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What Colouring Does To Your Hair and How To Look After It

how to look after bleached hair

Winter is almost upon us and many of us can't wait to switch up our looks. If dying your hair is one of them, we don't blame you. Every day we're bombarded with beautiful hair colouring ideas capable of wanting to make you rush to the hairdressers and get it done. You know what we're talking about.  

Now, colouring your hair can be all fun and games, but beware. That little trip to the hairdresser or DYI hair dye attempt in your bathroom can have serious consequences to your hair. Want to know why? Keep reading.

How does hair dye work?

There is a whole process behind dying your hair. First, the ammonia in the hair dye lifts up the hair cuticles to allow the molecules in the dye to go in. This is done by elevating the pH of the hair.  Once the cuticles are open, peroxide is used to bleach out your natural hair pigment, leaving your hair colorless. After space is made for the new color, the tiny molecules in the hair dye will be able to penetrate into your hair cortex. Once inside, they react to create bigger molecules that can't be washed out of your hair, ensuring the new colour stays. Once the product is rinsed and conditioner is applied, your cuticles are closed. And that's it. You're good to go. But are you?

Why is it damaging?

The reason why dying your hair is so damaging is due to the fact that, firstly, the ammonia lifts up the hair cuticles. By lifiting up the cuticles, it exposes the hair cortex to damage. The cortex is responsible for the strength, moisture, colour and texture of the hair. The longer the cuticle is lifted for, the bigger the damage it will be to the cortex and your hair overall. No wonder some people experience changes to their hair texture, for instance by noticing a looser curl pattern, which is not a good sign.  And secondly, bleach (or peroxide) further adds to the damage. This chemical is extremely drying on the hair. Now pair that with an open cuticle, you'll understand why your hair should feel straw-like after colouring and very prone to breakage and brittle.

I still want to dye my hair, what should I do?

We get it, life is too short not to have fun with your hair. So if you'd still like to go ahead and colour it, make sure to follow the tips below:

  • Wash your hair less frequently - by washing it less often, you'll lessen the chances of your hair colour fading quicker and also ensure your moisture levels are maintained to counteract the already dry hair from the colouring.
  • Use products designed for colored hair - these will help protect the color for as long as possible and will include sulfate-free shampoos that are gentler on the hair. If you can, ask your hairdresser for a colour depositing conditioner. These can be store-bought or made by your hairdresser to better match your new colour.
  • Do not skip treatment masks - it's imperative that you double up on your hair masks, by making sure you alternate between a protein and a moisturising mask to help bring your hair to optimum health. Do this at least twice a week.
  • Do not skip trims either - we've spoken about this before, but make sure you continue with your trims to ensure the dry and split ends are removed, without further damaging the rest of the hair.
  • Dye your hair less frequently - speak with your hairdresser so that you know how frequently you'll need to see them for a touch up and ask whether you can achieve similar results with an ammonia-free semi-permanent dye, since these are less damaging.
  • Strengthen your hair from within - make sure you eat the right nutrients to promote healthy hair growth, including lots of protein and healthy fats. If you're worried you're not getting enough nutrients from your normal diet, it might be worth investing in a good hair supplement to complement your lifestyle.
  • If you dye your hair darker and then want it lighter again, the extra layer of hair color that caused the hair to be darker will be there, meaning that it'll be harder to achieve your target hair colour. So think twice before you go ahead.

That's it. Now, why don't you share with us below your dye horror stories? We'd love to hear them!

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*Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.*