9 Tips to Keep Your Color Treated Curly Hair Healthy

Red-haired woman having her hair washed by a hair stylist in a salon.

Curly hair is naturally beautiful and vibrant. Still, sometimes you want to switch up your style. Adding a pop of color is a great way to make a bold change. Unfortunately, adding moisture-zapping color to curls that already have a tendency to be dry can be intimidating. If you have curly or coily hair, you probably already go to great lengths to keep your tresses properly moisturized. Dyeing your hair could leave you with dried out or fried, unhealthy looking hair.

Luckily, if you take the right precautions and learn a styling routine that works for your colored curls, you can have the best of both worlds. Amazing color and healthy curly hair aren't mutually exclusive. They can actually go hand in hand. Whether you've already colored your curly hair or you're longing to see colored curls in your future, use these tips to learn how to keep your color-treated curls healthy. 

Pre-coloring Tips

Whether you've colored your curly hair in the past, or you're working with virgin hair (hair that's never been colored), it's important to make sure your curls are healthy before you begin. Curly hair is drier and more delicate than other hair types. Natural oils from your scalp travel down the shaft of your hair to provide hair with the moisture it needs. Textured and curly hair creates a more difficult path for these oils to travel, leading to drier hair. Before you color, take some special steps to add moisture to your hair and eliminate potential problems before they occur.

1. Prepare Your Hair

Before you color your curls, it's essential to get your hair into the best health possible. If your hair isn't healthy before coloring, the road to healthy hair will be much more difficult after using drying chemicals to color your hair. Taking these preparation steps can mean the difference between minor and major damage.

  • Get a color consultation. Your stylist can examine the condition of your hair and determine exactly how to proceed with healthy color. Be prepared to discuss how you style your hair and your hair color history. It's vital for you to be honest about your history as it's the best indicator of how to color without severely damaging your hair. Ask your stylist about specific products that can prepare your hair for the damaging effects of color and request a strand test to see how your hair will react to the product.
  • Add extra moisture. The coloring process is harsh on your hair and dryness is the most common side effect. Using moisturizing shampoos and conditioners in the weeks leading up to your appointment will boost your moisture level and increase your hair's health.
  • Eliminate heat styling tools. Heat styling can cause dryness and damage. One week before coloring, remove heat styling tools from your routine. 
  • Skip your regular washing routine. It's a common myth that your hair should be freshly shampooed to properly take color.  Your hair's natural oils provide a barrier to protect your hair and scalp from the chemicals used in the coloring process. For the last few days leading up to your coloring appointment, skip your daily shampoo.
  • Get a trim. Frayed, damaged ends are more susceptible to damage than healthy hair. Trimming these ends before coloring can help you prevent damage.

2. Ask About Olaplex

The coloring process can be damaging to your already delicate hair. Damage to hair is caused when aggressors like heat, friction, tension, and chemicals break the bonds on the outer layer (cuticle) of your hair. Essentially, this outer layer has tiny cracks that weaken your hair. Olaplex is a bond multiplier that works to repair these broken bonds or strengthen your hair to prevent breakage. Olaplex provides a full line of hair restorative products including those used in the salon and many you can use at home.

Colorists use Olaplex 1 as an additive to color by combining it directly with the color to prevent damage before it occurs. Olaplex 2 is used post-coloring but before you shampoo. Ask your colorist about the use of these products during the coloring process and about the products you can add to your after-color routine at home.

3. Consider Multiple Appointments for Safer Coloring

If you're changing your curls from black to platinum blonde or a light pastel, you may need to visit your stylist more than once to achieve the complete effect without significant damage. Significantly lightening your hair in one treatment can change your curl pattern and cause a loss of elasticity, not to mention zapping the moisture from your curls and leaving them fried. Multiple appointments allow your hair time to recover, and provide you with time to keep pumping moisture into your locks between coloring.

Curly-haired woman in red shirt thinking against a gray wall.

Maintaining Healthy Curls After You Color

After coloring, your curls will need a little extra love to keep them healthy and properly moisturized. Working these tips into your regular routine will do the trick. Not only does healthy moisturized hair look great, it will help you maintain that bold, bright new color you worked so hard to achieve allowing you to space out how often you need to color.

1. Begin Your Routine with a Pre-Poo

Just in case you're not familiar with the practice, let's clear this up right away. We're not talking about that kind of poo. Pre-poo is a shortened version of pre-shampoo. You can add moisture to your hair and scalp before you even pick up the shampoo. If you have dry, tight curls prone to dryness, tangles, and shrinkage, pre-poo can be a game-changer.

Even gentle sulfate-free shampoos can strip your hair's moisture. Pre-poo provides a protective barrier for your hair, helping you avoid the drying effects of cleaning. You also get the bonus of eliminating much of the tangles that usually crop up on wash day. Deep conditioners and hair oils can be used to pre-poo. If you're unsure about the right products for your hair type, ask your stylist for suggestions.

2. Use the Right Washing Routine

The products and the process you use when washing your hair can make or (literally) break the finished product. It's no secret that curly hair is delicate and prone to breakage. Sulfate-free products designed for colored hair can help you avoid damage on wash day. Combining your shampoo with certain additives can help you overcome specific issues as well. 

3. Dry with Care

The most common advice for dry or delicate hair is to avoid a hair dryer at all costs. In real life, that advice is rarely practical. Washing, conditioning, and styling your hair takes a significant amount of time. Adding extra time to let your locks dry naturally is often out of reach. RevAir provides a revolutionary reverse drying technique that gently and safely dries delicate hair and even helps eliminate the shrinkage often associated with type 3 and type 4 curly textured hair.

4. Style with a Light Touch

Curly hair is prone to breakage. Adding color makes your curls even more delicate. Use a light touch when detangling. While conditioning, use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to gently rake away tangles. Always begin at the bottom of the hair shaft and work your way up to the roots. While it might seem like a good idea to leave your hair to dry naturally overnight, it's essential not to forget how delicate wet hair can be. Tossing and turning on your wet hair overnight can lead to breakage. If you must sleep on wet hair, protective styling can be your best friend.

5. Don't Forget About Deep Conditioning

Finding the right deep conditioning schedule for your curly hair is an absolute necessity after coloring. Since the chemical process of coloring makes your hair more porous, moisture leaves your hair more quickly than ever. You may find yourself using your favorite deep conditioning treatment twice as often as before coloring. 

If the deep conditioning routine you're accustomed to isn't quite doing the job, you can give your hair a porosity test to determine if your hair is low or high porosity. Choosing products based on this test can make your deep conditioning treatments more successful. Choosing oily conditioners or adding protein treatments could be the magic ingredient you've been looking for to restore the moisture balance you need.

6. Assess the Health of Your Hair Before Recoloring

Color is beautiful, but it's not worth sacrificing the health of your hair. Luckily, curls mask growing roots, which allow curly girls to add more space between coloring appointments. When you're ready to add more color, it's time to examine your hair for damage. Excessive dryness or hair breakage is a good sign you should space out the time between your coloring appointments. Discuss your options with your stylist to enhance your hair's health before your next treatment. 

Healthy colorful curls are within your reach. Using these tips can help. To learn more about great curly hair care tips and a variety of products designed for beautiful and healthy hair, check out the RevAir website today.