Caring for Your Natural Hair Before and After a Dye Job – 11 Tips
By Jacqueline Samaroo
Are you planning on peekaboo highlights or an all-over, “new me” kind of dye job? Will it be enchanting green, whimsical pink, or something that’s close to your natural hair color? Whatever your decision, keeping your color-treated natural hair healthy and vibrant will be a priority.
Here’s a rundown of before and after steps to color-treated hair care.
Before you color your hair
These five tips will help you prep your natural hair for the big day.
Use a clarifying shampoo to remove built-up oils and product residue from your hair. This will help the dye better penetrate your strands for a richer, longer-lasting color. However, don’t wash your hair a day or two before you color it – squeaky clean hair doesn’t hold dye very well!
Hair dyes tend to dry out natural hair. Thus, if your ends are already damaged, they will be susceptible to even more breakage. A trim will also do more than protect your strands. It also keeps your new color-treated hairdo from looking frizzy.
3. Deep condition
The chemicals of the dye can weaken the structure of natural hair. This makes deep conditioning a vital step before a color treatment. Also, consider doing a protein deep conditioning treatment about a week before your dye job. It will help to create the correct protein-moisture balance in your strands.
4. Consult your stylist
Even if you intend to color your hair yourself, still talk to your stylist about the decision. They can provide guidance on the current state of your hair and anything you need to do before you color it. Your stylist can also suggest the best process for you to use.
5. Use good-quality hair color
Use a professional, conditioning hair color for the very best results on day one and for weeks to come. They are made with natural oils, like argan oil or cottonseed oil, to moisturize and nourish your strands. Some also give hair a keratin boost to help strengthen it.
After you color your hair
Now that your fantastic new color is in, there are seven Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind.
1. Shampoo less often
It will take a couple of days for your new color to set in your natural hair so hold off on that first shampoo after dyeing. When it does come time to wash your hair
- Use color-safe, sulfate-free shampoo.
- Shampoo with lukewarm water.
- Consider using a dry shampoo sometimes.
- Co-wash instead of using shampoo.
- Wear a shower cap to keep your hair dry when you’re not washing it.
Weekly deep conditioning with a color-protecting conditioner does wonders for color-treated curls, too.
2. Avoid chlorine
Install a filter to remove chlorine from the water you use to wash your hair. If you go to the pool for a swim, be sure to take along a fully waterproof swim cap to protect your color. If swim caps aren’t your thing, then wet your hair and apply a leave-in conditioner before you go into the pool. This will help to shield your color from the (over-abundant) chlorine in pool water.
3. Do a hot oil treatment
Hot oil treatments add enviable shine to color-treated hair and they’re SUPER EASY to do. Use your favorite essential and carrier oils to nourish your scalp and hair. They’ll also leave your curls with a heavenly scent!
4. Heat style less often
Many naturalistas already avoid using heat on their hair. But, if you are into heat styling, remember that color-treated hair is somewhat weak. Using too-high heat too often can be damaging to color-treated curly hair.
So, when heat styling color-treated natural hair:
- Always use a heat protectant.
- Use the lowest possible heat setting.
- Use the cool blast setting if your blow dryer has one.
- Start with clean, dry (or near-dry) hair.
5. Get UV protection
Direct sunlight fades hair color – fast! There are many natural hair care products that include UV protection. Check the labels to be sure. You can also cover your hair if possible. A stylish hat, scarf, or umbrella should do the trick.
6. Keep up regular trimmings
Just as you did before your color treatment, it is important that you get regular trims. Every 6 to 8 weeks is usually recommended. Trimming will help to:
- Get rid of split ends.
- Minimize breakage.
- Reduce frizzing.
- Keep your colored curls bouncy.
Have any other color-treated natural hair tips you’d like to share. We’re all ears!