Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Body Mod Blog: All About Hair Coloring

It is estimated that around 75% of American women (Clairol 2008) dye or have dyed their hair at some point in their lives. This study also found that 88% percent of these women believe that their hair directly affects their confidence.  While most women choose more natural routes; camouflaging grays or brightening up their face with a blonder hue; another trend of hair dying has made a statement in both the body mod and mainstream community. More and more we see young women committing their locks to so-called ‘unnatural’ shades of the rainbow, whether they experiment with highlights or the ombré style. But reaching and keeping such vibrant colors is not as easy as it looks and it often takes a professional to achieve such colorful standards of beauty.

“Any situation in which you want to alter the natural color or texture of your hair should involve help from a licensed professional,” says Emilie Padnick, a hairstylist at Karma Spa and Salon in East Northport, NY.  “Nowadays it’s become acceptable for what I like to call ‘YouTube hairstylists’ to work on themselves and each other. These are people where after watching a how to video believe they know what it takes a cosmetologist years to master. Afterwards my coworkers and I find these people in our chairs crying and willing to spend any kind of money for color correction,” It is fairly easy to put a box color over your own and call it a day but when it  comes to achieving a truly vibrant and original hue the pros know best. Not to mention these color artists will both help you to achieve and maintain the color, and the aftercare is often the most difficult part of the process.

“Unless you’re pre-lightened your colorist will need to bleach out your hair. This leaves a nice base coat that won’t alter the color you’re looking to achieve. It is important to understand that this process overtime can lead to damage,” says Padnick. The bleaching process is necessary for most anyone who wants a bold, pastel, or neon color. Even doing select coloring such as ombré, streaking, blocking, or balayage will require bleaching in order to achieve the full look. This is why it is best to consult and rely on a colorist, as they will be able to access the health of your hair to determine whether or not dying is the right path for you.

Frequent bleaching and heat styling will damage your hair and cause thinning, breakage and in some cases even hair loss. That is why it is important to keep up with after care so that you can maintain the health and hue of your hair, as well as maintain the life of your hair in case you choose to switch up your shade.  Products such as coconut oil and Moroccan oil are great after-shower ways to keep your hair moisturized but the real tips for keeping your hair supple are fairly self-explanatory.

The first tip for keeping your color bold is very infrequent washings. The more you wash you hair the more it will fade and run out. “Red molecules are large and sit right on top of your hair, which is why red fades so quickly, while blue or purple molecules are much smaller and sink into the fibers of your hair,” says Taylor Riordan, a sophomore and fellow hair enthusiast at Hofstra University. As someone who has been from ‘Little Mermaid’ red to now a peacock mix of blues, purples, and turquoises; Riordan is well attuned to the life of vibrantly colored hair.  Washing her hair as infrequently as possible allows for the color molecules to stay in your hair and hair can be kept clean by the use of dry shampooing. When you do wash your hair, make sure that your colorist provides you with a sample of the color so that you can put it into your conditioner. That way when you are washing, you will actually be adding back color to your hair while maintaining it’s health. Color shampoos and conditioners are great for hair colors that won’t fade with frequent washings (for streaks and ombre) and can be purchased anywhere from Sallys to Target. For those wishing to go just a bit blonder after bleaching (without bleaching again) I would recommend acquiring a purple or violet toned shampoo (Shimmer Lights by Clairol) because this will tone out any brassiness from your hair.

Lastly for those who have found themselves with damaged hair and wishing to get back some health and thickness, there are ways to salvage your locks. While cutting your hair may be an emotional experience, I can say with personal certainty that it absolutely saved my hair. In January of 2013, with the help of my colorist, I bleached my hair and went bright red. But because I didn’t know about the tricks to maintaining colored hair, this quickly faded out and I was searching for a new shade to mask the red. I decided in April to go jet black with purple and blue streaks underneath and I began to take the steps to maintain this shade. Yet the frequent bleaching was damaging to my hair and I found that it lacked the health and thickness that I’d once had with my natural locks.

I decided to chop my hair to a long bob and while this was a huge change, it really did save my hair. My hair went from thin and dull black to thick and more of my natural shade (after my roots grew out and I did one round of highlighting). I made sure to baby my locks with Moroccan oil and stayed away from any harsh heat styling. This step not only liberated all the dead split ends, but it allowed me the time I needed to get my hair healthy enough to do some more coloring by early September. And now I’m planning to go full blonde by 2015 and can say that my hair is the healthiest it has ever been, all thanks to a pretty big cut of dead weight.

Studying Abroad in Firenze, Italy. Current Vice President and Blog Mentor of Her Campus Hofstra. Contributing Writer and Intern at Inked Magazine. A writer of all things body modification, beards, veganism, and feminism related.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️