Myths about coloring hair
January 30, 2021
If you haven’t already brushed up on the basics of hair I highly recommend checking it out, or referencing it if you’ve got questions as you read along. Don’t miss out on the rest of the hair myths series. I’ve addressed a lot of hair myths in my years behind the chair and starting my own website has given me a great opportunity to really address those in detail for you!
You can watch this video for a brief rundown of the text, skipping ahead to 0:40 to skip the intro.
Swimming in a pool turning blonde hair green:
This is a totally plausible thing. It happens most commonly with blondes for a few reasons. One of them being that lighter hair shows changes more readily, and the other being that damaged and overly porous hair grabs unwanted colors a lot more easily. Why does it happen in the first place? If the water in your pool has copper in it (most water has minerals like that in it), the chlorine can bond with the copper minerals which then oxidize and turn green. Think about the Statue of Liberty and the green color she is, well she used to be a shiny copper color.
Coloring hair during pregnancy:
I’m gonna start this one with the disclaimer of it’s always better to err on the side of caution and choose not to color your hair if you’re nervous about it. Your feelings are valid and you choose what you expose your body to. I was sure to ask my doctor about this when I got pregnant because I was also a color specialist and spent a lot of time around various forms of color. My doctor’s advice was to make sure I was in a well ventilated area, don’t eat it, and use my best judgment as each situation arose.
One of the biggest reasons you don’t see more official studies that involve pregnant people is that it’s always better to err on the side of caution. For the most part, as long as the person coloring your hair is aware of general safety measures, it’s fine to color your hair during pregnancy. Your scalp and skin do absorb things, but your body has a pretty effective filtration system that will keep anything bad from staying in your bloodstream for too long. If you’re worried about chemicals on your scalp there are off scalp options for coloring, and don’t hesitate to bring those up with your stylist and of course, your doctor.
The “blue haired old ladies”:
Here’s some quick color science for you. The lighter your hair color is the more likely it is to pick up unwanted tones from day to day activities. For someone with naturally white hair, this can often be from minerals in the water you wash your hair with. This led some people to try using a blue rinse to combat a brassier orange, or a purple rinse to combat a yellowing. Depending on the overall condition of your hair and how long you leave those things on for, the parts of your hair that hadn’t been affected by the problematic color can grab the coloring from the rinse, leaving you with a blue or violet “afterglow” once you’re done. These are also the color families used most often to help get you to that bright white silver you saw in that picture on Pinterest, and can leave you with the same afterglow if your hair isn’t cooperative.
Color after henna and color lifting color:
This is going to be a long answer. You’ll hear a lot of stylists say flat out that henna damages the hair and that you can’t ever color over it or use lightener after you’ve used henna; none of that is really true, but it absolutely requires a lot of research and being honest with your stylist about your hair history.
To start, henna is a more natural coloring agent than what most of us carry in the salon. It often has a red base, but can be found in other color variants as well. Being more natural does mean that it’s more limited in what it can achieve as far as results, but the results it does give tend to be fairly consistent. The color molecules in the henna bind with the keratin in the hair strand and require a longer “processing” time to allow for that to happen, as opposed to an oxidative color that uses a chemical reaction to open the cuticle of the hair and deposit color molecules. As long as your henna is PPD free, the only part of a henna application that may damage your hair is using too much lemon juice when you mix it. Because the lemon juice is so acidic, it can deepen the color results of the henna you apply, but can also be harsh on already damaged hair.
When it comes to trying to lighten the hair after a henna coloring, it is vitally important to know whether or not it contained metallic salts. When lightener comes in contact with the metallic salts commonly found in some colors, it can have an almost violent chemical reaction that usually leaves the hair hot, smoking, and in some cases melted right off. A test strand will tell you very quickly if lightener is something your hair can handle or not. If it is chemically possible, also be aware of the fact that it will likely take a few applications to get as light as you want, and that it may not happen at all. That’s an issue that also comes up with going lighter after any dark artificial color has been applied.
As far as color lifting color goes, permanent color can lift natural hair, giving you even results. It can also lift previously colored hair, but not consistently enough to rely on and not well enough to be effective. There’s a really long scientific answer to this, but the short version is that if you want to go lighter you’re looking at lightener, and if you want to go darker you’re looking at color. If you’re concerned about lightener causing damage, ask your stylist what bond builder they’re using. I use B3 in my colors to protect the integrity of your hair and add shine.
Do you have questions or concerns that you want to see me address? Leave a comment or reach out on social media! You can always book a consultation to ask me questions in person!