Hair Color Life: 7 Best Tips To Safely Color Your Damaged Hair


So you've found yourself in a pretty sticky predicament. You've managed to damage your precious tresses.

Whether the damage is heat, hair color, or even mechanical damage, the now fragile condition of your hair makes it difficult to not only style but also to color! Many will advise those with damaged hair to avoid color like the plague.

Little do they know that depending on the condition of your strands, you may be able to pull off a beautiful new color and improve the health of your hair in the process!


1. Assess The Damage

Before considering applying any chemical to your hair, you need to be aware of what exactly has compromised your hair. Check out these descriptors to determine what you may have:

Heat Damage:

This occurs when you apply heat to hair strands in a setting that is too high. The result can be dry, brittle hair with a loss of hair pattern. Caused by overuse of heated tools and blowdryers.

Color Damage:

This occurs when you improperly use color chemicals or bleach on your hair. Bleach, peroxide, and ammonia are some of the components that can be damaging to the hair without proper care.

Mechanical Damage:

This occurs when daily manipulation causes hair to become weak in some areas, resulting in loss of curl pattern or even breakage.

Once you have assessed your damage, follow these steps to decide how to continue.


2. Minimize The Damage

Regardless of the cause of your hair's damage, it is imperative to minimize the damage before any coloring process.

Cut Off Split Ends

If you notice any dead or split ends you will need to cut them off.

I recommend allowing a stylist to give you a thorough trim, merely because they can see the back of your head better and will be able to provide you with full trim.

If you don't remove split ends before a hair color process, you run the risk of your hair breaking off or further splitting up the shaft, resulting in excessive breakage and irreversible damage.

Deep Treatment

A few days before your hair color process, I highly recommend pampering yourself with a penetrating protein treatment.

You can complete a deep protein treatment at home or in a salon with your trim session if you prefer. Redken Extreme Conditioner works wonders for damaged and processed hair.

After thoroughly shampooing your hair with a protein-rich shampoo, like Redken Extreme Shampoo, apply a generous amount of Redken Extreme Conditioner through your hair, focusing on the ends. Allow this product to sit in your hair for 20 before rinsing.

Finish your wash day routine with your favorite moisturizing leave-in conditioner and style.


Hot Oil Treatment

Another excellent home DIY remedy is a hot oil treatment. Pick an oil that has high levels of protein.

I recommend mixing two parts coconut oil to one part olive oil in a small pyrex glass bowl. Bring about 3 cups of water to boil in a small pot and set the Pyrex bowl in the boiling water. The heat from the water will melt the oil down.

Once you have fully melted the oil, you should carefully test the temperature to prevent burns. Apply the oil to your hair, focusing on the ends. Allow the oil to sit for 2 minutes, then shampoo and condition your hair with a protein-rich shampoo.


3. Pick A Semi-Permanent Color/ Rinse

Semi-permanent colors or rinses are typically non-damaging to the hair and can aid in the health of your hair.

They provide a protective, non-permanent coating to the hair that adds shine and seals down the cuticle. The result is a fresh color that feels soft and silky. Check out this list of my favorite semi-permanent color lines:

Clairol Professional Beautiful Collection

Clairol Professional Beautiful Collection is a moisturizing color line that is gentle enough to use directly after a relaxer. Leaves hair feeling moisturized with Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil, and Vitamin E.

Adore Semi-Permanent Hair Color by Creative Image Systems

This color line is available in 56 shades with no ammonia, peroxide, or alcohol. Adore's formula offers a perfect blend of natural ingredients providing rich color, enhancing shine, and leaving hair soft and silky.

Joico K-PAK Intensity Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Joico Vero K-PAK Color Intensity Color System gives hair color pros the power to create vivid, on-trend, insanely intense shades.

With these color lines, you cannot go wrong. Keep in mind that these semi-permanent will create a natural gloss and enrich the natural color of your hair.

If you chose to use a fashion color like blue, red, etc. you will notice a slight hue of color when in the sun. These colors will not lighten your hair! Now, let's get to the fun part!

4. Coloring Your Hair

Using semi-permanent hair color is super easy because it is a one-step process.

No developer, no mixing, no foil, no fuss! Just grab a pair of disposable gloves, squeeze a generous amount of color on to your hands, and apply thoroughly through your hair. If you have long and thick hair, separate your hair into four equal quadrants for easier application.

Once all the color has thoroughly saturated your hair, apply a processing cap, and sit under a hooded dryer for 15-20 minutes. If you do not have a hooded dryer, allow the color to process for 20-30. After the time has elapsed, rinse the color out thoroughly. Lightly shampoo and condition with a moisturizing conditioner.

Once you've reached this point, you can style your hair as usual! You should notice a fresh, healthy hair color and moisturized shiny strands. Your hair should also feel much stronger due to protein treatments.

Feel free to repeat this color process as often as you like. As I stated earlier in this article, semi-permanent color is a non-damaging color that coats the cuticle, never penetrating the cortex. The semi-permanent color will never lift the natural or previous color of your hair, and it may only last about two weeks. After many applications and over time, the color will start to last longer due to so many coats compared to one use.

Coloring Damaged Hair Extensions

This method also works on 100% human hair extensions!

If you've had your bundles for a while and have used a ton of heat on them, there is a chance they may have suffered some heat damage, especially on the ends. Giving your hair extensions some semi-permanent color love is perfect to remedy this issue.


5. Trim Split Ends

Similar to your natural hair, it is always best to trim dead and split ends off of your extensions. The best way to do this is to construct your extensions into a wig or have them installed in a sew-in.

6. Skip The Deep Treatment

Unless your hair extensions are extremely damaged, I recommend omitting the deep treatment step to avoid oily hair. If you feel the need to do a treatment, then leave the conditioner in for ten minutes only to avoid heavy hair.

7. Apply Color to Your Hair Extensions

Similar to your natural hair, apply the hair color thoroughly to the hair extensions.

Once they are all saturated, proceed to sit them in a plastic shopping bag to allow them to process. I recommend leaving the color in for an hour. The longer the color sits, the longer the color will last.

After the allotted time has elapsed, merely shampoo the color out the bundles and condition. Let the hair air dry and then style as usual.


Do's and Don't's

Although this is a relatively easy and straightforward process, there are a few crucial do's and don'ts to prevent ant hiccups.

Do Use an old t-shirt

This is a no-brainer but be sure to use an old t-shirt that you don't mind staining with color.

While you're at it, protect your carpet with painter's plastic to prevent staining the carpet. Semi-permanent color tends to stain more compared to semi-permanent and permanent color, so be mindful.

Do not use brown or black on blonde hair

If your hair is a high-lift blonde, do not put a brown semi-permanent color on top of it.

Your hair color will turn a nasty green color if you do. You need to mix a red color filler into the brown/black dye to get a darker color that is not green. Even when using the red filler, there is a chance that your hair will fade to green color only because the color is not permanent.

Do color healthy or damaged hair

Semi-permanent color is safe to use on damaged hair. In this case, this includes heat damage and minor color damage.

Do not color over-processed hair

Do not color your over-processed hair!

Over-processed means if your hair is breaking non-stop, if your hair feels gummy, or if your hair has combined heat and color damage, your hair is not in the condition to color at all. Do be discouraged!

I will provide excellent tips to start a healthy hair journey to improve or reverse your damage if possible.


Preventing Further Damage and Reversing Previous Damage

Hair damage is virtually inevitable, but there are ways to prevent excessive damage.

Keep Up With Your Trims

I know many women prefer not to cut their hair because they want to keep the length, but this is counterproductive because damaged hair does not grow!

Split ends are dry and brittle and eventually break off. Splits also tend to continue to split up the strands, so when you finally get a trim you will have more hair cut off!

Maintain a stable treatment regimen

You must take care of your hair to prevent damage!

Something as simple as leaving your conditioner in for 15 minutes every week can improve the condition of your hair. Create a solid treatment routine that works for you. If your hair is damaged, one treatment a week is required.

If your hair is in a healthy state, a treatment every two weeks is efficient.


Upgrade Your Hair Products

Not to be pretentious, but not all drugstore products are worth the investment.

A lot of cheaper products are filled with water and silicones to create an illusion of healthier hair, but the result is short-lived. It is imperative to invest in quality hair products that fill your hair with ingredients formulated to repair and maintain the health of your hair.

Here are a few brands I recommend if you want to create long-lasting results with your hair:

Design Essentials

Design Essentials provides premium quality hair care solutions engineered to infuse hair with a natural balance of organic ingredients, vitamins, and proteins that promote healthy and manageable hair. You can find Design Essentials at your local beauty supply store.


Redken supplies a thorough line of shampoos and conditioners geared to correct and balance the hair. Redken products are concentrated, fortified with proteins and modern technology, making them worth every penny.

Carol's Daughter

Carol's Daughter provides lines geared to correct and balanced the hair. From hydration to protein to even fullness, Carol's Daughter has got you covered.


Use Less Heat

Prevent heat damage by simply turning down the flat iron and limiting use! Try Flexi-rod sets, wash n go's, twist outs, and other heatless styles to maintain and style your hair without the heat!

Skip the Blow Dryer

Although we don't consider blow-drying direct heat, it can damage your hair over time with excessive use due to its "flash-drying" technology.

If you allow your hair to air dry or stretch your hair using Flexi-rods, Curlformers, twist or braid-outs, you will find that your hair is much more moisturized, resulting in healthier ends.


Overcoming The Damage

With these tips and techniques, you are well on your way to safely coloring your damaged natural hair or weave while improving the health of your tresses.

Remember, improving the health of your hair is a journey! You may have made some mistakes along the way, but implementing new steps to your regimen can radically improve your tresses over time!

Comment down below and let us know what color you are going to try!


  • Leah

    I have bleached my hair sins october 2021 over and over, I lost a lot of hair due to breakage, I went back to brown my original color about a month ago, I use olaplx religiously and I leave in conditioner every day and I want to color it a ash blond semi color, how long to I have to wait without losing any more hair?

  • Michelle Tavares

    Thank you for all of these different messages about different types of hair damage. I have colour damage and blowdrying and using straighteners. I have stopped using my hair straighteners and use my blowdryer on a low heat. But can I use a semi permanent colour on box blonde hair dye? I have not bleached my hair for over a year? Only use blonde box hair dyes but I want to use adore honey brown on my blonde hair? Will it go green?

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