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Is it possible to have healthy hair color?

Have you contemplated color recently but changed your mind due to a negative past experience? Have you had a friend or co-worker who has talked you out of it because your hair is “too beautiful to damage”? Have you watched numerous YouTube videos that make you less and less interested in potentially harming the curls that you’ve worked so hard on?

I’m sure this sounds like most of us… Color can be a VERY scary ordeal, but there is hope. Color CAN enhance your hair without ruining the integrity or curls, but there are many steps and red flags that you should look for when receiving a color service. Let’s discuss them here:

1. Do you have a good moisture regimen?

The effect color will have on your hair first starts with the current condition of your hair and your hair regimen. I never recommend color, no matter how subtle, to clients who are still struggling with maintaining moisture in their hair. Realistically, color is a chemical, period. Clients who maintain soft and moist hair at least 85% of the time tend to have the least amount of issues with color (if processed correctly), but if your hair is already dry your color will most likely suffer. I recommend all clients build up the moisture in their hair before proceeding with color. I like to thoroughly consult with clients about their regimen before providing any color services.

2. Is your hair currently damaged or full of split ends?

Color lifts the cuticle of the hair to deposit a new tone. Healthier brands of colors and treatments ensure that the cuticle closes back down. Hair that doesn’t close back down is more likely to break, and that is where some people get color damage. If the cuticle layers of your hair are already damaged or split, color will likely have a negative effect on your hair. For most people, this simply means they need a proper trim to ensure that any ends that are traveling up the strand are cut off. For others, this could mean a series of treatments and trims to build the strand up first and grow out damage. Consult with a color expert first to ensure that your hair is able to handle color properly.

3. How is the stylist processing your color?

This is where it gets more tricky. The stylist has a BIG impact on the health of your color. They choose the color line, they choose the treatments, they determine the processing. Realistically, all you can do is research their services, monitor the health of their clients, and take an educated leap of faith! I’ve seen clients go to stylists that have thousands of Instagram followers and beautiful images, but their hair took a turn for the worst. When researching a stylist, don’t just go by beautiful images (although their technique is important), but go by their detail. Do they discuss the products they are using without fear of you researching? Do they consult thoroughly or simply give you the color you want with no questions asked? Do they offer any treatments during and after the service and explain their purpose? Do they provide any take home products or tips for your hair after the service? Are they willing to lift your hair from black to platinum in one day? Does there color service only take 2 hours start to finish? A quality color service often costs a little more due to the stylist’s level of expertise and knowledge and the quality of the color and treatments used. If your hair is over-processed with the color, it’s hard to get the strength back with treatments later, so choose wisely and go with a stylist that directs the service and lets you know what your hair can handle.

4. How is the color being taken care of after your service?

Lastly, the way your color is treated after the color service is the final key to a successful color transformation. If you already have a good moisture regimen and the color was processed properly, your maintenance afterwards should involve maintaining the SAME moisture regimen. If done properly, you shouldn’t have to change it up too much. I often recommend that if clients don’t do any strengthening treatments to their hair, they should start doing them about once a month as that should already be a part of anyone’s regimen. Keeping the ends lightly trimmed about every 2-3 months, depending upon the health of your hair, is highly important as well. I recommend that my color client’s check in with a good treatment and trim about every 2 months.

Color can be intimidating, but I have many clients who continue to maintain health and length even with drastic color changes, including myself. Do your research to make sure the stylist you choose values the importance of healthy color, and if you’ve never had color or are unsure, ease into it. Get a more subtle tone or a very light highlight to break up the darkness to see how your hair acclimates… you can always add more later. Happy Coloring!

Brandy Sims

Master Colorist

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