Coloring natural hair is probably one of the biggest topics of discussion within the natural hair community.

A lot of naturals enjoy adding color to their curls as a way to make their ‘fros standout and to make their hair be a vivid visual of their personality.
However, during the coloring processes, the hair and the wearer go through a variety of changes, both negatively and positively. Here’s what I’ve discovered as the noticeable changes:

Photo Courtesy of @CurlsFoTheGirls

Structural Changes

Depending on the color, hair can go through a series of structural changes. Some changes may negatively affect the hair, causing it to break down and weaken; whereas, some changes aren’t too drastic and the hair can maintain its health.

For example, hair that is lightened, can potentially be broken down structurally if it is colored improperly. Improper coloring techniques include using lightener that is too strong for the hair, jumping from a level 1-2 to a level 7-9 in one session, and failing to use a bonder like Olaplex during the lightening process. All of these things can potentially change the hair’s structure, causing it to weaken, be more prone to breakage, and damaging the curl pattern resulting in looser, frizzier curls.

Some naturals that choose a color within the red family, or even black, are simply depositing color onto the strands. Thus, the structural changes may not be drastic, but it is still possible to color the hair improperly, resulting in an unwanted color, which is why I always suggest seeking professional help!

Photo Courtesy of @sunitav_

Emotional Changes

Coloring your natural hair can also result in emotional changes. Some naturals love their new color and can’t wait to show it off, and some naturals hate the new changes they’ve made to their hair and want to return to the salon to re-color their hair pronto.

I, personally, love coloring my hair! Naturally, my hair is a really dark brown and coloring it allows me to brighten it up and make it fit my personality. I have heard naturals say that coloring your hair no longer makes you “natural” because you’ve used a chemical in your hair and this does take an emotional toll on some curly girls. They often return to their natural color to maintain their “status” within the natural community. However, I am strongly against this belief. I don’t think coloring your hair affects your “status” within the natural community. I believe this only applies when you apply a chemical to purposely alter the texture of your hair. Other than that, color away!

I’ve also learned that some naturals can’t handle their hair in a different shade because it’s so different for them. Instead of making such a huge leap when coloring your hair, start off with a few face framing highlights and see how you like them. A few highlights is much easier to color or hide versus a whole head full of colored curls!

Photo Courtesy of @jdwinters

Change in Confidence

I noticed that my confidence changed a bit when I colored my hair, and I believe certain colors need a different attitude to carry them. In my opinion, you can’t color your hair neon pink and be meek. I feel a color like this fits a certain off the wall, daring person. I feel the same way about my blonde color. It’s a loud, attention grabbing color, so you have to work it and own the room!

I’ve always been confident, but I feel that my hair color got me out of my shell a bit more. It’s a definite conversation starter and my favorite accessory. I know someone is going to have questions about my colored curls when they see me.

Coloring your hair can have negative and positive impacts on the health of your hair and also how you feel about your hair. Before making any drastic changes to your curls, talk to a professional and do your research. No point in trying to fix what ain’t broken!

Thinking of coloring your hair in 2017? We want to know what color you're considering in the comments.