Natural Hair: What to Know Before You Color It

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After wearing weaves and subjecting her hairsbreadth to regular vigor styling, Tammy Porter’s stylist convinced her to let her earthy curls to radiance through. “As a Black woman, I didn’t privation to unrecorded up to European quality standards,” says Porter of Carson, CA. “I besides didn’t privation to walk my beingness successful the quality salon and astatine the clip the earthy hairsbreadth assemblage was booming!”

So Porter, 41, launched a 5-year travel to displacement from chemic relaxers, vigor styling, and extensions to her earthy curls. She was a caller ma and firm enforcement erstwhile she decided to springiness colour a effort again.

She hadn’t colored her hairsbreadth successful years. “I loved my hairsbreadth blond, but I was nervous,” Porter says. “Like a batch of people, I had immoderate atrocious colour experiences. As a earthy girl, I saw it alteration my curl signifier and harm my darker hair.”

For Porter and galore radical of color, wearing their hairsbreadth successful a earthy authorities means nary chemic relaxers oregon immoderate large chemicals that would change their earthy curl pattern. Textures successful their earthy authorities alteration from choky coils to escaped waves.

Many person tales of hairsbreadth colour attraction gone wrong. But arsenic subject improves and stylists go much skilled astatine treating your tresses, there’s nary request to cower from color.

To support your coils popping and steadfast erstwhile you colour your hair, see these questions first.

Are Your Hair and Scalp Healthy?

Black radical person hairsbreadth that tends to beryllium coarser and drier.

Time tin instrumentality a toll. So tin immoderate hairsbreadth treatments. You tin spell from diva to harm successful nary time.

“Your hairsbreadth shaft is not arsenic hardy arsenic you property and coloring for years tin origin immoderate issues,” says Amy McMichael, MD, FAAD, a dermatology prof astatine Wake Forest University School of Medicine successful Winston-Salem, NC.

If your hairsbreadth is precise dry, breaking, and wide not connected its A-game, it’s champion to clasp disconnected connected colour until you get your tresses the TLC they need.

“I suggest my patients grip immoderate tegument oregon scalp issues earlier coloring their hair,” McMichael says.

Talk to your doc astir however your wellness whitethorn beryllium causing issues with your scalp. A dermatologist focuses connected skin, nails, and hairsbreadth issues and tin prescribe medications oregon treatments similar medicated shampoos to assistance crook things around.

The crown of your caput whitethorn not beryllium the lone happening to cheque if you’re prepping for color. “I inquire my clients if they are taking medications earlier doing a colour treatment,” says Debra Dye Brown (yes, her existent name), a maestro cosmetologist successful Atlanta.

Brown says definite medications – similar those for precocious humor pressure, definite hormones, oregon steroids – tin interaction however good hairsbreadth colour works and, successful immoderate cases, origin a reaction. “If you deliberation astir it, immoderate cause tests necessitate a strand of hairsbreadth due to the fact that what you enactment successful your assemblage volition often amusement up there,” Brown says.

Where you are successful beingness – whether going done menopause oregon a high-stress play – is simply a origin successful however your colour travel unfolds. Talk to your stylist astir each of it. You’re successful their seat to stock aft all.

Did You Find a Professional?

Unless you made each A’s successful precocious chemistry, it whitethorn beryllium champion to permission the hairsbreadth dyeing process (especially if going lighter) to the pros. “The container of colour doesn’t cognize thing astir your hairsbreadth that I would arsenic an expert,” says Milena Ghattas, personage colorist successful Beverly Hills, CA. “Coloring your hairsbreadth astatine location for years whitethorn beryllium causing harm implicit clip adjacent if you can’t spot it.”

A trained colorist volition cognize however to measure your hair, health, and manner to assistance you marque a plan. Do your homework to find a licensed colorist and cheque retired their societal media pages to spot if they tin colour hairsbreadth that looks similar yours.

Hair colour is, well, colorblind. “The process of coloring the hairsbreadth is the aforesaid for everyone,” McMichael says. “It involves poking holes successful the hairsbreadth to let the colour to seep in.” (Those “holes” are made with chemicals.)

Natural hairsbreadth whitethorn crave much moisture successful wide and adjacent much if colour is applied. Also, colour tin loosen the curl signifier – but lone temporarily if done right, Ghattas says – connected earthy hair.

While earthy hairsbreadth comes successful each textures and shades, galore radical of colour person darker hairsbreadth colors (with much reddish and golden undertones). Taking hairsbreadth from acheronian to airy involves the astir chemicals (bleaching) and tin beryllium much damaging than going from airy to dark.

Are You Doing Too Much?

It’s not a bully thought to bash each your styling changes astatine 1 time. Using a relaxer, color, and vigor styling successful 1 mounting tin beryllium a atrocious idea. Give you hairsbreadth a interruption betwixt services and effort to bash different services astatine slightest 2 weeks earlier color.

A little imperishable but gentler enactment is simply a semi- oregon demi-color alternatively of a imperishable color. Semi- and demi-colors (not to beryllium confused with rinses that lavation the colour retired each week) volition slice successful 6-8 weeks, but person little chemicals that tin harm the hairsbreadth and don’t penetrate the hairsbreadth shaft similar imperishable colors. Permanent colour has to turn retired oregon beryllium chopped out.

What’s Your Color History?

Pros similar Ghattas and Brown volition inquire caller clients astir their anterior moments with color. “I privation to cognize if you did a temp colour precocious oregon if you’ve colored your hairsbreadth for years,” Ghattas says. “I inquire astir however your hairsbreadth responded successful the past and we speech astir your starting constituent and extremity point.” You’re unsocial and truthful is your hair.

Did You Do a Strand Test?

Will that shadiness of acheronian brownish crook your hairsbreadth green? Will this airy blond adjacent enactment for you?

Strand tests amusement however your hairsbreadth volition respond – earlier you effort it connected your full head. It besides helps your colorist find retired if the colour volition work, however overmuch it whitethorn impact your curl pattern, and if your hairsbreadth is excessively fragile for the look you want.

Permanent Color oregon Not?

Researchers person been studying the information of hairsbreadth colour for years. In 2019, researchers from the National Institutes of Health reported that women who regularly utilized imperishable hairsbreadth colour were much apt to get bosom crab than those who don’t – and the hazard was higher among Black women compared with achromatic women. It’s not wide why. Semi-permanent oregon impermanent hairsbreadth colour weren’t linked to bosom crab hazard successful the study.

The uncovering was based connected information connected much than 46,000 U.S. women ages 35-74, including 55% who utilized imperishable hairsbreadth color. The women were followed for 8 years, connected average. The survey does not beryllium that hairsbreadth colour caused anyone’s cancer.

Many hairsbreadth dyes incorporate chemicals similar ammonia oregon hydrogen peroxide, which tin origin tegument irritation, redness, and different wellness problems.

If you’re acrophobic astir chemicals successful hair dye, speech to your stylist astir switching up your hairsbreadth dye products oregon inquire your doc astir whether the chemicals are OK for you. If you’re looking astatine henna arsenic an alternative, it’s a milder signifier of hairsbreadth dye, compared with imperishable dyes, and it’s little apt to origin allergic reactions. But it tin inactive beryllium irritating to immoderate people, McMichael notes.

How Are You Showing Your Hair Some Love?

Along with your caller color, you’ll privation a coagulated program to support your coils healthy.

“Keep your hairsbreadth trimmed. Every 3 months is best,” Ghattas says. “You besides privation to support up with moisture treatments and support your hairsbreadth hydrated.”

Porter, who has been blessed with her colour (done by Ghattas), is superior astir keeping her hairsbreadth healthy. “I information my hairsbreadth regularly and earlier color. I don’t usage dense products truthful the colour tin penetrate better, and I usage a moisturizing shampoo,” she says.

Another tip: Use a sulfate-free shampoo to debar drying retired your hairsbreadth and fading your caller color.

Whether covering your grey strands oregon getting implicit a benignant rut, dyeing your hairsbreadth – erstwhile done close – tin springiness you the popular of colour you crave.