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Natural Hair: What things to Know Before You Color It

After wearing weaves and subjecting her hair to regular heat styling, Tammy Porters stylist convinced her to permit her natural curls to shine through. As a Black woman, I didnt desire to surpass European beauty standards, says Porter of Carson, CA. I also didnt desire to spend my entire life in the wonder salon and at that time the natural hair community was booming!

So Porter, 41, launched a 5-year journey to shift from chemical relaxers, heat styling, and extensions to her natural curls. She was a fresh mom and corporate executive when she made a decision to give color a go again.

She hadnt colored her hair in years. I loved my hair blond, but I was nervous, Porter says. Just like a large amount of people, I had some bad color experiences. As an all natural girl, I saw it change my curl pattern and damage my darker hair.

For Porter and several folks of color, wearing their hair in an all natural state means no chemical relaxers or any major chemicals that could alter their natural curl pattern. Textures within their natural state change from tight coils to loose waves.

Many have tales of hair color treatment gone wrong. But as science improves and stylists are more skilled at treating your tresses, theres you don’t need to cower from color.

To help keep your coils popping and healthy once you color your own hair, examine these questions first.

Are YOUR OWN HAIR and Scalp Healthy?

Black folks have hair that is commonly coarser and drier.

Time may take a toll. So can some hair treatments. It is possible to go from diva to damage very quickly.

Your own hair shaft isn’t as hardy as you age and coloring for a long time could cause some issues, says Amy McMichael, MD, FAAD, a dermatology professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.

If your own hair is quite dry, breaking, and overall not on its A-game, its far better postpone on color and soon you get your tresses the TLC they want.

I would recommend my patients handle any skin or scalp issues before coloring their hair, McMichael says.

Speak to your doctor about how exactly your health could be causing problems with your scalp. A dermatologist targets skin, nails, and hair issues and will prescribe medications or treatments like medicated shampoos to greatly help turn things around.

The crown of one’s head might not be the one thing to check on if youre prepping for color. I ask my clients if they’re taking medications before performing a color treatment, says Debra Dye Brown (yes, her real name), a master cosmetologist in Atlanta.

Brown says certain medications like those for raised blood pressure, certain hormones, or steroids make a difference how well hair color works and, in some instances, result in a reaction. If you believe about any of it, some drug tests need a strand of hair because everything you put in the body will often arrive there, Brown says.

What your location is in life whether going right through menopause or perhaps a high-stress period is really a element in how your color journey unfolds. Speak to your stylist about everything. Youre within their chair to talk about in the end.

Did YOU DISCOVER a specialist?

If you don’t made all As in advanced chemistry, it could be far better leave the hair dyeing process (particularly if going lighter) to the professionals. The box of color doesnt know any thing about your own hair that I’d being an expert, says Milena Ghattas, celebrity colorist in Beverly Hills, CA. Coloring your own hair at home for a long time could be causing damage as time passes even though you cant view it.

A tuned colorist will learn how to assess your own hair, health, and lifestyle to assist you create a plan. Research your options to locate a licensed colorist to check out their social media marketing pages to see should they can color hair that appears like yours.

Hair color is, well, colorblind. The procedure of coloring the hair may be the same for everybody, McMichael says. It involves poking holes in the hair to permit the colour to seep in. (Those holes are created with chemicals.)

Natural hair may crave more moisture generally and much more if color is applied. Also, color can loosen the curl pattern but only temporarily if done right, Ghattas says on natural hair.

While natural hair will come in all textures and shades, lots of people of color have darker hair colors (with an increase of red and gold undertones). Taking hair from dark to light involves probably the most chemicals (bleaching) and may become more damaging than going from light to dark.


Its wii idea to accomplish all of your styling changes at once. Utilizing a relaxer, color, and heat styling in a single setting could be a bad idea. Offer you hair a rest between services and make an effort to do other services at the very least 14 days before color.

A less permanent but gentler option is really a semi- or demi-color rather than a permanent color. Semi- and demi-colors (never to be confused with rinses that wash the colour out every week) will fade in 6-8 weeks, but have less chemicals that may damage the hair and dont penetrate the hair shaft like permanent colors. Permanent color must grow out or be cut right out.

Whats Your Color History?

Pros like Ghattas and Brown will ask new customers about their prior moments with color. I wish to know in the event that you did a temp color recently or if youve colored your own hair for a long time, Ghattas says. I enquire about how your own hair responded during the past and we discuss your starting place and end point. Youre unique therefore can be your hair.

Did You Execute a Strand Test?

Will that shade of darkish turn your own hair green? Will this light blond even do the job?

Strand tests show how your own hair will react before you check it out on your own entire head. In addition, it helps your colorist learn if the colour will work, just how much it could affect your curl pattern, and when your own hair is too fragile for the appearance you need.

Permanent Color or Not?

Researchers have already been studying the safety of hair color for a long time. In 2019, researchers from the National Institutes of Health reported that women who regularly used permanent hair color were more prone to get breast cancer than those that dont and the chance was higher among Black women weighed against white women. Its not yet determined why. Semi-permanent or temporary hair color werent associated with breast cancer risk in the analysis.

The finding was predicated on data on a lot more than 46,000 U.S. women ages 35-74, including 55% who used permanent hair color. The ladies were followed for 8 years, normally. The study will not prove that hair color caused anyones cancer.

Many hair dyes contain chemicals like ammonia or hydrogen peroxide, that may cause skin irritation, redness, along with other health issues.

If youre worried about chemicals in hair dye, speak to your stylist about switching up your own hair dye products or ask your physician about if the chemicals are OK for you personally. If youre considering henna alternatively, its a milder type of hair dye, weighed against permanent dyes, and its own less inclined to cause allergies. Nonetheless it can be irritating for some people, McMichael notes.


Together with your new color, youll want a good intend to keep your coils healthy.

Keep your own hair trimmed. Every a few months is most beneficial, Ghattas says. Additionally you want to match moisture treatments and keep your own hair hydrated.

Porter, who has been pleased with her color (done by Ghattas), is seriously interested in keeping her hair healthy. I condition my hair regularly and before color. I dont use heavy products therefore the color can penetrate better, and I take advantage of a moisturizing shampoo, she says.

Another tip: Work with a sulfate-free shampoo in order to avoid drying out your own hair and fading your brand-new color.

Whether covering your gray strands or recovering from a method rut, dyeing your own hair when done right can provide you the pop of color you crave.

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