Hair colouring is the mantra of the day. But, however glamorous it may look, hair colourants and dyes can cause a lot of hair damage. Once the colour wears off, one wants to have the hair coloured again. It is this kind of repeated colouring that damages the hair, making it dry and brittle. Moreover, if dark hair is coloured to a lighter colour, a bleaching process is also used. This causes added damage.
So, before going in for colouring, it is essential to know the methods that are available and how they affect the hair. Also, find out about limiting the damage and the latest trends.
Permanent dyes and colours work by changing the structure of the hair and entering the inner layer. They actually strip off the outermost layer, in an uneven manner, in order to penetrate the inner layer. Damage to the outer layer, or cuticle, weakens the hair and also makes it dry, rough and dull.
Semi permanent methods, like hair rinses and creams, last for 4 to 6 shampoos. They do not cause as much damage as the permanent dyes. Semi-permanent methods are suitable for disguising grey hair, or for lending a richer colour to dull hair.
Temporary Hair Colours are also available, in the form of “hair mascaras.”
Hair mascaras are somewhat like crayons, which can be used to “streak” strands of the hair. Hair mascaras are temporary methods of colouring the hair. They are easier to use and remove and the effect lasts till the next shampoo.
One can also use a natural hair colour which contains natural colourants like indigo, catechu and henna. It gives the hair a blackish brown colour and is free of chemical dyes.
Streaks and highlights are back in hair colour. In fact, apart from blonde, gold, or platinum, you can even go for pink, violet, green or orange streaks, as bright coloured streaks are predicted in the coming seasons! Of course, you can keep to subtle colours, close to your normal colour, with lighter and darker tinted strands all over.
Streaking is a method in which some strands are bleached or coloured. A few streaks of colour can also save the rest of the hair from damage and yet, give you a new and glamorous look. You could have about four streaks in front, which means that some strands in front are coloured. This can really look attractive and certainly cause less damage. Of course, this is suitable for those who have no gray hair and are mainly looking for a colour change.
If you go in for half-head streaking, it helps to limit the damage. In this method, some strands are selected. They are bleached and wrapped in special foil. It can be started from the hairline to the crown, so that the streaked hair is fully visible. You will need to touch it up in about 4 weeks, as the roots of your original hair colour will show through. Or, if you have short hair, the ends can be streaked in a different colour.
It is also very essential to choose the right colour, which goes with the colour tone of your skin. For instance, a blonde or whitish colour would not suit an Indian skin tone. However, a lighter colour may be used for highlighting or streaking. Your choice of colour would depend on the reason for colouring your hair. If you wish to conceal a lot of grey hair, you may have the colour the entire head of hair the same colour. If your want highlights or streaks, you have to select a lighter colour which complements the colour of the rest of your hair.
Experts recommend that the colour you choose for highlighting your hair should be 3 shades lighter than your natural hair colour. Of course, if you wish to go for bright colours, like red, purple, blue or gold, it is necessary to see if they suit your natural skin tone. The new trend is to highlight only the tips of the hair. This is actually favoured for a bright look. It also helps to limit the damage.
(The author is a beauty expert)