Photo: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
When you need a little change in your coif, consider color. African-American women's hair can look natural in many different colors, especially if chosen to match the person's skin tone. However, when it comes to chemicals like hair dye, be forewarned that if your hair is already chemically relaxed, you'll need to take extra precautions. Be strategic about the products you use and the amount of time you wait between dye jobs.
Know your options: rinses, temporary colors, and semi-permanent, demi-permanent and permanent dyes. Semi-permanent color can be applied on the same day as a relaxer, and it lasts through about 12 shampoos. Permanent dyes, however, are longer lasting. You'll have to touch up your roots every four to six weeks as your new growth comes in. Light colors like platinum blond require more maintenance than darker colors, too, so highlights may be a better option, especially if want to go light quicker. Going darker is an easier and faster process.
African-American women should relax their hair no more frequently than every six weeks. Some African-American women wait longer between relaxers to decrease the amount of chemicals they use on their hair. When it comes to dyeing your hair, the first question a hairstylist will ask is when you last had your hair relaxed. You will have to wait at least two weeks after relaxing before adding permanent dye to your hair.
How to Stretch Your Relaxer
To shorten the wait time for dyeing your hair between relaxers, stretch the time between relaxers. Rather than relaxing your hair every six weeks, go seven or eight weeks by straightening your new growth with heat styling tools. Short hair will be harder to stretch out because the contrast between your new growth and relaxed hair will not be as subtle as new growth and long hair. However, different transitional hairstyles and hair accessories like hair scarves and headbands are helpful.
The waiting time between relaxers and dye is nonexistent with natural hair. Because there are no other chemicals to be wary of before dyeing your hair, your main concern should be how to avoid overprocessing with dye. If your hair is already a dark color like dark brown and you would like a light color like platinum blond, you will have to wait several weeks to several months to get the best results. Because platinum blond is so light, you may need to gradually dye your hair over a period of time -- say, three to six months -- to get the complete platinum blond look. If you don't want to wait that long or go with highlights, the best alternative would be to go with a blond Caesar cut.