Depending on whom you ask, and how truthful they are, roughly 75% of women have used hair color at some point. All of this hair coloring can be expensive and can potentially damage the hair depending on the type of color product, the quality of the application, and the care taken after the color process.

Color Fading

Most people believe their hair color fades after 3 to 4 weeks. However, clinical results show that hair color fades 5 times faster in the first week after color application. Knowing a little about what happens during the color process, and how to care for color-treated hair, can go a long way toward keeping your color bright and your hair healthy and shiny.

Color & Your Cuticle

Almost all hair color works by opening up the cuticle of the hair to allow colorant to penetrate into the hair. The cuticle is the outer layer on the hair shaft, which is made up of overlapping transparent keratin cells. It works like protective scales, and each cuticle cell is composed of several different layers. It is resistant to chemicals and protects the hair’s cortex from chemical influences.

Because it can be seen and touched, the cuticle defines smoothness and shininess. Hair cuticles may get damaged by chemical processes like coloring, overexposure to sunlight (UV”>, heat from styling irons, abusive brushing and combing, over-chlorinated pool water, etc., causing dull, frizzy, brittle hair.

Healthy hair should have a pH balance of approximately 4.0 – 6.0, making it slightly acidic. Generally, permanent hair color is alkaline; so applying hair color will affect the pH balance of your hair. When your hair is properly pH balanced, the cuticle remains closed; however, a higher pH balance will open the cuticle, causing hair damage and accelerated color fading.

After You Color

After hair coloring, special care must be taken to ensure that the hair is returned to a healthy condition that will not only look and feel good, but will also help to prolong and maintain that beautiful, new color.

  • First, it is recommended to rinse hair thoroughly until water runs clear. If hair is not well rinsed after the coloring process, it may actually cause hair damage and promote color fading.
  • Next, you should always apply a conditioner made for color-treated hair immediately after coloring. Conditioners designed for color-treated hair will have a pH value of 3 to 4. This will help to return the cuticle to a closed state.
  • For a while after coloring, some of your cuticles won’t close as easily as they did before coloring. Continued use of color-safe conditioners will expedite cuticle closure to help prevent hair damage and color fading.
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