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FEATURES Aug 2 2012 1:43AM
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Color Me Badd (My Hair, That Is)

by Cassidy Blackwell, Natural Selection Blog

To color my hair or to not color my hair, that was the question that plagued me for two months. As a natural hair blogger, I had given up all use of chemical processes on my hair in favor of a healthy, clean, all-natural product regimen. My coils were buoyant and healthy, and I was happy to not have to deal with any breakage or damage caused by chemicals.
 
But then I saw it. The most beautiful color I have ever seen on a natural-hair model at a hair show in Chicago. I immediately took her picture and sent it over to my stylist back in San Francisco. “THIS! I LOVE THIS COLOR,” I gushed over text message. “Well then it will be yours,” she replied. I was giddy, thinking to myself, “Yay! Oh yay! This color will be mine!” Then I stopped in my tracks and realized what that meant: My natural hair would no longer be natural.
 
I plunged into an existential crisis, worried about how coloring my hair would be totally against this chemical-free lifestyle for which I had been so passionately advocating. I asked my mom, my friends and then my readers, who vocalized overwhelming support of the color, saying that natural hair is about was the texture, not the color. Finally, I decided to ask the one person who really mattered the most in this equation: my stylist! I confided in her that I was most worried about the potential damage to my coils.
 
“When you have colored hair more than ever, you have to make sure your curls are hydrated and well conditioned. Just make sure to keep your moisture and deep-condition regularly. Steam if you can because it’s the best way to hydrate your hair,” she advised. Five minutes later, I had an appointment for my first hair color treatment.
 
Before the color appointment, I went to great lengths to make sure my coils were in tip-top shape. I deep-conditioned once with a protein treatment and the day before the appointment I sat beneath my steamer for a solid dose of hydration.
 
“We’re going to make you a custom color, it’s going to not be as red as the picture you showed me, but one a little more suited to your skin tone,” Marie explained. After five hours of dyeing, highlighting, toning, washing, conditioning, styling and drying, I faced the mirror as golden-locked naturalista! And I absolutely loved it.
 
Since this first endeavor into color, I have gotten more compliments than ever on my hair. I think that the color has truly enhanced my texture, with highlights to pop my coils. I have also not seen a decrease in the health of my hair, but I still diligently deep condition once a week to make sure my curls stay hydrated.
 
Here are my top suggestions for coloring natural hair:
 
·      Start with healthy hair. Make sure it’s well-nourished and moisturized. If you need to, trim damaged ends because the coloring process will only make them worse.
·      Go to a professional. Coloring is a chemical process and should be done by those who know what they are doing. Because natural hair is very fragile, there is a high risk of damage, especially for those who are going a lot lighter.
·      Maintain your routine. Be sure to keep up a regular routine of steaming and deep-conditioning your colored coils so that your color doesn’t fade and your hair stays healthy! 

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