For those chemically dependent, much like myself, we require additional processes that include, but are not limited to; highlights, lowlights, single process color, ombre, balayage, chemical straightening and perms. The first 5 are coloring where the last 2 indicate a curl removal or creation. All permanently effect the hair and therefore should be treated as a type, at least I think so. Why? Because chemically treated hair behaves differently than what we industry insiders call ‘virgin hair’. Virgin hair is untouched by chemicals and is the hair that grows out of your follicles as-is. So if you’re like me and no longer could even recognize your own regrowth, you have chemically dependent hair just like the rest of us.
Once hair has been lightened, it has been permanently altered and will never be the same. Lightening causes damage, some cases worse than others depending on the service and service provider. Lightening a few shades lighter than the natural level will not create a lot of damage, but lightening more than 5 shades requires bleach, which does more damage than a color that uses ammonia or peroxide to lift. It is also important to understand that lightening the hair is the absence of color. It is lifting pigment out, just like if you were to spill bleach on your dark jeans.
Darkening on the other hand, is, and should be non damaging to the hair, but for those who color at home, this most likely doesn’t happen. Box color hair dye has no clue what your natural level is, how could it? So they formulate for every option. That means if you are say, a light brown and you want to go to a medium brown, it will still use ammonia and/or peroxide to lift, then darken to the shade on the box. It has to, because what if you had black hair? Black hair would have to be lifted it in order to lighten it from that dark of a level.
So that should mean that if you go darker without ammonia, the hair is not permanently changed, right? Unfortunately not, because let’s say you go darker with a non-lifting hair color (no damage done there). 8 weeks later you have outgrowth and decide to go lighter. Now, lifting through that deposited pigment is a huge challenge and will result in light roots and not much change to the rest of the hair. Color won’t lift color, so if there is previously colored hair anywhere on the hair, that hair will lift much differently (if at all) from the virgin hair that has grown out.
Now, see why it’s best to see a professional? There are so many factors that go into haircolor that, unless you have virgin-untouched hair (and who these days has that over the age of 12), you’re more than likely to get yourself into colorful mess which would most likely result in calling us anyway.
Other types of chemically treated hair
Curl creations and curl removers, aka perms and straighteners, also permanently rearrange the hair’s molecular structure to bend or smooth the hair’s strands. Perms use a solution applied to dry hair that bends the bonds of the hair around rods, while a straightener is pulled smooth while a solution is applied and sometimes straightened using heat. Hair that has been permed or chemically straightened most likely has to grow out, be cut off or in some cases the reverse procedure can be done. For example, you get a Little Orphan Annie perm and can’t even, so unless you want to let it relax (which it will over time), or cut it off (yikes), you could always get a reverse perm, where instead of wrapping the hair around rods, a perm solution would be applied to hair that would be combed straight.
In a nutshell, hair that has been chemically treated is weakened hair. It has lost strength and moisture and requires extra effort in styling. It also loses some of its luster and natural sheen, causing damage to the cuticle which is where we get split ends and breakage.
For color treated hair specifically, hair products aren’t necessarily formulated to do much different other than offer heat protection, UV protection and/or added moisture for already dry, damaged hair. More importantly is the use of low heat with the styling irons and blow dryers, as well as low heat while washing and/or postponing washing as long as possible. Rinsing hair with cool water and the right shampoo will help in preventing premature fading.
To learn more about color fading check out Tips For Everlasting Reds.
1. Shampoo and Conditioner for Chemically Treated Hair is important. This type of hair needs all of the things that the chemicals take away; shine, moisture, strength and elasticity. It is also important for hair that has been colored darker to not have an aggressive shampoo, or the color that has been applied can be stripped away and rinsed down the drain. I always recommend a sulfate free shampoo. Sulfates are too harsh and will strip the hair of color and moisture. For chemically treated hair, I recommend Keratin Complex Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner. This duo will cleanse gently for color protection and strengthen aggressively for reinforcement, leaving your hair as unaffected as possible.
2. Dry Shampoo should definitely be in your product arsenal. No question. The less you lather and rinse, the less your color molecules and natural oils rinse down the drain. I like Batiste Dry Shampoo, you can find it at Ulta and it works just as well as some of the salon brands I have tried. However, if you would like to know my personal go to, it is Fresh Hair by Kevin Murphy.
3. A color enhancing conditioner like Fabuloso by evo, can make all the difference in the world with hair color. These nifty little products will deposit color onto the hair while conditioning. This is great for red heads whose hair color rinses faster than you can say I Love Lucy, and for blondes whose light/white locks turn yellower than a canary.
4. For those who like a little assurance, Rusk Lock In Treatment is designed to help prevent fading while replenishing hair’s natural balance with a unique combination of marine extracts, proteins and trace minerals.