best advice on how to safely use hair color on natural hair

Best Advice on How to Safely Use Hair Color on Natural Hair

Color Your Life

Coloring your hair is more than a cosmetic process.

Changing your hair color can often change the way you feel about yourself or even give you the confidence to face a tough situation in your life. While many women desire to color their hair, it can often be an intimidating process for someone who has never experimented with hair color.

Many of us have a strong attachment to our natural hair. After all, we chopped it, nourished it, protected it, and maintained the utmost patience as our textures flourished. It's safe to say that coloring your hair is a significant change.

If you do it wrong, it could cause a major set back to your natural hair journey and worse - permanent damage. That's why it's important to gather as much information as possible before attempting to color your hair to ensure that your results are successful.


Start Healthy

Starting out with healthy hair might sound like a no-brainer.

But many serious issues are avoidable by making sure that your hair is healthy before you add color to it. Some colors make your hair look healthier but can be an illusion.

The truth is that hair dye is a chemical, and any chemical process is damaging to your hair. You want to make sure that your hair is prepared to withstand the process of coloring. The last thing you need is for your hair to break off or thin out due to not being prepared.

There are a few great ways that you can test the health of your hair at home.


Choose Wisely

Choosing your new color is not as easy as taking a screenshot and copying the hairstyle of your favorite influencer.

There are many factors to consider before you dye your hair. Even though hair color is easily accessible, it is not a one-size-fits-all process. Many factors can interfere with the outcome of your dye job.

Semi-Permanent Hair Color

Semi-permanent colors are self-explanatory. They do not penetrate the hair shaft because they do not have peroxide in them.

The color is on the outside layer of your hair, so the color rinses out easily. You can expect this shampoo to last for around two months. Semi-Permanent colors are an excellent option for someone who is unsure about a long-term change as well as anyone who wants to practice applying hair dye.

Demi-Permanent Hair Color

Demi-Permanent colors are the love child between a summer fling and your true love.

It's not going anywhere right away, but it won't last forever either. These colors last longer than semi-permanent colors because they contain low amounts of peroxide.

It deposits between the cuticle and the cortex instead of just the outer layer of hair. Demi-permanent colors last anywhere from four to six months. Demi-Permanent hair color is great for someone with slow hair growth or who is only interested in coloring their hair for a season or special occasion.

Permanent Hair Color

It's just that: permanent.

Permanent hair color works because it deposits color into the cortex which changes the hue of your hair long term. It is only recommended to use a permanent color to lighten your hair no more than four shades at a time.

Permanent hair color will remain in your hair until you either grow or cut it out. Permanent color is excellent for anyone who is trying to cover up gray hair or is interested in wearing a different hair color long-term.


Bleach, Color, and Dye, Oh My!

Yes, you read that right. We use the words "bleach," "dye," and "color" interchangeably but in the cosmetology world, they are not the same, and all serve a different function.

Bleach lifts the color that is already in your hair to allow for color to deposit. If you desire to go lighter with your hair, then you will more than likely need to use a bleaching product. Once you've bleached your hair, then you can deposit the color or the hair dye to your hair. However, this is only true if your hair is dark.

If your hair is already light, then you may be able to get away with coloring your hair without bleach. Skipping your bleach job will depend on how light your hair is the color you're trying to deposit.

If you have light hair and desire to go dark then in many cases you can skip the bleach and apply the hair dye. However, there are cases where you will need to use a bleaching product for darker hair.

If you are unsure which process is best, consult your colorist for your specific procedure to ensure that you do not damage your hair.


First Base

Before you set your heart on the color you saw online; you need to consider the persons base color as well as your base color.

The current color of your hair directly affects the outcome of the dye that you wish to apply. If you're looking at someone else's hair color for inspiration, don't expect to get those same results.

Factors such as base color, texture, cut, skin tone, and style all play a role in how the color looks to the human eye. You could apply the same color to your hair a get a completely different result.

Talk to your colorist about the shade that you are trying to achieve to get advice on how to arrive closer to your objective.

Porosity Test

Do a porosity test to see how well your hair will absorb and maintain the color you deposit.

Your hairs porosity is the resting position of the cuticles on your hair shaft. If your cuticles are open, then you have high porosity hair. That means that color and moisture can deposit into your hair shaft easily, but they will also come out easily since your cuticles are open.

Closed cuticles are mean you have low porosity hair. Low porosity hair takes longer to process color and absorb moisture but, low porosity hair holds on to moisture and color longer than high porosity hair. You can also have medium or normal porosity.

Normal porosity hair has cuticles that are slightly opened, meaning that your hair accepts and releases moisture and color at an average rate. To learn more about how to do a porosity test read, is it Too Late to Improve Your Hair Elasticity? Doing a porosity test before dyeing your hair is crucial because it helps you understand the current status of your hair health.

It's also important because it prevents you from over or under processing your hair.


How to Properly Process Your Hair

Over-processing your hair means that you have left the product on your hair for too long and your hair shaft has suffered permanent damage as a result.

Under processing your hair says that you did not allow the product to sit on your hair long therefore enough it was not able to fully deposit the color into your hair shaft. Understanding your porosity is a huge component to safely and successfully coloring your hair.

Much of the results you'll get from coloring your hair will come from how well you can work your hairs' porosity. By understanding how your hair tolerates chemical processing, you can adequately approach your color treatment and get the results you want.

Safety First

The most critical step in dyeing your hair is to make sure that you're doing it safely.

Coloring your hair is a chemical process and not doing your research and taking the proper precautions can lead to severe damage to your hair, skin, and your scalp. Once you decide what color you want, it's vital that you schedule a consultation with a licensed colorist.

Your colorist is trained to look at your scalp and identify if any issues could interfere with dye process. Your colorist will also be able to give you insight on the condition of your hair and tips for doing your color.


Do a Patch Test

Don't just take a deep dive into coloring your hair.

It's important to do a patch test before applying the chemical to your hair. Even if you've dyed your hair before, allergies and irritations can change over the years, so it's vital that you take the time to perform a patch test to make sure that the process will go smoothly.

Here's how to conduct a color patch test:

Step 1:

Follow the instructions for preparing the hair dye

Step 2:

Use a cotton swab to apply a small amount behind your ear or along the nape of your neck

Step 3:

Wait 24-48 hours to check for a reaction such as redness, itchiness, and irritation

If you made it through the patch test without any irritation, then it is likely to be safe for you to proceed with coloring your hair.

If you have experienced some irritation or are unsure about the results of your patch test, then I suggest that you get reevaluated by your colorist and ask more questions until you are comfortable proceeding with your color.

Go for Gel or Liquid

There are many different color formulas on the market today.

But the best choice for a novice colorist is to use a gel or liquid formula over foam color. Foam colors do not penetrate the hair shaft as well. And because your vantage point is limited seeing your head, it is best that you use a formula that more easily spreads evenly and will penetrate your hair shaft better.

Straighten your Hair

While it's not completely necessary to straighten your hair before coloring it, it is a best practice for those who are not professional colorists.

Since the natural hair shaft is full of curls and coils, it can be difficult to coat your hair with the product thoroughly. By straightening your hair, you're able to cover all the hair that needs the color.

It's vital to remember not to color your hair on the day that you straightened it. Color and heat are both challenging to the integrity of your hair and doing both on the same day can put too much stress on your hair.


Start with Dirty Hair

It seems as though better styles start with slightly dirty hair and the same is valid for hair color.

Dyeing your hair is a drying process, and the oils in your hair will work as a barrier between your scalp and the product. Play it safe and wait at least two to three days after washing your hair to apply hair dye.

Bottoms Up

If you want to apply your hair dye like a professional, then you'll need to know when and where to apply your color.

The moment that the hair color hits your head, your hair will start processing the color. Even if your hair is natural, your ends are more porous than the roots of your hair because they are older and have likely endured a little more damage than your virgin roots.

In contrast, while your roots are more virgin than the rest of your hair shaft, you could become a victim of "hot roots." Hot roots are when the color on the roots of your hair is warmer than the rest of your color.

The reason for hot roots is because the heat that comes off your scalp heats up the dye faster which forces the hair to process the color more quickly. If you want to avoid hot roots, then you need to apply the color mid-shaft and down to your ends first. Once you've applied the color to those sections of your hair, then you can go back over the roots of your hair.

You don't need to add any processing time since you've applied the color to your roots last. Your roots will catch up to the rest of your hair. If you've followed the instructions on the box, then your color will come out even all over your head.


Re-touch Like a Pro

If you are only retouching your color instead of coloring all over your head, then you want to make sure that you avoid getting a hair band.

Escaping the band isn't the name of a new P. Diddy TV show, escaping the band is a technique that helps to blend your old color with your new color. Since you are only refreshing your color, then you don't need to apply color to the entire hair shaft.

You'll need to put the mixture onto your roots. If you don't feather the color down to the old color, then you'll notice a dark band around the crown of your hair where the two colors have not blended. To prevent this from happening, you'll need to apply the color to your roots then take a comb and gently comb a small amount of the color down just below the old color.

Your results should yield a well-blended touch-up.


Take Care of Your Hard Work

It's important that you're using hair care products that are compatible with hair color.

All of your shampoos and conditioners need to be color safe to ensure that you don't lose out on all your hard work. Color safe shampoos and conditioners contain temporary colors that attach to the outer layer of your hair aiding in color retention.

Make sure to invest in the techniques on how to care for colored hair.


Express Yourself

Changing your hair color can be an exciting process.

If this is your first time, the task can seem intimidating. Educating yourself and having fun is the best way to learn through the process. Social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram TV have made it possible to learn how to care for your hair at home.

Make sure that you check back for more hair care tips and trick on the Private Label Extensions Blog. Leave a comment and share your favorite tips for coloring your hair and don't forget to follow us on Instagram

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