Dyeing hair for the first time ever with ombré - effect on hair health
November 19, 2016 5:48 AM   Subscribe

My wife asks: I am wondering if I dye my hair ombré, would the roots/upper part of my hair stay unchanged and healthy? I know the color will not change on that part because only the tips are dyed. But will the process change my hair health entirely?

I have never dyed my hair before. This afternoon I have an appointment for ombré hair dye. I have heard that dying your hair forever changes it (texture, dryness, overall worse health). But I figured that the dye would only affect the parts of hair where it is applied-- i.e. with ombré, only the hair ends are dyed and the roots/upper part of my hair would stay unchanged and healthy. So I figured no harm done, I could always just chop the ends off later and get back my original hair! But yesterday a friend told me that dying the hair, even with ombré at just the tips, will still affect the whole hair chemistry and my hair will never be the same again.

Any knowledgeable hair professionals who can shed light? What may be likely to change about my never-before-dyed hair if I get ombré?

For context, my hair color is black (fine texture, mostly straight naturally, sometimes oily). I'm a fan of my color but just a little bored and want temporary change; I feel like I've already tried lots of styles and hair lengths and new color is like the final frontier lol. I want a lob with very subtle ombré changing the tips/end of hair to a medium brown. My salon says they offer Olaplex.
posted by nertzy to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
IANAStylist, but I have worked in salons and had my very dark brown "virgin" (never before colored) hair bleached platinum blond in the past.

The texture of the dyed/bleached parts of your hair will likely change - from what I understand, bleach lifts up the cuticle along each hair shaft, making the processed hair more porous, rougher, and dryer. The bits not exposed to bleach or dye won't be affected this way, and new hair at your roots keeps growing in the same as ever. I think people who dye their hair for a long time and find their hair different when they stop might attribute it to chemical processing when it could just be due to age/hormone/lifestyle/misremembering-hair-of-the-past reasons.

Like if Gwen Stefani decided to stop maintaining her platinum (perish the thought), her natural 47-year-old hair growing in would be different than the hair she remembers from pre-bleach at 16 or whatever because she's older, has been pregnant, eats differently, etc., not because she colored her hair for 30 years.

It's been two years since I bleached all my hair and colored it back. I've since grown out and chopped off all the processed parts, leaving behind hair that's exactly as huge and curly and dark brown as it was pre-bleach. Go forth and ombré!
posted by circle at 6:54 AM on November 19, 2016 [18 favorites]

I have heard that dying your hair forever changes it (texture, dryness, overall worse health).

I'm not a hair professional but I am someone who has been dying her hair for many years, and that statement is not true. For it to be true, hair dye would have to permanently damage your follicles, which it doesn't.

yesterday a friend told me that dying the hair, even with ombré at just the tips, will still affect the whole hair chemistry and my hair will never be the same again.

Your friend needs to retake Biology 101 and quit it with the scare tactics.

Any damage done to your hair (which should be minimal if your salon is good) can be removed by trimming off the dyed parts once you're bored with them.

Olaplex is the bomb! It makes a noticeable difference for my hair, which I have colored every 6 weeks. If you're very worried about the condition of your hair, see if you can buy the Olaplex 3 to take home
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:54 AM on November 19, 2016 [28 favorites]

Your friend is mistaken. Bleaching/dying hair will permanently affect the texture of the part of the hair that is bleached, yes. It can't do anything to future new growth.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:49 AM on November 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Dyeing your hair doesn't forever change it. And, you may hear the term "virgin hair" used, but that only refers to the hair that's on your head at that moment and whether it's had any chemical process done to it yet. Once the processed hair grows out completely, your hair returns to being virgin hair.

I've done a great deal of bleaching and coloring for years. And, when I grow it all out and do nothing for awhile, my hair is the same as it's always been. Things that can actually semi-permanently or permanently change your hair are things like nutrition, hormones, chemotherapy, certain pharmaceuticals, etc. Not dye or processing.

Maybe consider taking things this friend says with a grain of salt. They may be well intentioned, but they're spreading myths. Enjoy your hair color! I find coloring my hair to be a fun change.
posted by quince at 7:59 AM on November 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

I did the same thing and the first day afterwards I noticed the bottom of my hair was rough, knotted easily, and was difficult to comb, whereas the top of my hair was still silky smooth. Invest in a hair mask conditioner or olive oil conditioner for people with naturally dry hair. I use it every day and the bottom of my hair stays soft.
posted by Penguin48 at 8:04 AM on November 19, 2016

I've dyed repeatedly and with multiple years between (so have gone from 100% virgin hair to dyed to 100% virgin). Although the texture of my hair has changed over time (it seems to be getting somewhat coarser, although I am not graying yet), it has not appeared to have anything to do with the dye, at least once the dye is fully grown out.

+1 to circle's explanation.
posted by mchorn at 8:52 AM on November 19, 2016

Bleach alone can make hair thinner, dryer, and can make it almost crispy texture-wise - think straw. However, hair color makes hair smoother and thicker. So bleaching and dying together should balance out somewhat although her hair might end up with a different dryness or greasyness than she is used to. Both bleaching and dying can make hair a little straighter if it is curly, wavy, or frizzy.

That said, both bleaching and dying only affect the part of the hair that is exposed to the process. Even bleach only dries/crisps out the bleached hair and does not mean your hair will forever be dry. Her hair will continue to grow out exactly as it naturally is. That "hair chemistry forever" statement is BS.
posted by atinna at 10:47 AM on November 19, 2016

I did ombre a while back and the parts of my hair that didn't get the color were unchanged. It's literally the exact same hair. Nthing that the texture of the dyed parts will change slightly. I have very "healthy" AKA oily light brown hair that bleaches and takes dye very easily. The highlighted/ombre parts of my hair became noticeably drier.

Keep in mind that even if you are going for a subtle color change, because you're lightening your hair, you will be bleaching it no matter what.
posted by Sara C. at 11:17 AM on November 19, 2016

Yes to everyone above, especially re not listening to your friend who is absolutely wrong.

Also, you're not going lots of levels lighter, you're doing it in a salon and with olaplex. I am betting you won't even notice the difference in texture but if there is, it will be slight.

My daughter has dark dark brown hair, straight and fine, bleached twice to lift from about 3 to maybe 8 or 9 as a canvas for various manic panic colours the last 12 months. The bleached parts of her hair feels as nice as the virgin part.
posted by stellathon at 3:36 PM on November 19, 2016

Just please do this at a salon.
If you get professionals to do this, nothing can go wrong.
posted by mumimor at 4:12 PM on November 19, 2016

^Just because it's a professional doing it does not mean it won't go wrong. I've had a hair disaster at a reputable salon before.

Lightening/bleaching does damage your hair to some extent, but if you just keep on top of it with the right conditioners then you won't have any problem. But absolutely do not attempt to do it yourself. The fade between your natural hair and ends alone is difficult.
posted by Lewnatic at 5:36 PM on November 19, 2016

Bleach/dye will damage only the parts of the hair that get the colour treatment. Which is one downside to ombre - if you generally have oily roots and dry ends, this can become more pronounced. But I've heard fantastic things about olaplex, so hopefully you avoid that as much as one can.

Enjoy your new hair style!
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:10 AM on November 20, 2016

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