Real Health has gathered the most consistent hair color care information from experts, as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to provide you with the following tips for color-treated hair:

  • It’s best to have a professional color your hair. If you use an at-home kit, read the instructions carefully and always do a patch and color test to rule out allergies.
  • Toss hair color after the expiration date.
  • Beware of switching your hair-color brands. Your hair still has chemical residue from the former brand and could create a mix that is toxic and damaging to hair.
  • Do not leave hair color on longer than necessary. Also, try to use a shade close to your natural hair color to avoid frequent touch-ups.
  • Wait a couple of days after shampooing hair so that natural oils will resurface to protect hair from chemical reactions and help the color set.
  • Use products formulated for color-treated hair. Do not shampoo hair too frequently. Ethnic hair tends to be drier than other hair types, and shampoos can strip oils and color from hair.
  • Deep-condition hair every two weeks to restore moisture.
  • Before swimming in chlorinated pools, apply a conditioner to hair wetted with bottled spring water (do this even if you wear a swimming cap).
  • Massage scalp regularly to stimulate oil production and reduce dryness.
Special Care for Pregnant Women
“Many women have dyed their hair throughout their pregnancies without any known reports of harmful effects,” says Jason Rubin, MD, a family practitioner in Seattle. “Some wait until after the first trimester when most of the major organ systems have formed. Since fetal development continues throughout the entire nine months, however, some women avoid coloring their hair until after they’ve delivered. Another option is to only use color foils and highlights, where the chemicals never touch the scalp until they’ve completely dried. Cosmetologists and hair dressers should be particularly cautious during pregnancy. Some studies have shown an increased risk of miscarriage in women who frequently work with bleaches and permanents. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area, wear gloves, keep food out of your workspace and take frequent breaks.”