

There are many things to consider when choosing your new hair color. Going from black to blonde is stressful on the hair and may have to be done gradually over time. It is also important to know that shades of red hair color require a lot of maintenance and touch ups as they have the tendency to fade and lose their vibrancy very quickly. If you are a low maintenance person who prefers not to make frequent visits to the hair salon or just someone who is on a tight budget and needs to save their coins, then red is not the color you should be choosing. Once you have selected your new hair color and made sure that your hair is healthy enough to withstand the coloring process then, go ahead and have your hair colored, professionally, if at all possible. It is recommended that you use color-safe products, particularly color-safe shampoos and conditioners, that will help to keep your color vibrant for longer periods of time.

Temporary or permanent hair color?

To understand the different types of hair color it is helpful to understand how hair dyes work. Coloring hair is usually a two-step process. Firstly, you remove the original hair color by bleaching the hair and then you deposit the desired hair color. As a rule, hair colors fall along a scale from temporary to permanent but aren’t exclusively either one or the other. Hair color may be described as permanent, temporary, semi-permanent or demi-permanent. So, what’s the difference?

Do you just want to change your color for a day or maybe a week? If that’s the case a temporary hair color may be for you. Temporary hair color does not require ammonia, bleach or peroxide, but rather deposits new color on top of the existing one. Temporary hair color fades quickly, usually after a few washes, but if the cuticles of your hair are raised, whether from the previous coloring of the hair or some other means, then the temporary color can enter the strand and thereby last longer.

Semi-permanent hair color uses small amounts of bleach or other lightening agent and so the color lasts longer than temporary hair color. Demi-permanent hair color will typically last a few months and has more bleaching agent than a semi-permanent hair color but less than a permanent one. Typically, demi-permanent hair color will take hair a shade or so lighter and is good at covering gray hairs. Permanent hair color has the highest concentration of bleaching agents and can lighten hair significantly.

Highlights or all over color

Highlights are an option for changing up your hair color, particularly for those who prefer a more laid-back approach to hair care. It is less damaging to the overall health of your hair and much easier to maintain. Highlights do not require frequent touch up once it begins to grow out or fade, which also means that getting highlights is less of a financial investment.

Seek professional help and advice

It is important to get professional advice, particularly in cases where you are changing your hair color significantly, such as going from brown/black to blonde and vice versa. A professional colorist can also help identify the shade of your desired color that will most compliment your skin tone.

The bottom line

Fundamentally, when thinking about changing your hair you need to consider a few things: If you follow the tips and advice above, you greatly improve your chances of successfully changing your color and maintaining a healthy head of hair. Remember that whatever color your hair is, it won’t ever look it’s best if it’s an unhealthy mess.

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Lela Kennedy

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