Safe Hair Color for Chemically Relaxed Hair

Ciara adds color over her chemically relaxed coif.

Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

If your hair is chemically relaxed, adding color to the mix might seem like a fantastic idea, but if you don't do it right, you'll end up with dry, damaged strands. So be kind to your coif and make sure that you're using a type of dye that will color your hair while preserving your mane.

The Facts

When you relax your hair, you're applying chemicals to change it from curly to straight. While you'll definitely score bone-straight tresses, chemical relaxers tend to strip hair of its natural oils. Dying your hair is usually another chemical process that has the same drying effect on your hair. Attempting both at the same time can leave you with hair that's much more likely to break off.

Go Semi-Permanent

If you decide to color your relaxed strands, opt for a semi-permanent dye that doesn't contain peroxide. Peroxide is the ingredient that really strips the hair, so if your coif has been chemically processed, you'll want to stay far away from it. The hassle of going back in to get your color redone is definitely worth keeping your hair healthy and conditioned. You can find semi-permanent dyes at drugstores and beauty supply stores, or you can take a trip to your stylist to have it professionally applied.

Go Natural

You may have heard of henna before. It's known for its use in temporary henna tattoos, but it also can be used to naturally dye your hair. It will only work to darken hair so if you want to go lighter, henna's not the best option for you. Lightening your hair without damaging it is a little trickier. Try rubbing lemon on your hair before spending some time in the sun to bring out your natural highlights, followed with a healthy dose of a conditioning rinse afterward.

Leave it to the Professionals

Since you're dealing with chemicals, it's best to leave the work to a licensed professional. As much as you might be tempted to DIY, relaxing and coloring your hair yourself is much riskier. Respect your locks and leave the hard work in the hands of your stylist. Wait at least two weeks before going back in for a color treatment.

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