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Does Coloring Your Hair Change the Texture?

Ask Bella: Will Dyeing My Hair Change the Texture?

Recently, a reader wrote in asking for advice on coloring her hair:

I'm considering dying my hair. I've always wanted to do it, and I'm starting to get a few gray hairs — even though I'm only 23. But my hair is very soft and silky and I'm worried dying it will change the texture. Am I right to be worried? I have brown hair and would like to go a more reddish-brown color.

Hair dye works by using peroxide or ammonia to open up the hair's cuticle to either lift and/or deposit color. Essentially, it alters the hair's structure, which can cause a noticeable change in texture. But that doesn't mean you have to go around looking as if you've got a bad case of the frizzies. Find out my solution when you read more.

  • My pick: Gentle and ammonia-free, demipermanent hair color uses a low level of peroxide to help penetrate the hair shaft. It helps small amounts of gray blend with the rest of the hair, and the gentle, conditioning formulation makes hair shiny. While you can't go lighter with demipermanents, you can stay within the same shade range or go darker, allowing you to enrich your natural shade with a beautiful tone of your choice. Depending on how much you shampoo, your color should last about four to six weeks, with no visible roots. My advice? If you're not so sure which shade and tone to pick, head to a salon or cosmetology school for advice. For at-home color, try Clairol Natural Instincts ($9).
  • If you're not so sure: Try out a semipermanent color. Just like a demi, semipermanents can't lighten, but they can blend sparse grays and are peroxide- and ammonia-free, meaning, you'll get color enhancement with gentlest results. This type of treatment lasts through about five to six washes, so it's a perfect way to test the waters.
  • Go for henna: Another option is henna. Although many users report feeling a thickening of their locks after application, this natural hair dye works by coating the strands, not altering their structure. If you're all about going natural, henna just might be for you.
Join The Conversation
Jasmine-Santa2757239 Jasmine-Santa2757239 4 years
I have short, color processed hair and can't go a day without washing it because it is sticking up all over the place when I get up in the morning. For you, I would recommend the Shielo Volume Shampoo. Its EXCELLENT at protecting the colored hair, and it has worked great to keep the volume in my hair without adding any build up.
ahles ahles 7 years
Henna is great, but you want real henna, NOT the stuff in the box even at whole foods as that contains other ingredients. Poke around here if interested: (no affiliation, it's just a good site).
summerjams summerjams 7 years
garnier has great conditioners included.. i think they are one of the gentler permanent hair dyes available, other brands made my hair rough and colours were not as accurate than garnier. i dyed my hair from a natural black to light brown, no problems other than to update roots every 2 months!
FredieGirl FredieGirl 7 years
Masteys is a 100% safe hair color line. I just had it done for the first time recently and love it. It is free of ammonia and ethanolamines. I am not sure if it is available in all states but you can probably do a google search in your area for salons that might be using it. Here is a great website for a Minneapolis woman using it and she also has great info on hair and health.
Allytta Allytta 7 years
my hair dye (garnier) actually makes me hair softer for the first 10 days. i haven't felt my natural texture for 6 years now though...
Happsmjc Happsmjc 7 years
I totally agree about semiperminent color--when I last colored my hair (I was a sophomore in college) that was the last thing I used and it was far far less harsh then previous dyes, colors etc! I have a lot of really thick, really course (but still annoyingly oily) hard to manage hair. Dying it with anything totally makes it harder to deal with, frizzy, thicker, courser, harder to get straight. When I stopped coloring my hair at 19/20 it DID help, but my hair still is hard to manage. I too have a few grays at just 26 and know I will have to start coloring again soon :( For years people have thought I have since the sun helps, but sometimes I get sick of the brown color and wish I could dye it again!
tpage tpage 7 years
I agree with Yogaforlife- I have fine hair and get routine highlights and low-lights that are just one or two levels off of my natural color to give my hair volume (w/o color my hair just lies there no matter what, or how much, product I put in it). I think you should go for it- if anything I think you'll like the slight change in texture.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
I don't think going from brown to reddish brown will do much damage. If you're a medium brown and make the transition to a medium red-brown, I'm thinking there will be little change (if any at all), especially considering your hair hasn't been damaged by color already. I think the Natural Instincts suggestion is great too- I've used Clairol Natural Instincts lots of times when I'm trying to give my hair a break. You could get a red-toned color and it will add a red sheen to your natural brown hue.
belle28 belle28 7 years
going from brown to red won't do too much damage. I have naturally dirty blonde, soft hair. it wasn't until I went platinum blonde that my hair changed texture (although it did make it easier to curl!) when I go from blonde to brown or brown to red (yes, I have lots of experience), my hair sometimes gets softer because it's adding color rather than subtracting.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I have baby fine hair and I find that coloring it helps my hair be more manageable - the hair shaft feels thicker.
Retro-Bunny Retro-Bunny 7 years
If she's bold enough or finds a colour she likes, I'd go with a semi-permanent colour like those from Special Effects. Yes, they're wild colours. Yes, they have all the colours of the rainbow. But, if her hair is dark brown, a nice red will be adding just a top-coat to her hair, all while conditioning it. Now, if she really doesn't want to change the colour, but just keep her original one, she could get highlights or lowlights. It shouldn't change her hair's silky feel, but she just has to maintain it with creamy conditioners.
any any 7 years
meh i would like to get high lights, but i'm afraid also. so i guess im going to keep my natural hair color :D
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