Lucky is the human who isn’t facing some kind of hair damage and has a healthy, showable mane. The rest of us are just existing with our sad, miserable hair running in every direction to quench its thirst. There’s nothing as moody as the hair which gets damaged on the slightest touch.
You tie your hair too tight? Damage alert. You let it loose? Damage alert. You color it too often? Damage alert. You heat-style it? Damage alert. You wash it too often? You know what’s coming. Hair needs a balanced, well-maintained routine to stay healthy. Although there are several types of hair damage, this blog explores the one caused by color treatments, and how to deal with it.
Types Of Hair Colors:
There are multiple different types of hair colors, each with different results.
A temporary hair dye only coats the outer layer of the cuticles and does not penetrate the shaft, which means it gets washed away pretty easily. These dyes are meant to be stayed on only until you wash your hair. Temporary dyes come in the form of box, tube, chalk, spray, and are also used in tinted shampoos and conditioners to maintain your hair color in between salon appointments.
Semi-permanent dye covers the cuticle layer well as it penetrates the hair and delivers a somewhat long-lasting tint, up to 4-6 washes. Semi-permanent dyes are ideal for our folks who want to try something new over spring break just to see if they can pull it off. Semi-permanent dye, however, does not reach the hair pigment. It only coats the initial layers of hair and hence, does not tick the boxes of lightening or gray coverage.
Demi permanent dyes are optimal for folks who are looking for partial gray coverage or a subtle change in their existing hair shade. These dyes typically last longer than semi-permanent dyes, around 3-4 weeks, and also play around with the natural hair pigment, lightening the hair.
Permanent hair dyes deliver the most desirable results, as they penetrate deep into the hair shaft, altering protein bonds and natural hair pigment and painting the hair with the desired color instead. These dyes last typically up to 7-8 weeks, and also have the ability to lighten up the hair up to three levels of shade.
How Does Coloring Damage Hair?
Hair coloring is a chemical process, and any treatment that involves chemicals will cause hair damage. A hair strand, although the size of a thread, has a whole new science working at the backdrop that keeps it together. Typically, color-damaged hair goes through three major stages:
First Stage: Chemical Alterations
Human hair has a pH of 4.5-5.0, and is acidic in nature, while hair dyes are alkaline with the pH between 9.0-11.0. When hair dye is applied onto the hair, the higher pH causes the hair cuticles to open wide, leaving the gaps and exposing the hair cortex. This allows the color to easily penetrate the hair shaft and alter the chemical makeup of the hair. The production of natural hair pigment called melanin is compromised, and the protein bonds are altered, which disturbs the natural patterns of hair, and consequently, it suffers severe damage.
Second Stage: Moisture Loss
The disaster doesn’t end here. Once the color applied works its bittersweet magic, the cuticles that were raised due to the difference in pH stay raised, exposing the cortex. This alters the porosity of the hair. Hair porosity is the ability of hair to hold and retain moisture. As your cuticles are closed, your hair is less porous and can retain the moisture well. Since the color lifts up the cuticles, the hair becomes highly porous, allowing all of the moisture to escape through cuticle gaps and unable to retain any. This results in extremely dry, brittle, rough and dehydrated hair that tangles and breaks a lot. It will also result in “color-bleeding”, i.e. the hair won’t be able to retain the hair dye as well that you’ve just applied to your hair, and the tint will start to bleed through the cuticle cracks. The result? Your hair dye will wear off sooner than it’s supposed to, which will lead you to color your hair more frequently.
Third Stage: Over-Processing
Wondering what else comes under the term “color-damaged hair”? Over-processed hair. Once the frequency of how often you dye your hair increases, the hair becomes weaker on every application. This keeps on happening until there comes a point where our hair is unable to take any more bleaching or hair coloring due to the very fact that it’s chemically burned to its core. Your hair will be over-processed, and will start to look dangerously crisp, dry, frayed with no hint of moisture or protein. In some cases, the hair also catches on an odor that smells like it’s burned.
How To Treat Color-Damaged Hair
If your hair is currently suffering from stage-one or stage-two damage, good for you; there is a chance it can still be restored to health. There’s only one simple solution for stage-three damage though: chop it all off! However, if you’re not ready for a big chop yet, add these hacks into your hair care routine for a better-looking, more manageable mane:
- Condition Your Hair Like Crazy
Damaged hair lacks one thing for sure: hydration. Hence, condition your hair as much as you can. And no, conditioning does NOT mean overloading it with proteins. Instead, pick those conditioning products which can deliver both protein and moisture to your hair. This way, your hair will be adequately hydrated and look more nourished. Deep condition your mane, go with leave-in conditioners, use serums, do whatever you think works well for your hair in terms of protein-moisture balance.
- Stay Low-Key On Hair Coloring
Ladies! Do NOT color your hair more than you need to. Stay low-key on your funky experiences for the time being and let your hair heal naturally. If need be, use pigmented conditioning products instead of hair colors to achieve the desired hue, such as shampoos, conditioners, hair masques, or leave-ins.
- Avoid Swimming Pools
Yeah! We get it. It’s a tough one, but swimming pools aren’t exactly your BFFs, especially if you’ve got damaged hair. Pool water contains chlorine which can cause color-stripping and hair breakage. Hence, make sure to wear a swimming cap before you dive into a pool.
- Use Moisture-Rich Hair Dyes
In case you’re wondering; yes, they do exist. Pick a hair dye that is essentially keratin-infused so that your hair maintains its health through color-processing. These dyes don’t strip your hair off its health. Instead, they leave the pigment while sealing the hair cuticles with proteins, so your hair health stays intact.
- Be Gentle! Your Hair Deserves It!
The least you can do is go gentle on your hair. Take care of it, nurture it, protect it. Detangle your hair gently. Use heat-protectant before using hot tools. Protect your mane from the sun. Give it a hot oil treatment. Sleep with your hair in a loose braid or a bun. The more you take care of it, the sooner it will overcome the damage.
Best Hair Products For Color-Damaged Hair
Color-damaged hair needs special TLC, and hence, requires the kind of products which not only repair the hair, but also offer color retention. Hence, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best hair products for color-damaged hair.
Juvexin Cream Color
Looking for a keratin-infused hair dye? No need to look too far. Available in 87+ shades, this Juvexin-infused color delivers ideal results in just 30 minutes without any fear of hair damage or over-processing.
Color-Protection Moisturizing Duo
This shampoo and conditioner duo has a specialty to multitask, as it not only hydrates damaged hair, but also retains the color of it.
Lock Me Color Masque
A super-hydrating masque with color retention, Lock Me Color Masque improves the longevity of your hair color while deeply nourishing it and keeping it safe and sound from further damage.
Leave-In Conditioner Spray
A conditioner that delivers nourishment to your hair 24/7, Leave-In Conditioner Spray gently softens the hair to its core, adding vibrance and shine to it and keeping it tangle-free!
Color Bombshell Masques
For our folks who are on a hair color retreat, Color Bombshell Masques are a perfect choice. Available in lavender, red, and blonde, these pigmented masques leave your hair deeply nourished with a hue of your choice.
Vegan Dry Shampoo
You wouldn’t want your new hair color to strip off too soon, huh? Press snooze on your hair wash and refresh your mane with Vegan Dry Shampoo, an ideal hair care staple for no-wash days!