The best way to care for chemically colored locks is to use products that nourish and condition the hair, says Johnny Wright, the artistic style director for SoftSheen-Carson, who gained fame for styling First Lady Michelle Obama’s hair.

These color treatment tips will give you great results and maintain the health of your hair through the process.

  • Find a permanent hair color product that offers 100 percent gray coverage.
  • Stay close to your natural hue to get the most natural-looking results.
  • Make sure the product you select offers a lot of conditioning agents. SoftSheen-Carson’s Dark & Lovely Color Confidence Haircolor offers a no-ammonia formula with 100 percent gray coverage and a triple-conditioning ingredient that also moisturizes hair.
  • Don’t color and relax on the same day—it’s just too much stress at once. To relax color-treated hair, use a mild-strength relaxer or one specifically designed for this purpose, such as SoftSheen-Carson’s Dark & Lovely Moisture Seal Plus Shea Butter Relaxer for Color Treated Hair. Wait at least two weeks between the application of permanent hair color and relaxers. And always consult with your hair care professional.
  • Once you tint your tresses, care for them with regular touch-ups and deep-conditioning treatments.

“I can’t stress it enough: Make sure you’re keeping your hair conditioned,” Wright says. “Hair coloring can dry out your hair. Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to keep your mane looking healthy, supple and vibrant.”