How to Rebound from Color-Treated Hair Damage December 21 2018

If you recently dyed your hair and are wondering if you’ll ever recover from your color-treated hair damage… the good news is that it’s possible.

Are you unknowingly causing damage to your hair? Get the Natural Hair Mistakes Free E-Guide to make sure!

Dying your hair a different color is exciting, and it’s something many naturals tend to think about when they get bored with the status quo.

Everybody needs to have a little fun at least once in their hair journey, right?

Whether you’re trying to maintain a lighter hair color, trying to cover up grays, or are wanting to get back to your natural color… you can get your healthy hair back.

But getting healthy hair takes a lot of work, dedication, and know-how. This post will help guide you along the way.


natural girl red hair

What Happens When You Color Your Hair?

First thing is to understand exactly what’s going on when you go to the hairdresser or apply a box of dye from a do-it-yourself kit.

All color treatments involve either depositing color or lifting it. Depositing color would mean that you’re applying color to the strand. If you’re only depositing color on to the strand, there won’t be much damage.

Depositing color is about the same as depositing any styling product on your hair. It may be moisturizing, or it could be drying, but it probably won’t permanently damage your hair. And even if it’s drying, you can always turn it around by moisturizing. It’s not a big deal to deposit color, and it could even be strengthening (as in the case of henna).

Lifting the color is much trickier. To lift the color, your own natural hair needs to be stripped away first. After your hair is stripped, the pigment lightens, and a color like red or yellow can then be deposited.

When naturals seek to color the hair, many will lift the color, or lighten the hair. And that’s where the damage comes in.

When the hair is stripped, it has lost some of its integrity. Read below to see symptoms of color damage and how it can be fixed.


Do You Have Color Damage?

If you’re hair feels dry and you’ve recently had a color job, it’s probably stripped. Here are some signs of color damage:

  • Hair is Dry. This is the most obvious sign. Your hair is dry and it’s hard to get it to hold moisture. Lightening your hair can strip away the cuticles, leaving the cortex permanently open. This means moisture can easily enter and exit the shaft. In fact, most color-treated hair can be automatically classified as high porosity hair.
  • Hair is Dull. Stripping away portions of the hair strand will result in less shiny hair because the hair has holes. The numerous holes and open cuticles reflect light less and give your hair fewer opportunities to shine.
  • Lots of Breakage. Coloring the hair means that you’ll have to break the integrity of it, and this results in a weakened state. You’ll see lots of split ends, and it will be difficult to comb your hair without it breaking.
  • Hard to Manage. When the cuticles are open, they tend to stick out and snag the other hairs more. You’ll see increased friction, tangles, and breakage when you lift the color of your hair.


Protein Repairs Color-Treated Hair

Dryness, damage, and breakage sound daunting, right? The good news is that you don’t have to completely abandon coloring your hair. You only need to be extra diligent about caring for it afterwards.

Applying protein to your color-treated hair is one of the best things you can do to recover from the damage. Protein patches up the holes and strengthens the strands, resulting in healthier and more vibrant hair that doesn’t break as easily.

Note that protein doesn’t provide a permanent fix to color-treated hair. Once your hair has been lightened, there’s no way to return the hair components that have been lost.

However, protein does help to temporarily patch with amino acids, and this will be the next best thing to a complete reversal of the damage.

Protein should always be followed by deep conditioning unless it is a brand which already contains deep moisture added in.

You’ll need to repair your hair with protein every 4-6 weeks, depending on the extent of the damage and how long you intend to keep coloring your hair.

If you only color-treat your hair once in a blue moon, expect less damage than repetitive coloring. 

 Color treated hair

Use Deep Conditioning to Add Moisture

You’ll need to do more deep conditioning than normal because your hair is now damaged. You can learn how to make your own deep conditioners, or you can add moisturizing ingredients like glycerin to spruce up a store-bought conditioner.

Aim to do deep conditioning once per week if you have color-treated natural hair. Hour-long deep conditioning treatments will help to add in the moisture you’ve lost through the open cuticles. Combine your deep conditioning with steaming for extra benefits.


Steam Your Hair to Hydrate

Steaming is gaining popularity among naturals, probably because it’s an easy and effective way to hydrate, without having to hop in the shower.

You can either buy a handheld steamer like the Q-Redew, or you can purchase an overhead steamer that you can sit under. Buying a steamer can be a bit pricey, but you have options. If you don’t want to buy a steamer at all, try creating steam in the shower and allowing your hair to soak up the hydration.

Steaming gives quick hydration and it’s excellent to do in between wash days. You can steam your hair as often as you’d like because there are no drawbacks. Curly hair needs moisture, and steam provides pure hydration.

Remember, it’s not the end if you have color-treated hair.

You can make a comeback from color-treated damage if you incorporate protein, deep conditioning, and steam treatments into your natural hair routine.

What about you? Do you have color-treated hair damage?