5 Tips for Protecting Dyed Natural Hair From Damage

Breakage ain't it.

Tips to Keep Your Hair Damage Free
Photo: Gemma Chua-Tran/Unsplash

If you're thinking about dyeing your natural hair, you'll be happy to know that it's possible to keep the health of your hair intact while still preventing damage — but you have to take the right steps.

First, it's important to seek advice from a professional and have your hair examined to establish what coloring procedure is best to start with. Just note, a key factor in maintaining the health of your hair when coloring is not to push your curls past their limit.

Depending on the condition of your hair, there are several ways your colorist might recommend transitioning to color, including subtle-highlights or a gradual multi-session plan. To find out more, we reached out to Rachel Redd, professional colorist and Redken x Mizani Brand Ambassador, to share some tips on how to keep your hair damage-free.

Have a Hair Consultation

Whether you're dyeing your hair for the first time or deciding on a new color, it's important to feel super confident about the process.

That's why it's a good idea to speak with a professional colorist about everything you need to know. For example, ask about maintaining your color; how often will you need to visit the salon? What is the best way to look after your hair at home? Additionally, find out how many sessions it will take to achieve your desired shade. Make sure you are fully informed about the process and the level of upkeep before you proceed with your treatment.

Do a Strand Test

Always ask the colorist to conduct a strand test to see if your hair is strong enough to be colored. "If your hair is fragile, color can cause severe damage and change the porosity of the hair making it difficult to retain moisture and hold color," explains Redd.

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Take Your Time With Color

If you finally decide to color your hair, you might experience a rush of excitement and a desire for immediate change. The good news is, if your hair is in a healthy condition with no heat damage or previous color, it is sometimes possible to do a drastic color change in one session.

However, if your hair has previously been dark and you wish to lighten it, Redd recommends lifting the hair in multiple sessions. This will allow time for the hair to be restored with strengthening and moisturizing treatments in between services.

"When determining how many sessions are needed to lighten hair, you have to consider the natural hair color level, the current hair color level, porosity and density of the hair'," says Redd. "Everyone's lightning process is different depending on the factors above, always consult with a licensed professional to properly analyze your hair and determine the best procedure."

Moisturize, Protein, Trim

The process of depositing permanent color onto natural hair requires dye to penetrate beyond the hair cuticles. Once the cuticles have been raised, the hair tends to increase in porosity, which means it has difficulty retaining moisture.

Strengthening the hair with protein and using a moisturizing hair mask before and after coloring can help prevent excessive breakage in the short and long term.

"It's best to do a strengthening treatment, like the Mizani Moisture Fusion Intense Moisturizing Mask or a protein treatment at least four to six weeks before color service," says Redd. "Additionally, make sure you trim split or dead ends. You only want to color healthy, strong strands."

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Know Which Dye is Best For Your Natural Hair

Permanent color can lift the hair and deposit tone up to four levels, depending on the developer used by your professional. Semi-permanent is a direct dye with no lift or ability to lighten.

"With guidance from the right professional you can experiment safely with all types of color, particularly for gray coverage or major transformations where a stronger formula may be required," says Redd. "In the salon, I tend to recommend semi or demi-permanent dyes like Redken Shades EQ Gloss hair color, it's a professional treatment for clients who need a gentle solution, the acidic formula conditions the hair and adds shine."

This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.

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