After 2.5 years of being natural, I've suddenly become interested in hair color?! Never thought this would happen, but there is something about seeing natural curly,coily, cottony hair texture in color! It's beauty in color can not be denied. But, I haven't considered a chemical color for my own textured crown until now. Yes, you read right, I've been considering "chemically" coloring my natural hair. Now me being the healthy hair enthusiast that I am, this sudden interest in color has put me in major research mode. Of course we don't have to be hair scientists to understand that once you chemically treat your hair that you are putting your hair at risk for damage. But, if you are curious about coloring your natural hair you should definitely take time to research your options. Also consider the amount of maintenance your processing choice will need to keep your hair as healthy as possible.
Below I have listed coloring processes/options that many undergo. This can be used as a guide to make the best decision ....
Henna/Henna and Indigo: A natural option for coloring your hair. Henna is a plant derived from Eastern countries. This plant naturally releases a low red-orange dye content when mixed with an acidic liquid. The color deposits on the surface of the hair, and is permanent. The color that each person receives from henna varies based on your current hair color. When covering henna with Indigo, you can achieve a rich black color. Because this coloring process is natural and safe you can do it as often as you like, but must be sure to use a deep moisturizing conditioner immediately following. For more information visit hennaforhair.com
Permanent Coloring: Is needed if you want a drastic color change. This process involves using a hydrogen peroxide and or ammonia as its base. These ingredients lift the cuticle layers to allow color deposits that can not be washed out. This process strips away some of the protein from your hair, making it weaker and more vulnerable to breakage. Frequent deep conditioning with protein and moisturizing conditioners is recommended. (If you are at all concerned about the overall health of your hair, you should see a professional Colorist for a consult before undergoing this process.)
Semi/Demi Permanent Coloring: This includes partial penetration hair color as well as a deposit-only color. The color from this process does not last as long as the permanent, because the molecules are too large to enter deep into your hair shaft. Semi- perms are not effective at lifting or lightening hair color. Also with Demi coloring, there are no visible color line as the hair begins to grow out, your natural hair color and the color from your demi blends, and color appears more natural. There is no hard color line.
Temporary-Color Rinses: This process of all the "chemicals" have been labeled as the safest because similar to semi/demi the molecules are too large to enter the hair's cortex. Instead this color or glaze only coats the outside of the cuticle layer(similar to Henna) but this will only last for 10 to 15 washes. This will only enhance your natural color by making it darker, richer, or glossier, it will not lighten...
*Benefits of coloring: A wonderful change in our cosmetic appearance, and depending on which process you choose, color can protect your hair from sun damage(primarily the darker colors). Coloring with Henna will also thicken and strengthen your hair.
*Disadvantages of coloring: With permanent coloring, cuticles are lifted and hair is more prone to damage. If not properly cared for hair can become dry and experience breakage. Vibrant colors can become dull and lack luster tempting one to use color too frequently. If choosing Henna, the process can be messy and time consuming.
*Helpful pre-coloring tips: Be sure the current state of your hair is as healthy as it can be. Seek a consult with a professional colorists before undergoing a chemical process. Have him/her do test patches before committing to color your entire head of hair. If you are interested in a permanent color but afraid of a full commitment you could opt for a few highlights to see how those areas will react to being colored.
*Hopefully this post provided you with some helpful information in making a decision to color, if you were contemplating it. In Part 2, I will highlight a few naturals who have undergone coloring their natural hair, and their experiences. They will also offer advice to those who are curious about coloring their natural hair.
*Primary source used: The Science of Black Hair
Until Next Time....