If you have curly hair and have worked hard to preserve your coils, getting a blowout or silk press every once in a while, may feel like you’re taking a huge risk on a super shaky investment. And to be honest, you kind of are. The good news is that what you do on wash day — both before and after the shower — can help preserve your curl pattern, prevent heat damage, and make the time spent caring for your curls worth the gamble. And it doesn’t mean losing the flexibility to switch things up, either.
First, let’s get the most pressing issue out of the way. It is completely possible to have healthy curls and rock a blowout without totally destroying your hair. What’s most important is the level of heat protection that you use when you’re styling. That, combined with taking a few extra steps during the wash process, ensures that your strands are in optimal shape to withstand heat styling.
How heat styling can affect your curls
If you’ve ever noticed that your curls aren’t 100 percent back in tip-top shape the first time you wash your hair, you’re not imagining things. If you’ve used high heat, up to 450 degrees, the bonds in your hair need time to get back into formation. If the flatiron was really hot, like 450 degrees, then it could take a few washes for the bonds [in your hair] to reorganize, even if your hair isn’t damaged per se.
So, what happens to your curls when you straighten them that makes them not bounce back? When your curls aren’t protected and heat is applied, the structural proteins within each strand are damaged. This repeated damage essentially breaks down the strand. Once the damage is done, there’s no coming back. You’ll have to either let the limp parts grow out before cutting them off, or snip them immediately. It’s important to realize the damage that heat can do to the proteins inside of the hair as well as on the surface. You need to get the benefits of the heat without the direct contact, which can lead to damage. We suggests priming hair with silicone- and dimethicone-based ingredients to protect your strands.
Silicones aren’t the enemy
Although silicones are a bit controversial for some consumers, Wilson says that it’s these ingredients that will create cross-links on the hair strand and form a film that will essentially block out excessive heat and help reduce damage. If you just can’t get behind a silicone-based product, Wilson says that certain proteins and polymers can essentially do the same thing. Look for these on the ingredient labels: hydrolyzed wheat protein, PG-propyl silanetriol, hydrolyzed keratin, PG-propyl methylsilanediol, and hydrolyzed rice protein. Ingredients like sodium laneth-40, maleate/styrene sulfonate copolymer, sodium methoxy PEG-16 maleate/styrene sulfonate copolymer, and sodium polystyrene sulfonate also help form that crucial film.
How to wash your hair before you straighten it
It’s best to start your straightening process in the shower, but before you wash, apply a protein-infused finisher or a thermal spray to help coax your curls into formation once you get under the water. The more hydrated your hair is, the more manageable it will be, which means less wear and tear on vulnerable coils. Any type of moisture, even after hair is already straightened, can help prevent damage. What the moisture does is preserve the elasticity of each strand, which when healthy, bounce back into shape once the straight bonds are broken with water.
Next, it’s on to cleansing. We recommend using a hydrating shampoo and conditioner and then follow that up with a leave-in conditioner to ensure that your curls snap back. We recommend shampoos and conditioners rich in moisturizing ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, proteins, and safflower oil. Moisture is the key factor standing between your strands and serious damage. Also, shopping for shampoos and conditioners geared toward curly hair is a good idea since most of them are created to moisturize naturally drier hair. After the shower, generously apply a leave-in conditioner and a heat-protecting spray. The combo will work in sync to keep hair hydrated and shield it from any excessive heat.
While cleansing, use a product with enough slip so that there is less friction and pulling on the hair while you scrub and detangle. “Many shampoos and conditioners geared towards curls have the right balance of conditioning agents, humectants, and surfactants to help curls bounce back. You can see it immediately when you’re working the shampoo through your hair,” says Wilson.
Caring for your hair while it’s straightened
So, you’ve fully straightened your hair. Cool. It may be tough, but in between straightenings, avoid using heat for touch-ups. If you must, always apply a heat protectant beforehand. It’s an easy step to forget each time, but could make all the difference on the state of your strands. Also, cut down on how often you’re washing. Using too much shampoo on textured hair tends to dry it out. We would recommend washing your hair every five to seven days, especially for those girls who have color.
If your straightening sessions are seasonal and you plan to wear your hair straight for the next few months, incorporate weekly protein treatments into your routine. Protein treatments are great for people who color, relax, texturize, or use high heat on their hair. It helps decrease shedding and breakage by boosting the hair with nutrients that help reconstruct and strengthen damaged hair. But, pay attention to how your hair is responding to both protein treatments and regular conditioner. If your hair is too stretched out when it’s wet, then you need more protein. If your hair snaps too easily and is brittle, then you need more moisture. Maintain a proper balance and you’ll notice stronger curls over time.
The Post Straightening Wash
The first time you wash after you straighten is equally as important as every other step already mentioned. Blowouts can really dry out hair so try to incorporate as much moisture as possible while balancing it with a light protein treatment. You may want to swap out your regular conditioner for that first wash with something that will sink in deeper. Keep in mind that you may have also compromised hair’s ability to hold on to moisture — so you want to add proteins back to the hair that can help restore how well it retains hydration.
We recommend doing a good conditioning mask and a steam treatment right before that first wash. Also, try to stay away from heavy products that can weigh the hair down and stretch out the curls even further. Look for products that specifically say “curl enhancing” or “curl defining. They’ll most likely be lightweight and may even have some ingredients to help reshape each coil.
Now go forth, and straighten your hair without compromising your glorious curls.
Everyone has a hair care routine they have been practicing for years. While some hair care rules you should still swear by, others may actually be a myth. These mythical hair care rules can actually do more damage than good to your hair. We are here to help by breaking down some of these myths and debunking them for good.
Frequent haircuts make hair grow faster
The reason why your hair seems to grow longer after every cut actually has nothing to do with the act of growing. Your hair grows from hair follicles on your scalp, so technically, it is always growing at the same rate, whether or not you have recently cut your hair.
Split dead ends are removed when you get a professional haircut, making hair growth more noticeable. When dead ends are not removed, they grow fragile and break, making hair seem like it is growing slower when, in reality, it is growing at its normal rate.
Brushing makes hair shinier
This myth actually has an adverse effect. If hair is brushed too frequently, the cuticles are damaged, and the hair appears to be duller. To prevent damage from brushing, start at the bottom of your hair and work your way up. Always avoid brushing too hard around the scalp.
Removing one grey hair causes two more to grow in its place
This is a common fear but, luckily, it is a myth. Grey hairs are caused by the hair follicle, so plucking it will make the grey hair temporarily disappear, but it does not affect the surrounding follicles.
Hair grows faster when you sleep with it down
Hair growth remains the same no matter what you do, and it depends on genetics. Although sleeping with your hair down does not change the rate of growth, it does protect hair from damage. If you are concerned your skin will break out by sleeping with your hair down, sleep with a loose braid or ponytail to keep your hair away from your face.
Blow drying causes damage
This myth is only true if you improperly blow-dry your hair. Do not use the highest heat setting or hold the blow dryer too close to the hair. Instead, blow-dry on a low heat and hold the dryer at a distance to prevent excessive damage. Use high-quality moisture to protect your hair from the heat.
Air drying is better than blow drying
Exposing hair for long periods of time to water causes the hair’s interior to swell. This actually proves to be more damaging in the long-term.
Oil makes hair greasy
If you apply oil directly to the scalp then yes, this myth is true. Small amounts of oil applied to the ends of your hair, however, does not make your hair greasy. Instead, it makes it shine.
Coloring during pregnancy is dangerous
The real concern is ammonia inhalation, not absorption through the scalp. Always consult your stylist before considering dying your hair to get a professional opinion, and if pregnant, do not dye your hair at home.
Using the same conditioner and shampoo repeatedly does not cause hair to become immune to its effects. Hair is dead, therefore, it is impossible for it to build immunity to something.
Your mind may actually make this myth seem real. If you use the same product repeatedly, its newness wears off, and your perception changes, making you think it is no longer having a beneficial effect.
Coloring causes damage
This myth does hold some truth, depending on the chemicals in your hair dye. This is why it is vital to see a specialist for your coloring needs; this way they can assess your scalp’s needs and choose a dye that will not damage or burn the scalp.
Dry shampoo is better for your scalp than regular
With the rise in popularity of dry shampoo, it is understandable that a few myths will surface. The reality is that dry shampoo does not clean hair, but makes it appear to be clean.
Your scalp needs hydration, which is accomplished through the use of a proper shampoo. Save the dry shampoo for when you really are in a pinch, but still wash your hair regularly for a healthy scalp.
Baldness in men is inherited from their mother
Researchers suspect that baldness is the result of multiple genes from both parents. The old thought process that baldness is passed on by the mother’s X chromosome has no scientific proof.
Dandruff signifies a dry scalp
Contrary to popular belief, dandruff is actually the result of an oily scalp, not a dry scalp. The yeast which results in dandruff production thrives in an oily environment, so decreasing how often you wash your hair to decrease dandruff has the opposite effect.
If you are struggling with dandruff, then use a specialized anti-dandruff shampoo.
Products made for or marketed to a specific race/ethnicity cannot be used by those of other backgrounds
The ingredients in a product matter much more than to whom the product is marketed. In fact, most products have the same set of three to five base ingredients. Products for “ethnic” hair types tend to be more moisturizing and have more oils and proteins than those for other hair types. Damaged hair needs a good dose of moisture, proteins and oil to regain its healthy appearance.
The same holds true for products marketed to those with color-treated hair. Even if your hair is not dyed, using a product for color-treated hair can be beneficial because these shampoo formulas tend to be gentler (to preserve easily washed away hair color) and conditioners tend to be super-conditioning, but lightweight, to help reduce dryness from the coloring process.
Let’s admit it. We’ve all skipped a workout to keep our hair looking fresh for a little while longer. Sometimes, dealing with a greasy mess of hair just isn’t worth it when you have plans with friends, are off to work, or just can’t bear the thought of going through your entire hair wash routine. No judgement here.
Still, skipping out on a good, sweaty workout sesh to keep your hair clean also isn’t the best solution. That’s why we’ve gathered our favorite ways to get fresh hair after the gym quicky—no washing required. Whether you’re meeting up with friends for brunch post hot yoga, heading out on a date after your favorite SoulCycle class, or making a mad dash to work after your morning workout, read on to learn how to get amazing post-workout hair.
BEFORE THE GYM
APPLY DRY SHAMPOO
AKA the Wonder Woman of haircare products, the Queen B, the Crowning Glory. Whatever you want to call it, dry shampoo is the haircare product every woman has and needs in their hair care arsenal.
Along with properly stretching, a major part of your pre-workout routine should also be applying dry shampoo if washing your hair post-workout isn’t an option. Before tossing your hair into a ponytail or messy bun, begin by sectioning off various pieces of your hair and hitting the roots with dry shampoo. Be sure to pay a little extra attention to the nape of your neck, since that area tends to build up sweat a lot more. Applying dry shampoo pre-workout will help it absorb moisture the minute you break a sweat and will continue to absorb it throughout your workout, keeping it much drier than it would normally be by the time you’re finished. Controlling the amount of moisture in your hair will keep it fresher and helps cut down on the time it takes to style your mane post workout.
Another added benefit of making this your pre-workout hair routine is that you won’t have to wash your hair after every single workout, preserving the natural oils in your hair and preventing dryness.
THINK AHEAD, CHOOSE THE RIGHT GYM HAIRSTYLE
Although not the most glamorous, a sweatband will help absorb sweat as it develops around your hairline, helping to minimize how ‘dirty’ your hair gets throughout your workout. Opt for thick, soft bands instead of tight thin ones, as those can leave a stubborn indent right at the top of your head, which is hard to get rid of without a shower.
MESSY LOW BUN
Pulling your hair up and away from the nape of your neck in a loose pony or messy bun is also important as it avoids getting your ends drenched in sweat and minimizes creasing. To avoid those pesky and notorious creases you get from conventional hair elastics, we recommend investing in several spiral hair ties or ribbon hair ties. These work on all hair types and provide a decent hold on your hair without pulling and creasing.
If you have curly, wavy, or textured hair, braids are a classic way to keep hair from becoming wild and unruly during a workout, enhancing your natural texture. If your hair is straight, the humidity at the gym will lead to heatless waves after your workout.
AFTER THE GYM
2 MINUTE BLOW OUT
Whether you’re popping in a pair of extensions before going out for the night or touching up your roots with mascara because there wasn’t enough time that week for a color touch up, it’s important to know which shortcuts to take and how to take them so that they don’t look like you took the shorter route to get ready.
To get that salon-quality look after the gym, let’s first review everything you need to permanently house in your gym bag for the perfect post-workout hairstyle: Comb, round brush, dry shampoo, and blowout cream.
To achieve that post-workout express blowout without turning into a frazzled hot mess, start by applying the products you know your hair needs; that might look like an extra dusting of dry shampoo along with a blow dry cream that’s applied all through your hair. Next, thoroughly dry your hair. Leaving behind any moisture (especially by the roots) causes hair to become frizzy and puffy. Flip your hair forward so that it is upside down, continue to blow dry hair and brush through various sections with a round brush. An added bonus is that blow drying your hair with your head flipped forward will actually create volume and body for that salon blowout effect.
Next, apply dry shampoo at your temples, and any other areas that require a bit of extra love. Run a comb through your hair to distribute the dry shampoo to any sections you may have accidentally skipped over and will help your mane look neat and polished.
If dry shampoos aren’t really your thing or you’d prefer to avoid loading up products, which can often weigh down hair, try experimenting with different astringents. Products like witch hazel and other toners work to balance the oils on your skin without being too harsh or stripping too much of your body’s natural oils. After you’re done getting zen at hot yoga, a quick and simple way to freshen up your scalp and manage greasy hair is to start by loading up a cotton ball with your favorite astringent, section off the hair like you would when applying dry shampoo and dap the cotton throughout your scalp. Finally, give your hair a blast of air all over using low heat.
EMBRACE THE GRIT: SLICKED BACK PONY TAIL
One of the most underrated and underappreciated hairstyles is the slicked-back bun, which exudes an air of elegance and sophistication. Instead of fighting with your oily hair, why not embrace the grit? Brush your hair back with a paddle brush or comb, and twist it into a low bun or ponytail. Then, apply a few drops of hair oil to exaggerate the sleek look, spritz on a little hairspray to tame fly-aways, and you’re set to head out the door!
WEAR A HAT
Throwing on a hat post workout may seem like an easy way out but realistically the majority of us don’t always have the luxury or the time to spend our mornings beautifying ourselves and styling our hair. Not only that, not everyone is always willing to sacrifice an extra 20 minutes of sleep for time in front of the mirror. Wearing a hat to camouflage a dirty mane is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and with athleisure fashion taking over, you can chalk your new hat up to keeping up with the trends.
HAIR PERFUME MIST
So, you’ve refreshed your body and face with lovely scents, but what about your hair? Fragrant hair mists are specifically designed to load your hair up with a delicious scent, perfect for that post-workout refresh. Different from a perfume designed for the body, hair perfume mists contain essential vitamins and protective qualities to keep your hair not only smelling good, but looking and feeling good from the inside out. Hair perfumes also contain less alcohol than traditional body perfumes, which are known culprits of dry, damaged hair.
If you have wavy or curly hair, use your favorite sulfate-free and alcohol-free styling cream to twist and scrunch the hair to help it maintain the curl. An extra tip is to apply leave-in conditioner before your sesh, to hydrate those curls while you work out.
If your hair isn’t prone to getting too frizzy, then you can indulge in a quick rinse and let your hair air dry. For a nice touch, twist the front sections of your hair back and pin them down.
There are plenty of clever ways to manage your hair after a sweaty workout. As always, when it comes to hair, it’s about experimenting and figuring out what works best for you. At the end of the day, no one ever regretted working out, so wear your sleek ponytail proudly and know that you’re working on a healthy body and mind from the inside out.
Eyebrow trends don’t always look good on everyone, and many of us have the middle-school class photos to prove it. Should your eyebrows match your hair color?
So you’ve tweezed, waxed, and threaded those lazy caterpillars into perfection—hooray! But once the stinging fades, you’re faced with a new brow conundrum: matching your brow hue to your hair color (natural or otherwise). Before you go crazy with pencils, powders, and tints, read these expert-approved color do’s and don’ts:
Don’t Play Matchy Matchy
When it comes to foundation and tinted moisturizer, the goal is finding a shade that seamlessly matches your skin tone. However, when it comes to hair and brows you should aim for a slight contrast, which will frame your face and draw attention to your eyes. Nothing screams, ‘Dye job!’ like eyebrows that are the exact same color as your hair.
Do Mask Pesky Greys
We’re all for owning silvery shades but when it comes to brows, it’s best to keep greys at bay. Your brow hue should enhance your eye color, and grey has the absolute opposite effect—even if your hair color is grey, take it out of your brows.
Don’t Make Blonde Brows, Blonder
Blondes may have more fun but no-see-um brows can make your face look washed out. Pale blonde eyebrows will make you look like you have no eyebrows, and that’s not a good look for anyone. Whether you owe your honey hue to genetics or a great hair colorist, use a lightly tinted brow pencil to add dimension back to your complexion.
Do Keep it in the (Color) Family
Opt for a natural look and keep your brows and hair color in the same tonal family. If you have golden blonde or brown hair, then your brows should have a warm tone to them. If you’re a sandy blonde or coffee brown, try a cool tone.
Do Grab A Top-Notch Eyebrow Tint
To add some oomph to your arches we suggest taking the brows one to two shades deeper than your hair tone. This will help to create a nice full frame for your eyes.
Switching up your hair to a longer, fuller, more voluminous style is fun, and it’s one of the best (most non-committal) ways to achieve a major hair makeover is experimenting with extensions. Your hairstyle options are practically endless when it comes to extensions—they give you even more freedom to rock unexpected cuts and colors. Tape in extensions are the newest hair extension trend on the market.
Tape in hair extensions are thin tape wefts that get “taped-in” in between your own hair in “sandwich” like bonds. It is the most requested hair extension method in salons worldwide. Here are the top 5 reasons why tape in hair extensions are the newest craze!
Tape in hair extensions are the least expensive semi-permanent hair extension method available for both the cost of hair and the application. They take less than an hour to apply so that makes the application costs much lower. Also, due to the structure of the tape wefts and how the wefts are applied in the hair, the maintenance costs associated with tape in hair extensions are MUCH lower than any other semi-permanent method. The construction of tape extensions are 1-inch panels of hair, they are easier to make than the individual extensions.
They are the easiest hair extension method to maintain due to their thin construction and width. Most women actually forget that they are wearing them. You tape it and forget it, until about 10-12 weeks later when it’s time to move them up. You will want to invest in a higher quality tape extension brand. You will spend more in the beginning, but they will last better in the long run. The higher quality tape extensions will not shed, mat or tangle and they will be reusable. As long as you have a good quality tape in hair extension brand, the maintenance will be super easy and hassle free.
Tape in hair extension damage Least Damaging:
They are very lightweight and do not pull on your own hair like other extensions do – they grow out with your own hair. Clip in extensions are very heavy and can cause bald spots if you wear them every day. Note: if you have fine hair, traditional clip ins are not best for you! Individual extensions (fusion, micro, i-tip etc) can be very damaging and tend to tangle more, causing you to lose hair. Tape in hair extensions are non-damaging and very easy to remove. With tape in hair extensions you will not lose hair or experience any discomfort.
Tape in extensions are reusable for up to a year, they are good for 3-4 applications. Being able to reuse your hair extensions is such a benefit, especially if you have had your extensions customized with a cut or color. Once you remove the tape for tape extensions you clean them, add new tape, and then re-apply them. That is why getting high quality tape extensions is most important. You want good hair and tape to last through the year, or else you will be removing your new tape extensions within a matter of 4 weeks. Individual extensions are not reusable and clip extensions tend to get worn out within a matter of 6 months (depending on your wear and use). The removal of tape extensions takes only 15 minutes. Whereas the removal of individual extensions can be hours (with hair loss and hair pulling involved)!
Invisible and Flexible:
There are so many things you can do with tape extensions that you cannot with clips: wear them in any type of hairstyle: braids, super high ponytails etc. They are really thin and invisible! The best thing about tape in hair extensions compared to individual hair extensions is that when you wash and blow dry your hair they are MUCH more flexible and easier to dry and take care of. The individual extensions are stringy, tend to tangle, and the actual bonds are not as flexible and soft as tape extensions when it comes to washing and blow drying. If you want truly invisible and flexible extensions, tape in hair extensions are the best.
While the prospect of visiting a new destination is one of the most exciting feelings there is, the thought of having to pack for it can be extremely stressful. So many factors come into play when deciding what to take with you and what to leave behind.
Clothing is an absolute necessity and will take up significant space in your suitcase, but what about your makeup and your hair care? You still want to retain some of the luxuries of home while you’re away… And you also shouldn’t gamble on the fact that the place you are staying will provide hair care products, or that they will even work with your hair!
It’s all about being strategic when packing and deciding what products will be the most useful to you while on vacation.
Consider this your good hair vacation checklist.
Organize Your Suitcase
To make sure you have ample room for all of your beauty must-haves, invest in packing cubes for your clothing. They’ll not only help you keep your suitcase organized by like items, but they’ll also make it easier to see what you’ve already packed. You’ll be less likely to overpack!
Aim For Travel Sized Bottles or Use Up Those Samples
If you do not want to check a bag, pay close attention to TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule.
You may bring in your carry-on bag:
- Liquid containers of 3.4 ounces or less per item
- 1 clear, quart-sized zip bag
- 1 bag per passenger
You know all the tiny makeup and skincare freebies you often get as free gifts with purchase? These pack up super compact and leave more room in your suitcase for other things. Traveling is a fun time to try new products and experiment with your look. The best part is, at the end of the trip, you can toss the leftovers to free up space.
Shampoo & Conditioner
Choose a shampoo and conditioner duo that will help minimize the need to wash frequently while you are away. Try our gentle blowout line in travel size to keep your hair clean and voluminous.
Pack Multi-purpose Styling Products & Tools
First and foremost, if you are traveling overseas, make sure to bring a converter specific to the country you are headed to. This will ensure you can use your styling tools without any problems. And instead of taking multiple styling tools, try an iron that allows you to both straighten and curl your hair.
It’s a good idea to bring products that can be used in different ways to combat a multitude of hair concerns depending on where you are traveling to. You never know when you’ll need a little extra protection against frizz!
Heat Protectant Is Always A Must
If you bring styling tools with you, this is one product you’ll want to travel with! Not only does it protect against the heat of your tools, it also protects your hair and hair color against the sun’s damaging rays.
Add Some Accessories
Don’t forget the hair accessories when you pack for a trip. Make sure to have lots of bobby pins and clips to tackle frizz and fly-aways.
Some cute, colorful elastics will help you to tie up your hair in a snap (especially if you want to keep it out of the water).
Make sure to bring statement accessories like a hat and a lightweight scarf to help shield your hair from the sun and look cute at the same time!
Learn A Go-To Hairstyle
If you’re not too keen on heat-styling while on vacation, why not brush up on your braiding or bun techniques? A sleek, low or messy high bun makes for a classic, low maintenance hairstyle that is practically weatherproof.
Braids are also a great option because there are so many variations (think: Dutch, French, fishtail, double, etc.) They can give you two days’ worth of hairstyles because when you take the braids out on the second day, you are left with some gorgeous waves.
Going to a salon for professional highlights and hair coloring is expensive and time consuming. You can dye and highlight your hair with a $1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%) at home. Just make sure to go slowly and read all the tips below to be safe. While a salon is THE safest way to dye your hair, it is possible to dye your hair safely at home. Of course, you could also dump a whole bottle on your head and come out with a terrible, blotchy dye job. So read these tips first!
IS HYDROGEN PEROXIDE SAFE?
- Permanent and demi-permanent dyes at the salon and drugstore contain peroxide and often ammonia, so you are putting some of the same chemicals into your hair that you would pay a professional to. The difference is that a beautician is trained in how much to use, how long to leave it on, etc.
- Peroxide in large quantities should not have prolonged contact with skin. Small amounts, however, are not harmful.
- Dye your hair safely by using an old towel, donning an old tee shirt, and wearing gloves (more prep tips below).
- Make sure you are using 3% hydrogen peroxide. Check the “active ingredients” label for a 3% solution.
WHAT COLOR WILL PEROXIDE MAKE MY HAIR?
The way peroxide reacts to your hair is one of the biggest factors. If you go slowly and test strands to get the color you want, in most cases, the dye will make your hair one or two shades lighter.
BROWN HAIR RUNS THE RISK OF TURNING ORANGE. TEST A HIDDEN SAMPLE FIRST.
- Dark brown hair –> likely going to turn chestnut brown. Too much may lead to an orangey brown so stop before it’s too late.
- Medium brown hair –> likely going to turn to golden brown hair.
- Light brown hair –> likely going to turn dirty blond.
- Red hair –> likely going to turn an orange before moving onto strawberry blond.
- Dirty blond hair –> likely going to turn light blonde.
- Light blonde –> likely going to turn whitish blond (if your hair is already light blonde, why are you dyeing it????)
SHOULD I GO TO A PROFESSIONAL?
The answer is yes, if:
- You have damaged, permed, or color-treated hair
- You want to drastically change the color of your hair
- You hate the results of your DIY job
WHAT YOU NEED TO DYE YOUR HAIR WITH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
- An old tee shirt to wear
- Old towel to wrap around your neck
- Gloves to protect your hands
- Claw or butterfly clips to isolate sections of hair
- Toothbrush, cotton balls, sponge, or small brush to apply (for highlights)
- Clean spray bottle (for whole head)
- Aluminum foil (for highlights)
- Plastic shower cap (for whole head of hair)
- Bowl to pour small amount of peroxide into (for highlights)
- Hair dryer (optional – gentle heat speeds up the process)
- Cold water for a thorough rinsing after
- Deep conditioner
PREP YOUR HAIR
- Stop any hair treatments a few weeks before you plan to dye your hair.
- Avoid using extra chemicals in your hair, like hairspray, gel, mouse, and especially stronger treatments like color jobs, straightener, perms, etc.
- No heat. Avoid heating your hair, including using a hair dryer, heating iron, curlers, etc.
- Shampoo and condition your hair, then let it air dry. Start when your hair is damp as you’ll get better results.
- Test a small section of your hair underneath several layers and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and see if you like the color. Experiment with another discreet strand for more time in 15-minute increments until you get the color you like. Rinse each strand after you’re done.
- Get a buddy. If at all possible, get help from a friend. This will speed everything up (you don’t want one section of your hair to have peroxide in any longer than the rest). Plus, it’ll make applying the dye in the back of your head easier, and if you need a second opinion, voila!
HOW TO HIGHLIGHT YOUR HAIR WITH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
- Start SLOWLY. I repeat, start very, very slowly. Everyone’s hair will react differently so it’s best to take it slowly at first. If you dive right in and don’t like the color, you’ll either be really pissed at your hair for several weeks or be forced to go to the salon for an expensive fix.
- You’ll need a new toothbrush, a small bowl for pouring the peroxide into, and a comb with a parting tool on one end to separate minute strands of hair. You’ll also want 5-10 butterfly clips to section off your hair. This is the best way to get an even, professional-looking dye job without paying big bucks! You can unclip each section, then reclip as your work through your head.
- Avoid skin. Large amounts of hydrogen peroxide that have prolonged contact with skin can irritate or burn the skin. A few drips here and there, however, should not have a harmful effect. (Hydrogen peroxide is used to disinfect wounds, after all.)
- First application. Grab a new toothbrush and dip it into a small bowl of hydrogen peroxide. With a comb that has a pointer parting tool at one end, grab a few strands of hair. Err on the side of fewer strands of hair. Think of taking only a very thing wedge amongst your head of hair. You don’t want your dye job to look clumpy. And you don’t want drastic color changes, which will make your highlights look very unnatural. On second thought, maybe that is the look you’re going for. (See below for dyeing your entire head of hair.)
- Apply heat (optional). Heating your hair with peroxide in it will speed the process. This is optional and if you are not sure how the peroxide is going to affect your hair, I’d hold off on using heat.
- Rinse with cold. Cold water will do the best job of getting the peroxide out and won’t further dry out your hair. Air dry as heat will further dry out your hair.
- Each day, follow the above steps to highlight your hair with peroxide. If you are doing your entire head (tips below) wait a week between dye jobs. Slow progress is better for your hair than an intense dye job, which can have disastrous effects on your hair color and quality.
- Enjoy the slow transformation of your hair color. You won’t get sandy blond hair overnight, which is a good thing. Depending on the starting color of your hair, past hair treatments including dye jobs or straightening jobs, and your hair texture, the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution will affect your hair uniquely. So, a slow transformation empowers you to stop at any time if you’re unhappy with the results. See below for what color peroxide will turn your hair.
HOW TO DYE ALL OF YOUR HAIR WITH PEROXIDE
- Read the steps in the section above “Before you dye your hair with hydrogen peroxide”
- Full head, slowly. Once you’ve experimented with very slow application to your hair and are happy with the way your hair reacts, dye your entire head of hair slowly with hydrogen peroxide Grab a small spray bottle and fill half with peroxide and half with water. Spritz your hair a few times every morning. You don’t want your hair to be wet or even damp. Just a few spritzes and that’s it. This is a quick and easy way to get an overall lightening effect but if you put too much in your hair, the peroxide will damage it. Since the peroxide spritz will cover your entire head, don’t expect highlights, but a lighter color everywhere. If you opt to put more than a few spritzes in your hair, see “Full head, fast.”
- Full head, fast. Grab an empty, clean bottle, mix a half cup of peroxide with a half cup of conditioner, then apply to your hair, taking care not to get any onto your face, hands, or skin. Use gloves. Watch this video (one of the better ones I’ve seen while researching this post) during which a girl mixes peroxide with baking soda, shampoo and conditioner, then rubs the gunk all over her hair to dye her entire head of hair a few shades lighter. The results are noticeable, and beautiful.
AFTER YOU DYE YOUR HAIR WITH PEROXIDE
- Massage rich conditioner into your hair. Don’t skimp! The dye will dry out your hair, and depending on how long you left it in, will really need special treatment. Leave on a bit longer than usual, then rinse.
- Skip washes. Shampooing your hair strips it of its natural oils, further drying your hair. Shampoo as infrequently as possible, and use dry powder shampoo when you need to clean it.
- Limit heat. Use a hair dryer, hot curlers, or a straightening iron no more than once a week. Your hair needs to stay as hydrated as possible during and after the dye process, so embrace air drying for now.
- Restore shine. Give your hair an olive oil treatment or a mayo treatment to get your shiny hair back.
- Olive oil treatment. Massage warm olive oil into your hair and scalp until your entire head of hair is moist with olive oil. Wrap your hair in a towel and let it sit for a couple of hours. Wash out with shampoo and conditioner, then enjoy your shiny hair!
- Mayo treatment. Like the olive oil treatment, you can make your hair shiny with a mayonnaise treatment. Massage 1/2 cups of mayonnaise into your hair (more if you have a LOT of hair). Wrap your mayo-y head in a plastic shower cap, then grab your hair dryer and apply heat until your head is warm (a few minutes). You can also pull on a wool cap to heat up your hair. Once warm, turn off your hair dryer and let it sit for at least one hour. The very warm mayonnaise makes your hair very shiny.
OTHER NATURAL HAIR DYES TO LIGHTEN YOUR HAIR COLOR
- If you’re unhappy with the way peroxide reacts to your hair, or you want a more natural method of highlighting your hair, try squeezing lemon juice into your hair and sitting in the sun. This is a slow, gradual process to lighten and maintain a lighter hair color. Squeeze in enough juice to make your hair very damp, then sit in the sun for one hour. Condition or use one of the restorative treatments below as the juice will really dry out your hair. Repeat regularly.
- Cinnamon and honey and olive oil really do work!
- Henna (no surprise there!)
- Chamomile or black tea
- Baking soda
- Apple cider vinegar
- Lots of sunshine!
We pulled together some Spring hair care tips to help you survive the weather change.
Prepare for April Showers
Put hair in a ponytail, braid, then twist around itself and pin. Don’t worry about perfection — the more tousled and textured it looks, the better. If your strands are shorter, use a bobby pin to pin the front section behind your ear; it adds polish to your look, keeps hair out of your face, and takes seconds.
During this record-breaking snowfall winter season, not only does the air become very dry, so does your hair! Snipping off the dead ends is the first step to freshening up for spring. Rule of thumb is to get a haircut to remove split ends every 8 to 12 weeks.
Fight the Frizz!
All that heat and humidity may be a welcome change, but it always comes with a little bit of frizz. Don’t settle for the crunchiness, though. When picking out your mousse, look for ones with polymers or copolymers. This type of ingredient coats your hair for protection and combats humidity. Read those labels and you’ll be one step ahead of the heat!
Condition Like Crazy
This sounds pretty obvious for avoiding dry ends but it is even more critical to condition your hair in the spring so it’s strong enough to survive the summer. Shove your current conditioner to the bottom shelf for now and invest in some extra-moisture conditioner for the season. If it starts to seem limp or oily, just cut back on your regimen a little.
The sun can damage your hair just as it can damage your skin. Slathering your skin with SPF 30 won’t do much for your hair, but UV protecting shampoo will aid in minimizing the sun’s effects, especially on color-treated hair. Say “No” to unwanted highlights and dryness!
Clean Out the Chlorine
It’s that time! Parties and lazy pool days are on the way, which means the harsh chemicals in chlorine pools are as well. Don’t miss out on a game of water volleyball; clean your hair afterward with clarifying shampoo and you’ll be good to go. As long as you clean it out, those chemicals won’t stand a chance.
For an extra protective step, coat your hair in conditioner before you hit the pool. The conditioner prevents your strands from absorbing as much water while deep conditioning. It’s a win both ways!
Buzzin’ for Balayage
The days are sunnier, so your hair color should be too! If you typically get highlights, ask your colorist for a technique called balayage. The Balayage is a French word meaning to sweep or to paint. It allows for a sun-kissed natural looking hair color with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines.
If you decide to go lighter with your hair color:
- Wash and condition your hair with cool water
- Ensure that you or your hair stylist sets your hair color using heat and then allow it to cool prior to rinsing the color from your hair
- Use color safe shampoos and conditioners
You don’t need us to tell you that your hair needs to be treated well if it is going to look and feel healthy. Following these easy tips will ensure that your hair is ready for all of the fun in the sun that spring and summer have to offer.
Here are some simple and unique options for lightening your hair naturally.
First, lemon juice, diluted half and half with distilled water, will lighten dark blond or light brown hair and won’t leave reddish tones unless your hair already has them. Indeed, this is the most widely used natural hair lightener for a reason.
So, vinegar, like raw apple cider vinegar, will leave reddish highlights in the same hair color. To start, mix apple cider vinegar 50/50 with distilled water. Next, spray it on all over to lighten all of your hair or apply with a cotton ball or brush for strands of highlights. Lastly, leave on for 30 minutes, rinse out, and dry as usual.
Begin by diluting the hydrogen peroxide half and half with water. Next, apply as directed above and test after 15-20 minutes. Note that peroxide will lighten quickly without the worry of drying out like commercial hair bleaches. Lastly, once you get to the shade you want, rinse your hair well. Indeed, for those wanting to know how to lighten hair, peroxide is another very popular method!
Chamomile is great to lighten darker hair. First, brew a really strong cup of chamomile tea and let it cool. Next, apply to individual strands of hair for highlights, or pour over entire head for all over color. Lastly, go out into the sun and let it dry, usually about 30 minutes. Finish by washing out and styling as usual.
On most hair, henna will only darken, but on very dark brown or black hair, henna can lighten and leave reddish highlights. Use about 3 tablespoons of henna powder to a ½ cup of boiling water. Let this sit for 12 hours or overnight. Then apply to your hair and let sit for 2-3 hours. Wash out well and style as you normally would.
Honey and Olive Oil
I’m not sure the exact mechanics of how this works, but it creates nice subtle highlights and softer hair. Warm ¼ cup of honey and add ¼ cup olive oil. Stir well to combine. Apply to your hair where you want the highlights and leave on for 30-60 minutes. About 5 minutes before you wash it out, work it into all of your hair, focusing on ends. Wash out well. If you are using the shower to wash it out, be very careful as oil can create a very slippery surface.
Take a half a cup of your normal conditioner and add enough cinnamon powder to make a thick paste. Apply this to your hair and leave on 3-4 hours or overnight. The longer you leave it, the richer the color. In the morning (or at the end of the 3-4 hours), wash it out well and style as you normally would. This will also soften your hair and leave it nice and silky. Bonus: cinnamon has antioxidants and natural sunscreen that will protect your hair from the damaging rays of the sun.
Honey and Vinegar
If you’re learning how to lighten hair, why not get both for the benefits of honey and vinegar at the same time? Use 2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of honey. Add a tablespoon of warmed coconut oil and blend together well. Apply to your hair, wrap in an old towel, and leave on overnight. Shampoo out in the morning.
This is an old favorite. Use ¼ cup of chopped rhubarb to 2 cups of water. Boil these together and strain the juice. (You can add some sweetener and make a nice toast spread with what’s left!) Then after the juice has cooled, apply it to your hair and leave on for 10 minutes. Wash out well. Rhubarb contains pectin and will get sticky if left on your hair too long.
Simply make a paste with warm water and baking soda to lighten your hair. First, take about a ½ cup and add enough warm water to make a medium paste. We say this because if it’s too thin it won’t cover well and if it’s too thick it will dry out quickly and not work either. Now apply the paste and leave on 15-20 minutes. Check your hair to see what it looks like. If you are happy, wash it out. If you want it lighter, leave it on a bit longer.
You can crush 8-9 Vitamin C tablets and mix into the amount of shampoo you would normally use on your hair. Shampoo as usual and follow with conditioner.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon salt (any kind) with ½ cup of warm water. Leave on 15 minutes and rinse out. We all know how salt will highlight our hair after swimming in the ocean. Now you can do it at home. Be sure to follow up with our Sea Salt Spray to get those nice beach waves!
Notes on Results of Natural Hair Lightener
When talking about how to lighten hair naturally, we should point out that results can and will vary. Everyone’s hair is different and will absorb color or lose color at different rates. The ingredients and the type of water you use will all vary, resulting in slightly different outcomes.
Allow plenty of time and have fun experimenting with natural hair lightener.
The hardness or softness of your home’s water can impact your shower experience. That’s because the mineral buildup in hard water can make it difficult to create a sudsy lather when shampooing and conditioning your hair, so if you notice a lack of suds when you mix soap and water, you’re likely dealing with hard water.
Soft water is water that has a very low amount of dissolved minerals, either naturally or because the water has been treated to soften it. You have none of the buildup issues listed above, and your tap water tastes sort of salty.
Treating Hard Water Hair
If hard water is a problem in your home, you may notice your hair feels filmy and straw-like. This is because the excess minerals in the water combine with shampoo to for a curd-like substance that sticks to your hair, much like soap scum sticks to the walls of your shower. Your initial reaction may be to wash your hair more frequently to remove the soapy residue from your hair; however, the more often you shampoo your hair in hard water, the less moisture can effectively enter the hair strands. This results in dry, coarse, and frizzy hair, and also dries out your scalp, causing dandruff.
You also may notice your hair has a harder time retaining color. The minerals in hard water deposit on the hair shaft, often causing colored hair to turn a brassy tone. Frequent washing may also cause the color to fade quicker as well. If you struggle with hard water hair, the good news is there are solutions that can help you tame your mane.
- Use a Clarifying Shampoo
One way to keep your hair looking great and behaving well is to wash occasionally with a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoo is different than daily shampoo as it penetrates minerals in water and products left behind from styling, whereas ordinary shampoo works to solely remove excess oil from your hair and scalp.
It’s important to note that clarifying shampoos are designed to strip your hair of stubborn residue and mineral buildup and can be harsh on hair if used too frequently. To combat hard water hair, you should incorporate a clarifying shampoo into your shower routine one to two times per month.
- Create Your Own Vinegar Rinse
One do-it-yourself solution for protecting your hair against hard water is to use a vinegar rinse. Because vinegar is acidic, it works to remove the scaly buildup of minerals like magnesium and calcium from your hair.
Distilled white vinegar will work; however, the preferred type for this rinse is apple cider vinegar. To create a vinegar rinse, simply combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 3 cups of water. Apply this concoction close to the scalp after shampooing and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it. To retain the moisture in your hair, apply this rinse once a week.
- Rinse with Bottled or Filtered Water
Another option to protect your hair from hard water is to use bottled water or filtered water for the final rinse in your shower. While neither option offers a permanent solution to hard water in the home, this can temporarily resolve your hair’s unruliness from excessive mineral buildup.
Keeping bottles of water near your shower might seem inconvenient and can add up to be quite an expense over time. Another more sustainable alternative is to use filtered water from a pitcher or jug.
- Protect Your Hair for Good with a Water Softener
There are solutions to temporarily alleviate flat or oily hair caused by hard water, but for long-lasting, continual results, installing a water softener is the way to go.
Water softeners work to remove calcium and magnesium in your home’s water supply, leaving you with soft water and smooth, manageable hair. Soft water requires less soap and fewer rinses to achieve optimal results, meaning your hair will maintain its color and condition for much longer. Soft water also balances your hair’s pH level, so you’re left with silky smooth hair after every wash.
And, as an added bonus, soft water can help to reduce topical issues such as eczema flare-ups and dry skin.
Treating Soft Water Hair
Washing can be a challenge when water’s very soft. It takes longer to thoroughly cleanse hair of hairspray and other styling products, which results in product buildup on the scalp. This is especially an issue if you have naturally oily or fine hair—leftover products remaining on the scalp weigh hair down and make it feel greasier.
Wash your hair three times per week, doing at least two lathers and finishing with a very small amount of conditioner. It’s critical to use a good shampoo that is sulfate- and paraben-free. Always take the time to check the ingredient list. Volumizing/texturizing styling products will help offset limpness, but use them sparingly so there’s less to shampoo away.
Whether you have hard water or soft water might not even be a concern to you. And, if you don’t notice any adverse effects, there’s no reason to treat it. But if you have adjusted your beauty routine and don’t notice any improvement, it could be worth checking out.