How to Care for Your Hair After Coloring

Coloring your hair is a popular way to differentiate your look, for both men and women. After you go to the salon and pay for a color treatment, you must take care of your hair to make sure that the color lasts as long as possible and stays vibrant.

Whether you’ve had your hair colored-treated blonde, brunette, red, silver, denim blue, green or purple, below are some useful tips to extend the brilliance of the color and keep your hair healthy.

First, Let’s Look at the Anatomy of Your Hair

At the very center of each strand of hair is the medulla, enveloped by the cortex, surrounded by the outer cuticle. If these layers are healthy, your hair will be strong.

When it comes to the natural color of your hair, that is determined by a substance called melanin. There are different types of melanin that appear in hair strands. If a person has a lot of the pigment eumelanin, then they will have black hair. If you have moderate amounts of eumelanin, you will have brown hair, and with little eumelanin you would have blonde hair. Red hair is caused by having mostly a pigment called pheomelanin with a small amount of eumelanin.

Color treatments and hair dyes work by opening the molecules of the outer cuticle enough to allow the synthetic dye to penetrate to the cortex, changing the pigment. Because the outer cuticle has been penetrated by the dye, the natural oil of your hair, known as sebum, doesn’t travel down the strand. This means your hair may be dry and brittle.

This is why it’s so important to take extra care of your hair after getting it colored.

Caring for Color Treated Hair

Here are all the ways you can fortify your hair after color treatments, extending the life of your coloring, and making your hair healthier.

1. Use Protein-Infused Gel Prior to Coloring Treatment

When you color your hair, it makes the hair susceptible to damage and brittleness. By fortifying the hair and reducing hair porosity before the coloring treatment, the pigment is more likely to bond to the hair strands. The healthier your hair is going into the coloring, the better. Look for protein-infused treatments specially made for pre-coloring.

2. Use a Shampoo Made for Color Treated Hair

After you have colored your hair, use only sulfate-free conditioning cleansers and shampoos. Sulfates remove moisture from your hair, leaving it brittle and dry. When hair is dry, the pigment added to your hair can escape and fade the coloring.

3. Wash Your Hair Less Frequently

After coloring, you should be washing your hair no more than 2 to 3 times a week. When you wash your hair, you remove protective oils from the follicle. Retaining the natural oils in your hair are key to keeping your hair lustrous and glossy. The oils your scalp produce also help keep your hair from becoming brittle and dry.

4. Using Purple Shampoo or Blue Shampoo to Color Balance

If you have naturally brown, black, or red hair, and you’ve colored your hair silver, platinum, or blond, a purple shampoo can help remove brassiness and retain the blondish luster. Look for shampoos without sulfates, made from natural ingredients. You don’t need to use these purple shampoos every time you wash your hair, just once every week or two. You don’t want to go too far the other direction and add purple pigment to your hair.

Blue shampoos are made to remove brassy tones from brunette dyed hair. If there is too much red in a brunette coloring, these help color-correct the pigment. As with purple shampoos, be sure to select one without sulfates.

5. Turn Down the Shower Temperature

Use only cold or lukewarm water to wash and rinse your hair, mostly on the roots and scalp. This will help seal the cuticle and preserve the color in your dyed hair. Color tends to bleed at an accelerated rate when you wash your hair with hot water.

6. Deep Condition Regularly

Protecting your hair follicles with deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, or hot oil treatments will help protect your hair and prevent color fading. Look for conditioners made for color-treated hair.

7. Dry Hair Naturally

Heat is the enemy of healthy hair. Using a blow dryer to dry your hair can cause damage, cracking, and brittle hair. Hair that is brittle can allow dye pigment to escape the follicle. Whenever possible, towel dry your hair and let the remainder air dry.

8. Don’t Go to Bed with Wet Hair

Allow your sufficient time to dry before going to bed. Wet hair when you are sleeping can lead to breakage and damage. If you have long hair, and don’t have time to dry your hair, braid it, but do not pull it into a ponytail or bun. This can also strain the hair and cause it to break during the night when you twist and turn during sleep.

9. Sunlight Can Fade Color-Treated Hair Faster

Avoid UV Rays and excessive sunlight on your colored hair. If you are going to be out in the sun for a long period of time, use a hat or other headgear to prevent the sun’s rays from damaging your hair. The UV rays from sunlight cause the hair to dry out and break, causing color to leak from the hair strands.

10. Use Hair Masks Instead of Conditioner

Once a week use a hair mask specifically designed for color treated hair. These can help restore the natural protection of the out hair follicle. Be sure to use only masks that are sulfate free. Usually, you can dampen your hair, apply the hair mask product, tuck your hair under a shower cap, and wait the allotted time before rinsing the mask out. These products will condition colored hair and prevent it from fading.

11. Avoid Heat Styling

Heat styling with a curling iron, flat iron, or crimper can cause color to fade severely on color treated hair.

You should always use a heat protectant before using hot tools on color treated hair.

Heat dehydrates hair and causes damage to the strands, meaning pigment escapes from the hair strands. A heat protectant will help reduce moisture loss and protect the hair from humidity. If you can ditch the hot styling tools altogether, that is even better for your color treated hair.

12. Avoid Styling Products with Chemicals

If you’ve recently colored your hair, avoid exposing it to chemicals. Many hairspray or styling products contain alcohol. This can cause the hair to dry out, and the chemicals can open the molecules in the cuticle, causing the pigment to escape from the hair cortex.

13. Avoid Chlorine on Colored Hair

the chlorine found in swimming pools can have an adverse effect on color treated hair. If your hair was dyed blond, the chlorine can turn your hair a greenish tint. The pool chemicals can also affect other colors. If you can’t avoid swimming, wet your hair first, and add a leave-in conditioner or coconut oil as a protectant. You can also use a swimming cap to protect your hair. After getting out of the pool, use a clarifying shampoo to gently remove any remaining chlorine from your hair.

14. Get Your Hair Trimmed Regularly

After coloring your hair, be sure to get it trimmed every two weeks. This helps eliminate split ends. The cortex of the hair, which is where the pigment from color treatment is stored, is composed of long coils of proteins called keratin. The strength of the keratin coils in your hair strands determines the strength of your hair. When your hair is worn down by exposure to sunlight, chlorine or chemicals, excessive heat or the elements, the cortex of your hair strands can become exposed. When the keratin unravels, the ends of the hair split. The bad thing about split ends is once they are there, they tend to expand across the hair strands. Regular trims will eliminate the split ends, helping the hair stay healthy and retain the synthetic pigment.

15. Your Diet Affects Your Hair

Vitamin C, vitamin A, biotin and iron are all essential to a healthy scalp and hair follicles. Having a diet rich in these nutrients will help keep your hair shiny and healthy.

Vitamin C helps keep blood vessels in the scalp running smoothly. This vitamin, found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and leafy greens, also helps your body absorb iron.

Iron is important because the red blood cells use this element to transport oxygen to cells throughout your body, including the scalp. Low iron can cause hair loss in some cases. Eat foods like meat, fish, egg whites, leafy greens, and low-fat cheese.

Biotin is a type of B vitamin, found in carrots, egg yolks, and salmon. It helps make your hair strong and glossy. Getting enough biotin in your diet will help improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails.

One of the most important nutrients for helping repair dry, brittle hair is Vitamin A, which is found in spinach, carrots, apricots, red peppers, and sweet potatoes. Vitamin A helps restore shine and gloss into dull hair and provides moisture to the scalp.

16. Don’t Skip Moisturizing Natural Hair

Naturally curly hair can be more susceptible to damage, so some extra care should be taken when coloring. If you normally have a conditioning and moisturizing regimen for your hair, keep up that routine, so your hair is less prone to become damaged or dry. Make sure that your hair care products do not contain any sulfates, as those can strip the color from the hair cortex more quickly. You may also consider wearing your hair in protective styles, like braids, as often as possible.

17. Give Your Hair a Break from Coloring Intermittently

Every time you use synthetic dyes on your hair, it opens the outer follicle. Adding bright colors to dark hair often means bleaching your hair first, then adding unnatural colors (like silver, blue, green, pink, or purple). Taking a break every so often from hair coloring gives your hair a chance to repair and get strengthened, by following the other steps in this list.

Learn More About Cosmetology and Hair Styling at MTI College

If you have an interest in hair styling and coloring, and want to learn more about cosmetology, and make it your career, MTI College has a great cosmetology program with starting dates opening throughout the year. We partner with Paul Mitchell the School to bring students a thorough cosmetology training program. You can learn more by requesting information from our experienced cosmetology faculty.

Want to learn more about MTI’s programs?

Our admissions team will help you find the perfect program to meet your goals. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

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