This is one of the most common complaints I hear when doing hair. People always want to know why they can't keep the color in their hair.
It is usually one of three reasons, which I will discuss below:
1. You have over lightened your hair during your hair's life cycle- which means that during the life of the hair that is on your head (hair usually grows 1/2 to 1 inch per month, so the hair on the ends of your strand can be several years old depending on hair length) you have lightened it more than 2-3 shades lighter than your natural color. This strips the underlying pigment out of the hair and the only way to get the darkness to stay in the hair now is to put that pigment back into the hair.
How do I do this?
The best thing you can do is to go to a color specialist and have them fix it for you. Can't afford several hundred dollars for a color correction? Here is my best advice- Go to the local beauty supply store. Select the shade of color that you want your hair to be. Let's say you want a 5N medium brown. Find a level 5 semi- or demi-permanent copper. The copper is the underlying pigment your hair is missing. The darker the hair the redder the pigment, so if you are going back to black you would want the same level of red as the hair color. Apply the copper to the bleached out portion of the hair. You do not have to apply to the new growth or root area. Use the appropriate developer for the color, usually a 5-7 volume. Once that is rinsed out, dry the hair to prepare for the next step. Now apply your hair color using a 10 volume peroxide only. You never want to use more than a 10vol when darkening hair unless you are covering grays, then you can use a 20vol. Leave the color on according to the directions on the box. Now your color should stay a lot longer.
2. Your hair is over-processed or damaged. This can be from styling appliances, perms, relaxers, or your hair color. You cannot repair damaged hair. You can cosmetically make it look better, but the damage is still there. For these people, I give a hair prescription. I will not color or work on damaged hair. There is too much risk of hair loss. Instead, I tell you to do this:
Cut off as much hair as you are comfortable with. Then continue getting regular trims until all the damaged area is removed. Stop using heat on the hair until all damage is removed- especially no hair dryers! Do a deep conditioning treatment once a week with coconut oil. Unless the damaged area is controlled, it will continue to spread up the hair shaft by splitting. The coconut oil helps to seal the cuticle and prevent swelling, preventing further damage to the hair. There are numerous heatless styling techniques on YouTube. Practice styling your hair without heat to get you by until the hair is healthy again.
3. You are simply using the wrong products or applying them wrong. This is an easy fix, and one that can immediately be remedied by buying the right products. One thing I often find is that the client is not using color safe shampoo and conditioner or is not conditioning the hair at all. It is very important to use a color safe or sulfate free shampoo to prevent the stripping of the color. There are many great lines on the market such as Wen, Shea Moisture, Pureology and Loreal's sulfate free line, among many others. You can find one in any price range. You also have to condition the hair! The hair needs the moisture put back into it after coloring and shampooing to be able to smooth that cuticle and keep the color molecules in the strands.
My advice for home hair colorists:
Always go for semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair color when going a darker shade. Chances are you are having to color the whole hair when the new growth comes in anyway, and the semi color is less damaging to the hair than permanent. Remember to never use more than a 10 vol developer when home coloring. Buy from a specialty store such as Sally Beauty so that you know what products you are getting. The problem with box color is that you do not know what volume developer is in that box.
Never bleach your own hair unless you have guidance from a pro, or have experience!!! You can melt the hair off your head if done wrong. You have to know how to mix the bleach and how to time it.
If your hair has been colored darker, a lighter shade of color will not lighten it. The rule in school is color won't lighten color. Only a product with bleach in it or a stripping agent will lighten color. You must seek professional help when lightening color. If the hair is only a shade too dark, dish detergent or a really harsh shampoo will usually strip enough out to lighten it a shade. But make sure to condition really well afterwards.
I hope this has been of some help to you who are struggling with your hair. If you have any questions about your hair, please comment below or contact me on my Facebook page.