Colouring my Relaxed Hair?
The burning question: to colour or not colour relaxed hair? This has always been a debate between hair professionals and clients alike. I agree there are a few more precautions you should take when colouring relaxed hair, as compared to virgin hair or natural hair. However, you shouldn’t cancel your desires outright. Particularly, lines of demarcation, which are areas along the hair strand that have a difference in texture from the rest of the strand. A number of things can cause them. Waiting too long to have a relaxer done, (which distributes the heat from the scalp unevenly as it can only be projected 1” off the head), so hair beyond that point will process slower. Check out the blog on why you should relax your hair on a consistent schedule for more reasons. These lines of demarcation are points of weakness along the strand and are susceptible to breakage.
Colouring relaxed hair has been categorized professionally as a double process. This simply means that both the relaxer and hair colour chemically processed your hair. The hair’s gate, (the cuticle), has been opened initially as well as the texture has changed. With a relaxer it does exactly what the name suggests, it relaxes the natural curl pattern of the hair. Re-opening the cuticle does not require as much intensity as the first time. Therefore I recommend and practice what I preach using the lowest strength developer when lifting relaxed hair. It’s gentle enough on the hair to avoid damage to the hair strands but it gets the job done.
Colourists may complain that it takes more time, but trust me it’s a small price to pay. Consider the alternative of growing back your hair after chemical damage which may take years, I’m sure you will agree with me here. It really isn’t unbearable though, by the time you have completed the application to the last section, the first would already have a visible lift. Ask your colourist about using a lower volume developer when colouring your relaxed hair. You want to minimize the effects of compromising the integrity of your hair.
The post colour process at the shampoo bowl is the same as virgin hair or natural hair. A bond treatment to rebuild the disulfide bonds (side bonds) which were broken to release the dark pigment from your hair in the lightening process. The Home Care for coloured relaxed hair is another key factor in maintaining the health of your hair. We’ve listed some mandatory shifts required for optimal hair health of coloured relaxed hair.
- Sulfate-free shampoo
- Conditioning hair treatments
- Liquid Moisturizers
- Cream Moisturizers
- Oil serums
- Bonnet or Hair Scarf
- Roller Sets
Switch up your home care
Transitioning to a sulfate-free shampoo prevents colour stripping and fading. Switch your regular conditioner to a protein and moisture treatment ( we cocktail ours) for the first three (3) months after your colour. Liquid Moisturizers help with detangling which I suggest you do gently. Cream Moisturizers are the heavy hitters. They come in and quench the thirst of your dehydrated hair.
I’m not sure if you’re aware but your hair absorbs products only when wet. Take my advice and load your hair up with moisturizers on your shampoo (wash) day and you will be satisfied. If you’re worried about having hair that feels weighed down, try Design Essential hydrate. I stand by this product, perfect balance of emollients and it’s as weightless as a feather, ‘FYI’ bring on the moisture. Once your hair has been roller set and completely dried, notice I snuck in that suggestion, I play no games with the value our dear hooded dryer adds to your hair’s health and the bounce, let me stay focused here.
What to expect
Be mindful also that it is absolutely normal to experience dryness within the first 2 weeks of your new colour. Post colour service, the cuticles remain slightly opened. Be sure to use a serum for lubrication when daily styling, it’s your go-to product. Once you’ve flat ironed your hair, be sure to wrap it. It is integral to keeping your hair smooth and sleek, even if you prefer bouncy flowing hair. I highly recommend wrapping your hair and securing it with a silk bonnet/scarf. Each night before you wrap your colored relaxed hair, add serum to your ends and secure it. In the morning take it down with a wide-tooth comb and voila you are ready for the day.
Keep in mind that this list is the bare minimum of what is required when caring for coloured relaxed hair. You may need to ‘tweak’ something here and there depending on your desired outcome.
To answer the question we began with, it’s based on the individual, be sure to visit a professional colorist who can assess your hair and is honest with you, as opposed to looking at your dollars and cents. To learn more about a colour service that’s right for you, sign up for a discovery call with Shimilia using the link.