Color Care 101

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Few things can enhance a woman’s beauty more than hair color that brings out the best in her features and complexion. Salon professionals not only want to create that gorgeous look for their clients, they want to help them keep it.

Salon color is an investment in both time and money, but it can leave your hair dry and brittle. Frequent coloring to cover gray or treat the roots that are growing out can leave you with dull hair and split ends. Beautifully colored hair needs a carefully-thought-out plan of action.

The saying “You are what you eat” applies to your hair as well as to your body. Frequently colored hair needs to be strong. Your hair has the second-fastest-growing cells in your body, growing at the rate of about a quarter of an inch per month. Since the hair is a non-essential organ, all other areas of the body are prioritized. Nutrition goes to them before the hair is supplied with nutrients. Thus, the loss of hair may be the first sign of overall poor nutrition. You will need to greatly improve your nutrition to restore healthy hair if your hair begins to look lackluster and you lose an excessive number of strands.

Shampoos and Conditioners
What can you do to prolong your color, make it look smashing and keep your locks in tiptop shape? According to Kelli Daniels, professional colorist at Red’s Hair Lounge, using the right products can considerably brighten your hair and keep it in great shape. She recommends using shampoos and conditioners specially formulated for dyed hair. If your hair is dry, you may need to use a shampoo with glycerin and collagen to help restore some moisture. Treat your hair gently to prolong the coloring, using lukewarm water for shampooing and shampoo every other day if possible.
Conditioners close the cortex and help seal in the color. By sealing the cuticle, the coloring agent is protected from the elements. Shampoos that are fortified with amino acids will help remove minerals that build up on treated hair. Conditioners contain oils that will return the suppleness and shine to your hair. Ask your stylist for recommendations about which products are for your type of hair and which ones work well with the coloring agents she is using on your hair.

Split Ends
Split ends occur when the hair shaft is mistreated. Chemical treatments, such as dyeing, can cause split ends by stripping the top protective layers of the hair shaft, making the hair more susceptible to breakage. Other common treatments of the hair, such as heat from blow dryers and flat irons, can cause split ends. Mechanical stresses from strong force used when combing or brushing the hair are particularly damaging. Even over washing, hard water, salt water, chlorine and rubber bands will cause the ends to split. Treat your hair gently to maintain its good condition!
Split ends require trimming the hair follicles to eliminate them and prevent the ends from splitting further and further up the shaft. While coloring your hair, you may need to have the ends trimmed every six weeks so your hair retains its bounce and attractiveness.

Another protective step you can take, Kelli suggests, is to wear a hat if you will be out in the sun. Since dyes are chemicals that penetrate the cuticle of the hair shaft, they are subject to change by new agents they come in contact with, such as the sun, pool chemicals and salt water. Wear a shower cap when bathing and use a cap in the pool or ocean. Wear a hat when sunbathing.

If you are styling your hair, always put the product, such as shine serum, mousse or a heat-protecting agent, on your hair before styling so that you are heating the product and not your hair. Polymers will protect the hair by absorbing the heat created by blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons or hot rollers. Finish off with hairspray, if necessary.

Like anything else, beautiful hair requires work and dedication. Regular coloring to cover the roots, trimming the ends, split or not, on a regular basis, and good shampoos, conditioners, mousses and heat treatment agents used between salon visits go a long way toward preserving your beautiful hair. You want to be gentle with your hair also; avoid vigorous towel drying harsh brushing, and carefully disentangle hair after shampooing to keep your hair looking beautiful. In general, treat your hair well and it will be gorgeous, full of life and bounce. ■

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