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Does Coloring Hair Frequently Damage Your Hair?
Colored hair is on the corner step of the fashion. A lot of women and some men cannot make do without the hair color added on to their daily fashion kit. Hair color makes you look good and feel good. So what’s not to like in it? This article will help settle your mind about hair color and all things related to hair color.
What Is Hair Colouring?
Before embarking upon hair color and deciding on whether to get it done, you should first understand how hair coloring works. Hair coloring is not an apply, rinse, and done process. The science behind it is a little more complicated. In simple terms, Hair coloring or Dyeing is a three-step process:
- Ammonia: Your hair is a complex thing. Each strand is multi-layered. The hair color needs to break across these barriers to stain the hair. To get into the hair shaft, the color first needs to get through the hair cuticle. The cuticle is the first defense layer of the hair. Ammonia breaks through the cuticle by lifting it to allow the color molecules to get into the hair structure.
- Peroxide: The next step to hair coloring is color stripping. After breaking the cuticles to let the color pigments into the hair shaft, you have to make room for these new color molecules by getting rid of the existing color molecules in the hair. This is done by peroxide, also known as bleach.
This process is very damaging to hair. It is because hydrogen peroxide is not a smart molecule. Ideally, it should only target the melanin in the hair structure, but it is known to target even the keratin, which is the primary protein molecule of the hair.
- New Color Depositing: The last step is the application of the new color. After breaking the cuticle and stripping the existing color of the hair molecules, you can now apply the desired color to these molecules and allow them to bond with the hair cortex. This is what gives color to the hair.
Hair Colouring and Hair Damage
Anything that goes against the biological nature of a component causes damage to it. Be it your skin, your hair, or the internals of your body. Hair color significantly alters the natural component of your hair structure. Both the components of AmmoniaAmmonia and peroxide alter the nature of hair by lifting the cuticles and stripping the original color molecules of their color so that the new color pigments can bond instead. This causes significant damage to hair.
Hair Coloring – Good Idea or Bad
Hair color damages hair and, as such, is a bad idea all in all. However, there is little evidence to support that hair coloring causes permanent damage. However, that is not to say that you can color your hair as often as you like. But you can color your hair without causing permanent damage. The extent and the intensity of the damage caused can be reduced by following a few practical tips:
- Good quality hair colors
- Natural hair colors
- Using semi-permanent or demi-permanent colors.
- Choosing experienced hair colorist
- Choosing a hair color that goes with your natural hair color. E.g., If your natural shade is dark, you should opt for burgundy, copper, etc. and not go for lighter shades like white blond.
- Your original hair health. The healthier your hair was, to begin with, the lower the damage to your hair and the faster the recovery time taken by it. It all boils down to your hair health.
How Often Should You Dye?
After having established the fact that hair color does damage your hair, the vital question that now arises is, how often can you color your hair without adding to the damage already caused? The important point to recoloring your hair or coloring frequently is that your hair needs a set amount of time to recuperate from the damage caused by the first coloring session. The ideal time is to wait for 6 to 8 weeks before you decide to recolor. To break it down for you hair coloring is like painting on a piece of paper. Now imagine painting over and over again on that piece of paper. Eventually, the paper will become too flimsy to hold that paint and disintegrate. The same concept applies to hair. The greater the frequency of your hair coloring activities, the greater the damage you are doing to your hair. There will come a point when your hair will simply not be able to withstand the stripping and recoloring process and become weak and brittle. So long story short color away and color as many times as you like but stay smart and maintain proper intervals between your hair coloring escapades.
Beyond Hair Health
Hair coloring effects more than just the hair health. It affects your overall health, as well. Below are the two ways in which hair colors affect you beyond just the hair:
- Cancer: The Environmental Working Group recommends keeping the hair color exposure, especially those of dark permanent hair colors to a minimum. Hair colors have certain coal tar ingredients like:
These ingredients are known to have cancer-causing properties.
- Allergy: The second factor is allergy. Hair color has some very strong allergens. The AmmoniaAmmonia, peroxide, and the sensitizers like Paraphenylenediamine (PPDA) are all chemicals present in most of the hair colors. These can cause the following allergic reaction to the scalp and the skin:
- Skin peeling
Hence you should always do an overnight patch test to see whether you are allergic to the product before using it.
Hair Coloring Myths Busted
The most popular myth around hair color is that AmmoniaAmmonia free dyes do not damage your hair. You could not be more wrong. While there are milder alternatives, they are not the most popular substitute. Ammonia free colors popularly use a different component called “Monoethanolamine” (MEA) to break the cuticles. The only difference is that MEA is in a liquid form and not gaseous like Ammonia and hence actually stays in your hair a lot longer. This causes more damage to the hair shaft than the regular AmmoniaAmmonia. Further, using MEA does not even give the same intensity of color as ammonia products. This is because MEA is a smaller molecule that does not lift the cuticle as much as AmmoniaAmmonia. Hence the color molecules have a lot less space to bond with the hair cortex. Because of this, you will have to recolor more often than with ammonia products, eventually causing more damage.
Hair coloring does damage your hair, but the damage is reversible and can be kept to a minimum level. There is a link to hair damage and the frequency of hair coloring, but if you keep a minimum interval, then the frequency does not affect much.
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