Taking the color plunge is equal parts exhilarating and nerve-wracking, especially for those who take the health of their hair seriously. Sure, there are plenty of precautions you can take to ensure that dye doesn’t completely obliterate your strands, but the cold, hard truth is that it will probably alter your hair’s porosity, or its ability to retain moisture.
With that being said, you should begin a preventative routine days, if not weeks, before a single chemical touches your head. According to Vida Latimer, Senior Colorist at Devachan NYC, it’s imperative to remember that whatever you take away from the hair has to be put back in.
For instance, if color or lighteners are stripping your strands of moisture, invest in a hydrating mask, like the DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask ($36, sephora.com), prior to your first service. And if you’re not willing to compromise your curl pattern at all, think twice about steering too far from your natural shade.
“If you are willing to stay close to your natural color, you could opt for a demi-permanent color over using permanent color. The benefit of demi-permanent is that it has no ammonia,” Latimer said.
“While it will not take the hair lighter (lifting of natural color), it will blend gray hair away. Permanent will lift natural color, but it does contain ammonia,which can cause greater porosity shift.”
Determining your hair’s porosity level after a dye job can be done using any of the at-home tests endorsed by bloggers and hair experts, but other signs that it’s changed include dryness, brittle strands or a swift color change.
Latimer also made a good point when she said, “if you feel you need to do a test after coloring, this service is probably not the service for you…Your colorist can condition and protect your hair in the salon, but you have to do the work at home as well.”
Unless you’re willing to cut off the chemically-treated strands, it’s nearly impossible to reclaim your hair’s original porosity level. However, Latimer said there are some simple tasks you can take on to maintain a healthier look.
“Treatments and masks really do help. In most cases, people just use the conditioner they use everyday, but the hair wants more. How often you should do a treatment will depend on how far you took color past its natural state.”
“I recommend doing them weekly or monthly. You can opt for one that helps build and preserve strength, like our new Deep Sea Repair Mask ($36, sephora.com), which is great post-color damage and can help restore definition to the hair.”
The moral of the story here is that if you’re intent on making sure your hair’s moisture levels don’t fluctuate, think long and hard before dipping into the dye.