Never Relax A Colour

A few years ago I used always have my hair bleached blonde, most of the time it was my natural hair that I was bleaching, and although it was usually quite dry and brittle, it didn’t break excessively.  Then one day I woke up and wanted to have straight hair, I went to the salon and the stylist applied relaxer to my bleached hair with no hesitation.  Needless to say I walked out with a brush cut instead of the shoulder length blonde relaxer I had envisioned!

The rule of thumb is to start by relaxing your hair and then applying colour.  If you are going to permanently colour, bleach or apply highlights to your hair, this becomes mandatory.  The processes of relaxing and permanently colouring hair both leave hair vulnerable to excessive damage.  In order to work, relaxing and applying permanent colour lift the hair cuticle layers that protect the hair and damage the core protein structure of the hair.   So doing both these processes hits your hair with a double whammy of massive damage.

If you decide to apply a permanent colour to your hair, then do so at least two weeks after the relaxer process.  In between the two procedures apply protein treatment to your hair as well as deep condition with a moisturising treatment to try regain the lost hair strength and reverse damage inflicted by the relaxer before colouring.

The safer way to colour relaxed hair is to use a colour rinse, pure henna or semi-permanent hair colour.  These can even be applied on the same day as relaxing, but that is not recommended.  They differ from permanent colour, bleaching and highlighting hair because they do not contain harsh chemicals like ammonia and their molecules are too big to penetrate hair and they add colour by coating the hair.  The downside to these safer colourants is that they do not make hair lighter in colour.


To avoid damaging hair even further after applying colour to relaxed hair do the following:

  • Make sure to stretch the time between relaxers so that you have more growth, this makes it easier to avoid relaxer crème being applied on the coloured parts of your hair.  As mentioned earlier, applying relaxer crème to coloured hair is detrimental to hair.
  • Wash hair with shampoos formulated for colour treated hair so colour doesn’t fade quicker.  Sulphate-free shampoos aid in keeping colour from bleeding out and drying out.
  • Condition hair regularly as this helps in preserving colour and your hair
  • Do moisture and protein treatments interchangeably on a weekly basis
  • Moisturise and protect hair daily with products that contain natural oils that help protect hair from sun as well.
  • Avoid heat styling your hair as this dries out hair makes hair colour lose its virbrancy
  • Style your hair in protective styling often, but make sure to keep it moisturised during the protective styles.
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