I have always kept a dyed hair and have never cared about my hair breaking as a consequence of doing that. In fact, I never really saw the breakage. Therefore, I couldn’t understand what people meant when they said their hair experienced breakage when they applied any form of hair dye to their hair. Maybe mine did, but I just didn’t notice it until in 2012 when I was to model for a hair show. I knew my hair was going to be messed with but I was up to it. My only concern then was for them to not cut my hair and so I made it clear to them. My hair was bleached and coloured with all sorts of dyes and if I’m not wrong I had about 3-4 different colours and tints in my hair. It was beautiful. However, after about two weeks I began to experience so much shedding and breakage which I had not experienced before. My hair overall felt light and weak and I knew it was because of all the chemicals my hair had been subjected to from that show. My hair had not only been bleached, layers and layers of different semi and demi permanent colours had also been applied.
It is necessary to know that a type 4 hair or African hair is generally prone to breakage and damage. This is because of the way this type of hair genetically grows from the scalp. Because we always want to keep and maintain moisture in our hair, it is best to avoid anything that strips the already dry nature of African hair and hair dyes is definitely one to avoid. Dyes whether one likes it or not strips the hair of moisture hence making it extra dry and frizzy.
Before the decision to dye one’s hair is made, I believe one has to really examine the pros and cons of dying his or her hair. Dying is not for everyone hence one should avoid dying hair if:
- You are already experiencing or have damaged hair
- You are on a journey to growing your hair in terms of length and volume
- You want healthier hair
- You do not have a lot of time to dedicate to your hair.
Types of hair dyes/colour
Semi-Permanent hair colour/dye: This type of hair dye is mostly recommended for people who are not seeking for a drastic hair change. It is less damaging and it usually washes out after 6-12 shampoos. Semi-Permanent dyes usually contains no ammonia or peroxide hence no colour is deposited inside the hair shaft. The dye only coats the outer layer of hair. Hence, if one does not want to risk hair breaking, hair loss or extra dryness using a semi-permanent dye is the best choice.
Demi-Permanent dye/colour: This type of dye is one step above semi-permanent dyes. Though they contain no ammonia they usually contain some amount of hydrogen peroxide which opens the hair cuticle up allowing some of the colour to be deposited into the hair shaft. It washes out in about 12-24 washes. Hair may however experience dryness and frizziness and eventually hair breakage because of the chemical formula of the product. Avoid Demi-permanent dyes if you are growing healthy and strong hair.
Bleaches: Bleaching hair is a very common way of colouring hair. It is usually done prior to adding any colour to the hair to make the colour “pop”. Bleaching products contain a hydrogen peroxide which is a key component of bleaching products. This component removes the natural hair colour through the process of oxidization. In the natural hair colour stripping process, the hair protein called keratin is exposed. The keratin which has a yellow colour shines through the hair giving the hair its yellow tint and colour. Bleaching is more damaging to the hair as it leaves the hair dry, frizzy with hair losing its elasticity.
My bleached hair prior to colouring.
If you want to avoid these damages whiles giving colour to the hair, I recommend using a semi-permanent dye. If not, to be able to reduce damage caused by bleach or demi-permanent hair dyes it is necessary that:
- One does not prolong the chemical process of dying the hair: the longer the product stays in the hair the more damaging it is. Longer processing times destroys curl pattern of the hair making it undefined and sometimes straight deprived of any pattern.
- Deep condition and moisturise hair regularly. You can use any method that works for you. Remember the aim is to provide moisture for the hair. I for example deep condition once a week or once every two weeks and spray day and night with a mix of water leave-in conditioner and oils.
- Avoid any form of heat. With an already dry and crispy hair, heat application does nothing but worsen the state of the hair.
Hair dyes will definitely change the hair texture and curl pattern hence one should be ready to change routine.
There are definitely cons when it comes to hair dyes. Coloured hair is generally beautiful and a type 4 hair is a great canvas for tints. Dyed and coloured hair is less boring in confrontation with the neutral and natural hair colour of a person.
To dye or not to dye at the end of the is about choices. I always tell people to not be too scared to change something about their hair be it dying, cutting and trying out something new. However, in taking such decisions one must also be willing to handle the extras that comes with it. Remember to deep condition and moisturise your dyed hair frequently.
My hair after final colour.