I Dyed My Hair Blonde, I'm Natural, Now What?
A crash course on maintaining color treated natural hair
Blondes have more fun- yeah maybe! Haha
I definitely LOVE being blonde but being a dyed blonde, a dyed, natural blonde can definitely be hard work sometimes even daunting. We’ve all heard the horror stories and seen the IG videos
I’ve been blonde on and off for almost over 15 years. I’ve had rinses, semi permanent, permanent and highlights as a relaxed girl and as natural. As time has gone on I’ve just gone lighter and lighter so I have had some experience dealing with the work and woes that can come with coloring your hair.
One of the most asked questions I get is “how do you maintain your hair with color?”., “how do you keep your hair moisturized with the blonde”?, and “what color do you have in your hair”?
Well to answer your last question, I have no idea what color is in my hair because its custom. I’ve always made it a priority to seek professional guidance with dying my hair because I don’t have the education to take those steps myself without ensuring my hair doesn’t fall out.
As far as maintaining my hair, I’ve gained a good amount of knowledge over the year on how to maintain my color treated natural hair. However, I really wanted to include some experts on this as well, because guess what, I’m not a professional. Coloring natural hair can get tricky and what works for my hair may not work for everyone. Therefore, I reached out to some of my favorite stylists who know all about natural hair and hair color. These women have no only slayed, cut, and colored my hair, which is no easy task, but I trust their opinions and professional expertise whole heartedly.
I’m going to break this post up into 3 sections Part 1 for those who have color, part 2 for those considering color, part 3 product recommendations in their respective categories. Each part will contain tips/advice from both myself and the experts. Leggo!
Part 1: I Dyed My Hair and Not Sure What to Do
Once you have lightened your hair it’s imperative to maintain the integrity of your hair in-between salon visits. That means have a good cleansing and conditioning routine because it’s all about keeping your curls moisturized.
Ashley Lee, Texture Expert and Educator with 7 years experience, says once you’ve colored your hair its probably time to switch up your regimen. You’ve changed your hair in a dramatic way so now, you have to incorporate new products into your routine and may have to style it differently. Make sure to add in a strengthening treatment and follow with a moisturizing deep conditioner to address your hair’s compromised state, in addition to the regular moisture that it needs.
Vida Latimer Senior Colorist, DevaCurl Certified Curl Specialist, and DevaCurl Educator with 27 years of experience and 17 years natural recommends using a sulfate free cleanser so you don’t dehydrate the hair. Natural hair is already dehydrated and lightening your hair just pulls the moisture out even more. A sulfate-free cleanser won’t strip your hair of it’s natural oils.
Monica Stevens better known as “MoKnowsHair”, Licensed Cosmetologist and Brand Stylist said that investing in a high quality repairing/restoring deep conditioner/treatment/mask/masque (all the same thing) is very important with maintaining textured, color treated hair at home. Mo also recommends using shampoos that are specifically designed for color treated hair. Like a purple based shampoo to tone the blonde. You can find those recommendations and more in part 3 for both blondes and color treated hair overall.
You may even need to go as far as to DC 2-3 times a week in-between your wash days says Vida. How often really depends on how far you lightened past your natural color. You have to try and replace the moisture you took away. For example dark brown to ash blonde you might have to condition 2 or 3 times a week to get that moisture back in the hair. Remember natural hair is already dehydrated. This is not a bad thing but you must be willing to put in the work.
To Vida’s point when I first went natural I would condition twice a week. Was it time consuming, absolutely! But my hair was extremely healthy even with extremely bleached curls- there’s no doubt. Natural hair is already a time investment but once you compromise your hair with color it does require more TLC, something important to consider. Now that I am much much lighter I will be adding a second condition day back into my routine.
Gabrielle Corney, Hairstylist and Beauty Expert of 27 yrs, said that Olaplex after care is hands down one of the best treatment systems for hair especially after chemical services like color.
You may not have heard the word Olaplex thrown around here and there but here’s a quick crash course. Olaplex is a 6 component bond builder system that helps restore damaged hair; so it is amazing for color treated, especially lightened, blonde hair. The first two steps are typically done in the salon, because the concentration is too high to be used by consumers like you and I at home. However, we can purchase steps 3-6 which can be used at home to maintain between salon visits. Olaplex #3 is a bond builder, #4 and #5 is a shampoo and conditioner and #6 is a leave in. Olaplex Bundle: https://rstyle.me/+C1HBt8HPhyueoY5ZwXDs3Q
Gabby also suggests using a leave in conditioner especially if you’re a natural with color treated hair. Water based cream leave ins are the best for hydrating kinks coils and curls after your wash portion of wash day.
Now you have your color, you have your cleansing and conditioning routine, now what? Well, every so often you have to visit your stylist. There is a ton we can do at home to maintain our hair but no one can get your hair all the way together like your stylist. Unfortunately, as consumer we don’t have the knowledge, know how or access to professional grade products. I cannot stress this enough, do not ghost out on your stylist ESPECIALLY after you color your hair.
Ashley says don’t forget to refresh your color! A lot of clients go with the motions as their color begins to change and fade. Any color can be refreshed. Visit your stylist to get a “gloss” or toner. This revitalizes the color in a quick and easy process so that it remains vibrant. Blondes especially should receive glosses every 4-6 weeks to keep their desired tone and cancel out any unwanted brassiness as the initial tone begins to fade.
A glaze or clear gloss immediately after or in between color processes not only infuses shine it reduces a little frizz and makes the hair feel like you’ve had an intense conditioner because it smooths the cuticle. Best part! If you can’t get to the salon right away you can can do it at home but don’t skip your salon visit altogether because you still need a trim girl, says Gabby
Those raggedy, strangely ends you are holding on to because you want to keep that “length” let it go boo. Gabby said Trim Trim Trim! Getting rid of dead ends especially on color treated promotes growth and overall health of the hair. Don’t let dead ends weigh you down and prevent your curls from flourishing.
One thing I have learned as a blonde no matter who’s chair I sit in is stay away from yellow and orange hair products if you are an ashy blonde. That yellow/orange color in the product will deposit and tint your hair basically tarnishing your color. If you are a redhead or brunette there’s probably no concern on that front but you should still refresh your color with a gloss to keep it vibrant.
Speaking of thing to avoid, stay away from raw oils directly on hair strands, such as after shampooing, say Mo. The oils cause build up which leads to dryness and dull color molecules resulting in brassy tones over time.
Now what if you live in a city with hard water, thats an easy fix. Mo says to get a shower filter from Lowes or Home Depot to avoid excessive calcium and lime build up in the hair. Also incorporate a hard water shampoo. I avoided going natural in college due to my fear of hard water, I wish knew that tip back then
Part 2: So You’re Considering Coloring Your Hair
So you’re not a blonde or color treated natural yet but you want to add a little flavor to your curls. Do it girl! But please, I beg you, do not head down the box color aisle at Walmart before seeing a professional. All four stylist agree that seeing a stylist/colorist is imperative before coloring your hair.
Ashley said color is fun! So many naturals are worried about color affecting their curls. “Bleach” or lightener is not a detriment to your curl pattern, improper technique is. Do your research and visit a stylist who is knowledgeable and cares about the integrity of your hair, not only the desired color. By setting realistic expectations in collaboration with an educated colorist, your color options are limitless. You CAN have the best of both worlds and be adventurous with color without fear that you’ll never see your curls again.
Mo also says seeing a stylist/colorist for consultation will save you costly mistakes at home. Color correction is exponentially more expensive and potentially damaging than getting it done right the first time.
Color is both a financial and time investment. Vida says if you are considering going blonde and you’re natural, consider how often do you want to maintain your hair and the color. The lighter you go the more you have to do to the color and the more you have to condition. Know your hair history is very important! The person doing the color is asking questions that are important for formulating the color to achieve what you are looking for.
Mo agrees that financially color treated hair requires salon touch ups and treatments throughout the year as well as investing in quality shampoos and conditioners to maintain at home.
Mo and Vida both say that if you have had any color in your hair and haven’t cut it off, which includes semi permanent, Demi permanent, permanent, box dye of any kind 🥴, or henna (that’s a whole other ballgame), expect to need color correction. A single or double process service probably won’t be enough so sit in your stylist chair with real expectations.
Color does not lift color. To lift/lighten old color, a bleach substance (regardless of what name it’s been given) is necessary. That can require multiple sessions with a stylist to complete depending on state of the hair and desired outcome. So be patient because it will not happen in one day. However, if you are going from a light color to a darker tone, it would just be processed down with color+developer, so it would not require bleach but no matter what, see a stylist! You can definitely accidentally dye your hair green, I’ve seen it done.
Last, but not least- Vida said treat your hair like you treat your face, protect it! At night pineapple it on top of head and use a silk scarf or bonnet or silk pillow case or better all three. This is about taking care of the natural hair and also the lightening you just had done to your hair.
Part 3: Product Recommendations
Now it’s time to see the products we all use and/or recommend to maintain your blonde color treated hair.
Maui Moisture Sea Mineral Shampoo: https://rstyle.me/+stugAcaH66yaZV8gohwk9A
Olaplex No. 4: https://rstyle.me/+43jE5fno2NOGBJHzrhnd8g
For all color treated hair
Ion Color Defense Shampoo: https://rstyle.me/+C89DPNwlAOL12pf_TidJ4Q
Briogeo Color Me Brilliant Shampoo: https://rstyle.me/+YJe3ord-A2K1E922g0joZA
Blondes should also use a blue shampoo to continuously tone
Aveda Blue Malva: https://rstyle.me/+XAT3dRQhQuAuf5glSjbbUg
Ion Cool Blonde Shampoo: https://rstyle.me/+F3MqZgBm_DJMHBTpCuMUug
Sulfate-free Moisturizing Cleanser
DevaCurl Decadence: https://rstyle.me/+k-JGLXSmv2EieHaI7nud0g
Original No Poo https://rstyle.me/+GowMarfYThWEfESRmHD8SQ
Shampoos for Hard Water
Malibu C Hardwater Wellness Collection: https://rstyle.me/+CEbUrTcR-npUo589VVIiAg
Mizani Phormula-7 Neutralizing & Chelating Shampoohttps://rstyle.me/+LLl8EqUyA11MiBhEjExzvA
Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo: https://rstyle.me/+grX9FnJxv_-orlr4RurNig
Ion Hard Water ShampooP: https://rstyle.me/+aO0-MESRvmFXFyvDRxvoAw
Maui Moisture Sea Mineral Conditioner: https://rstyle.me/+-x7zykFZ14BSYM4jdmI0dw
DevaCurl One Condition: https://rstyle.me/+9q073hRbhO_ySlwfUPZg-w
Olaplex No.5: https://rstyle.me/+2wy58zcu_b3Izy7Fka1hVQ
Pantene Pro-V Gold Series Repairing Mask Treatment: https://rstyle.me/+V3xHlFSFqU1w1DFWrce0Qg
Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Hair Mask : https://rstyle.me/+bw9oQnePJX9XuoYmLsJ0HQ
Olaplex No.3: https://rstyle.me/+0xNZt31mszPaozFIdO3bbw
Mizani scalp care deep conditioner: https://rstyle.me/+6PmYpc8NdaLuxahrfNfzPw
DevaCurl Melt into Moisture: https://rstyle.me/+VxDrvq9QFgF9mbNQchYeuA
DevaCurl Heaven in Hair: https://rstyle.me/+5ieo1Io0Xh6Uj3Ak9KwhWA
Aveda Damage Remedy: https://rstyle.me/+s9kL5X3D82vhGlcLpibCfg
Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair : https://rstyle.me/+jG8lzDNJJ4U6mnxfTtBb1w
Ouidad Curl Recovery Melt Down Masque: https://rstyle.me/+YWX2aqgYwOhPITH3P0a6AQ
Leave In Conditioners:
Maui Moisture Curl Milk: https://rstyle.me/+G947jUwPC1XlQgMp9x_f7A
Jane Carter Healthy Hair Hydrate Leave In Styling Smoother: https://rstyle.me/+WRcGTfk6HwRqPG4e7HU7PQ
DevaCurl B’leave in: https://rstyle.me/+_j9bQXgaYQUmZfGNir9b6g
Jane Carter Solution Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner : https://rstyle.me/+_bH0Hv1mXKVkt0k72CM9qw
EDEN BodyWorks EDEN BodyWorks Almond Marshmallow Therapy Leave In Conditioner: https://rstyle.me/+sY4BJdJd5MwHa4KWR3jRdg
DevaCurl Decadence Leave In: https://rstyle.me/+WpVBxzJhKLiYVZRSAPbpTw
Mizani 25 miracle milk leave in because it provides us protection in addition to conditioning properties that your hair will need after color treatment https://rstyle.me/+t5v2x-ZP77nC-gA50_3BfA
Olaplex No.6: https://rstyle.me/+V05kPj4LcKT758Ph7RhWFg
At home Glosses and Glazes
dpHUE clear gloss: https://rstyle.me/+XEj4dVBa-nS1il6xW0XfYA
John Frieda’s Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine: https://rstyle.me/+uCuhHPt3o8kCUKm1vd3bPg
Adore Semi-Permanent Hair Color in Crystal Clear: https://rstyle.me/+oOoBAynuJAhndtzRBM_b4g
For Bella Boutique: https://florbellaboutique.com/
Sumo Bonnets: https://www.sumobonnets.com/
Grace Eleyae: https://rstyle.me/+h5ZKJAlCCPLdpiHb0GrXPg
Thanks for stopping by to check this out. I know it’s A LOT to consume but if you decide or have already color treated your hair it’s important to know this info. When you sit in your stylist chair always ask questions. You should know what is being used and maybe even the process that is being done. Ask what products they recommend for your hair to maintain it at home and never ghost them.
I hope this was helpful!