Fact or Fiction: Is Darker Hair Color Less Damaging?

Dark Hair Color Damaging

Some people change their hair color about as often as they change their clothes. We’ve all known girls that have gone from jet black, to Barbie blonde, to deep red and back again, all in the course of a few months. While hair dye makes it possible for us to easily change our look on a whim, the repeated exposure to chemical products can really take a toll on our lovely locks; leaving them dry, brittle and frizzy if we don’t take the proper hair care measures.

Despite the fact that all shades of chemically based hair color (at-home or salon dye) have the potential to wreak havoc on your hair, you may have heard that some colors do less damage than others. Let’s consider what happens when you apply hair dye. With permanent and semi-permanent color solutions, hydrogen peroxide opens the hair cuticle to insert color molecules and chemically change the color of the strand. This is why all at-home dye kits include a little packet of conditioner: it makes the cuticle smooth and helps your hair retain the color for longer.

How Hair Dye Could Damage Your Hair

The bleaching process (or lifting, as the pros call it) uses the most hydrogen peroxide. It actually strips the hair strand of its color entirely and does in fact cause a whole lot of damage. If you’ve ever experienced or observed bleach-blonde hair that’s completely dry and broken, it’s the direct result of the chemical processes used to achieve that color. Darker hair dyes don’t require bleaching and therefore don’t make the hair as porous and susceptible to damage. Think of it like writing on a piece of paper: it takes a lot less effort to cross out what you’ve written using a black marker than to go over it with white-out.

Verdict: Fact. Going darker with your hair color is much less abrasive than bleaching it, but only if you’re smart about it. We highly recommend steering clear of store-bought dyes and leaving it to a professional. At-home-color tends not to last as long, meaning you’ll need to dye it more frequently to maintain it. More frequent coloring means repeated chemical exposure, which will leave you with more damage anyway. If you’re concerned about breakage, stick with semi-permanent colors (these contain the least hydrogen peroxide) and condition your hair regularly with high-quality products.

Do you color your hair at home?

Photo: Thinkstock


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