Faith Amour Hair Care

Hair Color and Black Hair

Posted on: November 2, 2011


Hair color and Black hair

Hair color is the pigmentation of hair follicles due to two types of melanin, eumelanin and pheomelanin. Generally, if more melanin is present, the color of the hair is darker; if less melanin is present, the hair is lighter. Levels of melanin can vary over time causing a person’s hair color to change, and it is possible to have hair follicles of more than one color

Today, more than ever, African-American women have plenty of options when it comes to hair styling. Many options are temporary, and some are permanent. Some are harmless, and some are potentially dangerous. Hair color is an option that can offer radiance and beauty as well as irreversible damage. African-American women have many considerations when using hair color. Since many African-American women also chemically straighten or curl their hair, they are layering one chemical alteration on top of another. Relaxers and permanents use chemicals that breakdown the protein bond in the hair shaft. This break down leaves the shaft in a vulnerable state. It requires extra maintenance to restore moisture and suppleness that has been loss. When a woman then applies a hair coloring, it is possibly robbing the hair of more moisture.
Many hair colors on the market contain ammonia and hydrogen peroxide in their base. Hydrogen peroxide is used as a bleaching agent, and is extremely drying. This can lead to dry, brittle hair that breaks off. At best, if it does not break off it will become dry, and take on the texture of straw. Because of the dryness, there will be dullness to the hair color. Care must also be taken when deciding the timetable of applying hair color. One should not apply a relaxer and hair color on the same day. The hair will be too vulnerable from one application to withstand the chemicals of another. Relaxing and coloring should be done at least two weeks apart. It is preferable to relax the hair first, and then follow up with the coloring. The reason is that the sodium and calcium hydroxide found in relaxers tend to subtly strip the hair of color during the relaxing process. If one color’s first, and then relaxes, the chances of having a lighter color than desired is increased. Pre treatments are beneficial when coloring the hair. Washing the hair with a protein conditioner only (no shampoo) helps build additional bonds and strength within the hair shaft. Immediately following a coloring service, a deep conditioner should be applied to restore moisture that is lost.
Not all color options are as dangerous as permanent color. There are rinses that do not contain ammonia or peroxide, yet provide effective hair color. But rinses are more of a coating, than a penetrating color. Thus an African-American woman with dark hair cannot get a lighter color than her natural hair. Rinses limit you to your own natural shade range. Also, rinses are semi-permanent, thus they will fade more and more with each consecutive wash. The advantage of a rinse is, because it does not penetrate the shaft, it may be applied immediately following a relaxer treatment. Another safe and semi-permanent color option is henna. Henna is a natural dye that is plant derived. It contains no peroxide or ammonia, and like a rinse it coats the shaft, more than penetrates it. Henna is available in limited colors. The most popular colors are black, indigo and clay red. Henna, like a rinse may be applied to the hair immediately after a relaxer, without adverse affects.
Hair color options are wide and various for African-Americans. Being cautious to coordinate this service with other chemical services is the key to strong, healthy hair. There are permanent hair color products without ammonia and peroxide bases. These are the safest for Afro hair type. Even safer, are semi-permanent options such as rinses and henna. The goal is not only to have beautiful color, but to have beautiful hair too.

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