(Who I am eternally grateful for her time, talent and ALWAYS makes me feel Bellissimo! ♥️😘)
I never loved my natural hair color. I remember being a little girl and watching my Mother get her hair done (a foil frost from my stylist cousin, Chrissy). I used to watch in awe at how her face just seemed to brighten up, her smile was a little wider and I could tell she felt truly beautiful as she glanced in the mirror at the finished product. I begged her for years to let me put one or a few sporadic highlights in my hair but her answer was always the same, “no you’re much too young for that”.
Finally, the day came she said “yes, you can.” and that was first time I was allowed to put a few sporadic highlights in my hair. I was thirteen years old and I was hooked. The rest, as the saying goes, was history.
I’ve had my hair just about every color you could imagine from platinum blonde to fire engine red and every other color in between before settling on my ravishing raven locks. During this time, I learned a thing or two about hair color and care through my experience that I’d love to pass on with all of you. Now as for where I receive this information, I have talked to many stylists (mostly within my own family) through the years and I always write whatever they say regarding tips and suggested products down in my journal so I can always look fresh. The time has come though to share these tips outside of my close friends and family. Whether you color your hair or someone you know and love does, hopefully you can help them out by sharing these tips.
1. Nourishment Gives It A More Natural Look
Let’s be real, if you want your hair to be healthy after you color it, especially if you lighten your hair, it’s important to keep it well-nourished and hydrated. Blondes, ask your salon if they carry Olaplex which prevents and repairs any damage bleach can cause your hair. Brunettes, Redheads and Raven haired people, ask your stylist for a glaze between color pull throughs (pulling the hair color all the way through root to ends excessively can cause needless damage ) to give your hair breaks and nourishment between salon visits. When I used to bleach my hair to get the color I wanted, I would apply cold-pressed coconut oil to my hair the night before I bleached it. This seemed to minimize the damage to my hair shafts which my hair is thankful for even to this day. I’ve come across this practice too on L’Oreal’s blog in one of the posts and chuckle because I’ve been doing this forever, well, since I was 19. Now that I keep my hair as dark as my mascara, I always get a glaze to nourish and lock in the color longer between salon trips and generally keep it medium to short in length. Trimming and cutting your hair every 6-8 weeks helps prevent the spread of damage by breakage and dead ends and my hair looks way healthier shorter.
2. Don’t Use Box Dye, Go To A Salon and Get It Done Right
Leave dying hair to the professionals! When searching for the perfect stylist and salon browse the before and after pictures posted on social media by past clients to ensure you go to someone who you feel comfortable with. If you’re hell bent on doing it yourself make sure you get a good dye and bleach so your hair does not get too damaged, visiting your local beauty supply store is a good start just check their requirements before purchasing as you may need a beautician license to get to the good stuff.
If you are lifting color with bleach, ensure you talk with a stylist or professional about getting the right developer for your hair color. For example, I can always tell when someone uses a 40 volume developer for hair that’s light to begin with because their hair looks more fried than a bucket of KFC extra crispy chicken. My hair was pretty light to start, so when I ended up flipping from red to blonde in 2005 my stylist at the time only recommended we use a 20 or 30 volume developer despite my cries of protest that I needed the stronger to fix my blunder. I’ve also shamelessly used protecting products like Brazilian bond builder in the months that followed that incident to minimize the damage I caused while I was stripping my hair of color of that AWFUL color.
While dyes are a dime a dozen, its always important choose a salon or a dye itself that is free of harsh chemicals like ammonia, my salon is really big on Redkin and I have to say I am highly impressed with the quality.
3. Don’t ‘Freestyle’ It
This goes back to tip number two, PLEASE go to a professional. I can’t tell you how many people have sat next to me in the salon telling their stylist the color on the box was NOT the color they got when they dyed it themselves. If you insist on skipping my sound advice follow EVERY step exactly in the directions that come with the box. Now is NOT a time to freestyle things it’s not a DIY craft you can add your own creative flair to. It’s your hair so treat it as such, follow the times for process to the ‘t’ and set a timer so you don’t forget to wash it out. You do NOT want to leave your bleach or dye on for too long, don’t believe me? Search it on YouTube and be scarred for life with the over-processed hair videos they’re truly frightening. Once again, find a salon and stylist you’re comfortable with and you can avoid any at home blunders all together.
4. Don’t Wash Your Hair Right Away
Once you’ve colored your hair, try to wait at least 48-72 hours (2-3 days) before you wash your hair again. This will help the color set in well and will minimize color bleeding. It would also help to oil your hair before you wash it as the oil will form a protective layer around your hair shaft, minimizing fading. As a staple, I ALWAYS wash my hair in cool to lukewarm water. Hot water can open your hair shafts and expel that color you paid good money to achieve while cool water keeps these shafts closed which keeps the color locked in and looking salon fresh longer.
5. Be SUPER Picky About your Products and How Much Heat You Apply To Your Hair
While on the topic of showering, always choose shampoos that are SULFATE FREE. I highly recommend L’Oreal Ever Pure Sulfate Free and Redkin Color Extend Magnets (which are personal favorites of mine). Just like hot water is hair color’s archenemy, so are hot tools. Blow dryers, flat irons, curling wands and other hot tools can all cause damage to your already fragile hair. If you have super wavy and frizzy hair, like me, try to limit the use to twice a week. Investing in a quality heat protectant spray will help combat any damage caused by hot tools. I use Tresemme thermal creations which provides heat protection for your hair from hot tools up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve used this product for nearly 10 years and have not experienced heat damage since. If you avoid washing your hair everyday and invest in a quality dry shampoo (baby powder actually works wonders too) you can make the most out of your choice of styled hair longer without turning to daily use of styling tools.
6. Don’t Wash Your Hair Everyday and Avoid Excessive Time In The Sun
Piggybacking off of number five, washing your hair daily is super counterproductive with color treated hair. Color tends to bleed out when you wash your hair too often so one of the best ways to make it last longer is to cut down on your washes. Because I have such greasy hair, I used to wash 3-4 times a week, I have now cut it down to 2-3 times a week. As odd as it sounds, if my hair still smells good and isn’t looking too much like a greasy pit I skip the wash and pop on a shower cap. Not only has this technique helped make my color last but also it also preserves the natural oils produced by your scalp that my Grammy used to always ramble on about and happen to nourish your hair.
Just like heat products in excess aren’t good for colored hair neither is too much time in the sunlight. Investing in a nice wide brim hat, I purchased mine at the end of last summer on clearance at Walmart, is key in having fun in the sun. They can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like but the important thing is they’re keeping your hair safe from that summer heat.
7. Wait 6-8 Weeks Between Touch Ups
While it may be tempting the second you see roots start to appear, always wait 6-8 weeks between salon appointments or at home dying. We don’t realize how much stress we put our hair through every time we color it, which is why our hair needs rest. Instead, invest in L’Oréal ‘s Magic Root Cover Up which is available in just about every color you can imagine and it helps you look like your fresh out of the salon even as the weeks to your next salon appointment are still three more to go, you can count on this touch up spray to see you through.
If you follow these steps you’ll be sure to have shiny, healthy and strong hair no matter how you choose to color or style it. Our hair sends powerful statement to others about who we are and what we like and it’s time to give it the proper care it deserves!
Until next time…
Love you. Mean it.