Natural Hair Dyes
Natural based hair dyes like henna work in a very similar way to permanent hair color. The active ingredient in henna is Lawsone, a molecule which has a very high affinity to the keratin in our hair and skin.
When applied to hair it creates a permanent bond that cannot be stripped from the hair or skin. If you have ever had a henna tattoo you will notice that it fades little by little over time. This is less to do with the dye being washed off than your skin cells shedding and being replaced by new cells.
Like other permanent colors it may fade a little over time but you cannot completely strip henna* from your hair so in that way it also causes a permanent change to your hair.
Some ladies with very tight curl patterns will experience some loosening of their curls if henna is used regularly. This happens as more and more Lawsone bonds with the keratin in their hair. If you do not like the idea of your curl pattern being permanently change then I would advise you to stay away from henna* too.
Potential Risks Of Permanent Color
Now we know how hair is colored and you now know how to care for it if you do decide to go down this route (extra protein regularly). If you are relaxed, the only thing I can say is attempting to bleach your hair will probably lead to breakage so don’t do it!
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule and I have seen a few relaxed & hair lightened women manage to get BSL length but these ladies are the exception rather than the rule so visit a color stylist who will assess your hair and determine if it’s worth the risk or not.
Personally I believe that you are better of growing your hair to your goal length first before experimenting and even then, start off with bleaching a few streaks of hair (highlights) and see how your hair handles that before committing all your hair to a color change.
For natural ladies, I also recommend a color stylist as the first point of call. Color is not to be taken lightly so I don’t recommend at home permanent box colors. Things can go all to wrong if you don’t plan changes to your regimen to accommodate the changes in your hair strength and a color stylist will be able to advise you on what is best for your hair or in fact if your hair is healthy enough to be colored.
Why It May Be Risky To Color
If you do bleach your hair you must be regular with your protein treatments. Even if you are natural your hair has gone through very similar stress to the relaxer process so it will be requiring added strength regularly to prevent breakage and dryness caused by the increase in porosity.
There is also the potential allergic reaction to permanent staining hair dyes that some ladies may not be aware of and also there does seem to be some evidence to suggest that some colors contain PPD’s which are a potential carcinogen and health risk for those exposed to them.
So to color or not to color, that is the question…