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FEATURES Oct 28 2012 7:56PM
1

I'm natural but want to permanently color my hair. Can you suggest gentle products?

ELLE SAYS:

Truth be told, all chemical dyes are harmful to your hair, especially if you are trying to go lighter. Over the counter dyes can often yield unpredictable results and use a higher developer number than necessary. As an alternative, henna is a natural dye that sticks to your hair shaft like a protein, so it’s not harmful, but can be drying if you overuse it (similar to protein overload). Generally, this is one of the safest ways to achieve permanent color, but it cannot lift the hair’s natural color and is often hard to see on dark hair. Application is also time consuming and can be very messy.
If you want a specific color, first asses the health and properties of your hair – often, coarse hair can tolerate dye more than fine hair, and if your hair is already on the dry/porous side, dyeing it will make it worse. Basically, the main thing to do is your own research in order to determine the forward path for your coloring journey. You may be okay with an over the counter dye (there are some gentler dyes that do not contain ammonia, but they still have hydrogen peroxide), or you may want to look into buying the dye and developer separately so you have some control over the strength of the mixture. For complicated jobs, going to a professional may be best, especially if you are not familiar with color and want a hi-lift or strategically placed highlights.
 

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