There are things embedded in our minds when it comes to hair. Most of the time, we don’t even know where they originated. All we know is – that’s just what it is. Now, sometimes those things are true and accurate. Other times, they’re kind of like urban legends. Nobody really knows if there’s any truth to the stories, but everyone’s afraid to test it and see.
Coloring relaxed hair is one of those things. We’ve all heard the horror stories of coloring relaxed hair and it leading to washing bowls filled with hair that has literally fallen out from the root. Then there are the unicorn tales that come from the mouths of women who swear they’ve been able to wear color in their relaxed hair.
So, what’s one to do out here in these short hair streets? Me, I’m a rebel, so of course I’ve done it. I have done it both ways. I’ve fried the hell outta my hair and watched it slowly break and fall out in patches over the course of months that followed.
Then, I’ve done it successfully and colored my short, relaxed hair and slayed. Because of that, I stand on the side of the fence of those who do believe in unicorns. It is possible. But, it’s not easy and it’s not to be taken lightly. There is a science to the whole thing. Watch my video on how I colored my relaxed hair most recently and what products I used.
Can you safely color relaxed hair?
Yes, but you should know the dangers of doing it. Coloring hair is a broad term. It includes all things from lifting or bleaching hair, to depositing color, to adding highlights and/or low lights. The trouble people speak of when they cower away from coloring relaxed hair is with lifting or bleaching the hair.
Depositing color can also be risky, because you still lift the hair layers, but it’s not nearly as harsh a process as bleaching hair can be. We’re gonna talk about bleaching relaxed hair or lightening it.
Relaxing hair breaks down the protein bonds and creates holes in the hair strand. Those holes leave the delicate inner layers of the hair exposed. Bleaching the hair does the same thing. This is why the double process is so damaging to the hair. You’re essentially creating multiple places along the shaft of the hair strands that expose the most vulnerable parts of the hair.
That means, heat, the elements, drying products and the like, are all able to quickly reach the inner portion of the hair strand that is normally protected. This equals hair that is damaged very quickly and severely on a deep level.
Damage like that isn’t something your hair can recover from. Depending on the state your hair is in when you do this to it, or the natural fragileness of your hair, this damage can look like anything from dry, brittle strands to basically disintegrating into nothing. Yes, I’ve watched my hair disintegrate before. It’s traumatic y’all. For more of my short hair shenanigans, subscribe and get the inside scoop on things that don’t always make it to the blog. You’ll also get discount codes and notifications about updates.
The things to remember when you color relaxed hair are as follows:
Don’t try to go from jet black to blonde. Definitely don’t try to do that in one step or one session. Go one step at a time and assess your hair carefully, after each step. When you notice the integrity of your hair declining, stop. That is the limit for your hair in its relaxed state. Just learn to live with that and be happy or go get yourself a wig and get the itch out of your system.
If you have 4c relaxed hair, you are probably not going to be able to go too light. That’s just the nature of the way curly, kinky and coily hair behaves. Relaxing 4c hair is damaging enough and that chemical process alone, breaks it down farther that it does other types of hair. Adding bleach to hair that is already so vulnerable is not going to end well.
Go to a pro.
If you are unsure about your ability. If you don’t know what your hair can or can’t take, or if you are unfamiliar with how coloring hair works, overall, you should go to a professional stylist who specializes in coloring relaxed hair. To be frank, go to someone black who knows black hair and who knows black, relaxed hair.
Coloring relaxed hair and keeping it on your head is possible. It’s not easy or always practical, but it is possible. Another thing to remember is that coloring relaxed hair is not an option for everyone. Consult a pro if you need to or educate yourself and go very slow if you try it yourself at home.
I hope this helps and until next time…I’ll holla.