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Color Treated Hair - Getting Coverage with Color

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Color Treated Hair
Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Like many other beauty regiments for women, the idea of coloring one's hair, started many, many years ago. The Ancient Romans were intrigued by hair dyes and history has uncovered that there were as many as 100 different formulas used to dye their hair. The ingredients varied from leeches to charred eggs, and there's even evidence that they used walnut shells, which ironically, is still used in modern times for some dye formulas. So, continuing the tradition of improving and altering one's looks as been done for centuries; so why stop now?

Perhaps you may have guessed the main reason women dye their hair in the United States, if you haven't, you're probably not familiar with the term "baby boomer", either. Yes, ladies, the majority of women dye their hair to cover the gray. Other women dye their hair to experiment with a "new look" or style. No matter what the reason; there are a few things every woman should know before stepping into the salon and uttering the words, "Make me a blonde".

The first and most important fact regarding hair color treatments is that if your hair is damaged prior to the coloring process, most likely it will be afterwards, and sometimes, even in worse shape. Always make sure your hair is in healthy condition before adding color or any other chemicals to it. And unless you are a hair rebel, it's best to stay within 2 shades of your natural hair color. The terms you need to familiarize yourself with regarding coloring your hair is listed below:
  • Semi-Permanent color contains no ammonia and only a small amount of peroxide. The color usually lasts 4-6 weeks and then washes out. But, this type of color can only darken your tresses; and it only temporarily covers the gray. Often times semi-permanent color can boost the shine in your hair and even help the texture because it coats the hair. This type of color is less damaging to your hair than a permanent color, therefore it's a great "first time" coloring treatment.

  • Permanent hair color breaks down the hair cuticle and deposits pigment into the hair shaft. Permanent hair color contains both ammonia and peroxide. It can lighten and darken the hair color. The color is there until the hair grows out and then roots would need to be touched up. Usually within 3 months, sometimes longer. Permanent hair color is great for covering the gray. However, this type of hair color can be damaging to the hair, to prevent this from happening, you need to be aware of the different options in daily hair care for chemically treated hair.

  • Hair Highlighting involve the use of bleaching or permanent color to lighten the hair. It's great for adding texture, blending, and adding depth. The process of how the bleach and color is put onto the hair is usually up to the stylist and you because each method, such as streaking, creates different looks and are done to different areas of the head.

    Weaving is the process of adding several colors, usually two or three, into the hair for a natural blend. Baliage is a powdered bleach lightener that is hand-painted onto the select pieces of the hair to emphasize the lines and a certain hairstyle. The highlights usually lasts between 3-4 months and depending on the process of highlights you received, maybe longer. For example, the roots aren't noticeable in the Baliage process because the color isn't applied to them, only the hair shaft; so touch-ups would be based upon hair growth and cuts.

  • Lowlights are used to darken sections of over-lighted hair. Lowlights can be used to blend grays; sometimes these are used to add depth to a certain hairstyle; usually using dyes in shades of blonde or light browns.
Another important decision facing women regarding color treatments is choosing the right color. As stated before, it's best to stay within 2 shades of your natural hair color, but there are other guidelines you may follow. For example, I'm sure we're all familiar with the principle of color theory. You know, are you a warm, or are you a cool? Cools are usually women with hair colors of dark black, deep brown, medium gold or ash blonde, dishwater blonde, salt and pepper, or white hair colors. Where warms are usually deep brown with gold or red highlights, red, strawberry blondes, or gray with a yellowish hue hair color.

If you're a cool person you should look for color options in the shiny blacks, cool ash browns, and cool blonde shades. If you are a warm person, you should look for color options in the deep chocolates, rich golden browns, auburn, warm gold's, red highlights, and golden blond shades of hair color.

So, you've chose the process of coloring you want, you've chose the color that you want, you then go to your stylist, set for 2 hours, and go home. So that's it, right? Wrong! As many women know, coloring your hair is an expensive treatment. If you're going to all that expense, you want it to last a long time.

There are certain steps you need to take to ensure that the color lasts and better yet, doesn't damage your hair. Always use a color refresher shampoo immediately after coloring your hair to extend the life of your hair color, and budget, as well.

Once the color starts to fade, it's going, going, gone. So starting with the first shampooing after your receive the color treatment. You may want to use a color preserver occasionally. And be sure to avoid salt water, chlorine, and the sun as much as possible. And if possible, wash your hair less frequently. Often times the best experts on hair color is your own personal stylist; so never underestimate their input. They know you, your likes and dislikes, and better yet, they know "your hair".