How to Care For Dyed Hair
Hair comes in all colors of the rainbow nowadays. In decades past, it would have been unthinkable to find green and purple hair dye in the beauty aisle at your local drugstore, but with people of all ages breaking out the technicolor hair, it seems the trend isn’t going anywhere soon.
Healthy hair, though, is an important factor in your overall health and beauty, and both dyeing hair and caring for it afterwards should be done carefully to keep your locks shiny and strong. It’s not as simple as slapping some color on and rinsing it out—there are lots of factors to consider before, during, and after dyeing your hair.
Pick A Color, Any Color
I won’t try and be a color consultant here. Pick whatever color you want for your hair! Follow your dreams! But—here are a couple of things to consider when you choose.
If you’re a low-maintenance type, red might be a challenge for you. Red dye molecules are the largest, so they adhere to hair in lower concentrations, making the dye fade faster than most. Red also doesn’t often look good when it fades. Basically, a head of red hair dye takes a lot of upkeep. If you want something easier to maintain, try a blue or purple, which has more staying power and fades more nicely.
Platinum blonde and pastel locks look amazing on Instagram, but keep in mind that they require a lot of bleach to turn out right, which is really hard on hair. If your hair is dark, you’ll need several sessions of bleaching to fully lift the color out (Take it from me. When I dyed my black hair bright green for the first time, I was in the salon for six hours straight. Would not recommend).
To Bleach or Not To Bleach?
Bleach is serious business, and it’s brutal on the hair and scalp. You might not even need it if your hair is already blonde or light brown, but darker hair does require lightening for any dye job to show up. So if you do want to lighten your hair, where to begin? Well, in days long past, you could just pop over to the salon and a trained stylist would take care of the tricky process for you. But then COVID-19 came along, and salons across the country are closed indefinitely. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to DIY a bleach session in the comfort of your bathroom.
You’ve probably seen those all-in-one bleach kits in the hair care aisle at the grocery store, and they’ll work if you’re a total beginner, but if you’ve cut your teeth on some at-home dye projects, you should upgrade to the quality stuff. It’s more complicated, but it’s far safer for your hair.
To start, put on some nitrile gloves and mix powder bleach and developer together in a 1:2 ratio in a bowl. It should be runny, but not too liquid-y (think of a raw egg white). The developer will usually come in -20, -30, and -40 volume peroxide concentrations. But the higher the concentration, the riskier it is to use on your hair. -40 volume developer can cause serious damage and breakage, so use it at your own risk.
Then separate your hair into sections however is comfortable for you, and start brushing the bleach mixture onto your hair, keeping about a half-inch away from the scalp. You’ll want to apply it fast to avoid a patchy color result. When the rest of your hair is coated, apply the bleach down by your scalp, but try to keep it off your skin as much as possible. Then let the bleach process for 20 to 45 minutes, depending on how light you want your hair. Be very careful not to lose track of time, because even a couple of extra minutes can make your hair start falling out.
Once the time’s up, rinse thoroughly and let your hair dry. Apply toner as needed to get rid of any brassy color that might alter the dye you want to apply, and then use a generous amount of a purple conditioner instead of your usual. Typical conditioner ingredients can compromise the newly-bleached hair’s appearance, so special purple toning conditioner will keep it a neutral blonde while giving it the nourishment it needs.
The Care and Keeping of Your Color
Once your hair is bleached, you’re good to apply whatever dye you want, and it’s a simple process. Just paint the dye onto your hair, let it sit for about half an hour, rinse, and dry. If everything went well, you should have a fun new hair color to admire and get complimented on!
But how do you take care of your hair now that it’s dyed? Well, there’s a lot of preventative methods you can try. To start, right after drying off for the first time, apply some after-color treatment in a thin layer all over your hair. This locks in dye, seals hair cuticles and restores your hair to its natural pH level. This works wonders for the durability of the color and takes some of the pressure off of you to treat it gently. Just rinse it out and you’re good to go.
You should also avoid shampooing for the next 48 hours at the very least, to give the dye plenty of time to sink into your cuticles. Shampooing every day isn’t great for your hair anyway—try 3 or 4 times a week at most, and use color-safe dry shampoo in between washes. Remember to condition, too, because your hair is probably still hurting from the bleach. Just make sure your shampoo and conditioner are sulfate-free. Sulfates contain salt, which makes your hair lose moisture and speeds up the fading process.
If you can tolerate it, try washing your hair in a cool shower instead of hot. Cool water keeps your hair cuticles closed and helps the hair hold onto the dye better. And when you’re not washing your hair but need to shower, slip on a shower cap to keep your hair dry altogether. When you use products like hair dryers or irons, keep them on as low of a heat setting as you can. Direct contact with heated material can discolor your dye job really quickly.
Finally, summer is right around the corner, but take care if you have a fresh head of dyed hair. Chlorine is terrible for hair color, but you can keep your hair from absorbing pool chlorine by wetting your hair before going for a swim. Also, UV rays wreak havoc on dye, so wear a hat or try a UV-protective spray.
So, that’s pretty much all you need to know about taking care of your hair while giving it a makeover. Be sure to check our stock here at Keshoume for some quality shampoo and conditioner for your new look. Don’t be scared to experiment with every color of the rainbow, either, because hey—life is short and hair grows back.
Rowan Thompson - June 29, 2020
Hurly, Adam. “How to Bleach Your Own Hair, Even Though You Probably Shouldn't.” GQ, 9 Apr. 2020, www.gq.com/story/how-to-bleach-your-own-hair.
Jahns, Erin, and Carolyn Hanson. “How I Salvaged My Bleached Hair After a Disaster at the Salon: Part II.” Byrdie, 19 Jan. 2020, www.byrdie.com/how-to-take-care-of-bleached-blonde-hair.
Rodulfo, Kristina. “This Is What It Takes to Maintain Unicorn Hair.” ELLE, 19 Mar. 2018, www.elle.com/beauty/hair/news/g29826/colored-hair-tips/.
“Tips to Help Protect Color-Treated Hair & Keep It Looking Fabulous.” Matrix, 1 Oct. 2019, www.matrix.com/blog/26-tips-to-help-protect-color-treated-hair-and-keep-it-looking-fabulous.