How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Hair care tips: Got your hair coloured before the lockdown? You probably wouldn't have got any hair spas or hair treatments after that! Here are some tips to take care of coloured hair and prevent the damage caused by hair colouring.


  1. Trim hair regular after hair colour
  2. Wash your hair less often and use cool water for washing
  3. Invest in good colour-protecting products

Colouring hair can indeed by an exciting change. It can do a lot in terms of improving your personality and giving you a completely new appearance. However, hair colouring comes with its own set of side effects and hair damage. No matter how natural hair colour companies claim their products to be, their products contain harmful chemicals that have the potential to cause unprecedented damage to hair. This is the reason why it is recommended to take extra care of your hair after getting them coloured.

Tips to take care of hair damage caused by hair colour

1. Keep hair well-nourished

To prevent damage after hair colour, the best thing to do is keep your hair well-nourished. Take you oiling game a notch higher at least two months before you plan on getting your hair coloured. Avoid heat treatments and get your hair trimmed regularly.

Also read: Hair Care: Simple Ayurvedic Remedies To Fight Hair Fall Effectively

2. Ensure you get good quality hair colour and the appropriate developer

To avoid excess hair damage, it is important that you get hair coloured with good quality hair colour and hair dye. If you are applying bleach, make sure you get the right developer. If you have slightly light brown hair, that you need a light developer and so on.

3. Wash your hair less often

Once you have got your hair coloured, make sure you wait for at least 2-3 days before washing them again. The colour needs time to set in. Oil your hair before getting the next hair wash.

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Wash your hair less often after getting your hair coloured
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Hair Care Tips: Follow These Simple Steps To Fight Hair Fall At Home

4. Trim hair regularly

One effective way of making your hair look healthy is by getting them trimmed regularly. Damage after hair colouring is inevitable. Regular trimming prevents or reduces the severity of this damage.

5. Invest in good colour-protecting products

These products help in forming a protective layer over the hair shaft. Buy sulphate-free shampoos for cooler shades. These shampoos do not strip away natural oils of hair.

Also read: Hair Care Tips: Do's And Don'ts Of Oiling Your Hair You Need To Know

6. Wash hair less frequently and wash only with cool water

To enable the colour to stay for longer on your hair, wash your hair less often. Also, always wash hair with cool water to prevent loss of moisture and frizzy hair. Washing hair with warm water makes your hair more prone to hair damage and hair loss.

7. Avoid heat treatments

Styling with straighteners and curlers can cause considerable damage to hair. It is thus important that you cut down on heat styling tools once you have coloured your hair. Also avoid the use of hair dryers.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

Almost everyone has some hair damage, from dryness and brittleness to split ends and breakage. The best way to tackle dry and damaged hair really depends on the cause and type of damage. Find the best fix for your hair with these pro tips on prevention and solutions from the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab experts and hair specialists.

Can you actually repair damaged hair?

"Once hair is split or broken, nothing can permanently fuse it back together," explains Beauty Lab executive director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. "Products like split-end menders, leave-in conditioners and treatment masks can seal the outer layer of strands so they temporarily appear smoother and less frayed and feel softer, and help protect hair from further damage." However, the only real long-term solution is by cutting your hair, to trim off damaged areas.

Minor → Severe

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Strands that feel or look parched can be a cue that the cuticle, which locks moisture into hair, is damaged.

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

As the cuticle is further damaged or completely lost, the hair strand can start to fray, or split in pieces, at ends or in other areas.

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

This occurs when a strand’s layers deteriorate enough to cause weak spots along the hair shaft where the strand fractures.

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Severe damage that pulls on hair roots, from causes such as styling, can produce permanent follicle loss.

That said, conditioner is damaged hair's best friend: Damaged hair is stripped of its protective outer layer, and conditioner helps replenish it with emollient ingredients like silicones and plant oils (such as coconut oil) and butters. “They coat wet hair so it's easier to detangle, which can lead to less damage and make it silkier and more manageable,” Aral says.

More From Good Housekeeping

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

For maximum benefits to prevent damage, use a rinse-off conditioner after every shampoo, plus a leave-in conditioner on damp hair. Swap in a deep conditioner or hair mask weekly: “These tend to contain higher concentrations of conditioning ingredients, making them thicker and heavier,” Aral explains.

For the best product picks, check out the GH Beauty Lab's top-tested hair moisturizers and deep conditioners and masks for damaged hair below.

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Garnier Whole Blends Gentle Detangling Hair Milk

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

It's a 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus KeratinCredit: It's a 10

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Deep Moisture MasqueCredit: Head & Shoulders

How to repair chemically damaged hair

When using hair color, chemicals such as ammonia have to be used to open your hair shaft, so the dye can be deposited. Ammonia-free formulas exist, but industry studies have found that they're just as harmful (you have to use more and leave them on longer).

Your hair is damaged if after showering, your hair dries almost instantly. That shows just how porous those color chemicals have made it, says Katherine Polite, a colorist at Zano Salon in Chicago.

1. Use a moisture-rich hair dye

Many dyes, like the Beauty Lab's recommended formulas below, are infused with conditioning ingredients to help protect and repair hair during the color process. For gray coverage, go with a semi- or demi-permanent formula — it'll fade faster but is less harsh than a permanent dye. To highlight at home, avoid pull-through caps, which often result in damaging color overlap (go for a cap-less kit instead).

2. Only dye your roots

When possible, reapply dye to just the roots to minimize chemical exposure on the lengths, and “space dyeing hair 10 to 12 weeks apart at minimum,” says George Papanikolas, Matrix celebrity colorist in Los Angeles. Finally, major color changes can cause major harm (including hair breakage or even loss) when done wrong, so leave those to the pros.

Conditioning Permanent Hair Color

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Clairol Nice 'N Easy Permanent Hair ColorCredit: Clairol

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Revlon Colorsilk Beautiful Color Permanent Hair ColorCredit: Revlon

Capless Hair Highlighting Kit

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

L'Oreal Paris Superior Preference Glam LightsCredit: L'Oreal Paris

How to repair broken hair and flyaways

The wrong tool or the wrong technique can tangle or, worse, tear your hair. You're in trouble when you look in a mirror and see tiny hairs sticking up along your part and hairline. These aren't "baby hairs" growing in, says Cheri McMaster, senior scientist for Pantene: they're hairs that have broken. Here's how to to stop that breakage in its tracks:

3. Invest in a good brush to prevent breakage

Bristles are the key to preventing breakage. They should be soft, smooth — avoid those with plastic balls on the ends — and spaced out, as on a comb. Wet Brush is designed specifically for wet hair: its thin, perfectly-spaced IntelliFlex bristles are flexible and specially designed to be firm enough to get through knots and tangles, yet soft enough to keep hair healthy and snag-free.

4. Don't brush wet hair

H2O can exacerbate the issue: “Water exposure swells and stretches the hair’s shaft, which causes the shingle-like outer layer to lift, and adding stress from brushing in that state can cause it to break,” explains GH Beauty Lab senior chemist Sabina Wizemann.

Brush your hair before washing if possible, and if you have to detangle it wet, towel-dry so it no longer drips, apply a leave-in conditioner from roots to ends, and use a gentler wide-tooth comb or detangling brush to reduce friction. Work from the ends up in small sections to avoid ripping strands, she suggests.

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

L'Oreal Professionnel Inforcer Brush Proof Anti-Breakage Detangling Hairspray

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Mason Pearson Rake CombCredit: Mason Pearson

GH Beauty Award-Winning Detangling Brush

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

The Flex Brush XL Mixed Bristle BrushCredit: The Flex Brush

How to repair damaged hair from heat

Blow-drying, flat-ironing and curling can all cause hair's outer layer to lift up, releasing valuable moisture and leaving strands brittle, dry, and damaged. To tell if your hair is damaged, pull out a hair, run your fingernail from root to end (as if curling a ribbon), drop the strand into a glass of water — and see if it uncurls. If it doesn't, your hair has lost elasticity, McMaster says.

5. Use heat protectant

Before drying or ironing your hair, McMaster says, use a heat protection hair spray or serum that contains silicones or polymers, which create a protective barrier over strands. "These stylers work by coating hair at the high temperatures of heat styling and shielding the surface of damaged strands, which can improve hair's manageability, in turn resulting in reduced breakage," Aral explains.

6. Make sure hair is dry before styling

Most importantly, “never blow-dry hair that hasn’t been towel- or air-dried partially first or use styling irons on hair that’s not totally dry, as that can cause any water inside to boil and the strand to rupture," Wizemann warns. To avoid harmful friction, dry hair by wrapping your head in a small microfiber towel for a few minutes.

7. Replace old heat tools

Throw out any heat-styling tool that you've had for more than five years: The older the appliance, the higher the chance that the temperature gauge has gone kaput, says Beverly Hills celebrity stylist Cristophe. Use your blow-dryer's nozzle attachment; it cuts down on cuticle ruffling.

Pick a flat iron that has ceramic plates: Since ceramic heats up evenly, it straightens hair faster and won't stick to — or singe — any one spot.

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Hot Tools Professional Titanium Radiant Blue Salon Turbo Ionic DryerCredit: Hot Tools

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Pantene Gold Series Thermal Heat ProtectorCredit: Pantene

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Protectant SprayCredit: Tresemme

How to repair environmental hair damage

Sun, water, chlorine — a day of fun outdoors can be hard on your hair. These essentials will help.

8. Shield hair from the sun

Cover hair with a hat to help shield it from the sun, which can damage hair at high levels of exposure, the Beauty Lab says. A tightly-woven hat can also help prevent sun burns and skin cancer on your scalp. (Bonus points if it has UPF protection, like the one below, which certifies that its fabric weave block's UV rays.)

9. Coat hair in a "waterproofing" product

Before swimming, wet your hair with shower or tap water, then coat it with a leave-in or regular conditioner to form a barrier against the chemicals like chlorine in pool water, which can cause color stripping and breakage, Cristophe says. Plus, dousing hair in clean water means it can't absorb as much chlorine to begin with.

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

L'Oreal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Leave In ConditionerCredit: L'Oreal Paris

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

Dove Nutritive Solutions Daily Moisture ConditionerCredit: Dove

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

John Frieda Frizz Ease Daily Nourishment ConditionerCredit: John Frieda

How to protect ends of hair when coloring

April (she/her) is the beauty director at Good Housekeeping, Prevention and Woman's Day, where she oversees all beauty content. She has over 15 years of experience under her belt, starting her career as an assistant beauty editor at GH in 2007, and working in the beauty departments of SELF and Fitness magazines.

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How can I protect certain parts of my hair from dye?

During the dyeing process, coat lighter hair in conditioner to protect it. The conditioner will act as a shield when you rinse the dye itself out, lessening the unwanted contact that the dye has with your hair. Another option is to cover the dyed sections with foil or plastic.

Does coloring the ends of your hair damage it?

Many hair dyes can damage both the inner and outer parts of the hair shaft. Both natural and synthetic dyes may weaken hair, but permanent dyes may cause more damage as they penetrate deeper into the hair shaft.

What can you use as a barrier cream when dying hair?

Always use gloves and apply a barrier cream—Vaseline, shea butter lotion, lanolin, or coconut oil, for example—around the hairline and ears to reduce the possibility of staining.

Why are the ends of my hair not holding color?

Your hair is damaged. Brittle, split, and dry hair won't take hair dye the same way healthy hair does. If your hair is damaged, the dye's chemicals will penetrate the hair cuticles differently, and you may end up with patchy or faded color.