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Summer is in full effect and for those of us who thrive off change, it's the perfect time to switch up your do with a new hair color, cut or style. If you've been on the fence about trying that short cut or adding color to your naturl hair, here's everything you should know in order to make the best decision. Four years ago I was inspired to get blonde highlights and had no clue how to prepare for the hair change, not to mention the amount of care it involved. So, I experienced severe breakage which led to my big chop. Honestly, it was a blessing in disguise and that ignited my natural hair journey.

So that you don't make my mistake, I tapped curly hair whisper and color specialist, April Kayganich at Honey Comb Hair Boutique to give you the scoop on the hottest summer trends, plus the best products to use to maintain healthy hair. Not sure what to ask your stylist for? Have no clue how to care for your color treated curls? Take note and read along, thank us later.

Summer hair color trends

"This Summer, people are feeling bright, bold and fun! Of course, Balayage highlights are a trend that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon and that is my number one request when it comes to color. I have been seeing a lot of Honey, Golden Light Browns and some dark blonde with pops of bright blonde. I also feel like the Pastel, but more specifically Rose Gold hair is having another round in the spotlight! I have noticed people have been becoming more brave with their hair color decisions and are ready to make a change.

Here are some of my favorites from the summer:

When wanting to change your haircolor at all, make sure your hair is in a healthy state. If you are not sure, you can book a consultation with your stylist so they can evaluate your hair health, talk about your current hair routine, prior chemical services and what to expect with this new color change."

For Balayage Highlights:

"Everyone sees color differently, so I always recommend bringing 3 pictures with you so that you and your Stylist are on the same page of the tonality and light or darkness you are looking to achieve. I would bring two examples of what you love and one example of what you don't like. Having too many photos can create confusion so keep them to a minimum."

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For Pastel Colors:

"Know that to achieve most colors like this (think baby pink, silver, sky blue), your hair has to be lightened to its breaking point (no pun intended). The hair has to be pale yellow, almost white for a pastel color to show up. Other colors that are richer or deeper hued, think purples, reds, magenta, you don't have to perform such an extreme lightening service on the hair, so expect that to be a little less harsh on the hair. With any color service, I always recommend adding a treatment like Olaplex to your color. It helps to protect your hair from damage during coloring by reinforcing the hair with bonds."

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How to prep your hair beforehand

"So, contrary to popular belief, I prefer for clients to come to a color appointment with clean hair. I think everyone has heard the opposite and when I was a receptionist, I would always preach the gospel about how dirty hair was better than clean prior to a color service. That doesn't necessarily mean shampooed and conditioned that day, but within the last day or two and little to no product in the hair. I have taken countless advanced color classes and all of them talk about how important it is to start any chemical service with a clean slate. You don't want the color to have to work harder. This will result in an uneven color result or the color appearing different than what was expected. With that being said, if for some reason you are not able to come with little to no product in the hair or cleansed within the last few days, your stylist may choose to add a treatment to prep your hair for the service. This will require additional time for your appointment and will add an extra cost."

When to schedule a touch up

"Your touch up schedule will vary depending on what type of color service you get. When you get a single process color (this is where the hair is all one color without highlights) then you will have to touch up your roots. I recommend anywhere from 8-10 weeks between these types of touch ups. Luckily for us Curlies, we can usually get away with stretching these appointments out since our curls hide our roots, ha! When you have highlights, specifically Balayage, your maintenance can be pretty low requiring you to only come in anywhere between 3-6 months depending on the desired outcome and whether or not a Toner was used for your highlights. Toners are what takes your highlights from being that yellow-orange color to that beautiful Honey that you like and those typically need to be redone around the 3 month mark."

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The secret to a heatlhy hair regimen for color treated curls

"When you have colored hair, you will be prone to dryness and breakage because during the coloring process, protein is leaving the hair. You will want to switch to products that are color safe, sulfate free and that have both protein and moisture in them. Some adjectives that help you find a product that has protein in it are: strengthening, fortifying, and repair. If using heat, make sure to always use a heat protectant. That shields you from 75-80% of heat damage that can come from your styling tools. One more thing you can do to have a solid regimen is make sure to deep condition at least once a month."

Top products to maintain color, stylist approved

"My absolute favorite cleanser for maintaining color is Hairstory's New Wash. It is an oil based cleanser that is free of harsh detergents and is the best color protecting product on the market. It works with your natural oils to help replenish moisture and balance the pH of your hair. It is a great detangler for those of us who get those knots that make us want to cry, haha! The trick? It doesn't suds up, so just keep that in mind. Another bonus? You don't have to condition either. Everything is done in one step. Boom. That is what I like to hear! Less time in the shower! They also have a great protein based styling product that is amazing for curls and it is called Hair Balm. For my curlfriends with type 4 hair, I will apply Hair Balm in smaller sections to soaking wet hair and then apply Uncle Funky's Daughter Curly Magic on top. For everyone else, you can use this alone. My last holy grail that will help save your hair from breakage is the Olaplex #3 take home treatment. When paired with an in salon treatment, your curls will maintain their bounce and form with this magic formula. These are to be done once a week in between color services."

Do you have color treated hair? What's your biggest struggle? Let us know how we can help below.