My Love-Hate Relationship With Hair Coloring.
By Alecia James Sunday, September 22, 2013
We know the all too familiar tale of a snake who pleads for help for you to carry it so it can regain its warmth. "If you put me inside your shirt, your body will make me warm and I won't freeze to death" said the snake. The snake bites you after being revived, following its natural instincts. Why did you bite me? "You knew I was a snake when you picked me up" replied the snake.
My now broken relationship with hair color doesn't deviate much from this. I was badly in need of a "hair lift" so I scooped up a box of Clairol hair color in Flaming Desire, and as the name suggests, was true to its color and effectiveness. I've colored my hair before, multiple times, and have been the victim of resulting hair breakage. However this time, I was convinced that it was time to spruce up my "natural." This garnered a lot of attention. I've been stopped dead in my tracks, and asked, "What color is that?" I've been approached by total strangers, all enthusiastically seeking the secret to my fiery locks.
2-3 weeks post application
All seemed well at first. There was no breakage. My hair was now infused with bright orange strands all screaming wild, funky and fly. Just the way I liked it.
One day I was approached as I was walking towards my home. I could sense that someone was closely shadowing my steps. "Excuse me, what color are you wearing?" To this investigation, I proudly announced: "Oh, I used Clairol" My answer was met with sheer disappointment evidenced by the instantaneous disappearance of glimmer that was on her face. It was now shrouded in a cloud of dismay. "I thought you used henna" my pursuer remarked. I was not privy to her circle of savvy naturals. I wasn't of the henna pedigree. I smiled to myself. I still had that fierce fiery look though.
Coloring is okay if done safely. Many naturals swear by "henna," a plant extract that slowly releases dyes into the hair, leaving a reddish brown hue. It's considered much safer since it contains less harsh chemicals.
But there was a price to pay for subjecting my strands to this indelicate treatment....
After about 6 months, I started to notice a visible change in the appearance of my hair. There was so much dryness and breakage; textured hair two worst enemies.
The degree of damage that the hair will encounter depends on the strength of your hair as well as how long you've left the bleaching agent in your hair.
2 months post application
While my hair coloring formula promulgated a permanent moisture-rich hair color, sans ammonia, it contained chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, the oxidizing agent which attacked the melanin, removing the natural pigment.
The end result is hair that is porous so the dye can easily penetrate it to give the resultant color. Since the cuticle (protective sheath) is annihilated, you can also expect accompanying moisture loss, leading to dryness. Split ends and breakage are a part of the package too.
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