So, you've applied some dye to your hair. And it looks amazing! This color definitely suits you, and it's in your best interest to make its quality last. But what about washing? Do you just shampoo and condition as usual, or is there something different you should do?
In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about post-dye hair care including washing, conditioning and some best practices to follow.
How Hair Dye Works
It's worth quickly discussing hair dye itself and how it works in order to better understand the sections that follow. There are two main types of hair coloring treatments out there: temporary and permanent. Both have their own formulations and application processes, so it's important to be able to differentiate them and make sure you're doing the right things to make your color last.
Temporary Hair Color
Temporary or semi-permanent hair dye is exactly what it sounds like - hair dye that eventually comes out. Unlike permanent dyes, these products mainly work outside the hair shaft by depositing temporary pigments onto strands' surfaces, which after a wash or two, dissipate. Wash out products are most commonly found in spray form, but can also be applied through cream or chalk. The amount of time that their color will last can vary, but usually averages around a couple of days and/or washes. Semi-permanent dyes on the other hand are a little stronger, and can be expected to last anywhere between four and six weeks.
Permanent Hair Color
As its name implies, permanent hair dye actually changes the structure of your hair shafts in order to achieve its color. The way it does this is by using a two-part system that first opens up the hair cuticle and then deposits dye molecules into the cortex. Because your hair's new color is now actually a part of your strands, it will only fade over time and with repeated washings. The trade-off for this longer lasting color is that the process can be a bit harsher on your hair, so it's important to take extra care of it following a treatment.
Washing Your Hair After Dyeing It
The first few washes following a hair coloring treatment are critical in terms of caring for your new hue. This is because, as we just discussed, the cuticle is still open and vulnerable to damage. So, you'll want to take care while washing your hair to avoid any unnecessary stress on your strands.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to post-dye hair care is that you should always wait at least two full days before washing your hair. Why? Experts recommend waiting this long to give your hair time to properly seal in the new color. If you wash it too soon, you run the risk of stripping away the dye and all your hard work!
Wash & Be Gentle
The first part here is pretty self-explanatory. Just as you would any other day, use a clarifying shampoo to remove any dirt, oil or product buildup from your strands. As for the second part, being gentle, this means using lukewarm water as opposed to hot and being careful not to rub your hair too vigorously. Instead, opt to lightly massage your scalp with your fingertips in a downward motion.
After shampooing, it's important to follow up with a conditioner. This is because shampoo - and yes, dye - can sometimes strip away natural oils that your hair needs to stay healthy. Conditioner helps to replenish these lost oils, as well as add extra moisture to your locks.
When conditioning, be sure to focus the product on your ends as they are typically the driest part of your hair. Once you've applied it, wait a few minutes before rinsing it out completely.
Rinse, Rinse, Rinse
It's important that you make sure to rinse all the shampoo out of your hair after washing it. If any residue is left behind, it can cause your hair to appear dull and can even lead to scalp irritation. To avoid this, make sure to thoroughly rinse your hair until the water runs clear.
Also, avoid brushing your hair while it's wet as this can cause breakage. Instead, use a wide-toothed comb to gently detangle your strands while they're still damp.
Best Practices For Washing and Caring for Your Hair Post-Dye
Now that we've walked through the process of washing your hair after dyeing it, it's time to move on to some best practices to keep its color looking vibrant. Following these tips will help to extend the life of your new hue and keep your locks at their best.
Use a Sulfate-Free Shampoo or Shampoo Substitute
When it comes to shampoo, sulfates are the enemy. These harsh ingredients can strip away natural oils, color and moisture - everything that you want to keep in your newly dyed hair. So, it's important to switch to a sulfate-free shampoo (and conditioner) to avoid any potential damage.
Apply At-Home Color Treatments
At-home color treatments are designed to help lock in your hue and keep it looking vibrant between salon visits. They're a great way to give your hair a little extra love and they don't require a lot of time or effort. Simply apply the product to damp hair, wait a few minutes and then rinse it out. Be sure to look for at-home treatments that are specifically tailored to your hair type and color. That way, you can be sure that you're getting the best possible results. Better Natured® Color Correcting creams are a great option – it will keep you shade vibrant and moisturized.
Tilt Your Head Back When Washing
When that friend of yours always said you'd look great with brown eyes, dye residue around them isn't what they meant. Even though they're permanent, dye products can leave residue after they're applied, ultimately to run down your hairline and face when you shampoo. To avoid this, make sure to always tilt your head back when washing to prevent the dye from coming into contact with your skin.
Go for the Sink
As an alternative to washing your newly-dyed hair in the shower, sinks are another - and often more convenient - option. When washing your hair in a sink, you can avoid any potential runoff and staining that can sometimes occur with shower drains. Plus, it's often easier to control the water temperature and ensure that you're rinsing your hair thoroughly.
Use Gentle Products
When it comes to styling your newly dyed hair, it's important to use gentle products that won't strip away the color. This means avoiding anything with sulfates, as well as alcohols and other harsh ingredients. Instead, opt for products that are specifically designed for color-treated hair, as they'll be much gentler on your locks.
Avoid Heat Styling
Heat styling tools are another big no-no when you've got newly dyed hair. Whether it's your curling iron, flat iron or blow dryer, the heat can cause serious damage - and not just to your color. Excessive heat can lead to dryness, breakage and split ends. Still need crisp curls or stunning waves? As an alternative, you can always consider heatless options like braids, buns or twists.
Steer Away From Hot Water
We all love hot showers, but unfortunately the same can't be said for hair coloring products. Hot water can cause dye to fade faster, so it's best to avoid it when possible. Instead, stick to lukewarm or cooler temperatures to help your color last longer.
Protect Your Hair From the Sun
Just like your skin, hair is also susceptible to damage from UV rays. To protect your strands (and color), make sure to always use a heat protectant spray before heading outdoors. You can also opt for a hat or scarf to cover up.
Extend Your Wash Cycle
We know, we know - no one likes dirty hair. But, if you can stand it, try to limit washes to every other day or even every three days. Washing your hair too often can strip away color, moisture and natural oils, so it's best to avoid it if you can.
On the days that you do wash your hair, make sure to follow the tips that we outlined above. And, as always, be sure to use a color-safe shampoo and conditioner to keep your hue looking its best.
Dyeing your hair is a commitment - but it doesn't have to be a difficult one. By following the tips outlined above, you can ensure that your color will last for weeks (if not months) to come. Plus, you'll be able to enjoy all of the benefits that come with having beautiful, healthy hair. So, what are you waiting for? Find your ideal match! Hair Color Quiz - Find Your Shade In Under 5 Minutes (betternatured.com)