Color Treated Hair

In order to understand problems specific to color-treated hair (and the many ways to repair them), we will begin with the process itself – what is actually happening when you undergo a color treatment?

Each strand of your hair is made up of three layers: the outermost layer is the cuticle, the middle layer is the cortex, and the innermost layer is the medulla. The cuticle is a translucent layer of shingle-like cells that protect your hair. Most damage to the hair occurs when the cuticle layer is disrupted by things like overbrushing, excessive heat, or chemical treatments, leaving the hair too porous and allowing moisture to easily enter and leave the hair shaft. The bulk of the hair is contained in the cortex, where your natural pigment is found, making it the target of hair coloring products. The medulla is only found in thicker hairs, and does not play a part in the coloring process.


Color treatments must penetrate the cuticle and in order to reach the cortex, where they either remove and/or deposit color pigments. Because this process is chemically opening the cuticle, it is common to see dry hair in individuals that frequently color their hair. Fortunately, there are many solutions to this problem:

Quality hair dyes: Professional hair dyes contain natural oils that condition the hair during the coloring process. There are also some treatments that can be included in the color process itself, such as Olaplex. These provide intense nourishment and repair the damage done by the chemicals in the hair dye.

Shampoo & Conditioner: It is especially important for those with color-treated hair to maintain a proper hair care regimen that includes conditioner every time you shampoo. Try to ensure your shampoo and conditioner are sulfate-free or color-safe in order to keep your new color from fading. Your color can fade die to sun exposure and overwashing. Try to minimize the number of times your hair gets wet by not shampooing every day, using a shower cap when you aren’t washing your hair, and using a dry shampoo in between wash days to refresh your appearance. Various products can provide sun and UV protection for your hair.  

Conditioning Treatments: You should use deep-conditioning treatments or masks about once a week, which can be done at home. This ensures that your hair is well-moisturized and leaves your hair shiny and soft.

Leave-In Conditioners/Protectants: Since one of the biggest threats to your hair health and color is heat, you must make sure to use a product that will protect against heat damage. Many styling products will provide thermal protection, but it is very beneficial to have a leave-in product that will condition your hair as well.

Professional conditioning treatments: In addition to caring for your hair at home, a professional treatment such as Moroccanoil or Olaplex can do wonders for the health of your hair. Consult a hair treatment specialist for the best options for your specific hair type and condition.