After-Care for Colored or Chemically-Treated Hair
I often get approached by women who have had color treatments, permed hair, or straightening services and want to know the best way to care for their chemically-treated hair in order to restore its condition and preserve the new style or color. Naturally, I always suggest that the individual follow any and all instructions given them by their stylists, but in some cases, the individual has performed services herself and needs the advice.
So, here is some basic care advice for the most common chemical services:
As with any chemical service, the components used in the coloring process can leave the hair more porous than it was prior to coloring the hair. This is because the alkaline products used to allow the color to penetrate the hair shaft, and deposit the color, do so by lifting the cuticle layer of the hair. While the processes are generally designed to be as gentle to the hair as possible, while still being effective, the results are still that the hair is typically swelled and the cuticle raised by the processing.
This means that while the hair is made better able to accept the deposited color, it is also more likely to lose moisture and can slowly lose the added color unless care is taken to reseal the cuticle.
This means that after you’ve colored your hair, you should take care to use a good moisturizing cream conditioner. This will help to maintain the hair’s moisture level, and will help to smooth the cuticle layer and ease any problems with porosity. This is especially true if you have used a high-lift color or bleaching agents to lighten the hair.
Additionally, if you have chosen a hair color that is particularly vibrant, such as many red shades or golden blondes, you will want to use a color-enhancing/color-preserving shampoo and conditioner formula in order to help keep your haircolor looking as rich as possible for as long as possible. Under normal circumstances, most of the more vibrant hair colors will gradually fade somewhat after regular shampooing and environmental stresses.
For most color-treated hair, I recommend a weekly deep conditioning treatment, in order to help rehydrate the hair and restore any moisture that may be lost during the week’s styling.
Chemical Texture Services, such as chemical straightening and permanent wave services can be even harsher on the hair than some color services, and therefore require that the individual take special care of her hair afterward. The chemical services definitely leave the hair in a much more porous state and the hair must be well-conditioned to keep it healthy and manageable.
In the case of some over-stressed hair, where there are signs of damage, you will need to use a protein-rich conditioner in order to help restore the strength and integrity of the hair while adding in much-needed moisture. Furthermore, since the hair’s cuticle layer is usually raised and left open by the chemical processing, you need to make sure to use a good smoothing serum, which will coat the hair shaft and help to smooth and seal the cuticle layer to hold in moisture and allow the hair to retain a smooth and silky feel.
When the hair is dirty, you need to shampoo it with a very gentle, moisturizing shampoo, and always follow it up with a hydrating conditioner. Remember, that you only need to shampoo the hair when it becomes soiled, in most cases, you can simply use a rinse-through conditioner to remove the amount of soil that accumulates on the hair on a daily basis. This serves the dual purpose of hydrating the hair and refreshing it.