I’ve decided to write up a FAQ for my hair color maintenance and routine, as I get asked about it a lot.
1. Isn’t that color a lot of work/maintenance/money/time to do that to your hair?
It might be, if I kept the same multiple colors all the time and had to pay someone else to do it. For more complicated patterns, I tend to do it in stages over the course of a few days or weeks, so I rarely spend more than an hour or two on my hair at a time - I am super impatient. I don’t maintain any color scheme for longer than a few weeks; once it’s pretty faded, I just move on to something else. And it’s not expensive for me because at this point in my career, I have a huge inventory of color, and I certainly don’t have to pay myself for labor. In fact, as an independent contractor, the color of my hair actually saves me money, because it’s advertising for my services, which is a tax deduction!
2. My color fades really fast. What can I do?
There are a lot of reasons this can happen.
a. Dye quality makes a big difference; big mainstream dyes like Manic Panic are not meant to last a long time because they are formulated for people like me who change colors a lot. There are other brands like Ion, Special Effects, and Pravana that can be annoyingly long lasting. So make sure you’re using the kind of stuff that meets your maintenance needs. Hair varies, too, so you may need to try a couple of brands before you find the one that lasts the longest for you.
b. Product makes a huge difference. “Civilian” shampoos like Suave and Herbal Essences, and dandruff shampoos, will strip the color right out. Make sure you are buying a salon quality color safe shampoo with minimal or no sulfates (it will say “No Sulfates” on the label). They are worth the extra money to avoid having to re-color every two weeks - that’s going to cost you more in the long run, anyway.
c. Washing and styling routines are pivotal, perhaps even the most important part of making your color last. Heat opens the cuticle on the hair shaft, which allows a lot of the color trapped underneath to come out (this rule applies to permanent color, also). Hot water is the worst culprit, so when you wash, try to use the coolest water you can. You should notice a substantial difference in color bleeding between hot and cold water temps. Frequent washing will also fade your color more quickly, and is not really necessary for most people, colored hair or otherwise. Most people can get away with shampooing every 2-4 days. Rinsing and conditioning every day is alright for most (although very fine hair may not appreciate that much conditioner, either). Flat ironing every day can fade color, too, plus, it’s super bad for your hair! Try to cut down to every other day, or wearing straight hair once a week.
d. Hair condition. If your hair is porous, which can be an outcome of processing (especially if it’s over-processed), it can soak up more color, like a sponge, but also, like a sponge, it won’t necessarily hold on to it very well. Typically, the ends of our hair are the most porous, so you might see faster fading on your ends than the rest of your hair. There is really no fix for this, and you will either need to mix up stronger color for the ends or color them more frequently to keep them even (although when this happens on my own hair, I don’t really bother). Once hair is damaged, it’s damaged until you cut it off. There are various restructuring treatments that provide a temporary fix, but the best way to avoid porous/damaged ends it to get regular trims, even if you are growing it out. Your hair grows about a half inch a month, so you can get about that much trimmed every 2-3 months and still get growth.
3. What do you use on your hair?
I’m pretty low maintenance, actually, because I (luckily) have coarse, textured hair and it pretty much does what I want it to in regards to style, volume, and shape. I shampoo once or twice a week (although I may condition more frequently if the air is really dry or I think I need it). I will usually style it with a 1 inch barrel Marcel curling iron after it air dries, and - not exaggerating - it will stay curled like that till I wash it again with few or no touchups required. I will usually leave a little conditioner in it after I wash (I prefer TIGI Dumb Blonde or Biolage Hydrating Balm for coarser textures like mine; both of those may be too heavy for finer or thinner hair) and then while it’s still wet apply a little virgin coconut oil. I rarely use any other product on my hair.
I also have a ton of hair and it is naturally curly, so I don’t need any volumizing products or backcombing; if my hair looks huge in a photo, it’s because I didn’t try harder to tame it down. A tutorial on the specifics of how I style my hair can be found here: http://haircrazy.info/styling-guides/how-to-get-fluffy-wavy-perfect-curls/
4. How do you prevent your colors from bleeding together/won’t your rainbow hair look gross the first time you wash it?
Like I mentioned above, cold water will really help with that. BUT, when I do multiple colors, I expect bleeding and use it to my advantage. For instance, most of the rainbow hair I’ve ever done I just used primary colors, and then let them bleed together to make the secondary colors. A lot of colors look pretty when they bleed together, so I just try to make good color placement decisions and then I don’t have to worry about bleeding. If you’re not sure which colors go well together, think of it like mixing paint; the same color theory rules apply.
5. How do you keep your hair so healthy?
It’s not perfectly healthy; after all, I do have to bleach it first before I color it, and bleach is fairly hard on the hair. What I DON’T do, though, is bleach hair that’s already been bleached. Only regrowth gets bleached. I am a natural strawberry blonde, so (luckily again) it’s pretty easy for me to get to white blonde in one single process. However, I see a lot of girls who do their own hair bleaching and bleaching and bleaching, and it fries their hair. DON’T DO THAT!!! Much of the time, it is an attempt to get an old hair color out in order to add a new one. The trouble with this is that it doesn’t always work (I’ve seen purple color turn green from bleach), and it absolutely destroys your hair. Bleach basically puts microscopic holes in your hair every time you use it. A few of these holes isn’t going to be a huge deal, but what happens to something if you keep adding more holes? Eventually, there are more holes than hair left, and you will experience breakage and permanent frizziness. Just bleach the regrowth. And if you have resistant, very dark, or very thick hair, it might be helpful and totally worth to just have a pro do it, and then do your own color at home afterwards. And no, the bright colors aren’t damaging. They are pretty much just pigmented conditioner.
6. Then how do you change colors so often if you don’t remove the old color?
Sometimes I just let it fade; a lot of colors make nice pastels. Other times, I make new color schemes with the old ones; like I mentioned above about bleeding, it’s like mixing paint. So I can take faded pink, slap some yellow on top of it, and make orange. Or blue to make purple. It’s mainly just a matter of patience and planning, neither of which I’m very good at, so I totally understand y’all who just have to have new color RIGHT NOW. But please, for Thor’s sake, do anything but bleach it!
That seems to cover most of them. What are some other questions you might have? Email them here: https://www.facebook.com/uggoff and I will try to answer the most common ones.