Dos and Don’ts of Hair Coloring

As the summer season rolls around, you can expect to see warmer weather and brighter colors. And I’m not just talking about clothes — I’m talking hair! Celebrities like Keri Hilson and Raven-Symone have added new shades to their tresses, and if you’re thinking about doing the same, there are some things you might want to think about beforehand.

Coloring your hair is a great way to switch up your ‘do, but if it isn’t done properly, it can damage your locks. Few women think about the products they put in their hair these days, which is why salon hair color brand Wella Professionals has embarked on a mission to educate women on hair color with its Hair Discovery Tour.

The tour, which launched last week in New York City, gives those who attend free hair color consultations 25 percent off Wella hair services at a participating salon.

Black Voices caught up with celebrity hair colorist Aura Freidman — who has worked with the likes of Lady GaGa and M.I.A. — at last week’s event to discuss alternatives to permanent hair coloring, her take on box dyes and tips for black women who dye their hair.

What do you recommend for women who are worried about damaging their hair?

If you’re worried about damaging your hair, then you should avoid lightening your hair too much. If you do lighten your hair, then it’s best to use reconstructive conditioners or masks to re-moisturize your hair.

You should also look at how much the maintenance is going to be because the more often you get it done, the more damaging it will be in the future as the color treatments pile on. If you use something like color touch, which is a demi-permanent color that has no ammonia, it’s the least damaging, and it will give your hair a lot of shine, which will last a long time and won’t require that many touch-ups.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when coloring their hair?

Something that I’ve had to fix the most often has been home box color. I think people do it to save money, but they end up paying more money because they have to have a huge correction done in the salon, which costs way more money than if they had done it in the salon in the first place.

People don’t know there’s a science to hair coloring — there really is. When you don’t know the science to it, you can end up with something that doesn’t look good, like an orange shade or the wrong color altogether.

Do you have any recommendations for women of color who dye their hair?

If you’re an African American woman who gets a lot of relaxers, then you should probably stick to demi-permanent color because it’s a deposit only. It’s not going to damage the hair at all and you have to be very careful, because once it’s been relaxed, the hair is so much weaker. But on natural African American hair, you can do a lot more; you can lighten, you can highlight.

I think you should just be careful about what you do in general on any kind of hair. As a colorist, I always touch the hair to make sure it can take what I’m about to do to it. And usually if someone wants to do something to their hair that’s especially damaging, I’ll let them know what’s going to happen and how to care for it. You tell them, “Your texture is going to change. This is how you care for it. This is how you take care of it.” That’s why it’s important to have great color consultations before you dye your hair.

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