Maintaining Color Treated Natural Hair
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I love adding color to my hair. It adds fun and variety to a plain canvas. There are so many colors out there to experiment with! I've been coloring my own hair since 2008, using box dye. I've never had it done professionally and I've never had any major screw ups. I've done anything from sunkissed brown to honey blonde to blue black! I like the lighter colors because I think they look best with my skin tone. But with color comes a little more maintenance to ensure you're protecting your tresses from damage. Here are my top 5 tips for maintaining the health of your color treated hair.

1. Moisturize

This is a multipart tip because so much goes into keeping your hair moisturized. Starting on washday, consider pre-pooing by doing a hot oil treatment, covering your hair with conditioner for about 20 min or natural treatment mask (banana, yogurt, honey etc.

Next you want to wash your hair with sulfate-free shampoos. Sulfates, such as Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS), are commonly found in shampoos because they are what makes it lather. However, this ingredient is harsh on our hair, stripping it from all the natural oils and tends to result in dry brittle hair. With colored hair, especially lighter colors, if your hair is dry it highlights the dryness! Always check the label for "Sulfate Free" and you will definitely notice a difference in your hair. I also now use a T-Shirt to dry my hair. I used to always use a regular towel but I have noticed a big difference once switching. This way some of the moisture (water) is retained in the hair rather than a towel taking it all!

After washing you want to ensure that you deep condition! This is important because even with being sulfate-free, shampoos inevitably wash a way a lot of the oils from your hair and scalp.You want to replenish these as well as improve the color, feel and elasticity of your hair.

Finally be sure to apply the LOC method to seal in the moisture to your hair.

Retaining moisture is so important with color treated hair because your don't want it to become dry and brittle thus resulting in split ends and forcing you to cut your hair off!

2. Protein treatments (as needed)

Be sure to keep up with natural protein treatments if it's time. Our hair is made up of proteins, keratin in particular. Coloring hair via chemicals can result in breaking down of these proteins. Also too much conditioning can actually lead to weak strands as well. Protein treatments help to restore these proteins of our hair, strengthening our strains. So try a protein treatment about once a month. I prefer to do the natural approach and make it up in my kitchen. Leave on for about 20-30min and continue my wash day. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5NSQxCBYxg]

3. Use Care When Retouching

If you are one like me to color your hair at home make sure you aren't over processing your hair when you retouch. Use caution and only apply the color to your roots and not over any hair that was already previously colored.

When I colored my hair while relaxed I used to always just slap it on not being very careful at all. I didn't have any negative results with it so I carried on. When I tried this on my natural hair areas of my hair were over processed and the first time I straightened my hair I noticed the dry brittleness of my ends where this occurred. I had to chop a good inch and half off :( sad sad day. I don't color as frequently now and I add a little more care when doing so. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNNy-2IgH_E]

4. Be Good to Your Body

Good hair starts from the inside out. Make sure your drinking enough water and incorporating super foods into your diet. When I don't eat healthy my body screams at me! It gets hostile. My skin breaks out something terrible and my hair reflects my diet by feeling dry to the touch as well. Improve your diet and I promise it will improve your organs such as your hair!

These tips are mainly directed towards natural hair but they are great for relaxed hair as well:) If your decide to color your hair be prepared for the extra maintenance and care that goes with it (even though you should be doing most of these things anyway!)

What are some of the things you do to care for your color treated hair?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuG51QmZr50]