Changing the natural color of your hair can be a lot of fun. It can brighten your skin, make your eyes brighter, provide a signature look, and polish your overall appearance. The problem with chemical hair color is that it contains extremely toxic chemicals which are very unhealthy for the body. These chemicals can also damage your hair’s structure, and even change the porosity of your hair which is the ability of the hair to absorb water and maintain moisture. In the end you hair may feel dry, lackluster, and start breaking off.
Lightening the hair with bleach strips the hair cuticle more so than darkening your natural hair color. In my opinion avoiding chemical hair dyes completely is vital to optimum hair health. There are other natural alternatives to lightening and darkening your hair.
Using henna, cassia, and indigo combinations can create various hair colors while also strengthening and conditioning the hair. There are even women who have lightened their hair naturally with honey hair treatments which release a natural hydrogen peroxide. You can read more about hair color and honey hair lightening here. One of the Minimalist Beauty readers commented in the article The Curly Girl Method, To Herbal Hair Cleansers, Now Water Only–Part 2 about her dry color treated hair.
Okay I have been browsing your site for two months. Thank you for the info. So here is my question, I have natural color treated hair that is extremely dry and brittle. I feel that it needs a clarifying treatment and moisture. Most of the conditioners I use have cones (silicones) and I think that may be contributing the dryness issue. Do have any recommendations? My hair needs help.”
Whenever I have colored my hair in the past with anything other than henna or indigo, the chemicals in hair color have created hair damage in some form. Deep conditioning treatments are the most important thing that you can do. Coconut milk and a puréed banana is one of my favorite deep conditioners.
Silicones in products are false conditioners and hair smoothers. They only make the hair “feel” better but don’t improve the true nature of hair. Silicones also block water and moisture from entering the hair once applied.
You can try clarifying your hair with a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse and skip traditional shampoos all together which strip the hair. Apple cider vinegar rinses have proven to be a very effective hair and scalp cleanser. Other simple and effective natural hair cleansers can be found in No More Chemical Hair Care–Part 2–Herbal Hair Cleansers. Using yucca root may work well for you as it is very gentle and conditioning too.
You may also want to slowly trim off the color treated hair with monthly micro trims (1/8 inch trims) to transition to healthier hair. If your hair is extremely damaged then trimming off 1/2 an inch per month will maintain the current length of your hair and get rid of the damaged hair sooner. Hair grows an average of 1/2 inch per month. I provide tips for transitioning to healthy hair from chemicals and heat damage in this article.
Even trying cassia or henna treatments to strengthen and fill in the damaged areas of the hair cuticle may help as well. Strengthening the hair while also have an enriched hair color is the benefit of using henna and henna, cassia, and indigo combinations. While strengthening the hair, wearing your hair in protective styles such as twists in updos or buns would be helpful in keeping the dry ends of your hair from breakage.
Lastly you could begin water only hair washing which would eliminate all dry hair issues all together. You would have to begin this method with a lot of natural herbal or food based deep conditioning treatments for dry color treated hair during the transition to avoid breakage while your natural oils are traveling down your hair strands. Once you reach full coverage of your own natural hair oils on your hair you would be good to go. The natural oils produced from your scalp are better than any conditioner on the market.
Best wishes and keep us posted on your progress!
Have you ever had damage from color treated hair? How did you recover and what tips do you have to add?
(Image by D Sharon Pruitt)