How can I improve the take up of colour?

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  • 1 Post By Firefox7275

I have low porosity hair - which sucks because I just can't get colour to take with my hair. I used to chemically dye my hair but the colour take up was poor and it never lasted well, it also to a toll on the health of my hair. So for the last year or so i've been using henna which has done wonders for the health of my hair. However just like chemical dye the colour up take is low (only I don't mind as much given it cost me $3 per colour).

Is there anything I can do to improve the take up of colour?
Modified CG since 8/12
Hair: BSL, Thick, Low Porosity, Dense, 3A
HG's: Moogoo, Ultraorganics Intense Camomile Conditioner and Clear Henna Hair Wax, Sukin Conditioners, CO, Spray Bottle, Henna
Low-Poo: Moogoo Shampoo
Co-Wash: Sukin Nourishing Conditioner
DT: CHHW, ICC, CO
LI: Sukin Moisture Restoring
Colour: Henna
AFAIK henna bonds with the core proteins in the hair, so presumably that is absorbing fine if you are getting results. Maybe save shed hair (plughole/ brush) and start doing some experiments?

Some people find coconut oil soaks improve uptake, heat does (shower cap plus warm room for me because I use a weak product, hairdressers use a hood dryer), Probably best to choose a formula with ammonia, I believe the results are more consistent than ammonia free formulas. Most products are alkaline and this encourages the cuticle to lift, you might try a pre wash with an alkaline product like baking soda.

Another option is two step process instead of a one step. In a one step/ box dye the chemicals lift the cuticle and destroy the melanin pigment, then small molecules enter the shaft and are converted to large molecules which are more difficult to wash away. If the cuticle does not lift properly, the conversion could take place on the surface of the hair, so the colour molecules will wash away. You may also find the peroxide is just not concentrated enough in a box dye.

If you do a two step you just bleach to lighten (can make a weaker solution so you don't end up too light or too damaged) then whilst the cuticle is still raised the toner/ colour is applied. That is a semi permanent but IMO the longer you leave these in the better they last, with the pink-red I use lasts much better than any permanent red shade I tried! I wrap and leave mine three hours or so, some leave them overnight - they are conditioner bases so not damaging just get overly dark or strong if you leave too long.

Having said all that I would be very wary of permanent dying over henna, that is generally not a recommended combination.
Noumenon likes this.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect
Thankyou for such a comprehensive reply!!!


I don't want to use chemical dyes at least not until I reach and maintain the length I want. My rule is if its not going to improve my hair I can go with out it. I will try using heat next time I dye, and the 2 step process is a good way of looking at it. Is there anything I can use first to lift the cuticles on my hair before I do a henna? Maybe if I did a wash with bicarb??
Modified CG since 8/12
Hair: BSL, Thick, Low Porosity, Dense, 3A
HG's: Moogoo, Ultraorganics Intense Camomile Conditioner and Clear Henna Hair Wax, Sukin Conditioners, CO, Spray Bottle, Henna
Low-Poo: Moogoo Shampoo
Co-Wash: Sukin Nourishing Conditioner
DT: CHHW, ICC, CO
LI: Sukin Moisture Restoring
Colour: Henna
Thankyou for such a comprehensive reply!!!

I don't want to use chemical dyes at least not until I reach and maintain the length I want. My rule is if its not going to improve my hair I can go with out it. I will try using heat next time I dye, and the 2 step process is a good way of looking at it. Is there anything I can use first to lift the cuticles on my hair before I do a henna? Maybe if I did a wash with bicarb??
Originally Posted by Noumenon
So you are wanting a semi permanent to take on virgin hair? That rarely works well for anyone, healthy virgin hair is coated in a protective fatty f-layer which makes it water resistant but semi permanents are water soluble so may struggle to diffuse through this.

You can try using bicarb, then I'd leave a semi permanent on for hours with some heat even if it's just wrapping your head, as long as it is a semi (demi permanent contain a small amount of peroxide) you will not damage your hair. I would do strand tests tho, you've no way of knowing if it will take evenly otherwise. If the ends of your hair are more porous than the roots you might want to give those less time.

To preserve any colour try to limit washing your hair, then wash as fast as possible in cool water, consider a leave in instead of a wash out conditioner so you expose your hair to less water. Consider dry shampoo between washes, could also try a styling product with either silicones (if you are not CG) or polyquaternium-55 to help preserve the colour.
Protection of oxidative hair color fadi... [J Cosmet Sci. 2009 Mar-Apr] - PubMed - NCBI
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect

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