Nov 25, 2015

How to fix a hair color that is too dark

If you've dyed your hair and your new hair color has turned out too dark, there are ways to correct the problem with minimal damage and lighten colored hair to the shade you actually want. The technique you use will depend on how dark your hair is, as well as how quickly you want to correct it, and whether your hair is in good condition or not.

Why does hair color end up too dark?

There are a few major reasons why hair color can end up darker than expected, and these relate to the condition of your hair and how the dye was applied:
  • Porosity
  • Shade selection
  • Brand differences
  • Development time
The porosity of your hair is the most common cause of hair dye that turns out too dark. When hair is porous, it soaks up dye more readily and this can lead to it becoming much darker than it should. Sometimes, this high porosity will be natural, whilst most of the time it is caused by damage to the surface of the hair shaft.

When hair is damaged, the cuticles on the surface of the hair fail to seal properly, or may no longer even be present anymore. This leads to your hair becoming more absorbent, and prone to dryness because the action of the cuticles is necessary to maintain moisture balance and keep your hair properly hydrated.

Other factors include the shade you select, and how it is applied and allowed to process. If you choose a shade that is darker than the color you have in mind, this will obviously lead it becoming too dark, but the problem here is with the product itself. Box dyes, and sometimes even salon dyes, don't always have an accurate shade description and it is possible to mistakenly choose a shade that looks right, but turns out too dark.

Development time also plays a part in this because it determines how long the dye is allowed to absorb. In hair that is light, previously processed, or porous, a shorter development time is often necessary to prevent the dye from becoming too dark. The recommended development time is not necessarily what is best for everyone.

Finally, individual brands can differ in how dark they are. The same shade of dye in one brand can be up to 1 level darker in a different brand, and this can cause problems if you're switching brands or using a new dye for the first time.


How to fix your hair

Now that you understand why hair color turns out too dark, you'll be better able to prevent it from happening in the future. However, your hair will still need a color correction to get it from its current darker color to the shade you desire. There are three effective ways to do this:
  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Bleach bathing
  • Hair dye remover
These methods work in slightly different ways to address the problem, and the choice of which technique to use will come down to how quickly you want to see results, how much dye needs to be removed, and how damaged your hair is.

Fading hair color with shampoo causes no damage, but takes longer and isn't as useful in situations where the dye is much darker than what you want. A bleach bath takes about 20 minutes to prepare, apply, and process for this kind of correction and gives rapid results, but is not suitable for heavily damaged hair. Dye remover doesn't damage hair and gives quick results like bleach, but is more difficult to use for this kind of correction where you only want to remove a little color.

Clarifying shampoo


If you need to lighten dyed hair and your desired color is only 1 level lighter, or less, clarifying shampoo is a great option because it doesn't damage your hair and you won't need to apply any chemical products.

To use this option, simply wash your hair 1 - 3 times with clarifying shampoo and then apply a conditioning treatment. The conditioner is necessary to reverse the dryness this method causes due to shampooing. You can use this technique every time you wash your hair until the hair dye has lightened sufficiently.

Bleach bath

A bleach bath, or bleach wash, is a combination of hair bleach and shampoo. When you mix the two products together, the shampoo dilutes down the bleach and also helps lift out dye. This makes it highly effective for fixing a hair color that is too dark.

The process is mildly damaging however, and thus shouldn't be used on hair that isn't in good condition. It's best used in situations where you want a quick fix, have fairly healthy hair, and the color you're attempting to correct is 1 level darker or more than what you actually want.

Dye remover

Hair dye remover breaks down permanent dye, allowing it to be rinsed out of the hair. As it breaks bonds in the dye molecules to reverse the process that makes the dye permanent, it has no effect on temporary and semi-permanent dyes and thus can't be used to lighten dyed hair where a permanent dye wasn't used.

If your hair color is very dark, to the point that it is 2 levels or more darker than what you actually want, dye remover should be used as recommended to strip out as much dye as required. If you need less lightening, this process is more difficult to control because of the way it works.

One way you can improve control in this case is to add shampoo to the dye remover. Like with bleach bathing, shampoo added to dye remover will dilute it down and reduce its effect. You will still need to watch it constantly though, as the lightening from a dye remover can be quite dramatic.


Tone correction

After lightening dyed hair to your desired level, there is always the chance of warmth appearing in your shade. This is more likely to occur when you lighten your hair more than 1 level. As well as correcting the darkness, you may need to correct the tone of your hair to finish the color.

To do this, you will need to look at what color the warmth is and determine which toner to use based on that. Orange, gold, and yellow tones can be corrected with an ash dye, 1 level lighter than your hair. Strong red tones will need to be corrected with a dye that contains green tone for effective neutralization.

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Nov 15, 2015

How to fix yellow hair

Blonde hair looks beautiful, but the original shade can fade after dyeing, leaving you with yellow hair instead. When your hair turns yellow, it needs to be toned to neutralize this unwanted result. With the proper toner and a little time, you can fix yellow hair and return your tresses back to the shade you love.

Why does blonde hair turn yellow?

Hair lightening exposes the underlying pigment in your hair. Depending on how dark your natural color is, this pigment can be anything from a deep red color to a pale yellow color, and it is this underlying base tone that allows your natural shade to look rich and dark.

Generally, whenever you expose the base tone of your hair, the final color is achieved with a toner. This toner adds cool pigment back into your hair to neutralize the appearance of the warm base tone and transform its color into the shade of hair color you actually want. With time, the toner fades, allowing the underlying warmth to become visible again. In blonde shades, this leads to gold or yellow hair.

Getting rid of yellow hair

Understanding why yellow hair occurs in blondes is the key to also understanding how to get rid of yellow hair and rejuvenate your color. To bring your favorite shade back, all you need to do is add cool tone back into your hair to counteract the warmth that has appeared. This requires the use of a toner, and a little knowledge of color theory.

Toners and color correction

Toners can be used to correct unwanted hair color because of the way color theory works. On a standard hair color wheel, any two tones that are opposite each other are complementary colors and will neutralize each other. This allows you to tone out any unwanted shade by adding in the appropriate complementary tone.

In the case of yellow hair, the complementary color to use is violet. Violet and yellow counteract each other. When they are balanced, they produce a neutral result. You can fix yellow hair by toning it with violet, and there are many different types of hair dye that can be used for this. Even a violet shampoo can be used for maintenance or toning of blonde hair.

Ideally, if you have dyed blonde hair, you've likely bleached it to get to that point, and the best toner to use will be a semi-permanent dye because this won't cause any further damage. Demi-permanent hair dyes, or toning shampoos are other options. A permanent dye offers the longest lasting tone, but it does cause more damage than the other options.


Toner depth and shade

When choosing a toner, you need to be aware of both the depth and shade of the dye being used. Toners for correcting yellow hair should be in a violet shade, at the correct depth to match the level of your hair. Choose a product that is a violet, pearl, or ash shade in most brands to guarantee it will tone correctly, but do keep in mind that brands vary and some manufacturers may use more of a violet-blue blend in their ash blonde dyes. If you have any brand specific questions, you can leave a comment for assistance with this.

The depth of a hair dye refers to how dark it is. You can gauge this by looking at the level of the dye, which is the first number of the shade code and ranges from 1, which is black, to 10, which is almost white. The name of the shade will often also denote the level:
  • 6 - Dark blonde
  • 7 - Medium blonde
  • 8 - Light blonde
  • 9 - Very light blonde
  • 10 - Lightest blonde
If you're unsure what level your blonde hair is, you can determine it through use of the chart below. This shows the corresponding natural blonde shade, as well as the base tone present at specific levels to help you approximate how dark your hair is. Once you know the level, choose a toner that is at least 1 level lighter than this. The lighter shade produces a slower change during toner and will allow for more control to get the precise shade you want.

How to apply toner

The way you apply a toner to correct yellow hair depends on the dye you're using. Semi-permanent and temporary toners are applied directly. There is no need to mix the product with anything else because it works straight out of the tube or bottle. Your hair should be shampooed prior to application of these products.

Demi-permanent and permanent toners need to by mixed with developer and applied to unwashed hair, however. Developer is hydrogen peroxide, which is necessary for the chemical reaction that takes place when these dyes are used. You'll need to mix 10 vol developer into a permanent toner, whereas a demi-permanent toner will require a specific developer that varies with brand. This is usually a low strength between 5 - 10 vol. Add this developer in the correct ratio for the brand you're using and you'll be ready to apply the toner.

When you apply your toner, divide your hair into quadrants by parting it from your forehead to the back of your neck, and then again from ear to ear. Work on one quadrant at a time, as quickly as possible by taking small layers of hair and coating both sides. Once you've applied the toner to one quadrant, repeat for the next section until your hair is entirely covered.

At this point, you need to actually watch the toner carefully. It's fine to leave it in for the entire development time recommended by the brand you're using, but you'll generally reach the shade you want sooner than this. If you leave the product too long, you will end up with silver, grey, or even a violet tinge to your hair depending on how intense you let it become.

Rinse as soon as it looks slightly cooler than the result you want. The reason for this is that the product in your hair will make it look more toned than it actually is. You need to take it slightly past the color you actually want to ensure it looks as intended when rinsed. When you do rinse it, shampoo it once and then condition if using permanent dye or a demi. You don't have to shampoo a temporary or semi-permanent toner, but you can apply conditioner if necessary.

Hair color maintenance

After you fix yellow hair, the effect of the toner will last a number of washes before fading becomes evident again and your blonde begins to look yellow. How long this takes depends on the kind of dye that was used, as well as the porosity of your hair. Regular maintenance can keep it looking good without the need to dye it again.

The best way to maintain your blonde hair is to use a violet shampoo. This will prevent fading. The stronger the tone of shampoo you use, the more actively it will tone your hair. Weaker shampoos reduce fading, whilst stronger products prevent it entirely or reverse it. With the right shampoo, you will never need to tone your blonde hair with dye again, except when you touch up any regrowth.

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Nov 12, 2015

Hair breakage repair and prevention

If your hair is damaged, you've likely noticed it snapping. Often, damaged hair is very dry, brittle, and fragile, causing it to break with styling or washing. It won't grow quickly because of this breakage, which can be extremely frustrating, making it important to use hair breakage repair treatments to restore it to better condition.

What causes hair breakage?

Hair breakage is a result of hair that has been weakened through heat or chemical damage. Bleaching is often a significant cause, and dyed blondes tend to be more susceptible to the problem due to the amount of lightening that is required to achieve and maintain a pale hair colour.

Other processes that can lead to hair breakage include the way you style it, how much sun exposure you get, and even how you handle it when it is wet. Heated styling tools damage your hair much more readily if you're not using a protection spray or serum, and exposure to the sun's radiation can also lead to weaker hair.

How is hair breakage prevented?

Proper hair breakage repair requires you to look at the factors that are causing damage to your hair and attempting to mitigate as much of this damage as possible. In the case of heat styling, damage that leads to breakage can best be avoided with heat protection products. These products act to disperse heat more efficiently and prevent it from damaging the inner structure of the hair shaft.

Schwarzkopf Bonacure - Moisturises and repairs
Chemical treatments should also be kept to a minimum. This means dyeing your hair less often and avoiding the use of bleach, relaxers, or perming solution wherever possible. All of these processes can lead to hair breakage by damaging the structure of your hair. If you can switch to demi-permanent or semi-permanent dyes, this is one way to avoid this damage because these kinds of dyes are much gentler on your hair.

You also need to look at environmental exposure and mechanical stress to avoid potential damage. The sun, and even the way you handle your hair when drying or styling it are potential causes of breakage. When hair is wet, this is when it is weakest and most prone to snapping. It's best to avoid combing wet hair or scrunching it up roughly with a towel to dry it. Use a brush on wet hair and start by brushing from the ends to prevent knots and tearing. A warm blow dryer temperature is better than using the maximum temperature if you have the time to spend longer on it.

Finally, if you have dry hair, this is another cause of breakage. Dry hair is more fragile than hair that is properly moisturised, causing it to break readily. Address any dryness with conditioning treatments like Joico K-Pak Intense Hydrator, Schwarzkopf Bonacure, or your own favourite brand if you have one.

Treating hair breakage

If you are already facing hair breakage, it is still good to attempt to prevent further damage, but you will need to take a more active approach to stop your hair snapping and strengthen it up. To do this, you will need to add protein back into your hair to strengthen the damaged cortex and stop hair snapping.

Protein can be in the form of hydrolysed wheat protein, keratin, amino acids, or even silk protein. In most cases, treatments and products which contain keratin and arginine are the most effective for strengthening your hair. This is because keratin is what your hair is made out of, and it is the closest substance to its original structure. Arginine acts in more of a supportive capacity as it has the ability to absorb into damaged areas of your hair cortex and seal up these weak areas.

In order to stop your hair from breaking, you need to use a protein product fairly often at first. This will help stop the problem quickly and prevent any further weakening of your hair. Once this has been achieved, usage of these products can be reduced to every two weeks to maintain your hair's strength and prevent future breakage.

For light damage and breakage, you may find it easiest to simply apply a leave-in treatment after washing your hair. Redken Anti-Snap is one of the most effective products for this as it contains whole protein, as well as amino acids like arginine that adhere to the weakest areas without weighing hair down. This product can be applied to damp hair after washing and also prevents dryness and frizz.

If the damage is more severe however, you will need a stronger protein treatment like ApHogee Keratin Reconstructor for adequate hair breakage repair. This product is applied to hair and left for two minutes to add keratin protein and other beneficial ingredients into your stressed hair. Other effective treatments include Redken Cat and Nexxus Polymedic. Of course, if you already have a brand you prefer, you may find a hidden gem within that brand.

Hair that has suffered the worst damage is more of a problem. It will respond to any of the treatments above, but it's difficult to save hair that is this bad. You'll know if your hair is this damaged because it will feel like jelly when wet and simply tear apart if handled. The best thing to do in this situation if a trim is out of the question is to spray ample amounts of Redken Cat or another strong protein treatment into the hair before allowing it to dry gently. It will take many treatments before it is strong enough for the breakage to fully stop.

A keratin treatment is the most intense form of repair treatment available and this may be a better option in this situation. However, these require a lot more time and expertise to apply to your hair and the process is best left to a salon if you don't know how to do it. Your hair will also need to be subjected to heat to seal in and activate the treatment, which can place further stress on your hair until the treatment begins to work. If you have hair that is like jelly, strengthen it as much as you can with strong protein treatments and then consider a keratin treatment to stop breakage and save your hair.

With the right care, snapping hair can be repaired and further breakage can be prevented. After you've repaired your hair, you will still need to treat it with care though. It needs time to fully recover and it's best to avoid any more processing with chemicals or heat wherever possible to keep it strong and healthy from this point onward.

More information:
  • Remedies for frizzy hair - Frizz got you down? Tame your mane with these treatments and tips for wild hair...
  • Deep conditioners - Find out how to add moisture to severely dry hair and quench its thirst with a deep conditioning treatment...
  • How to get healthier hair - Discover the most common hair problems and the secrets to treating and preventing them...

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How to fix heat damaged hair

Heat damaged hair is common with the use of heated styling tools like straighteners and curling rods. When your hair is damaged like this, it doesn't look its best. Hair that is damaged by heat is prone to frizz, dryness, and split ends. As such, it's important that you correct the damage in order to restore your hair to its former glory and keep it looking its absolute best.

What is heat damaged hair?

If your hair is heat damaged, this means that it has been exposed to high temperatures during styling. These temperatures cause the protein in your hair to be denatured and break down, weakening the structure of your hair. This is why it's important to adequately protect your hair whenever you style it with a heating tool, and even when you blow dry it.

Correcting heat damage

Nexxus Polymedic
Like any damage to your hair, heat damage can be corrected with the right products and a care regime. The key to this is to target treatment to the components of your hair that are damaged, which in this case, is the protein structure. This means that protein treatments are necessary to re-establish and fortify the original structure.

Protein treatments repair your hair because they introduce new protein into your hair, as well as amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. These ingredients replace damaged hair protein and strengthen the hair significantly with only a few treatments.

Some of the most effective protein hair products include:

Correcting heat damage with a protein hair treatment

It's easy to repair heat damaged hair with a protein treatment because the treatment can be applied when you wash your hair and only takes a few minutes. First, you will need to shampoo your hair. This step cleans your hair and opens the cuticles so that the protein and other nourishing ingredients in the treatment can penetrate into the hair shaft to where they are needed most.

Once your hair is properly cleansed, apply your protein treatment and massage it thoroughly into heat damaged hair, focusing on areas like the ends where damage is generally concentrated. The treatment needs to be left to process for a period of time, and this time period varies with the brand of product you're using.

When the treatment time has elapsed, you can rinse the product out. Some protein treatments, like the Aphogee and Nexxus products, will contain a conditioning base that moisturises your hair during the repair process. There's no need to use a conditioner after the use of these products, but you can still apply one if your hair is very dry.

Other products, like Redken Extreme Cat, are pure protein. These treatments are generally stronger, but they won't moisturise your hair. You'll need to apply a conditioner afterwards to finish the process.

Natural treatments for heat damaged hair

If you can't afford a protein treatment, or simply prefer to use natural treatments, there are still a few options with this route. Natural hair treatments are a lot weaker than their commercial counterparts, but are still a valid option if you prefer to use them.

Natural hair treatments consist of products that contain high concentrations of protein. In particular, ingredients like egg white are most commonly used. Egg whites can be whipped into a mask and applied to your hair for 5 minutes to help add protein back into your hair. Just ensure you rinse with cool water to avoid coagulation of the product.

Other ingredients you may want to try include avocado, honey, and vinegar, which have moisturising and sealing properties to help combat frizz and dryness. These ingredients should be used in conjunction with egg whites for protein. Natural oils can also help with dryness and add a soft fragrance to your hair.

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Nov 11, 2015

Best hair colors for blue eyes

If you have blue eyes, you've probably wondered which hair colors are the best match for your eyes. Matching your hair color to the rest of your features is absolutely necessary if you want to be sure it looks great, and the best hair color for blue eyes is one that emphasizes and enhances the blue tone.

Matching hair colors and features

There are a few simple rules you can follow to match most hair colors to your other features in order to determine which shades are the best hair colors for you. Your features consist of your:
  • Skin tone
  • Eye color
  • Hair color
Your skin tone and eye color are mostly unchangeable and set from a young age, whereas your hair color can be changed at whim to any shade you desire. As such, the features that you can't change determine how your hair looks in comparison. Each feature affects the other features on your body, making it important for everything to work together for the best results and for natural looking hair.

Skin tone

Your skin tone can be considered either warm or cool. Warm skin tones contain golden, peach, or earthy tones and this is what gives them their warmth. Cool tones, on the other hand, have a cool appearance that is produced from pink or blue tones. If you have blue eyes, you'll generally also have cool toned skin, but this is not always the case.

Beige blonde hair [2]

Eye color

Eye color is another important factor in color matching that determines how a color looks on you. In particular, different hair colors can enhance or decrease the vibrancy of your eye color. Like skin tones, eye colors can be warm or cool. Hazel, golden, and brown eyes are all warm in tone, whilst grey, blue, and green eyes are cool toned.

Best shades of hair for blue eyes

To choose the best hair color for blue eyes, you need to choose a shade that will emphasize the blue tone in your eyes and make them look more vibrant and noticeable. As blue eyes are cool in tone, hair colors that look best will also be cool in tone.

Shades like this are usually ash in tone, but your blue eyes can also look great matched with pearl, natural, or even beige tones, as all of these have a cool element that enhances blue eyes. The best colors include:
  • Black and blue-black
  • Ash brown
  • Violet brown
  • Natural brown
  • Burgundy and mahogany
  • Ash blonde
  • Natural blonde
  • Violet blonde
  • Silver
  • Beige blonde

Ash hair colors

Ash brown hair [3]
Ash shades of hair color contain strong blue or violet tones which produce a grayish or silvery result when hair is dyed with them. They are also the coolest shades in terms of warmth, and work best when matched with a cool skin tone as well as either green or blue eyes.

If you have a warm skin tone and blue eyes however, you should avoid ash hair colors as they will look too drab and gray in contrast to the warmth that is present in your complexion. Those with a warmer complexion will look better with a warmer hair color.

Natural hair colors

Natural shades of hair color contain a dominant blue tone which leads to a neutral to slightly cool color result. For this reason, they are an excellent choice when matched with blue eyes, but don't have the same intense ash appearance of the ash shades. They will also work better with warm skin tones compared to an ash tone, whilst still enhancing the appearance of your eyes.

Mahogany and burgundy hair colors

Mahogany and burgundy shades have a noticeable violet reflect and this puts them on the cool side of tone. Whilst a mahogany shade is red-violet in appearance, a burgundy color is more of a violet or even purple shade.

The violet tone in these colors makes blue eyes stand out because violet itself is a strong cool tone. Mahogany works very well for either a warm or cool skin tone due to the red present in the shade, whilst a burgundy color is better suited to a cool skin tone. Both of these shades, as well as intense violet and red-violet fashion shades can work well for someone who is more adventurous with their hair color, making them easily some of the best hair colors for blue eyes.

Burgundy hair [4]

Blonde shades

If blonde hair is your goal, ash shades are an easy choice that works well for blue eyes. Shades of blonde that are natural, pearl, beige, or silver also work very well. Beige is a better choice to match with a warm hair color, whereas the other shades have more affinity for cool complexions.

However, a blonde hair color will generally look best only if it matches the depth of your complexion. Pale shades of blonde look better on lighter skin, whereas darker blonde shades are suited to darker skin. In general, any hair color will look best when matched to the depth of your skin because too much contrast can look odd in this regard.

Pastels and fashion shades

If you're feeling more adventurous and want an outlandish hair color that also works with your blue eyes, the best colors here are shades that have a strong cool tone. Intense violet or blue colors, as well as pastels in these tones can have a significant effect on the appearance of your blue eyes, but not everyone can successfully wear these shades.

Streaks, highlights, chunks, and ombre are some of the different methods you can use to add touches of bright or even subtle color to better match a color to your eyes. You can even use this trick with more natural hair colors, adding cool shades as highlights or in other effects to better match a warm hair color to your blue eyes.

Blue hair [5]

Copper shades

There is one last type of hair color you may consider if you have blue eyes, and that is a copper hair color. Unlike the other shades listed in this article, copper tones are better suited to a warm skin tone and eye color. However, the orange tone that produces copper shades is the complementary tone to blue, and this is why it can be matched to blue eyes.

More specifically, orange is opposite on a color wheel to blue. In effect, it produces the most intense contrast between the two tones, and this allows copper shades to be used to enhance blue eyes in an incredibly powerful way; especially if you have a warm skin tone. Like bright blue and lilac however, this contrast isn't suited to everyone. Use it to draw massive attention to your eye color as long as it works well with your skin tone.

More information:
  • Choosing a hair color - Find out how to color hair properly and choose the right shades to match your features...
  • Coloring hair - Discover the best ways to apply and use hair dye for great results, as well as how to look after your new color...
  • The color wheel - A color wheel can be used to gain an understanding of how different colors work together in hair dye...

Do you have a question about matching your features and hair color? Want to know what the best hair color is for your blue eyes and individual skin tone? Leave a comment for tailored advice...

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Hair care: What shampoo should I use?

Have you been asking yourself, "what shampoo should I use"? Shampoos vary greatly in terms of what hair type they are best suited towards, as well as any special properties they may have. If you're not using the right shampoo for your hair, you may not be experiencing the range of benefits that a properly chosen shampoo can give you.

Types of shampoo

There are a few different types of shampoos, and the shampoo you use should be based around choosing not only the correct product type for your hair, but also choosing a good brand. The main types of shampoos include:
  • Normal hair shampoo
  • Dry hair shampoo
  • Oily hair shampoo
  • Coloured hair shampoo
  • Medicated shampoo
  • Toning shampoo
  • Repair shampoo

Dryness vs oiliness

One of the most important factors involved in choosing the right shampoo to use is whether you suffer from dry or oily hair. Dry hair needs a milder shampoo that also contains moisturising ingredients. Oily hair, however, requires the use of a stronger product that is able to strip the excess of oil out of your hair to normalise it.

If you don't seem to suffer from too much dryness or oiliness, you likely have a normal hair type, which simply means that oil production is well-regulated and porosity isn't an issue. This hair type is usually only present when hair hasn't been chemically treated because the use of dyes and other products affects the structure of the hair and its ability to maintain moisture balance.

Hair type

Shampoo to use


Normal shampoo, coloured hair shampoo, repair shampoo

Oily hair

Oily hair shampoo, clarifying shampoo, repair shampoo

Dry hair

Moisturising shampoo, coloured hair shampoo, repair shampoo

Coloured hair

If you have coloured hair, chances are you've seen shampoos designed for this and wondered whether these would be a good choice for your own hair. In most cases, shampoos that state they are for coloured hair are formulated to prevent the most common problems that affect in this hair type.

Dyed hair tends to easily suffer from dryness, and this is because the cuticle layer can be damaged by the dye or other chemical treatments. When this happens, your hair becomes porous and moisture doesn't remain sealed within the hair shaft where it needs to be. This results in increased risk of dryness if you use a shampoo that is too strong. Shampoos for coloured hair contain moisturising ingredients to combat this problem.

Fading is another problem that affects coloured hair, and this is also prevented by coloured hair shampoos. The product does this by being a milder cleanser compared to other shampoos. Therefore, if you have oily hair, a coloured hair shampoo isn't the right choice for you, even if you need to reduce fading. A better choice for this hair type when fading is an issue is a toning shampoo.

Best coloured hair shampoos:

    Toning shampoo

    Toning shampoos can be formulated for any hair type, including hair that is excessively dry or oily. As these shampoos contain pigment, they replace lost colour that fades out of your hair during shampooing, making them a good choice for use on dyed hair.

    In darker colours, like black, brown, red, and burgundy, the effect of toning shampoos is more geared towards reducing fading. In blonde colours, toning shampoos are often strong enough to actively tone hair with regular use, or reduce fading with more intermittent use.

    Medicated shampoo

    Medicated shampoos take many forms, including shampoos designed for dandruff, psoriasis, and other conditions. These shampoos are generally not suitable for oily hair as they are quite drying, but moisturising variants are available. In general, they should only be used where you have a scalp condition that will benefit from their use.

    Repair shampoo

    Repair shampoos are designed for damaged hair, making them the best shampoo to use if your hair has been damaged through chemical treatments like dyeing or perming. These shampoos contain protein, amino acids, and other beneficial ingredients that gradually repair your hair and prevent breakages and split ends.

    Many repair shampoos are better suited for dry hair because they are often formulated to be moisturising. There are also many brands that are fine to use on other hair types, including oily hair if you need a stronger cleanser, making this product type very versatile.

    Best repair shampoos:

    Functional shampoo

    There is one last type of shampoo that can be useful to create certain effects. Functional shampoos include any product that is designed to enhance curls, body, or smooth your hair out. These shampoos help to style your hair in a certain way, but are best used on a normal hair type unless the product specifically states it is for dry or oily hair.

    Sulfate-free shampoos

    Sulfate shampoo is becoming a popular choice these days. Most shampoos use a common lathering agent ingredient called SLS, and this is the ingredient that is substituted in a sulfate-free shampoo. The benefits of using one of these shampoos are somewhat unclear, but they may be less irritating to your scalp if you suffer from psoriasis or eczema, or if you have allergies in general.

    Another potential benefit of these shampoos is a reduction in frizz and dryness. If you suffer from dry, frizzy hair, this kind of shampoo can be beneficial.

    Best sulfate-free shampoos:

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    Nov 5, 2015

    Hair care: Why is my hair so dry?

    Do you find yourself asking, why is my hair so dry? Dryness is a common hair care issue that affects many people. When hair is too dry, it feels rough and is prone to frizz. Dryness can even contribute to breakage and hair fall, so it's important to treat it when it occurs if you want to have healthy hair, and the best way to do this is to look at the factors that are leading to it.

    Causes of dry hair

    Dry hair is an issue that can have many causes. Quite commonly, there is a level of damage present that is leading to the dryness, but even natural hair that hasn't been chemically treated can present with dryness. Some of the main causes include:
    • Hair dye
    • Bleach
    • Relaxers or perms
    • Heat styling
    • Sun exposure
    • Shampoo selection and usage
    • Porosity
    • Humidity

    Damage and dryness

    Damage and dryness go hand in hand. Whenever your hair is damaged, you're at an increased risk of suffering from both dryness and frizz. This is because any damage results in the structure of your hair becoming compromised, weakening it and allowing it to lose moisture. It is also harder for your hair to hold onto the right amount of moisture when the condition isn't so good.

    If you've bleached your hair recently, or you dye it regularly, this is likely the predominant cause of your hair dryness. Relaxers and perms can also lead to damage that causes dryness, frizz, and breakages.

    Hair repair treatments - Discover some of the best treatments for correcting problematic hair...

    Environmental factors

    There are several environmental factors that can lead to dry hair. The sun has the most drastic effect here and too much sun exposure is bad for your hair in the same way that is bad for your skin and eyes. It is the ultraviolet radiation within sunlight which makes this so, because this kind of radiation directly damages your hair.

    As well as the effects of UV light, the sun also contributes to dryness by heating your hair and causing moisture to be lost indirectly through this mechanism. Salt water and frequent wetting of your hair magnifies this drying effect, making a visit to the beach a significant cause of dryness in hair if you're not careful.

    Finally, humidity can have a drying effect on your hair. Dry air leaches moisture from your hair and skin, whereas a very humid environment moistens it. A barrier treatment like a hair serum is the easiest way to reduce the effect of humidity on your hair in situations where the humidity is too low or too high.

    Shampoo usage

    As well as the environment, styling tools, and chemical products, the way you wash your hair can result in dryness. Shampoos vary widely in terms of how drying they are, and this is directly related to how effective the shampoo is as a cleanser. Stronger products like clarifying shampoos and anti-dandruff shampoos dry out your hair because they strip out more oil and moisture than other milder products.

    There is also the possibility that you are washing your hair too often if you experience dryness on a daily basis, especially if your hair begins to feel and look better before the next shampoo, but feels dry again right after washing. Shampooing your hair every day is fine if you have oily hair that needs it, but is overkill on most hair types.

    If you're suffering from dry hair, look at the type of shampoo you're using, as well as how often you use it. Also look at whether you're using a conditioner regularly. For dry hair, a conditioner should always be applied after shampooing to replace the loss of moisture that occurs when you wash your hair.


    Porosity refers to how absorbent your hair is. If you have porous hair, this is often the result of damage, but it is possible for your hair to be naturally porous. In either case, the result is that your hair can't maintain a proper moisture balance because whilst it will readily absorb dyes, conditioners, and other products, porous hair releases it all just as easily.

    When porosity is a problem, it is likely to be a significant source of dryness and you will need to look at the condition of your hair. Damage usually leads to some degree of porosity and it can be treated by repairing your hair. It can also be addressed with other treatments that seal the cuticles on your hair surface, or with silicone products like hair serums that coat the hair shaft and act as a barrier against moisture loss.

    Whatever the cause of the dryness, it can be addressed and treated once you look at the factors affecting your own hair. Doing so will allow you to use the right products to repair or ease the main causes of dryness and give you back the beautiful hair you really want.

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    How to get straight hair

    Whether your hair is naturally curly, or simply has a habit of being a little unruly, you may want to straighten it to see how it looks with a different texture. Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can achieve this goal, and options are available that are temporary or even permanent, allowing you to get straight hair with relative ease and minimal hassle.

    Ways to straighten hair

    The first step in considering how to get straight hair is to decide how long you want the results to last. It's perfectly fine if you're unsure of this at first, as you can try a temporary option to determine how you feel about the new appearance of your hair. You may decide you prefer your curls, or that you'd like to make a more lasting commitment to straightening your hair.

    Some of the different ways to straighten hair include:
    • Blow drying
    • Straightening irons
    • Smoothing balm
    • Keratin treatment
    • Relaxer

    Temporary hair straightening

    Temporary hair straightening methods are the best option if you don't want to lose your natural curl or are unsure whether you'd like the way your hair looks when straightened. These methods use heat to straighten hair, smoothing out its natural texture by forming temporary bonds within the hair's protein structure. After a certain period of time, or your hair being exposed to water, the effect disappears.

    As temporary hair straightening uses heat, the process can be slightly damaging. This damage can be readily avoided through the use of heat protection sprays and serums that will allow you to get straight hair without damaging its condition. Overall, temporary ways to straighten hair are easy and effective, but they do need to be repeated regularly to maintain the effect.

    Using hair straighteners

    In order to temporarily straighten hair, you will need a hair straightening iron. This heated styling tool is able to apply heat to the lengths of your hair, smoothing it out as your hair passes across the plates. You should also be using a heat protection product to ensure you're not causing too much damage when you do this. Although straightening your hair every day won't cause it to snap off or fall apart, it can still lead to dryness and frizz as cumulative damage builds up.

    Products are also important for anyone who has naturally frizzy or dry hair, and can be highly beneficial if you intend to straighten hair that has been bleached or dyed often. In this situation, a hair serum treats these problems by moisturising and protecting your hair during straightening.

    For best results when straightening hair, especially if you have thick hair, use sectioning clips to divide your hair into layers. This will make it easier to straighten small sections of hair at a time and give the smoothest and sleekest results. It will also prevent you from applying too much heat to the same areas over and over again because sections you have already straightened will be clipped back.

    Starting at the uppermost layers of your hair, comb these out in small sections, straighten with the iron, and then clip these layers up out of the way. If you continue outwards from the top of your hair in this fashion, it is a quick and easy process to get straight hair in a matter of 15 minutes or less. Once your done, apply a little more serum and your results will be better protected against dryness and humidity.

    Smoothing balm

    Smoothing balm is a product designed to enhance the effects of straightening hair using a flat iron. You can achieve good results without it, but if you have hair that is very frizzy or difficult to control, it can offer additional help to smooth it out.

    Products like this work because they contain keratin. In this sense, they are related to keratin treatments and have a similar effect on your hair. However, unlike a keratin treatment, smoothing balm rinses out when your hair is washed. This means that it needs to be reapplied when you straighten your hair to maintain the effect.

    To use a product like this when you straighten your hair, simply apply prior to straightening. It will protect your hair from the damaging effects of the heat as well as enhance your results.

    Permanent hair straightening

    If you want to maintain the appearance of straightened hair for a longer period of time without the hassle of using a styling tool, there are ways to permanently straighten hair. These methods require chemical treatments that are more damaging and require a little more skill and time to apply, but the effect won't wear off with time or moisture.

    Permanent hair straightening methods work by destroying bonds in your hair that give it a curly appearance and replacing these with new bonds that smooth the texture out. This is the way that a relaxer works to straighten hair, and a keratin treatment works in a similar way, albeit with results that are less permanent than relaxer.

    Keratin treatments

    Keratin treatments are one of the more permanent options you can consider when deciding how to get straight hair. These products are long-lasting and will generally give you straight hair for up to 3 months before they need to be reapplied, allowing you to change the texture of your hair without having to maintain the effect on a daily basis.

    To use a keratin treatment, your hair needs to be shampooed prior to application. The product is applied to damp hair and allowed to sit in your hair for a duration of time before it is blow dried and then straightened with a flat iron at high heat. This drying and straightening process activates the keratin protein and seals it into your hair, producing the change in texture. After a period of 2 - 3 days, the treatment is rinsed out, but the effect will remain.

    How to apply a keratin treatment -  If you're considering one of these treatments, you can learn more about how to apply and use them here...

    Hair relaxer

    Hair relaxer is the longest lasting method you can use to get straight hair. It is also the most damaging treatment because it chemically resets the bonds in your hair to achieve this. Hair that is in good condition will remain in fairly good condition following this process, but these products should not be used on hair that is already damaged in most cases.

    Unlike other products, a relaxer also carries warnings for its use because the ingredients that make it work are highly caustic. This means there is a potential for scalp irritation, chemical burns, severe hair damage, and damage to your eyes and other areas of your body if you do not use it correctly. For this reason, unless you have the training or experience necessary to use a relaxer safely, this treatment should be applied in a salon.

    Application of a relaxer is fairly simple if you're taking the proper precautions during usage. The most important thing to take into account is the condition of your hair and when it was last washed. Relaxer should only be applied to hair that is healthy, strong, and has not been shampooed recently. Unwashed hair has an intact acid mantle that protects your scalp from the irritation of the chemicals used in a relaxer.

    To apply the relaxer, divide your hair up into four sections and work quickly in small layers to apply the product and smooth out each of these layers to sit flat. The smoother the sections of hair are, the straighter the results will be. Once the product is completely applied, allow to process for the recommended time of the specific product you are using before neutralizing and rinsing as directed.

    How that straightened can look great, but the most important thing to remember is that it's your hair and you need to be happy with the result. To this end, don't rush into using a longer lasting straightening method unless you're absolutely sure you want to keep the result for a longer period of time. If you're considerate in your hair care choices, you can have healthy hair that looks exactly the way you want.

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    Jun 11, 2015

    Is dry shampoo bad for your hair?

    If you have oily hair, chances are you're frustrated with how often it needs to be washed in order to keep it looking and feeling great. Time is precious, and you want to spend it doing the things you actually want to do, and with the people you love. For this reason, dry shampoo is one of the best ways to keep your hair clean between actual shampooing, but is dry shampoo bad for your hair?

    What is dry shampoo?

    Dry shampoo is a powder-based product that is designed to coat hair and absorb oil and dirt. This allows you to keep your hair looking clean between washes by trapping the oil and other impurities that would otherwise affect the appearance and texture of your hair.

    In most cases, a form of starch is used as the absorbent powder. In some cases, talcum powder may be used instead. This powder is able to be sprayed over your hair like hairspray due to the inclusion of propellants like butane, making it simple to apply and spread around.

    Dry shampoo vs regular shampoo

    A regular shampoo works in a similar way to a dry shampoo in that oil and dirt is absorbed by the product. The main difference however is that regular shampoo is rinsed out of your hair with plenty of water to remove both the product and the impurities it has emulsified.

    Dry shampoo can be brushed out of your hair after use to remove some of the oil that has bound to the powder, but much of it will remain in your hair, making it a temporary measure that can extend the time you can go between washes without your hair looking and feeling oily.

    It's not an alternative to normal shampooing, but rather, a way to go longer before you need to expend the time again to wash, dry, and style your hair. Consider it both a product that extends your shampoo results, as well as an emergency measure when you need your hair to look good but don't have the time to properly wash it.

    Ingredients in dry shampoo

    The fact that dry shampoo remains in contact with the scalp is what prompts many people to ask the question: is dry shampoo bad for your hair? It is perfectly sensible to consider this when a product will be in constant contact with your skin as certain chemicals are actually able to be absorbed into systemic circulation through skin contact, meaning they absorb into your bloodstream.

    The chemicals used in dry shampoo are not overly dissimilar to hairspray and deodorant in that alcohol and propellants are the main carrier ingredients used. These kinds of chemicals are hydrocarbons that are a gas at room temperature, but liquid when compressed under pressure within a container.

    When dry shampoo is sprayed, these ingredients are released into a lower pressure environment, causing them to quickly transition back into gas. The powder is distributed evenly, but the chemicals used to achieve this vaporize and don't remain in contact with your skin afterwards.

    As for the ingredients in dry shampoo that do remain in contact with your skin, this is a combination of starch or talcum powder, and fragrance; none of which have any overly negative effect on your body. Pesticide use during the production of  grain-based starches is the main issue present where a natural starch is used, such as that derived from wheat, corn, or rice, but this can be avoided through the use of an organic dry shampoo if you're sensitive to pesticides or simply want to avoid them. 

    Other potential problems

    The ingredients used in dry shampoo are very safe, but there can be other reasons why it's bad for your hair in some situations. The main issues with the use of a dry shampoo are using it too often or for too long, and using too much of the actual product.

    Dry shampoo contains alcohol in most cases, and whilst this evaporates off within seconds, it does strip water out of your hair when this happens. The intended effect of dry shampoo is to strip oil off the surface of your hair or bind to it to prevent it from affecting your hair, but the alcohol can have a secondary effect of leaching the moisture out from within your hair.

    This moisture inside the hair shaft is important to your hair's condition and strength, and the loss of it is partly behind the frizz and dryness that is seen in damaged hair when the surface of the hair is damaged and moisture can't be maintained properly where it is meant to be. Hair that is suffering from internal dryness can be brittle and its elasticity and strength suffers as a result.

    However, this drying effect requires the use of a lot of product, making dry shampoo perfectly safe to use as long as it's not used too often or too liberally. For the best results, only apply as much as needed to make your hair presentable and don't try to drag this out for days on end. Use the product more as a stop-gap solution and your hair will remain healthy and strong.

    Natural hair care tip: Use organic corn starch as a dry shampoo. Free of all chemicals and pesticides, it can be used in an oily hair emergency to cut down on enough oil to get through another day when you don't have time to wash your hair.

    Simply sift, then apply powder by hand, focusing on root to mid-lengths where oil is most concentrated. Massage it through with a dry towel, brush and then comb any excess out so that the powder can't be felt or seen.

    More information
    • Starting a hair care regime - Want to know which products to use for healthy hair, and how often to use each product? Discover the right treatments for hair problems or repair and start a care routine today...
    • How to get healthy hair - Find out how to get healthier hair and treat the most common hair conditions like dryness, frizz, and snapping...
    • How to restore bleached hair - Weak hair from dyeing or bleaching? Find out how to repair it back to good condition...

    Is dry shampoo bad for your hair? Have you had problems with products like this? Leave a comment to share your experience...

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