Photo via @thevicstyles

Are you a curly girl that likes to color your hair?

Color is a fun way to switch up your look and now that Spring arrived, many curlies are considering adding a pop of color for the new season. It's important to have a healthy hair regimen in rotation already, but essential for when you color your hair . We spoke with stylist Lakia Woods of Chicago Curl Collective for her tips to maintain your color and how to avoid damaging your curls. Here is what she told us.

1. Use protein rich products

Hair is made up of protein filaments called Keratin.  Healthy hair needs to have a good protein, moisture, and hydration balance. Products with protein help to temporarily rebuild the hair structure when it is exposed to harsh conditions that leave the hair brittle, dull or damaged.

2. Avoid these ingredients

There is a laundry list of products to avoid. If I had to choose five ingredients to avoid in products, they would be:

  1. diethanolamine
  2. alcohol
  3. parabens
  4. harsh sulfates
  5. petroleum

3. Look for these ingredients

When purchasing products, you should look for sulfate free options, and products containing:

4. Deep condition regularly

After a color service, I always recommend my clients to install a regimen of cleansing and deep conditioning the hair every 1 to 2 weeks. Deep conditioners work to rebuild the moisture and protein molecules in the hair after a color service. Keep in mind that cleansing your hair is just as important as conditioning.

5. Consult a stylist on your trim and touch up schedule

I recommend to my clients to trim every 10 to 12 weeks with or without color. Every head of hair isn't the same, nor can I advice one person to trim as often as the next. I would consult with a hair care professional to determine if this is best or if it's necessary. How often you recolor or get touch ups varies, depending on the technique. I usually say every 2-3 months. Those with silvers may color more frequently based on comfort level. Keep in mind the normal rate of hair growth is up to a half inch a month.

6. Use less heat

Heat is not a bad thing when you use less of it. If you are a straight natural, try not to use a flat iron or curling iron in between your hair appointments. Use techniques such as pin curling or wrapping to keep certain styles.

7. Step up your regimen

If you are very low maintenance with your hair care regimen, you may need to step it up. Keep in mind that a good regimen involves cleansing, conditioning, trimming, moisturizing, hydrating, sealing the ends, and protecting your hair at night. It is very easy to obtain healthy, colored hair as long as you take care of your colored tresses.

8. Switch your cleanser

Color-treated shampoos or sulfate free shampoos are best after color processes. Stick to professional brands.

9. Lighten gradually

You cannot go from dark brown to icy blond in one sitting. Our hair isn't made for that type of strenuous exercise. I'd advise clients to achieve colors 2-4 levels lighter from your natural color or highlights for the first go around. Once your hair is back in a good state, then you can go lighter. Don't risk the health of your hair for a finished look. Color corrections are pretty pricy, and not all stylists are made equal. So please consult before you commit.

Share how you maintain a healthy hair regimen when coloring your hair below.

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