There are certain things in life that you can just wing but dyeing your hair on your own is not one of them. Instead of clicking “ship” on any product that seems good enough because of decent reviews, general affordability, and eligibility for Prime two-day shipping, finding the right hair dye takes careful consideration. Yes, no matter how desperate you are for a change.
It’s critical to know how certain dyes, their ingredients, and permanence will affect your strands. Plus, each type of dye calls for different methods of TLC to prepare your hair before and protect it after the dyeing process.
Stumped? Enter: The Black haircare experts. They’ve offered all the essential info and tips about dyeing Black hair right here.
First, get to know the types of hair dyes.
- Semi-permanent hair dye: “Semi-permanent color attaches to the outside of the strand with pigment that reflects color with your natural color underneath,” explains Monica Stevens, licensed cosmetologist and hair influencer. Think if it as an enhancement to your natural strands that’ll rinse out after about 10 or so washes.
- Demi-permanent hair dye: This stuff’s ammonia free and serves to lift the cuticle, allowing the color to deposit inside the strand, Stevens says. “If you have lighter levels of natural color, your hair may reflect more pigment color than someone whose hair is darker,” she says. You’ll notice the pigment start to fade after about 16-24 washes.
- Permanent hair dye: “This process is exactly what it sounds like it is—it’s permanent and gives longer lasting color payoff,” says Stevens. So you’ve got to be sure you’re ready for this kind of commitment. Because of ammonia in permanent dyes, the product can open the cuticle and displace your natural melanin and color pigment, and replace it completely. TBH, considering you could stain your scalp or severely dry out your strands, your best bet is to go to a professional for a permanent dye job since, you know, there’s really no turning back.
- Bleach: This is another one that’s best reserved for the pros. It’s what you go for when you want to strip your hair of its natural coloring and “start over” with the color of your choice—though it’s the most common option for what Stevens calls “fantasy colors” like blue, pink, and purple. These products rely on a blend of bleach and developer to make hair up to five levels lighter than its starting point, allowing hair to better and more strongly reflect the desired hue.
Once you’ve decided on the right type of dye for your hair, you’ve got to study up on how to keep it looking as good as it did on day one and how to keep your locks healthy underneath all that color. Stevens’ first piece of advice? If you’re going for light brown or blonde shades, use blue shampoo. It’ll keep your hair looking “vibrant and get rid of the brassy and orange tones” that often peek through these shades.
And no matter what color you go for, try and avoid chlorine. If you find yourself in a pool, Stevens suggests wearing a swim cap or keeping your head above the surface. And if you end up underwater, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo ASAP. The deep cleanse of the clarifier will kick out any stubborn build up from the chlorine.
Use a repairing conditioner weekly and keep color sealer on deck when you wash your hair. The first will “keep [your hair’s] moisture balance in check,” says Stevens, and the other will “restore proper pH and lock color molecules in during the shampoo process.”
And finally, protect your skin and your bathroom as you apply the dye. Trust, that stuff gets everywhere. Stevens says to load up on tons of plastic bags and gloves.
Got it? Good. Now, onto the main event. Ahead, the best seven dyes for Black hair.
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Deepshine Pure Pigments Conditioning Cream Color
Celebrity hairstylist Marcia Hamilton loves this cream color for the way its advanced marine therapy “improves the overall strength and integrity of the hair.” The product “evens porosity and seals the cuticle giving brilliant shine.”
If you’ve never colored your hair before, Hamilton suggests covering your hair with a plastic shower cap and allowing the product to penetrate your strands under a hooded hair dryer. And always, ALWAYS testing the color on a small stand of hair first.
Color Charm Demi Permanent Hair Color
This dye makes the list because it’s especially fade-resistant. It’s the one Hamilton turns to when grey hairs are being especially stubborn. Plus, it’s ammonia-free which goes gentler on hair, keeping it soft and shiny.
Root Touch-Up Color Blending Gel
For a less fussy experience, Hamilton says to go for this handy gel. There’s no mixing required (score!) and the brush is attached to the tube. Sure, it doesn’t look like the uber-professional set up of the salon, but isn’t that the perk of an at-home job.? It should be easier.
This touch-up color “refreshes your roots in 10 minutes without damaging hair or salon color,” says Hamilton. “Apply the ammonia-free, peroxide-free, worry-free hair color, just brush, rinse and go.” Really, it’s that easy.
Shades EQ Color Gloss
If you’re looking for a super-specific shade, this is the color for you, says Hamilton. Redken offers a huge range that provides consistent coverage and won’t compromise hair texture thanks to the amino acids that lock in moisture.
Intensive Shine Semi Permanent Hair Color
With 10 shade ranges to choose from, Stevens always opts for this super-creamy formula that can immediately be applied to hair right after it’s been permed or relaxed.
Intensive Shine Demi Permanent Creme Hair Color
This Stevens pick is enriched with hyaluronic acid, argan oil, pequi oil to keep strands strong and smooth during and after application. But, it does have some ammonia, so if you’re trying to keep away from the stuff, this product is not the one for you.
Creative Image Semi-Permanent Hair Color
This vibrant hair dye promises an intense look and a smooth finish. But to make sure your strands are extra protected, try mixing in a bit of conditioner to keep your locks extra nourished while you’re applying the color.
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