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Curly Nikki

Dyeing Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202122 Comments

Bianca, a CurlyNikki reader, requested that I pose the following questions to you gorgeous gals. Help her out:

Dyeing Natural Hair

I love your blog! Can you pose these questions to your readers/supporters to determine best practices for women with natural hair who color their hair regularly? I would like to color my hair but I am a little reluctant because in the past it was drying and damaging (although, I was using heat to style back then as well).

I am looking for direction regarding:

1. recommendations on hair coloring brands/products

2. hair care regimens for healthy colored hair

3. other do’s/don’ts for coloring natural hair

Thanks in advance!

Okay all you rinsed, foiled, and baliaged divas, weigh in! Feel free to post a link to your
on- line album to showcase your dyed tresses.


  • goldenbee says:

    it depends on if you are going dark or light. If you are dying your hair a dark color is pretty easy to do at home. When you lighten your hair, you are probably going to have to use bleach to lighten your hair which makes your hair really dry. If you are going to lighten your hair go to a professional and make sure you have a good moisturizer and good conditioner

  • Pamela says:

    Condition hair with black tea to stop the shedding. Boil tea about 4 bags (cheap tea is fine), saturate hair (spray bottle is best)' let sit for ten minutes or so and rinse. Do this every few days then as often as your normal routine.

  • Anonymous says:

    i would recommend
    1. going to a stylist that deals with natural hair. they have an understanding of how to work with natural hair.
    2. keep it moisturized because it can break off more because of the color. i use Cantu Shea Butter Hair lotion. i call it my hair crack. haha. its amazing stuff.
    3. be decisive about the color you want to wear. you'll be wearing this color for at least 2 months, so you'll want something that you wont get tired of fast.
    4. think about the maintenance of the color you choose.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have grey around my edges, mainly around my face. I tried colouring from the box, but it was always so-so and the grey would come back long before it was time to recolor. I finally went to Urban Bella. They are a natural hair salon and do a great job with my grey and color. They did not use a color box kit. The color was mixed with consideration for my hair color, and skin tones. They worked out the grey. I say go to a professional that knows natural hair and color.

  • Tiffany664 says:

    Can henna be done at home? I am interested in doing this to my hair but afraid I may mess my natural hair up

  • Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, sometimes professional stylists can cause excessive damage if they don't understand how fragile natural hair is.

    After swearing off salons for 4 years, I finally went in for some permie color. First time, it came out beautiful. My hair was already in gorgeous condition, lush and soft.

    The second color touch up was a nightmare. I don't know if she left it in too long or what, but my hair came out burdundyish, when it was supposed to be dark, dark brown and it was fried to a crisp. Hard, brittle and breaking at the slightest tug. WHAT DID SHE DO!!!!

    I immediately cut off an inch, then did a henna with the hope of adding back in strength. It's still shedding away, brittle and GROSS.

    I will NEVER visit a professional salon again for service on my natural hair. They just don't LISTEN!

  • renee says:

    Help i flat ironed my natural hair of 2 years in order to color treat it. Well now my hair is straight like it is in transition again. I hate it. Can you help me?


  • Anonymous says:

    I've been natural for a year and I am a 4b texture. I just use Henna that is the only coloring I do with my hair, of course it can darken the hair but show red in the sunlight. I am using Henna more so for its health properties and not really to alter my hair color. I would probably not use anything else.

  • Nesha Reed says:

    I love, love, love Textures and Tones by Clairol. It's made specifically for Ethnic women's hair. I have a natural, and I love how the color on the box takes on my hair. It never fades (after long periods in between the dying process). And it's ammonia free, which is even better. After trying many products, I have come to love this brand. You can google the product: Textures and Tones hair dye, if you have any more questions comments, or concerns. And I dye my hair every 5-6 months, and my hair is still heathly and strong. Just make sure to keep a good moisturizer on hand. I prefer all natural olive oil, and hair mayonnaise for softness. I also use Sulfer 8 (the hair lotion) for growth. And I also keep a small amount of cholesteol in my hair, even after I wash and condition it. This keeps my fro nice and soft for about a week, repeat the proccess every two weeks or so. Enjoy!

  • Anonymous says:

    I just colored my hair with 386 'Brown Sugar' Dark and Lovely last night I went a few shades lighter. Then I deep conditioned over night, rinsed that out, two strand twist, moisturized, and sealed with my oil mixture.

    My hair feels great.

    But I do agree that your hair must be in tip top shape and condition before you even consider coloring your hair.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have alway had some type of color in my hair. When i became a curly, i tried to stay all natural, but it was boring. I needed a WOW factor. So i colored it at home with Garnier with the avocado oil/light burgundy and i love it. My curls look more defined with the color. Since i don't put heat on it anyways, Im always using good produce for deep conditioning, moisturizing and I use shea butter (my own special blend) every night. There has been on breakage at all. I think when u become a curly u are more in tune your hair then before. I know my hands are always in my hair and most of the time i don't even realize it. Take those moments to check out your hair for dryness and if it's dry, do something about it. I color my hair every 3-4 months. My hair is the best healthiest it's ever been in my life since birth.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would strongly suggest trying henna!

  • Maria says:

    Right now I'm using a hair dye I bought at Whole Foods that is soy based. Its permanent color and has so far done the job of getting rid of my greys. There are many alternatives out there that doesn't have to be a box hair dye from the pharmacy. Henna is messy but a great alternative to chemicals. I agree with the other ladies that said you should only dye your hair if it is healthy.

  • Anonymous says:

    I know most people responding say to consult a professional but i am curious is there anyone that colors at home? what product do you use to color? Garnier, Revlon,Clairol any thoughts on these products and how well they work?

  • Raquell says:

    I color my hair to 'highlight' the greys 🙂 Protein treatments (Aphogee 2 min Reconstructor the week prior and Aphogee Protein Treatment immediately after coloring) work wonders for me.

  • Shell says:

    Just echoing what the other ladies say, right after I color my hair. I condition my hair for at least 30 minutes afterward in my plastic cap.
    I make sure for two weeks afterward that I moisturize my hair daily to keep it moist and not allow my hair to get dry. After the two weeks, my hair is fine I go back to moisturizing my hair every two days.

  • Anonymous says:

    amen to that, Nickye! I went lighter (and am now growing it out after getting a little bored with the color) and the two biggest pieces of advice I'd give are 1) Go to a PROFESSIONAL to get your hair colored and 2) MOISTURIZE like your life depends on it. Color is drying and curly hair is already naturally dryer than straight hair, so you can imagine what the combination of colored curly hair means.

  • Unknown says:


    Anytime anyplace love it my hair loves it See Curly Nikki's section on Henna. 🙂

    My dark dark brown hair is gorgeous burgandy in the sun… My whites are deep dark red.

  • Anonymous says:

    Well I dont know if you want to go lighter or darker. I recently dyed my hair dk brown, if you are dying darker or in the range of your original hair color I would recomend textures and tones. It was developed by african american stylists specifically for our hair. I originally used in when I was relaxed on recommendation from my stylist-who didnt believe in color. He recommended it on a "well if you have to color use this product" type thing. It works very well and includes a tube of pantene relaxed and naturals conditioner for a conditioning treatment afterwards. I also find that putting shae butter in my hair after the condish and sitting under the dryer with a plastic cap for about 10min helps moisturize and seal all in one. I also use glycerin and water and shae every night before bed to keep it moisturized. I havent had any breakage with this product. Oh and if you use it and you have anything longer than a twa – you may want to buy 2 boxes. I use 1 box for one side and 1 box for the other side of my head. Here is a link to my youtube channel showing my recent color- note it is still shiny and defined. I hope this helps:-)
    Tutorial(sort of)
    Color shots

  • Nickye posted by CurlyNikki says:


    I overnight deep condition at least once a week, and for 2-3 days the week before color touch up. My favorites are CURLS Coconut Sublime conditioner (instant), CURLS Curl Ecstacy Hair Tea Conditioner (deep), and Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner. I loooooove an overnight conditioning treatment!! Not only do I hate sitting under dryer for any amount of timek but my hair comes out beautifully conditioning overnight. After applying the conditioner, I put on a plastic cap and then a turban. For my overnight conditioners, I add a boatload of raw honey (humectant), a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil, and vitamin E. It comes out amazingly soft and moisturized!! I also overnight deep condition 2-3 times beginning the second or third day after the color touch up. (honey dipped)
    I shampoo with a sulfate free shampoo about once every 2 weeks (CURLS Curlicious Curls Cleansing Creme). I clarify once a month (CURLS Pure Curls Clarifying Shampoo). I cowash about ever 3-5 days. I alternate between Coconut Sublime, Honey Hemp, Giovanni 50:50 Hydrating/Calming conditioner, and Burt's Bees More Moisture Conditioner.
    I alternate which spritz to use each day (CURLS Quenched Curls Moisturizer, distilled water/glycerine/vitamine E mix, or aloe vera juice). In the morning after spritzing I apply CURLS Milkshake, at night I use CURLS Milkshake, and seal with either coconut oil, Tui Oil (Carol's Daughter), or a pomade (Sheajoba, Burnt Sugar by Oyin). I also oil my scalp 1-2 times a week, depending on need.
    The styling products I use also add moisture. My main product is Elasta QP Feels Like Silk (aaaahhhhhhh….angels sing, clouds part, rays of sun emerge). 🙂 This is my secret weapon/Thank you Lord!/wonder product!! 🙂 It's a liquid styling gel with the main ingredient being glycerin. This is the best product (and lowest priced at $7 for 16oz!!) that I've found that defines my curl, eliminates frizzies and minimizes shrinkage while leaving my hair soft and moisturized. I also use the CURLS styling cremes for finishing and (Souffle and Whipped Creme, Curls Gel-lec'c) and sometimes Kinky-Curly Curling Custard. I always put a small amount oil (Tui or Kemi Oyl) last to add shine and additional softness.

    Depending on the look I want, I wash and go (front a) or shingle to elongate my curls for a different look (finished result 4). It's not a huge challenge or difficult to keep color treated hair healthy, and it certainly isn't impossible! I am walking, talking, healthy curly headed proof that it is indeed possible!

    To see Nickye's hair click here:

  • Nickye posted by CurlyNikki says:

    I'm a 3+ year natural with 3c/3b mix corkscrews, bleached blonde. Healthy hair is my focus, and I want to keep learning and share whenever I can.

    There are some things to consider before getting permanent color. With any permanent color, it is of vital importance to have it applied by an experienced professional. I cannot stress enough how important this is, especially if the hair is to be lightened. The risk of permanent damage is too great if done by a non-professional. To even consider coloring your hair, it should already be in good condition. If you are experiencing any hair issues (breakage, shedding, dryness) you shoudn't attempt permanent color. It could make any existing hair problems considerably worse. Although proper hair care is important for non-color treated hair as well, it is essential to commit to a proper hair care regimen with color treated hair and stick with it! Permanent color is drying to the hair, intensive moisturizing and deep conditioning is required to combat this. Do not color your hair if you are not ready to commit to a regimen required to keep your hair healthy. Finally, discuss the potential risks with your hairdresser, be informed before you make your decision. For instance, as with any chemical process, there is a temporary loosening of the kink or curl. Mine lasts for about 1-3 days, and then goes back to normal. Some people are sensitive to the chemicals, and can experience permanent change. (fresh color)

    When I BC'd, I also had my first full bleaching, as it took several applications over 4-5 months to reach my current blonde. I am fanatical about moisturizing and protecting my hair, and it has paid off! (close up curls)

    These are the basic guidelines I live by –

    ***NO HEAT APPLIANCES!!! If you can't say goodbye to the flat iron and the occasional pressing comb, don't color your hair. I've NEVER straightened my hair, not for a trim or cut, not to see the length, not for a change of pace, you couldn't pay me too. It's too risky, especially for color treated hair. Since I never wear my hair straightened, there is no need to straighten it for a trim or cut. The only heat my hair sees is for deep conditioning. Although I air dry, diffusing should be kept on low.

    ***Eliminate all sulfates, mineral oils, and petroleum. Although this should be done for all hair (natural or relaxed) it is a must for color treated hair. The Big Three are drying to hair, and that is the last thing color treated hair needs! I've also eliminated silicones, but in case I miss any (and to rid myself of any environmental or product buildup) I clarify once a month.

    *** Moisturize like someone is paying you to!!! Every morning and night, without fail, I spritz and moisturize. Every other night I put extra on my ends. I do a 50/50 mix of Coconut Sublime conditioner and honey or Sheajoba pomade (Pretty Natural LLC). I haven't seen or heard tell of a split end since I went through creamy crack rehab!

    *** Wrap that head!!! When I had a curly fro, I wore a head wrap, but as my hair grew I started wearing a bonnet. If you chose a bonnet, make sure you get one that does not have elastic. I don't even like the ones with covered elastic, because even those can put undue pressure on the edges. Never miss a night! Not only can cotton pillowcases dry your hair, but can cause breakage.

    *** Quality products are essential. Not only is it important to avoid harmful ingredients, but it's important to have to beneficial ones. Remember, quality does not mean spending out the yin-yang. There are many big name brands that have terrible ingredients. Conversely, there are excellent lines you can find in your local drugstore. Educate yourself on what to look for, and what to avoid in products. The internet is an invaluable tool for this.

  • Anonymous says:

    I've only ever colored my hair twice and that was when I had a relaxer. On both occassions I experienced breakage, so I too am reluctant to brave those waters again. I wouldn't suggest doing it at home, especially since you experience the damaging effects of color in the past. You should research salons in your area and pick the stylist that you're comfortable with. HTH

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