Want the beautiful color you've always dreamed of without sacrificing healthy hair?
You really can have both, according to Valerie Patton, a hair color chemist and chair of the California chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. She told Shape.com that while many dyes can leave your hair dry and brittle, there are tried-and-true strategies for coloring your hair in a healthy way.
"My advice is to be as nice to your hair as possible," Patton said.
She and other hair experts offered these tips for healthy hair color in Shape.com:
Avoid ammonia. "It smells because it's a gas," said Patton, who recommended ammonia-free hair color for those who want to go more natural. Ammonia breaks down hair follicles protective outer layer to allow hair color through, but also makes the hair shaft more susceptible to damage, New York dermatologist Sejal Shah told Shape.
Choose color-depositing conditioners. "If you really want to reduce your exposure to harsh ingredients the safest way, color-depositing conditioners and masks are best," Patton said. These dyes don't require a developer, so they're relatively gentle. The downside, Patton said, is that color-depositing conditioners are fairly temporary, so she recommends stocking up on color-safe shampoos and conditioners like Paul Mitchell Ultimate Color Repair Shampoo.
Healthy tips for post-coloring hair care
Once you've conquered healthy hair coloring, keep your color-treated hair healthy with these strategies from Oprah.com:
Wash color-treated hair as infrequently as possible. Use only lukewarm water, since hot water opens the hair cuticle and allows pigment to seep out. Between washes, spritz roots with dry shampoo.
Condition often. Use a mask that has ingredients like shea butter, glycerin and keratin, which moisturize and repair. Apply the conditioner from midlength to your ends once a week.
Avoid heat styling. Use a blow-dryer, flatiron or curling iron sparingly and only after spraying on a heat protector from your roots to your ends. This will help seal the cuticle and prevent the color from getting dull, according to Daniel Villano, a stylist at the Fifth Avenue New York Salon Fekkai.
Extend your dye job for two more weeks. Dust the long-lasting Color Wow Root Cover Up on the regrowth when your roots begin to show.