A crown of many colors. A solid, purple mane. A hint of highlighted perfection. So. Many. Options. But before you make that shade switch, peep these tips from natural hair expert and licensed cosmetologist Dinah LeFranc of Sorayah’s Salon Services in Brooklyn, New York.
Check Those Strands
The healthier your hair is at the time of your color treatment, the better — if it’s brittle and dry, the process may be more challenging. In fact, natural girls need extra attention. “We must have protein and moisture,” Dinah says. “Once you add the protein, which prevents breakage, and the moisture, which adds the shine, you’ll always have great color.”
Understand The Third Time’s A Charm
Transitioning from one end of the color spectrum to the other? You’ll likely need up to three appointments. “If you’re going blond or gray, you must break the cuticles down slowly to keep the integrity and curl pattern,” Dinah says. “Playing it safe guarantees good hair.” However, if you rush the process, the chemicals from a one-and-done session will leave you with weak and porous strands.
Switch Up Your Routine
With great hair comes great responsibility. Schedule regular touch-ups, and swap out your regular shampoos and conditioners for color-safe and sulfate-free ones. “Some of my favorite products are from Matrix, Joico, Maryuma Glo, Wella, [and] Olaplex,” she shares. “I recommend these to my clients when they can’t come see me regularly.” Dinah also suggests that naturalistas deep condition after every wash. It will help maintain your newfound vibrancy and lock in the oils you need.
Beat The Heat
It’s cool to stay killin’ with game with a silk press even after coloring; just make sure your stylist is using medium heat, heat protectants, and titanium or ceramic flat irons. “If you have 4b or 4c hair, the curls may be a little looser at first,” Dinah explains. “After your next wash, [they] should revert right back.” Don’t even attempt to straighten your hair yourself, though, as you can cause heat damage.
Show Love To The Swim Cap
Pools contain chlorine, and sometimes, they may be contaminated with copper, both of which can oxidize and turn your hair crazy colors. And that’s not all. “Just the atmosphere can change your hair texture,” Dinah says. “It’s not just the chlorine, it’s also the sun and the air.” Not to worry, though; you can still hit the water. Just throw on a cute swim cap, wear a protective style, and apply hair sunscreen (yep, it’s a thing) before taking a dip. And right after your swim, shampoo and condition your hair immediately.
This article originally appeared in Sesi’s Summer 2018 issue. Subscribe here to get the current issue, on sale now.