Caring for Dyed, Damaged Hair

So you’ve decided to join the colored hair clan, congrats!
Now that you’ve picked out your favorite color and either dyed it yourself at
home (high five) or gone to a stylist, you’re probably wondering how you should
care for your hair. After all, it might feel super moisturized and healthy after
a trip to the salon, but it doesn’t take long for the dryness to appear. Especially
after the first wash! We’ve had our hair go from looking like the Kardashians
to looking like Ana from Frozen after she first wakes up after that first wash.

If you’re a seasoned veteran like us when it comes to the
magical world of hair dye, then you know just how damaging dye can be on your
strands. Even the most moisture rich, vitamin packed hair dyes or a trip to a
salon can wreck havoc on your hair. That’s because the dye has affected both
the cuticles and the cortex making them weaker. Dye forces your hair cuticles
to open in order to allow the dye to penetrate the hair shaft. This also leads
to a breakdown of keratin proteins in your hair strands.

And don’t even get us started on the straw-like feeling of
freshly bleached hair. Bleaching is one of the harshest things you can do to
your hair; especially if you’re going for that beautiful ash or silver blonde
that requires multiple treatments. And if you’re naturally dark haired, then
bleaching is seriously hard on your strands. And because you’re getting regular
treatments to achieve your desired color, you’re constantly in a state of
damaging your hair without giving it much reprieve between to recover.

Luckily though there are ways of babying your strands,
prolonging your color, and restoring lost moisture. Just check out our colored
hair commandments below and your locks will soon feel refreshed!

1. Don’t skip the keratin treatment

keratin treatment

If you’re getting your hair professionally done at a salon,
then your colorist is going to ask if you want to do a keratin treatment. Your
first thought might be that it’s just your stylist’s way of making a few extra
bucks off you, but it’s really something that’s needed. And it’s pretty much a
requirement if you’re having your hair bleached!

Hair dye is extremely hard on your locks and like we
mentioned earlier, the chemicals eat away the keratin proteins. So not only
will these treatments restore lost keratin, but they’ll also leave your hair
feeling super silky, healthy, refreshed, and will protect your color. And as an
added bonus if you bleached your hair, the keratin treatment can prevent it
from going brassy.

Pro tip

If you’re dying your hair from a box or yourself at home (no
judgments, we do the same thing sometimes), then you’ll want to pick up a
keratin treatment or a hair mask that’s rich in oil and vitamins. Typically
you’ll wait with these treatments until the first wash so that you don’t strip
the hair color immediately.

You can also visit any salon for a treatment and they’re
normally very cost effective. Plus the massage they give while working the oils
into your hair feels nothing short of heavenly!

2. Wash your hair less frequently

Wash your hair less frequently

Chances are, you’re probably already washing your hair
pretty infrequently. And if you aren’t, then you seriously need to put down the
shampoo and back away! Unless you’re in the gym for several hours a day every
day, your hair doesn’t need to be washed every day. Over washing removes
natural oils that your hair needs, irritates the scalp, and can lead to dry
scalp and even dryer strands.

Not to mention the more often you wash your hair, the more
hair color is washed away. This is especially true of red dyes, which are
already notorious for stripping fast. So how often should you wash your hair?
We recommend washing your hair a max of three times a week but preferably
twice. Don’t think you can skip that many days? Try a moisturizing dry shampoo
or slowly acclimating your hair to less washing by only using conditioner for
the bulk of your washing days.

Pro tip

Because your hair is damaged, you’ll want to be gentle with
it when you do wash. Scratching the scalp might feel really good, but you’ll
want to avoid going ham on the scratching. You’ll also want to avoid using hard
motions and slowly work the shampoo and conditioner into your locks. If you
absolutely scrub, pick up a silicone bristle brush, which is much easier on
your scalp and locks than fingers.

3. Invest in color protectant shampoos and

shampoos and conditioners

While you might be tempted to use the same shampoo and
conditioner you’ve always used, we highly recommend using something that
specifically says it’s for color treated hair. Keep in mind that not all
shampoos and conditioners are created equally. Not to diss on anyone’s beauty
regimen or favorite products, but you’ll want to skip the Herbal Essences when
it comes to taking care of your dye.

You’ll also want to make sure that the shampoo and
conditioner you pick up are paraben and sulfate free. Both are incredibly harsh
on your strands (as in you shouldn’t be using them on even non-dyed hair) and
can strip color fast. Most shampoo and conditioner companies have begun shying
away from using these additives, but some still do so make sure you read the

Pro tip

We typically advise against drugstore brands but Carol’s
Daughter, Shea Moisture, Biolage, and Biosilk are good brands. We suggest
asking a hair color specialist (the person who did your hair at the salon
assuming you didn’t do it at home) what they recommend since everyone’s hair is

Products designed for natural and curly hair are also great
picks as they’re high in moisture and don’t contain parabens. Plus they all
smell super delicious! Most typically aren’t marketed as color protectants but
they tend to have more natural and nourishing ingredients so you’re safe to use

4. Heated styling products aren’t your friends

Heated styling products

You might think your flat iron and blow dryer are your hairs
best friends but they’re not. Even virgin hair is impacted by the use of heat
styling tools. That’s because the heat can “burn” hair follicles and strip them
of proteins. While all heat tools damage your hair, using a blow dryer is one
of the worst ones.  

Blow dryers strip hair of its moisture, cause undesirable
frizz, split ends, and breakage. The heat from blow dryers also causes your
hair cuticles to open, which means they won’t properly seal after washing. This
can cause your hair dye to fade faster as well as weaken your strands.

Pro tip

Do you really need to break out the curling iron in the
morning for those beachy waves? Sure, it’s tempting but please put it back
especially if your hair is dyed! Instead, braid your hair (wet works better but
you can also mist dry hair with water) in sections and go to bed. In the
morning, you can undo the braids and run your fingers through your hair for
gorgeous curls without the stress of heat.

If you absolutely must use a heated styling tool on your
hair, then make sure you use a heat protectant before you put the tool anywhere
near your locks. Heat protectants coat your locks and absorb the bulk of the
heat and damage from the tool so it’s less harsh on your hair. Finish with a
light oil or moisturizer.

5. Avoid the pool

Avoid the pool

Do you want green hair? Because swimming in chlorine is how
you get green hair! And we’re not talking that trendy mermaid look either;
picture stagnant swamp waters and that’s pretty close to the color that
chlorine will turn your hair job into.

We recommend waiting a minimum of three to four weeks before
dipping your head under in the pool. Keep in mind that regardless of how much
time you put between your hair color and the pool, chlorine can still put the
fading process in the fast lane.

Pro tip

After you’ve waited your grace period, you can hop into the
pool but we recommend taking some precautions. Apply a layer of conditioner to
your hair and pull it back into a bun before slipping into the waters. This
will act as a barrier between your hair color and the chlorine.

Also, limit the amount of exposure your hair gets to the
water. It can be tempting to float on a raft in the pool with your locks
soaking in the cool waters, but opt for a sun chair or the shallows instead.

And always remember to baby your hair after a day at the
pool. Give it some extra conditioner and even a hair mask afterwards!

6. Meet your new bff: leave in conditioner


Gone are the days when you could wash, dry, and brush your
hair then be good to walk out the door. Now, your hair will need to be cared
for and pampered. Even if you’re one of those who use a leave in conditioner or
detangler, you’ll want to up your game when it comes to spoiling your freshly
dyed locks.

Anything rich in moisture is something you’ll want to add to
your beauty cabinet. What you pick will ultimately be up to you. There’s
everything from mists to gels to creams to oils. Each one works differently and
everyone’s hair is different. Us personally speaking, we use a combination. We
begin with a moisture rich cream right after the shower before we brush our
hair. Afterwards, we finish it off with a light protectant oil.

If you’re having trouble deciding, ask a stylist or one of
your color-obsessed friends which ones they recommend.

Pro tip

Hair craves moisture after being dyed and will continue to
do so for the duration of the color. So if you think that you’ll just need to
baby your locks for the first few weeks, think again. Even virgin hair can
benefit from an upped moisture regimen so go ahead and splurge on products even
if you don’t intend to dye your hair ever again.

We seriously can’t tell you enough how wonderful curly and
natural hair products are. There’s a reason why natural hair ladies are always
rocking beautiful locks!

7. Be gentle with your wet hair

wet hair

While everything above is probably steps you’ve already
considered, being gentle with your hair when it’s wet probably isn’t. When we
first stepped into the hair color game, we just continued to use our normal
hairbrush on wet hair: big mistake! Not only did this cause a ton of breakage
and split ends, but also the frizz was unreal. And believe us when we say it’s
hard to bounce back from even one wet brush.

Most guides will encourage you to finger brush your hair or
wait until it’s dry to brush (yeah, we’re laughing too) but if you’re a
naturally tangly girl like us, then you understand that your hair needs to be
brushed right away. Plus, we cringe at the thought of all the loose hairs and
dirt being wrapped in wet locks and drying that way.

Pro tip

Use a wide-tooth comb and go through your hair in small
sections slowly working out the tangles. You don’t want to pull too hard since
this causes breakage so be gentle and take it slow!

When you encounter a knot in your hair, you can use your
fingers or the brush to slowly separate it from the rest of the locks and work
it out. Never yank it out with the brush! It’s definitely time consuming but
your hair (and scalp if you’re tender headed) will thank you for your patience.

Final hair color

hair color

Let’s say you picked a shade that you don’t like or at worst
does not compliment your skin and makes you look awful. After all, black hair
isn’t for everyone and neither is fire red! You might be tempted to grab
another tube of a more desirable hair color and “fix” your mistake. Do NOT do
it! Put the color down and walk away, seriously.

Remember that stagnant water analogy we used earlier? Yeah,
that’s what color you’ll turn your hair if you add even more color to it. If
you can stand it, wait a week before color correcting. Can’t wait? Head to your
local stylist for a fix. Keep in mind that not all color mistakes can be fixed
(there’s no way even a miracle worker can take your midnight black out of your
hair); so be careful when picking out a color!

And if you’re not sure what will look good on you, please
visit a professional until you feel comfortable enough to do it on your own.

Oh and the picture above? Yeah, that isn’t even close to the
shade of swamp green your hair will turn if you put dye on top of fresh dye.

Ready for the dye?

Now that you’ve read the commandments, we’d like to know what your thoughts are. Are they all common sense beauty rituals that you already do or were there some on the list that surprised you? Do you have your own hair color tip(s) to add to the list? We’d love to know what your must do hair color rituals are!

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