My hair hasn't been the same since I dyed
November 2, 2018 10:46 AM   Subscribe

A couple months ago, I dyed my hair with a different color and brand than usual. My hair has been wrecked since then--my hair is limp and staticky and I lost my curl. I have two questions--how do I repair it? And would it be a bad idea to color it in this state (with different brand)? Here's a before/after pic.

I have long hair with lots of natural curl. I've mostly dyed it red my adult life and never had problems with damage. For the past few years I've been using Vidal Sassoon Runway Red, which gave a lovely bright red that didn't fade.

I'm not sure what Vidal Sassoon has discontinued, but when I couldn't find my color, decided that it'd be time for a change. I went with a Natural instincts burgundy.

The color was pretty at first, but my hair was dry and shapeless. I experimented with conditioners and leave-ins and homemade deep conditioners (like ones made out of eggs, honey, and olive oil). I can make it look a little better for a day or so, but then it gets limp and drab again. I've used clarifying shampoo and baking soda/acv to get rid of buildup. The burgundy color faded fairly quickly, but the damage has stuck around.

So how can I repair it and get my curl back? I'm on a very tight budget, so "just go to a salon" is easier said than done.

Next, I'd like to color it again but that could be a bad idea while it's still damaged. If anybody can weigh in on whether or not to color (and a good brand to use), that would be great. I'll probably go back to red, but I know red fades quick in a lot of brands. (I'll add that I love Splat's colors, but it makes such a huge staining mess that I don't use it now.)
posted by mermaidcafe to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help much with repairing your hair (sometimes there's not much you can do other than condition it), but as for new color options:

If you are near a Sally's Beauty Supply Store or other supply store, those formulas tend to be much better than box dyes. Usually any associate can help you match the dye with the developer, or it will say it on the back. It won't save you money over box dye but it's still tenfold cheaper than heading to a salon. I might stick to demi or semi-permanent hair color options there, to prevent further damage. They have some real good bright red tones, too.

If you just want brighter red, you could also try a color wash. I remember using the Jazzing colors with decent results. Or for slightly more permanent color (8-10 washes) you could do some of the Ion colors.
posted by ancient star at 11:16 AM on November 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Have you tried Olaplex or Amika Virgin Hair? They work miracles!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 11:20 AM on November 2, 2018 [7 favorites]

When it is wet, does it feel mushy? If you take a hair and try to stretch it, does it stretch and then break (vs spring back). If so I bet you need a protein treatment - a good one with hydrolyzed (ie teeny tiny) proteins that can actually penetrate the hair shaft. It used to be that you could only get real protein treatments at a salon, and I would still recommend that considering your hair is color-treated, but now you can get Aphogee 2-step at beauty supply stores or even at some drug stores. I believe Olaplex also makes a version of their protein treatment for at-home use, but I have never tried that one.

Natural instincts dye is ammonia free but I believe it still has peroxide. The problem with box dyes (and I love a good box die) is that they are pre-formulated so it's hard to control the process, and the formulation varies pretty widely between brands as you have learned.
posted by muddgirl at 11:23 AM on November 2, 2018 [9 favorites]

Have you considered henna?
posted by slipthought at 11:32 AM on November 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

I really like this deep conditioning mask from Briogeo for my curly hair. If you're near a Sephora, I would maybe see if you could grab a sample to try before buying the whole thing.
posted by kylej at 11:41 AM on November 2, 2018

Stop doing anything to your hair & go see a professional hair dresser get a protein/conditioning treatment from them, they'll have seen this before & know how to fix it. I say this as someone that home colors her hair & had for 30 years, sometimes you get what you pay for. It may take more than one visit if you've really fried your hair. If/when it's recovered then look into coloring it again. You may want to look into colors that don't use a "fixer" and are semi permanent to keep your hair color bright between colorings & coloring it less often. This is also something you could do while your hair is recovering, without the fixer/activator so no peroxide or ammonia it is much less damaging to your hair. Sparks is very popular & I'm a fan of the Pravana Brights line.
posted by wwax at 11:51 AM on November 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

It sounds like your hair probably needs protein. For that purpose, I strongly recommend this product - Neutral Protein Filler - which is very reasonably priced for the size of the bottle and the amount that you use each time. I actually mix a bit in with my leave-in conditioner after every shower (my hair loves protein), but you can also use it more intensively (I think there are ratios on the back?). People add it in when they dye hair to avoid the situation you seem to be describing: the reviews are an instructive read. I also use Aphogee two-step protein treatment monthly (here is the first step, the protein step), which works really well for me, and which I would recommend if the Neutral Protein Filler doesn't work the kind of magic you're looking for.
posted by ClaireBear at 2:16 PM on November 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also wanted to add: if your hair needs protein, deep conditioners (i.e. moisture) are basically the opposite of what you need to do to your hair. The internet is full of info on this, but see, for instance, here. The way you describe your hair, as well as your picture, sounds to me strongly like you need to apply protein. As the piece puts it: "If the strand test doesn't work for you, go by how your hair feels. Stringy, limp, or sticky hair generally needs more protein." In my experience with fine wavy hair, protein makes my curl pop and helps my hair have body; when my hair is lacking protein, it feels limp, thin, and soft. Heavy oils and/or humectants (the olive oil/honey attempts that you've described) are just adding moisture and weighing it down, and hurting rather than helping. In the state that your hair is now in, I definitely wouldn't re-dye it, either at home or in the salon.

Also, I believe I have read that protein in things like eggs is too large to penetrate the hair shaft, so there's no point in applying them topically in an effort to supply your hair with protein: instead, you need to look for hydrolyzed protein (cut into tiny pieces), which is able actually to have an effect. The proteins in the treatments I linked above are hydrolyzed (keratin, collagen, etc.). If I were you, I'd try both an Aphogee treatment as well as a Neutral Protein Filler treatment (or maybe a couple of each, spaced over a week or two) rather going to a salon: it's going to be a couple of bucks per treatment vs probably 50-100 times more expensive at a salon, plus you actually know what you're putting on your head when you do it yourself. I think Aphogee and NPF use different types of hydrolyzed protein, which might be helpful as sometimes hair responds a bit differently to different proteins. And whatever you do, I'd try protein rather than adding a ton of moisture, which may well make your situation worse (something heavy like olive oil will really hurt things if the problem is protein lack). Also, while "natural", baking soda is very harsh for your hair, and may also worsen the problem and cause breakage (here is anecdotal evidence, with links to a derm).

Also, if you're interested in really bright red hair, you might want to consider henna, as a poster above suggested. If so, I'd use pure henna (possibly Body Art Quality, if you're willing to pay a little extra), rather than an adulterated mix that has had artificial dyes added or metallic salts or anything. Depending on your starting color and the number of layers of henna you add (the color intensifies with more treatments), you can get results like this or this. Because it's essentially a reddish gloss on your hair, it keeps the color variations present in your actual hair, so it looks very natural. On my hair, it acts almost like protein and gives hair a lot of body as well. This site has lots of info and sells great quality henna that I have purchased and used, although it's not the cheapest.
posted by ClaireBear at 7:15 PM on November 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

Thanks so much for suggestions!

I’ve done henna before and know how to do it but I’m not interested in henna right now. Thanks!
posted by mermaidcafe at 9:48 PM on November 2, 2018

I also use the aphogee protein treatment on my hair after I dye it. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully, especially since you have long hair! You are drying protein into it until it gets very stiff and if you aren't mindful you can break your hair. But it's a great treatment and very reasonably priced.
posted by ch1x0r at 8:01 AM on November 3, 2018

Opalex is pricey but it is the BEST. I was deeply suspicious it could fix my dry crunchy bleached hair but it totally did.
posted by colorblock sock at 4:34 PM on November 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't have any experience with fixing your hair texture, which it looks like previous posters have covered anyway. But if you do dye your hair again after fixing it -- my #1 hair dye recommendation for "non-natural" colors (including bright red) is Pulp Riot. Unfortunately the brand is pro-only so it might be hard to acquire. My colorist used to use Arctic Fox before she switched to Pulp Riot, and Arctic Fox is also sold directly to consumers.
posted by serelliya at 9:50 AM on November 4, 2018

Another vote for regular use of Olaplex 3 at at home. My hairdresser uses the treatments when she colors my hair, and I use the Olaplex 3 at home, and I know this sounds like an infomercial, but my hair is the longest right now that I've been able to grow it for years.

If you dye regularly, I would recommend to always have it on hand as part of your hair care routine.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:40 AM on November 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Big thanks to all. I will get Olaplex tomorrow when I get paid. In the meantime I’ve been using Nexxus protein treatments I found at CVS. Big improvement in less than a week.
posted by mermaidcafe at 10:46 AM on November 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

« Older Time change -> Early Riser capable of working out   |   Communist memoirs sought Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments