Hair colouring facts and fiction

10 must-know facts about dyeing your tresses

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1. It’s hard to return to your natural hair colour after dyeing it

Fiction To get your colour back gradually, apply a semi-permanent hair dye in a shade close to your natural tone. These formulas will rinse out in 10 washes, says Clairol consulting colourist Luis Pacheco. If you are using at-home hair colour and have questions, the website on the box is a valuable resource for helpful information and troubleshooting tips . But, to avoid disasters, if you’ve lightened your hair, visit a professional who will advise you and help you transition gracefully back to your original shade.

2. You need to do an allergy test every time you dye at home

Fact We know you can’t wait to apply your new colour, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Forty-eight hours before you go for it, do a patch test on the inside of your elbow or behind your ear. Check that patch over the next two days. If you experience any irritation or swelling, wash off the dye immediately and don’t proceed with the treatment.(The seemingly insignificant rash on your skin will be quite painful when it’s all over your head!) If you still have your heart set on a change, you might want to try a colour rinse without peroxide, which is less likely to cause irritation.

3. Dyeing your hair leaves it dry and brittle

Fiction It’s all about using the right products the right way, says Colin Ford, national education director for L’Oréal Professionnel Canada. “Hair gets dry when the colourant is too strong or there has been a lot of lightening. Avoid excessive highlights or over-processing, and be especially careful if you have fi ne hair, which is more prone to damage.” As long as you follow directions and don’t leave the dye on for longer than indicated, you should be good to go. It gets better : L’Oréal Professionnel has a new line of ammonia-free products called Innovation No Ammonia, (INOA), which deposit colour into hair, leaving it as healthy and shiny as it was before the treatment. No harsh odour or damaged hair? Sign us up!

4. Using dye causes permanent hair loss

Fiction Our mothers may have told us this to prevent us from colouring our hair at a young age, but the reality is colour treatments do not cause permanent hair loss. That said, over-processed hair is certainly prone to breakage and split ends, so remember to consult a colour expert before undergoing any drastic treatments.

5. It’s okay to colour your hair when you are pregnant

Fact You don’t have to shy away from your regular beauty regimen for nine months. According to researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, using hair dye while pregnant is safe because the body doesn’t absorb the chemicals in significant amounts. If you’re still apprehensive, you can wait until the second trimester and opt for a less aggressive approach, like treating your hair with a demi-permanent colour. And ask your stylist to start applying the colour a little farther away from your roots than usual; that way you’ll worry less about it penetrating your scalp. So there you have it: There’s nothing wrong with wanting fabulous hair to match your pregnant glow!

6. Colouring your hair leads to premature greys

Fiction The notion that grey hairs can be caused by frequent colouring is nothing more than folklore. “The truth is premature greying is hereditary and can even be a result of large amounts of stress,” says Ceanne Chow, owner of Gloss Salon in Vancouver. When you apply dye to your hair, the hair follicle, where grey hairs originate, isn’t aff ected. So colouring your hair does not contribute to premature greys. (You can breathe a sigh of relief now.)

7. Grey hair can be covered only with a permanent hair dye

Fact The only way to fully cover a whole head of grey hair is to use permanent dye, but you can certainly use a demi-permanent dye — which lasts longer than a semi-permanent and washes out gradually — if less than half your hair is grey. The dye will help camouflage, making greys less visible. A semi-permanent dye, on the other hand, will only stain grey hairs and will wash out faster.

8. It’s impossible to dye your hair grey

Fiction Love the new stylish look of soft tonal greys? The good news is that it’s possible to get it using a hair dye. The bad news? It takes a lot of maintenance and upkeep. If you’re up for the challenge, ask your hairdresser to pre-lighten your hair and add in blond highlights that are so pale they appear grey. Chow says, “Because they are not an actual colour but a tone of platinum blond, they will fade, so you would need to re-tone regularly.”

9. After dyeing your hair, wait two days before you wash it, to preserve the colour

Fiction “This was the rule of thumb many years ago when colouring products were not as sophisticated and neither were the shampoos,” says Ford. “Today, so long as you are using a shampoo and conditioner designed to protect colour, then you are safe to wash the day after your colour service.” But some hairstylists still suggest waiting two days if your hair is dry or damaged.

10. If you have dyed your hair, you should use colour-protective shampoo and conditioner

Fact “Always use colourspecific products after you colour. They work!” says Pacheco. Shampoos and conditioners made for colour-treated hair are more nourishing than regular products. “They’re very gentle and designed with built-in tone that continuously refreshes your colour,” he says. They also help protect against fading caused by water exposure. And since the cost of dyeing adds up quickly, you want to do everything you can to preserve your colour. The other benefit is these products repair damage caused by the colouring process. Hair care that works twice as hard — we’ll take it!