Do you still remember the first time you colored your hair? Did it turn out the way you wanted to? Did it last long enough for you to enjoy it?
Well, I remember mine very well... not because it was remarkably good, but because it was a disaster!
In my second year of college, I gave in to peer pressure and bought my first coloring kit at the drugstore. It wasn’t anything crazy like blue or bubblegum pink. It was coffee brown. At least, it said it’s coffee brown on the label and I was expecting that my jet black virgin tresses would turn up just like that. Now, since I was pressed for cash as a student, I decided this will be DIY. I will color my hair because, huh, I can read and follow directions! If only it were that easy…
Oh, I was so confident and my spirits were high. There was also the rebel rush since my mom had no idea I was going to mess with my hair. And so, a few hours or so… (I was sporting long wavy locks then), I saw the result.
To my horror, it did not resemble the color of my cup of joe in the morning. It was reddish! Auburn with emphasis on burning! Oh, my goodness... And since I had no experience coloring my hair whatsoever, the top part of my head seemed to have absorbed most of the colorant and it was the brightest spot. When the sun hit the spot, it seemed like a burning bush. The lower tresses were meh. Clearly, I was mortified!
Have you had a similar story? Have you ever even tried a DIY hair color? If you did, you can definitely relate. Now, it wasn’t the last time I did a DIY. Obviously, I was too stubborn to learn my lesson but the next ones were a little better. Having it done by a professional was definitely a far cry and if I could afford professional hairstyling all the time, I would!
However, since I wanted to look good without breaking the bank, I had to be a bit more resourceful. And so I share with you some tips and tricks that I learned along the way - some learned the hard way, about caring for colored hair. Here are the 5 easy ways to care for colored hair that worked so well for me.
"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Franklin definitely knew what he’s saying. And this quote is absolutely applicable to our goal of getting the hair color we want. Choosing the right color alone takes a lot of planning. Inspiration from magazines and favorite celebrities are available and we only need to check if it would look good on us, too.
Thankfully, technology has helped us make this easier. Apps to change our hair color on pictures are available and most of them are free. So go on and test out that ginger biscuit color that looks so good on Adele. Let’s see if it fits you, too!
Once you’ve decided on a color, get your hair ready. Yes, there is more to just stepping into the salon, or your bathroom, whichever is the case. The first thing you need to check is the state of your hair. If you color your hair all the time, take into account that our hair needs time to breathe, too. One hairdresser friend of mine recommends coloring every 2 to 3 months. Our hair gets exposed to chemicals when dying. If you will add bleaching to the process, extra care needs to be done.
If you have some really damaged ends, better to get a haircut first than color.
You stepped out of the salon and you’re feeling so fine. Your new tone is so vibrant and shiny you just wanna party and flaunt it! Now, what happens after day 1? These are some crucial tips for aftercare or home care that will extend the life to your color-treated hair and it begins with not washing it.
Depending on the hair professional you’d ask, it could range from 24-48 hours or even a week if the treatment and hair state is too vulnerable for washing. Frequently washing your hair strips the color faster - even quicker if you bathe with hot water. Cold water is recommended for color-treated hair. Better yet, to avoid washing, use a dry shampoo instead. Hair looks fab and color stays vibrant longer.
Now, if your hair color is more on the bold side like red, neon, or dark colors, expect that some pigments will stick around even after the first few washes. So avoid wearing white and just use an old towel that you wouldn’t mind staining. Also, maybe use an old pillowcase for your head pillow.
I’ve already told you about using dry shampoo to avoid regular washing. This one I am using really extends the color to my tresses because it is color-safe and free from sulfates. It also adds volume to my hair, which I love since I have thin hair and it creates a great illusion of thickness.
If you are not too willing to ditch regular washing altogether, use shampoos and conditioners that are made specifically for color-treated hair. Hold back on the shampoo and be generous with the conditioner. You’ve just had your hair go through all those chemicals and now it will have the tendency to get dry and brittle. Moisturizing your hair will help aftercare of that. Your conditioner will add moisture and help avoid more split ends. Hair masks once a week will also help lock in the colors and keep your hair healthy.
Quick tip: Care for your hair better by using a detangler or a brush especially after stepping out of the shower. If you plan on putting serums to protect your hair from the sun or use a blow dryer, give your hair a quick comb through with a wide-toothed comb or detangler brush. You will see less breakage plus with the right brush, your hair’s natural oils will thrive with the stimulation. Shiny and healthy hair in a few strokes.
Pros before woes. I mean, if you can actually afford to treat yourself and your locks to some actual pampering, why not? Save yourself the trouble and the agony of dealing with disappointment over patchy DIY coloring. If you really are not an expert and if you fear for the safety of your locks and scalp (I have a bleaching horror story to tell you another time) just let professionals handle it. They know what they are doing and what is best for you.
Find a hairstylist or salon that meets your needs. It might take a few hits and misses but once you find the right one, do not let go! I wouldn't even recommend high-end salons because of the high prices. I prefer homey, comfortable quiet ones.
After All, it's the people who would make the difference. You can even end up being good friends with your stylist and be in the capable and honest hands of an expert. Really good ones will recommend products that they know will work with your hair and extend the life of the colors. I know some stylists who even formulate conditioners to match the color of your hair. This is like supplemental home care that allows your hair to stay vibrant longer or at the very least, fade beautifully. I really hope you find one and soon!
Age is just a number and true beauty is timeless. Experiment and don't be afraid to be bold. Try different colors, have highlights, or try balayage hair that is such a trend nowadays. The boldest color I sported was blonde. It was such a drastic change from my usual brown hues and it was such a treat to see the surprise on my friends’ faces. They were shocked that it fitted me well. Sure, maintaining it was such a big deal but I learned to treat it well and enjoy it while it lasted. I transitioned to read later in the year and I was still pleasantly amused by the sudden shift.
Play around with your hair and style it up. If you are not using too much heat, that would be even better. Work with products that are made with natural ingredients that will help nourish and rehydrate your chemically treated hair - they can add volume, too. The possibilities are endless!
If you’re willing to take that first bold step, you just might discover that exhilarating feeling of flaunting your crowning glory’s highlights and lowlights. Have fun knowing that there are products out there that can give your hair the support it needs and the care it deserves. Choose wisely and be a little extra!! You just might get addicted to coloring.
Stay fierce. Rock those fantastic hues and be oh-so-fabulous!
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