How to: Recover from intense hair processing

As you all may know, I recently went through the major process of going from dyed black hair [dyed black for 8 years, nonetheless] to a lighter burgundy. I used color-lifting products, bleached my entire head, and then re-dyed with a salon style dye. My hair felt like potato chips afterward. Crunchy, greasy [my scalp wanted to help me by increasing oil production], and kind of…crumbly. Like the ends of my hair were literally crumbling off. That was last week.

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See how shiny my hair is this week? This picture doesn’t do it justice. My hair is now soft, shiny, and very not-crunchy. Here is what I’ve been doing:

Pre-process

Give your locks a breather: If you have to do multiple procedures, give your hair a break in between. I waited a day before bleaching my hair from color-lifting it. Then another day before dyeing it. On the in-between days, try and fit in a hair mask or oil treatment. Don’t wash your hair on the day of the next procedure, that can actually agitate your scalp. Let your hair build up natural oils before dyeing again.

Hair pre-game: Would you start jogging without stretching first? If the answer is yes, you’re doing it wrong. Same goes for hair. I know it’s hard when those spontaneous urges arise, but try to get your hair in good shape before doing a major process. Since my stuff was mail ordered, I took those [3 weeks] to A. Keep away from all heat styling B. Do a weekly hair mask C. Wash my hair less to allow natural oils to do their work.

After care

Invest in products: No, they don’t have to be expensive. But here is what you should get:

Color Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner- preferably sulfate free. Color-protect s+c usually comes in specific colors to add dimension to your dye job. I bout John Frieda Color Protect for redheads. It seems to be working okay so far, but red is notorious for losing color fast. So I’ll update on this stuff in a week or so. The only trouble with these color enhancing conditioners is that they aren’t as moisturizing as you might need. That brings us to…..

Hair mask/heavy conditioner- What I’ve been doing [since I don’t want to wash my hair everyday to avoid color fallout] is switching between the color protect conditioner and using a heavy conditioner. I like Garnier Fructis Hydra Recharge 1 minute treatment.

Color Protection spray- Typically, these have a bit of UV protection in them. Mine doesn’t, which is fine because I barely go outside since the snow won’t go away. I’ve been using Vidal Sassoon Color Protect spray. I just spray it on right after I shower and brush it through my hair. It leaves a light conditioner coating to keep color from rubbing off or fading.

Leave-in conditioner- I highly advise that you use one. Spray it on at night, or in the morning, it doesn’t matter. My favorite is Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle. If you get this stuff, it works as a color protect spray too. I really, really recommend trying out a bottle, as it is probably the best leave-in conditioner I’ve ever used:

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It actually IS exclusive to birchbox.com, but it ships free. The price is off-putting, though.

http://www.birchbox.com/shop/featured/best-sellers/hair/beauty-protector-protect-and-detangle-spray

Since I’ve been broke lately, I’ve been using Tresemme Split Remedy Leave-in conditioning spray, which is pretty good.

Trim your ends: This helps a lot. You don’t have to cut much, just enough to get all those split ends that could end up going higher along the hair shaft. Processing hair really makes split ends bad, so get rid of them AFTER you dye, so that the new ends aren’t subject to processing.

No heat styling: This may seem difficult, but you may become addicted to heatless styling once you try it. Buy a set of flexi-rods and wear them overnight. They also make sleep-in rollers that are very comfortable. Or, just spray your hair with leave-in conditioner and roll! Let it air-dry and you’ll have the softest curls ever! If you feel the need to straighten your hair, try running a round brush through it with the lowest heat setting on your dryer. You don’t need heat to straighten if it dries correctly. If you must heat style, try to wait at least a week.

And that’s it! My hair is just as nice as it was before processing, and it’ll continue to get even better as I take care of it!

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