May 8, 2015

Dyed blonde hair: Care and maintenance

Dyed blonde hair is beautiful, but requires special care and maintenance to keep it looking its best. It is prone to fading. dryness, frizz, and other problems that come from the lightening process used to achieve it. Your blonde hair doesn't have to look frizzy and feel dry though.

Blonde hair problems

When you dye hair blonde, especially if your hair is naturally dark, a lot of lightening is required to lift your natural pigment and take it light enough. Bleach or dye is used to achieve this lightening, but the end result is the same. Damage occurs as a side effect of the process with either method.

This damage can be superficial or structural, and the type of damage that has occurred dictates what sort of problems you can face, as well as what form of treatment is best for resolving the condition and getting your hair to a healthier state.

Dyed blonde hair can suffer from:
  • Rapid color loss
  • Dryness
  • Frizz
  • Split ends
  • Loss of elasticity
  • Breakages

Types of damage

Damage to your hair can be considered to be structural, confined to the surface of the hair shaft, or a combination of both. Structural damage is the worst kind because this involves destruction of the protein your hair is made out of, causing your hair to be weak and prone to breakage. If this type of damage becomes worse, hair can literally stretch apart like over-cooked spaghetti.

Damage to the surface of your hair is more benign as it doesn't have a major effect on the strength of your hair, but instead will affect moisture balance and color retention. Damage like this occurs to the cuticle layer which normally acts like scales to seal the hair against the exterior environment. When the cuticles are damaged, they don't close properly and your hair is much more prone to dryness, frizz, and porosity issues.

Both kinds of damaged in dyed blonde hair can be dealt with effectively though, and even highly damaged hair can often be saved without having to resort to a pair of scissors.

Repairing damage

Dyed blonde hair that is damaged should be treated immediately because the damage won't just go away over time. The longer you leave it, the more you will exacerbate the problem by allowing your hair to remain in a weakened condition.

To treat weakness in blonde hair, the best product is a protein treatment. This kind of treatment adds protein back into your hair and patches up weak areas. The result is that over time, strength will gradually return and your hair will suffer less breakage.

If your hair is heavily damaged, it should be treated 1 - 2 times a weak with a protein treatment at first until it begins to show signs of recovery. Once this occurs, you can cut this kind of treatment back to once a month to maintain strength and keep your dyed blonde hair from breaking.

Damage to the cuticles isn't exactly treatable however, as the cuticles can't be repaired once they are destroyed. This kind of damage is best addressed with symptomatic treatments to reverse any dryness or frizz that is occurring, as well as smooth out your hair and seal it.

To do this, apply leave-in conditioners to address dryness. Follow this up with a good hair serum to lock this moisture into your hair and protect your hair from the environment. Hair serums act like a barrier to keep moisture where it is needed, as well as protect your hair from humidity and smooth out frizz. They are especially useful before styling with a straightener or curling rod as they protect against heat damage and heat will actually improve the smoothing the product provides.

How to repair bleached hair - More in-depth information for repairing your hair...

How to get healthy hair - More tips for treating common problems in natural or dyed hair...

Maintaining the color of dyed blonde hair

Dyed blonde hair tends to be more prone to fading compared to darker colors. This is partly because of damage that makes the hair more porous, and partly due to the nature of the dye used to tone blonde hair. Blonde dyes are light and delicate, and it only takes a little fading for brassiness to begin to show.

As you don't want to increase damage any further or spend all your time maintaining your hair, dye is not always a good option for maintaining the color of your blonde hair; especially if you're seeing rapid fading. In this case, products like mousses and violet shampoos are just as effective yet non-damaging and don't take up anywhere near as much time.

A violet shampoo is an absolute must if you want to maintain a cooler shade of blonde and can't bear the thought of any yellow or gold tones appearing. However, you can also use them for maintaining warmer or neutral shades of blonde where you only want to soften this warmth. In this case, use the product less often by alternating with a plain shampoo, or dilute the shampoo down before using it so that less color buildup occurs.

Violet shampoo - Find out how to use violet shampoo to keep your hair toned...

Have another question about dyed blonde hair, or having problems toning it? Leave a comment for tailored advice...

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May 7, 2015

How to remove permanent hair dye

Permanent hair dye allows you to make anything from a subtle change to a more drastic transformation of the way you look, without worrying about the color washing out.

This comes at a price however. When you decide to change your hair color, you can't simply dye over it with a lighter shade in most cases because dye won't lift dye. It's fine if the new color you want is darker than your current shade, but if you want a lighter color, you need to know how to remove permanent hair dye before you can achieve this.

How permanent hair dye works

Your hair is comprised of three main structures: the medulla, cortex, and cuticles. The cortex is the inner area of the hair shaft where hair color is located, and in order for permanent dye to change the way your hair looks, dye needs to penetrate into this area.

However, this part of the hair shaft is well-protected by a layer of scale-like structures called cuticles. Cuticles seal your hair against the external environment to protect it and maintain moisture. Heat and alkalinity cause these structures to open, but acidity and cold temperatures seal them back up. Permanent dye opens the hair shaft by creating an alkaline environment, and this allows the dye to penetrate.

Once the dye molecules reach the cortex, a chemical reaction occurs that bonds them together into larger molecules that are too big to be washed back out of the hair again. This is why the dye is permanent. Temporary dyes work by staining the surface of the hair, meaning that this kind of dye gradually washes out.

Reversing the process

Permanent dye is made permanent through a chemical process called oxidation that bonds the molecules together, and this can actually be reversed to break the dye back down and allow it to be washed out of your hair.

Hair dye remover is a product that allows you to reverse the reaction to break down and remove permanent dye. The most significant benefit to using it, however, is that unlike bleach, hair dye remover is non-damaging and won't cause the condition of your hair to weaken after use.

How to remove hair color - If your dye isn't permanent, dye remover won't work, but there are other ways to remove temporary hair dyes and you'll find them here...

What is hair dye remover?

Hair dye remover can be used to remove permanent hair dye by reversing the process that makes it permanent, but there are a few factors to take into consideration before you use it.

Hair dye remover is best used on hair that has either only been dyed once with the new color, or when there is not already a heavy buildup of previous dye. The more times a dye has been applied, and the more dye that has been applied in total before use of the product, the less effective it tends to be because of the sheer amount of color that needs to be removed.

Even in cases where it is less effective though, dye remover is still a good first step in removing permanent hair dye before using other products like bleach to finish stripping the hair. Doing so reduces damage by allowing you to bleach your hair less, and even helps the bleach lighten more effectively, in less time.

How to use hair dye remover

Hair dye remover is packaged as two separate solutions that need to be mixed together when you intend to use it. One solution is a reducing agent which breaks down the dye, and the other solution is based on citric acid, which catalyses the reaction.

Once mixed, the reaction begins and the product will lose effectiveness over time as this continues. This is why it needs to be mixed right before application and leaving it in for longer won't necessarily lead to better results as it will eventually stop working.

To use hair dye remover to remove permanent hair dye, apply the product quickly and evenly to all hair. The product will have no effect on your natural hair color, so any regrowth won't change. Only dyed hair that has been colored with permanent dye will change during this process.

When your hair has been completely covered, allow it to process for up to 20 minutes. The change your hair shows during this time is often remarkably rapid and great to watch as the dye breaks down. The lighter your hair has been in the past, and the darker the color that was applied, the more extreme the change will be during this time.

After the product has processed and the change in color has slowed or stopped, rinse the product with water and immediately wash it with clarifying shampoo. Repeat this up to three times and ensure that you wash it as thoroughly as possible. This step is very important because the dye that has been broken down can oxidise and return to its previous color. The shampoo removes the broken down dye from your hair, and the more thoroughly and completely you shampoo it, the less likely there will be any re-darkening of your hair.

Follow this shampoo step with a heavy conditioning treatment and allow your hair to rest for up to 3 days to regain moisture balance. Dye remover isn't damaging, but the remover and shampooing do cause a lot of dryness because they will strip natural oil off your hair. Conditioners reverse this by adding moisture back in, and resting your hair allows the natural oils to return.

Lightening further

If you need to lighten your hair further after using dye remover, this can be done with bleach after your hair has rested. It's important not to bleach hair that is suffering from dryness, so this shouldn't be done immediately after using dye remover. Dry hair is brittle and much more susceptible to damage from bleaching or dyeing.

You can also use hair dye remover more than once if necessary to remove more dye. However, it's normal for a small amount of dye to remain regardless and you can't always remove all traces of color by just using dye remover alone. It can also only take you to the lightest color you have been in the past, because it doesn't affect natural pigment and won't lighten it.

Color correction after removal

Following dye removal, there is one last step that needs to be taken to get your hair either close to its original color, or to a new color. As permanent dye lightens your natural pigment slightly, even when you apply a darker shade, the color you're left with after removal can be slightly warmer and lighter than what it used to be. If the dye remover hasn't completely removed the color, what is left will also be very warm and need toning to take it to a natural looking color.

To tone it, use an ash shade, two levels lighter than your current level. Your hair will be porous and can end up darker when dyeing immediately after using dye remover or bleach, and using a lighter shade for toning helps to ensure it tones properly and doesn't end up too dark.

More information:
  • How to choose a new hair color - Discover how to decide on shades of hair color that are achievable and match your features...
  • How often should you dye your hair? - Like dyeing your hair but worried about the condition of your hair? Find out how often each type of dye should be used to keep your hair healthy...
  • How to get healthy hair - Hair that is in good condition is strong and beautiful. Find out how to maintain your hair and treat the most common problems...

Have a question about how to remove permanent hair dye or need help reaching a new color? Leave a comment for tailored advice.

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