You Asked I Answered: Hair Color Q&A for Natural Hair

Hair Color Q&A for Natural Hair

Hey guys! I'm really trying to get back into posting more, and just go get things revving back up again, I posted this on Instagram:

Hair Color Q&A for Natural Hair

And now I'm going to follow up and answer all of your questions as they rolled in! Keep this in mind though: I'm not a hair care professional. I did not attend cosmetology school, nor am I a colorist, cosmetic chemist, stylist, apprentice, or anything of the sort. I'm a blogger that talks to these kinds of people regularly for information + does a little independent research on the side. I can't be held liable for whatever happens to your hair as a result of this article. As with all things complex in hair care, I will always advise you to see a professional.  

@xhelloyellowx: How do you dye without ruining your curl pattern?
My best pre-dye advice is to make sure your hair is in tip-top shape. Make sure it's not breaking or shedding excessively, that you've got split ends under control, and don't have major moisture retention or porosity issues. If you're suffering with any of the above, permanent hair dye will do nothing but exacerbate the issue. As far as getting the color done the DIY vs. professional route, I'm always going to side with encouraging you to see a professional to get the color done properly. I've gone both routes, and the result was 137% better when I saw a professional. If you have previously colored hair, definitely see a professional. Trusting your dye job to a professional that understands textured hair will ensure that you leave the salon with your curl pattern very much in tact. Maintaining that curl pattern after the fact is a whole 'nother animal. If you're not careful, your curls will start to loosen and become lackluster. pH balancing, protein-heavy conditioners and super moisturizing products are a must. I'm working on a top 10 must-have for colored hair post, but definitely look into Roux and ApHogee (click each for review).

@611clayton1012: Is this color called berry red?
No Clay, it's actually Abrasive Red. (pardon this one guys #insider)

@msbaretta: Are temporary hair dyes damaging to the hair? I want to change my color but am a commitment phobe. I'm thinking about trying something that can wash out over time. Any suggestions?
There's tons of options for temporary dye that don't damage the hair. The first is the semi-permanent dye (aka cellophane), and the other options are things like sprays, hair chalks, eyeshadow, and color creams (like Manic Panic). The worst side effect of any of these temporary color changers is dryness to the hair, or having the color flake and rub off on your clothes. Those effects normally occur with the chalks, eyeshadows, and sprays. Using a semi-permanent dye shouldn't cause those issues -- mainly because it just deposits color and lightly conditions the hair (like a gloss), and comes out over the course of 4+ washes. The only trade-off with semi-permanent color is that it doesn't really show on top of dark hair. To see a little more boldness, experimenting with the sprays and chalks may be the way to go.

@sharondashariee: What is the best dye to use as far as brand, provides the most coverage, and lasts the longest?
That is a phenomenal question, and really difficult to answer. Each stylist or colorist will give you a different answer based on preference and experience. My best advice in this area is to speak with a colorist who deals specifically with textured hair.

@kayelaine: What changes in your regimen helped you hold on to moisture post color?
Lawwwwwwd I can write a whole post on this topic alone! I've had to totally revamp my regimen post-color. I'm going to do a post with the top 10 products I use to shape my colored curl regimen, but let me just put this out there: every product I use has to have at least two of these qualities: silicone, super hydrating, tons of slip, protein-rich, pH balancing. I'm not kidding either. But seriously, your regimen has to do darn near a 180 to make sure that the hair stays on your head.

@aintnannotha: 1. Rinse vs. Semi Permanent? 2. Hemp vs. Regular Color? 3. What kind of damages occur and how to recoup?
The major difference between a rinse/temporary color and a semi-permanent is that the rinse/temporary colors do not penetrate the cortex of the hair at all. They sit on the outside of the hair shaft, and are pretty much gone after 1-3 shampoos. Semi-permanents on the other hand, are able to somewhat penetrate the cortex and gently deposit color, and do so without ammonia or peroxide. They typically last up to 5 shampoos, depending upon what type of cleansing products you use and the porosity of your hair. Neither of these options will give you stunning, lightened color if your hair is not already dyed lighter than its natural color. You know those back-in-the-day cellophanes where you could only see the color in the sun? That's pretty much what those two are. I think you're talking about henna (not hemp), so let's dive into henna vs. regular hair dye. Henna (if 100% lawsonia inermis) is an all-natural plant native to Africa, Southern Asia, and Australia used to dye hair, skin, nails, and fabrics. It temporarily stains the aforementioned a reddish hue. The leaves of the plant are crushed and the dye is released using any number of liquids -- from hot water, to coffee or tea. Henna  does deposit color (also known as a "stain") onto the hair shaft, by binding to the keratin in the hair. Although it will fade, it is generally longer-lasting (in my experience) than semi-permanent color, but like semi-perms, also results in that "sun only" color unless your hair is dyed. For more detailed information about henna, read here. To get the 411 on my personal method for mixing henna, click here. Regular/permanent hair dye works by lifting the cuticle and depositing color (the extremely short version of this story). If your color involves bleaching, the cuticles are lifted and the melanin inside of your hair is destroyed. You can achieve any range of dynamic color with permanent dye, but of all the types of color mentioned, it is the most damaging. I 137% recommend seeing/consulting with a professional before taking the color plunge. I don't have all the answers as far as 100% recouping from damage, but here are a few leads:

4 Major Mistakes I Made and How You Can Avoid Being Like Me
Roux Porosity Control Correcting Conditioner: My New Secret Weapon
ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor Kept My Hair From Falling Out
5 Must-Have Products for Color Treated Curls
How to Maintain Vibrant Hair Color at Home

@chantelleyd: Same. Rinse vs. Semi Permananet vs. Color. I want to color my hair but not sure which is best after finally getting my hair officially rid of all the relaxed ends!

Hey girl! The dissertation answer I just gave @aintnannotha definitely applies here :) I can't tell you what to do with your hair (you know I'm team #doyouboo), but in my humble little opinion, after transitioning out damaged hair (and the struggle that comes with it), I'd be super hesitant to do anything that has the potential to drastically alter my curl pattern. Now, if you're all about that "it's hair, whatevs" life, then go for it! But if you want to revel and bask in your newly 100% natural hair, go for something non-damaging, like a semi-permanent. Of course the lack of vibrant color is a trade-off for tresses that will stay healthy. Be sure to keep us posted on what you decide!

@chanellehans: Hi!!! I just need some tips on treating my psoriasis please. Thanks!!!
Warning: if you don't have psoriasis, you might want to skip this question. Some folks find psoriasis gross and weird. If you're one of them, I won't judge you...just skip ahead :) Hey! I'm still struggling with psoriasis myself. I want to really buckle down and start experimenting with dietary changes to see if that helps at all. I've stayed away from the steroid treatment creams and ointments because I'm personally a little weary of them now. I've been using TriDerma Psoriasis Control Lotion on my face and body and the results are pretty good (I buy it at Target). Ashley's Naturals also has a Pumpkin Mask that is pretty epic for making your skin appear clearer and smoother (review coming soon)My psoriasis hasn't disappeared, but it's less scaly and inflamed, which makes it look not as bad. Definitely try it out. Also, here are some links to a few other resources on dealing with psoriasis:

Living with Psoriasis: Products that Help
Regulating Scalp Issues from the Inside Out
E-Mail Help for Psoriasis Sufferers
African Black Soap & Activated Charcoal for Psoriasis
Henna for Psoriasis

I hope this helps!

@greeneyedboricua: You're my Hair Crush it looks fabulous. I'm 4 months post my "Big Chop". Should I continue to steer clear of all chemicals so they don't hinder the health and growth of my hair?
Thank you so much!!! Those compliments really floor me XOXO. I want to help you make your decision, but I need to know -- what kind of chemicals are you talking about? Let me know in the comments and I can help you :)

@reignofdiamond: Is henna less damaging to the hair?
Ehhhh, it depends on who you ask. Some people say it loosens their curl pattern, although I've never personally experienced that. Some professional stylists despise henna and say it ruins the hair (but the ones I've overheard talk about it can never fully substantiate/articulate why). Other stylists that I have a personal rapport with explained that although they have no axe to grind against henna, it does make things more difficult if you're looking to use permanent dye in the future. Because henna coats and stains the hair, it can yield unpredictable and uneven color results. Is it safe to dye natural hair after using henna? Click here to find outFor more detailed information about henna, read here

@curlyhaired_doc: Is Demi damaging? I did a Semi red a few weeks ago but now I want black. Also, how soon is too soon if I want to do the Demi black?
Demi-permanent dye is different from semi-permanent in that it does require a low-level developer to gently lift the cuticle and deposit color. It doesn't contain ammonia and therefore does not strip the hair. How damaging it will be totally depends on the health of your hair overall. I would definitely consult with a professional first, but since semi-permanent only coats the outside of the hair, you're probably good to go after a few washes.

@msoutrageousity Regimen for blondes?
Unfortunately, the last time I had blonde hair was in 2008 and at the time I was a chronic flat ironer and not terribly concerned with health or length retention. Blonde hair requires special care because it is the most damaging color. I'll keep looking for a reputable source on this one. But in the meantime, check out these products for more information on caring for color-treated hair:

5 Must-Have Products for Color Treated Curls
5 Best Deep Conditioners for Medium-High Porosity Hair

And also, look into a good purple (yes, purple) shampoo and conditioner for blonde hair. Purple poos and conditioners help keep your blonde hair from turning awkward, brassy colors.

Thank you guys so much for your questions! This was fun! I think I may do more topic-related Q&A posts in the future -- let me know in the comments what topics you guys think I should open the floor to!


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