Keeping hair healthy when coloring regularly?

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I've been using only henna for over a year now. It was fine before I started getting gray hair though I never felt like it was gentle, but gentler than regular color. I want to go back to regular old boxed hair color but my hair is so naturally dry and even drier from regular henna. Is it possible to keep my hair in decent shape when coloring every 2 weeks? The gray is still a new thing for me to deal with but I expect I'll have to color at least monthly to keep it covered. I only have a little bit but they're very noticeable with my hair being dark brown. (I'm not ready to go all gray yet!)

Is it possible to keep healthy-looking hair when coloring it this much? Do DTs and such make a difference? Will semi-perms cover resistant gray do you think? Are they much gentler than regular color? I've heard about the RC color but I don't think I want to get into that. I don't want to go to a salon either. I so miss the days of not having to color at all. Any tips/suggestions/reassurance?
Hi NorahBugg,

I have to color my hair because of the grey, and have been able to keep it pretty healthy by treating it well. (I currently have my stylist do it, and she uses a permanent color on it.) I try to wash it just twice a week, do protein treatments every two weeks, and let it air dry when I can. I'm also growing it out, so I've moved away from highlights to just getting color so it can be as healthy as possible.

Like you, I hate having to dye it, but I'm not yet ready to go grey! I'm also thinking of trying the Robert Craig color just because my roots have been coming in so quickly that I'm going to have to go to my salon more frequently -- which I don't want to do.

Hope that helps a bit!
curlypearl likes this.
Mod-CG since December 2010.
Hair type: NC: 2A; FIA: 2cFii; Fine, normal porosity, normal elasticity
Cleansing: CJ Cleansing Conditioner, Trader Joe's Tea Tree, or Deva No Poo
Daily conditioner: Deva One C or CJ Beauticurls Strengthening Hair Cond or GPB
Styling products: Deva B'Leave In + Deva Curl Cream + AnGel; or
SS CEJ + BRHG; or AG: Recoil + BRHG; or KCKT + KCCC + BRHG
Treatments: SS protein treatment or CJ Curl Fix or Nexxus Emergencee + CJ Curl Rehab

When you color your hair you definitely want to Deep Condition a day or two before the coloring. If you plan on doing every 2 weeks (which is the minimum on waiting time btw, so they say lol) then most definitely deep condition before that as well. If you're going for a Permanent then you just do the roots of course, not the whole head or you'd have to wait much much longer in coloring. There's Semi and even Demi which is in-between Semi and Permanent. There are Dyes especially for Graying of hair. You can try Sally's, in their Hair Color Section they usually keep the Gray Hair dyes in their own section.

Semi's can last between 1.5months - 4months (depending on the color and how long you let process), Demi's last for 25-28 shampoos they say. Which can be between 4 - 9mons, depending on how often you wash your hair.

With Semi and Demi permanents you can add some color to your Shampoo and conditioner to help it last longer. Rosemary also helps Color last longer as well.
Semi and Demi are gentler than a Permanent dye.

If your hair is dry I would try to start to get it to hold Moisture some before you attempt yourself. Hot Oil Treatment before Washing your hair could be one way to help and also oils that hold such as a little of Castor and Olive Oil. If you want a Lighter oil to just add to what you already use then Jojoba is good.

Since your hair is Dark Brown as far as the health, since you aren't talking about lightening it, it shouldn't actually be much of a problem. Where as I Bleach my hair so I have to be more gentle and more aware of what's going on lol.

"Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!" - Dr. Seuss
Hair Type: 4, Thick, Resistant, Coarse, Bleached (It is a Light Golden Blonde 8.3 - 9.3 w/10 as some highlights)
Shampoo & Conditioner: Herbal Essence Totally Twisted w/Peppermint Oil. Currently Using Shimmering Lights for my Blonde.
Favorite Brand: Now Solutions for Essential Oils and Extracts.
Favorite Hair Styles: Pompadour Mohawk, 2nd Day Twist Out Fro.
Hi NorahBugg,

Like you, I hate having to dye it, but I'm not yet ready to go grey! I'm also thinking of trying the Robert Craig color just because my roots have been coming in so quickly that I'm going to have to go to my salon more frequently -- which I don't want to do.

Hope that helps a bit!
Originally Posted by LeanneM
Ugh, I feel you, also hate having to color, but not anywhere near ready to go grey.

Is this Robert Craig supposed to last longer than other color?

I've been getting color (salon) to cover the grey for 6 or 7 months now, and I haven't noticed a difference in my hair's health. I never use heat though, except occasionally at the salon, so maybe that helps. I wasn't even doing protein treatments before, just started doing light ones (GPB on wet hair) recently and my hair seems fine.

Oh and one of the many great things about curly hair-- when I style in a way so my roots are curly, when my "roots" come in it is less noticeable (than if the top of my hair is flat, or if my hair was straight). I like to get my roots done every 6 weeks, but I'm broke right now and it's been 2 months, so I'm making sure my roots are curly.
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.
I'm not sure if the RC color is supposed to last any longer than other hair colors, but it's supposed to be much more gentle on the hair. I know that Jessi from Jessicurl uses it, as do many gals here on the forum.

Yes, it's so true that our waves and curls can help hide those roots! Of course, I used to be able to go about eight to ten weeks before I needed a root touch-up, but my greys have been coming in so much sooner and have been multiplying like rabbits that I see them after about four weeks now. Ugh!
beanie likes this.
Mod-CG since December 2010.
Hair type: NC: 2A; FIA: 2cFii; Fine, normal porosity, normal elasticity
Cleansing: CJ Cleansing Conditioner, Trader Joe's Tea Tree, or Deva No Poo
Daily conditioner: Deva One C or CJ Beauticurls Strengthening Hair Cond or GPB
Styling products: Deva B'Leave In + Deva Curl Cream + AnGel; or
SS CEJ + BRHG; or AG: Recoil + BRHG; or KCKT + KCCC + BRHG
Treatments: SS protein treatment or CJ Curl Fix or Nexxus Emergencee + CJ Curl Rehab

I don't think you can have healthy hair when coloring. Hear is dead material after all. You can just cover up the damage or you will need to grow it out. DT an PT will help covering up the damage but your hair will remain porous.

I color my hair monthly and see no problem with that. It keeps the cuticle down for a week which gives me lesser frizz. Once in a while I have it done in the salon. They put on two colors which gives a nice shine to my hair.

Btw, grey hair can be charming and in the beginning it comes in different colors (dark, light and white). But it has to suit your skin and eye color. And note, if important to you, most men do not like it at all!
2c/3a, coarse, high porosity, coloured
I think it depends on your hair. I recently realized that 2 1/2 years of salon demi-perm coloring was wrecking my hair. So, I looked into henna. I did my first henna 2 weeks ago and I don't ever plan to go back to chemical colors. I love how the color turned out, I've received numerous compliments, and my hair feels fantastic, so I plan to do roots only from now on.
2C/3A, fine, higher porosity.
Does henna cover grays?
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.
Yes, henna covers gray.. actually for me it covers better than permanent colour. But on gray hair, it will be very bright red. Okay if you have red hair, but not if you want to keep your hair brown.

One thing I would suggest is never ever allow permanent colour to be taken through to the ends for the last 10 minutes 'to refresh the colour' as stated in the directions of boxed colour. If the ends are faded and you really want to add some colour back, use a semi permanent on the ends. There are professional colour companies that match their permanent with their semi for just this purpose, and both the colours can be on your hair at the same time.

Or you can use a mousse colour refresher to touch up the ends. I like this one:
Goldwell Soft Color Foam Colorant reviews - Makeupalley
Does henna cover grays?
Originally Posted by diaspora
It covered my grey beautifully. However, you have to like orange/red lol. They are very bright, but they look great. My colorist, much to his dismay, told me it looked perfect on me and to "keep doing it".

Also, henna should be considered permanent. Permanent as in "good luck ever getting it off without frying your hair" permanent. You can use henna to get brown tones, but you would also have to add indigo or buxus to the mix.

Here is a good forum for info about using plant dyes to color hair: Henna for Hair | forums.hennapage.com
2C/3A, fine, higher porosity.
I love the idea of using henna and/or other plant dyes, but I don't know if I have the patience to figure it all out, what to do since my hair is already chemically dyed... but my hair naturally has an auburn tint, was copper penny color when I was a kid, so it might look nice. I will spend a little more time looking through the henna forum and see if I could figure it out, thanks JLeighs.

The Goldwell mouse color sounds great, thanks SusieSuze, and being a mousse, might be something I could actually apply thoroughly to my very dense amount of hair (liquid at-home dyes are a joke to me). I'd probably only apply to my roots, as my base color seems to last pretty well. Some reviewers say it covers greys, some say it doesn't, but it's reasonably priced so I think it's worth a shot.
SusieSuze likes this.
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.
Henna's not very difficult. I know I was wary of it at first, though. I've been lurking around the henna threads on here even before joining, and that gave me all the answers I needed. My problem with henna is that it's drying. I do henna glosses to prevent my hair from drying out, but then you sacrifice color.

I still haven't moved back to chemical color. I have a box and I'm chicken!! I'm just very afraid of funky reactions b/c I've used not so good henna on my hair but I'm too tired of henna to keep messing with it. I hardly have any greys yet I can't get them fully covered even with full henna treatments!
Have you found henna to be more drying than chemical dye? I don't doubt that chemical dye causes damage, but my hair doesn't feel dry. And I'm pretty paranoid about covering my gray even though it's just 5% or so, so if henna doesn't cover it well and makes your hair feel dry, I remain hesitant to try it.

I'd be scared dyeing my hair at home too! Maybe I need more practice, but that's never gone well for me, with the exception of highlights. Maybe if your hair is not dense it's easier. And are you sure it's safe to apply chemical dye over henna?
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.
Have you found henna to be more drying than chemical dye? I don't doubt that chemical dye causes damage, but my hair doesn't feel dry. And I'm pretty paranoid about covering my gray even though it's just 5% or so, so if henna doesn't cover it well and makes your hair feel dry, I remain hesitant to try it.

I'd be scared dyeing my hair at home too! Maybe I need more practice, but that's never gone well for me, with the exception of highlights. Maybe if your hair is not dense it's easier. And are you sure it's safe to apply chemical dye over henna?
Originally Posted by diaspora
No, I don't think it's as drying as chemical color. I haven't colored my hair in a long time with chemical color, but I remember my hair taking a longer time to rebound than with henna. Hennaed hair can feel quite dry and tangly or at least mine does, but conditioning helps a lot.

People here with grays seem to have a lot of luck with the higher dye content hennas - Henna Sooq and Mehandi-com are sites that sell those. I haven't used them. My main issues with henna are the wait time and applying it evenly and that is an issue with henna in general. If you use only henna and water plus acidic liquid for the dye release, it is a muddy consistency, hard to apply. Some people use a homemade flaxseed gel but they still say they henna at least every 2 weeks to cover gray so I don't see that it's worth it.

I HAVE colored over hennaed hair before and gotten a bad result. I went black and had a greenish tint to my hair for a week and the color felt like it was still in my hair for weeks after coloring. I think it could have been my hair color though because I bought it from Big Lots, didn't know how old it was, and it didn't seem to mix right from the beginning. Though, the results I had seem to be trademark results from dying over hair that has been hennaed with "bad" henna. I know this is the worst that can happen though as long as I don't go light which I'm not. It's worth it to me since I have no tolerance for gray in my hair. I'm waiting awhile though until I've used up more of my henna. I hate to waste it and I've had no offers trying to sell it.

Thank you all for all the tips. I'm so peeved right now b/c I'm having trouble finding my fave deep condish, Queen Helene Cholesterol. I got some knock off at Wal-mart and that stuff is nasty!
I used Robert Craig for about a year and 1/2 but had to stop because my hair went way too dark with it. It is definitely more gentle than most permanent color and the colors are very natural looking. But you have to be careful to start with a much lighter shade than you'd think, particularly if your hair is porous. I wish I was one of the ones it worked for but I went WAY darker than I wanted plus I found it didn't cover gray very reliably and I had "hot roots". On the other hand, a number of people on these boards seem to like RC and have used it for years. I color at home with professional color now - Loreal Majirel. Like the vast majority of hair color, it's not as gentle as henna or RC but it covers gray well (with a few drops of Gray Magic) and no hot roots!
Medium Texture/Normal Porosity
Summer routine - icequeen method and loving CJ Aloe Fix Lite, diluted with a few drops of water for frizz control and clumping.
Curl Junkie conditioners, Elucence moisture balancing conditioner, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ Curl Queen, UFDCM,
Weekly PT (CJ Repair Me) & DT
CG since Aug. 08, still a lot to learn

Hi Curlini,

I've never heard the term "hot roots" before, but when I Googled it, I realized that two stylists have done this to me in the last year! I was going to buy the RC color this summer, but now I'm a little worried about it. Where do you find the Loreal Majirel colors? Does Sally's carry it?

Thanks!
Mod-CG since December 2010.
Hair type: NC: 2A; FIA: 2cFii; Fine, normal porosity, normal elasticity
Cleansing: CJ Cleansing Conditioner, Trader Joe's Tea Tree, or Deva No Poo
Daily conditioner: Deva One C or CJ Beauticurls Strengthening Hair Cond or GPB
Styling products: Deva B'Leave In + Deva Curl Cream + AnGel; or
SS CEJ + BRHG; or AG: Recoil + BRHG; or KCKT + KCCC + BRHG
Treatments: SS protein treatment or CJ Curl Fix or Nexxus Emergencee + CJ Curl Rehab

I had to look up hot roots too and turns out I have been the victim of them too, lol. Although, I actually prefer that (it was subtle) to what my last colorist did, which is make my roots too dark.

I don't understand how people are managing to color their own hair though. Mine is so dense I was never able to get all the roots so I gave up and shell out $ to salons.
Formerly Urbancurl.
Medium-high density, fine-medium, low-normal porosity, 3b/c, permanent color.
CG, no heat, combs, brushes, parabens.
Fall/Winter HG=Alba Botanica Soft Hold Style Cream.
Spring/Summer HG=MGA Sculpting Gel
Current fave LI=Madre Labs Made by Nature for Baby Conditioner.
Limit oils, butters, glycerin.
LeanneM-
RC may still be worth a try - you may be one of the lucky ones it works for. Just be sure to go 2 shades lighter than you'd think. Also, only pull the color through every couple of times or you'll go too dark and your roots will definitely be lighter (hot). There are a lot of posts with tips on coloring with RC and improving the gray coverage if that's an issue for you. If it works for you that's terrific because it's the gentlest option as far as I know. Wish it worked for me!
They don't sell Majirel at Sally's. A friend's daughter is a hair stylist and she recommended the color to me. She knew I needed to color my own hair to save money (can't go to the salon every 3 weeks!) so she took me to a beauty supply that only sells to licensed stylists. She showed me what to get and told me how to mix it etc. Now I get it on Ebay! I wouldn't have had any idea what shades to pick or how to go about it if she hadn't told me what to do. Honestly, I don't know if it's much better than the color lines they sell at Sally's. I've used Loreal from Sally's before and it's way better than boxed color. Good luck!

Diaspora -
My hair is thick too but yours looks a lot denser. I can understand not wanting to do it on your own. I miss being pampered at the salon and reading all the magazines but I don't miss giving up a couple of hours every 3-4 weeks, not to mention the $!
Medium Texture/Normal Porosity
Summer routine - icequeen method and loving CJ Aloe Fix Lite, diluted with a few drops of water for frizz control and clumping.
Curl Junkie conditioners, Elucence moisture balancing conditioner, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ Curl Queen, UFDCM,
Weekly PT (CJ Repair Me) & DT
CG since Aug. 08, still a lot to learn

Thanks for the tips, Curlini! I'm at the point where I feel like I need to color my roots every four weeks, and I hate the thought of spending so much at a salon! I've been spreading my root touch-ups out to every 10 weeks, but my grays have gotten a lot more pronounced this past year. I think I'll start with the RC color, and see how that goes!
Mod-CG since December 2010.
Hair type: NC: 2A; FIA: 2cFii; Fine, normal porosity, normal elasticity
Cleansing: CJ Cleansing Conditioner, Trader Joe's Tea Tree, or Deva No Poo
Daily conditioner: Deva One C or CJ Beauticurls Strengthening Hair Cond or GPB
Styling products: Deva B'Leave In + Deva Curl Cream + AnGel; or
SS CEJ + BRHG; or AG: Recoil + BRHG; or KCKT + KCCC + BRHG
Treatments: SS protein treatment or CJ Curl Fix or Nexxus Emergencee + CJ Curl Rehab

Let us know how it goes!
Medium Texture/Normal Porosity
Summer routine - icequeen method and loving CJ Aloe Fix Lite, diluted with a few drops of water for frizz control and clumping.
Curl Junkie conditioners, Elucence moisture balancing conditioner, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ Curl Queen, UFDCM,
Weekly PT (CJ Repair Me) & DT
CG since Aug. 08, still a lot to learn

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