I waited two years until I decided to permanently color my 3c, high porosity, high density curly hair again. Although making the appointment almost two months in advance and building up the anticipation until the day of was beyond exciting, I’ll admit, I was nervous as hell.

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The last time I colored my hair was two years ago.

Before that, I had gotten routine touch-ups for maybe six years straight (besides in 2012 when I transitioned and then big chopped”>. Just as you might imagine, my curls became overprocessed to the point that attempting to style a normal wash-and-go was an utter nightmare, so for much of 2014 I played around with various braided and twisted protective styles to avoid it altogether while making an effort to preserve my curl health to the best of my lazy natural ability. But then, I got the itch that couldn’t resist a scratch. Instead of my usual reddish colors, I wanted a subtle burgundy-purple hue this time. And I didn’t want to do it myself–having a professional process my hair color was essential if I cared about preserving the health of my curls.

on a wash day at the end of 2014 when I realized my curls needed a break
a wash-and-go in 2014

Last time I colored my hair in 2014, this is what I stopped doing:

  • deep conditioning on a regular schedule
  • putting a focus on keeping my ends moisturized
  • hot oil treatments
  • using hair gel

…and here’s what I decided to do to rehab my curls (over the course of two years”>:

  • getting a haircut to eliminate my damaged ends (shout out to Southern Curl’s Robin Sjoblom for my awesome ‘foundation’ cut and prepping me with a protective Olaplex treatment!”>
  • getting a professional trim on a regular schedule
  • stopped chemically and naturally coloring my hair
  • deep conditioning more often

Before booking my appointment with April Kayganich at Blonde Rehab in Austin, I collected photos of hair color inspiration so that I could find exactly what match I was going for. The night before, I clarified my curls with EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo and deep conditioned with Camille Rose Naturals Algae Deep Conditioner. I also made sure to finger detangle as precisely as possible, so I had some Brown Butter Beauty Detangling Leave-in Conditioner glazed over the pads of my fingers for additional support. After rinsing out the deep conditioner, I created two-strand twists to encourage moisture retention and curl definition.

I had been following her work for years now and I couldn’t have been any more comfortable upon finally meeting her. Immediately after sitting in April’s chair on the day of, my nervousness went away. She made sure to inform me of each step of her process along the way, and only used a styler after I had approved of it. 

Three days later, I shampooed with color-safe SheaMoisure Kukui Nut and Grapeseed Oils Damage Rehab Shampoo–and this may be a new favorite in place of their African Watermint & Ginger Detox & Refresh Hair & Scalp Gentle Shampoo! I conditioned the length of my curls with Camille Rose Naturals Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard, and the product combo left my hair soft enough to not have to do much styling after it completely air-dried. These are the results on day 1:

Since coloring my curls again, here’s how I will treat my curls differently than last time:

I have been moisturizing my hair daily, and making wash days more impactful on my hair’s total health rather than style. This means I will continue to forgo the gels and instead, opt for an all-natural curl-defining creme that doesn’t contain water-insoluble silicones.

I have also been careful about protecting my curls at night–yes, twisting is annoying and pineappling is way more convenient, but it’s worth preserving clumped curls for lasting definition.

Since I don’t always have time for a complete wash day everyday and it’s not ideal in preventing fading hair color, I refresh with Mielle Organics White Peony Leave-In Conditioner since it’s color-safe and light enough to hydrate and add natural bounce with each curl.

I will also maintain regular deep conditioning in my regimen, and include an occasional hot oil treatment when I feel like my scalp needs a moisturizing, relaxing treat.

Per usual, I will refrain from using heat except the once-in-a-while quick diffusing session for minimizing a frizz halo after wash day.

Have you taken a break from color before?

Let us know in the comment section below and on NaturallyCurly’s Facebook.

Read my tips on preventing a bad salon experience here

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