Perm rod set.

Having recently colored my hair, I've learned that some things I used to do before will no longer be best for my hair. Certain products I used to use, won't be as effective as before. Therefore I've come up with a list of the top 5 things I've learned about my colored hair.

1. To keep hair color vibrant and fresh, I wash my hair with cold water. Pretty much the coldest water I can manage. Brrrrrr. Cold water helps to keep the hair shaft closed which reduces the amount of my color being washed down the drain as well as increasing the smoothness and shine of my hair.

2. It's best to use products specifically designed for color treated hair. First of all, this will prevent your color from being faded too quickly, and secondly, these products are generally designed to help strengthen and protect colored hair which is now in a more weakened stated then before the color application. My favorite color-protecting hair products are the new Shea moisture Superfruit line. I start off with the serum and my vibrating Vitagoods brush for a good scalp exfoliation. Then I follow with the matching shampoo. Now I hadn't noticed this before, but there really is a marked difference in the amount of color lost during washing when I use the Superfruit line versus a non-color protecting line. The water washes clear or nearly clear every time and my hair feels so soft and moisturized! If you are planning to color your hair, be sure to invest in some good color protecting hair products, your hair will thank you!

3. Being gentle comes with the territory of colored hair. My hair is definitely dryer than it used to be, which is expected, so I've adjusted my regimen accordingly. I now try to wash my hair in sections. This makes detangling a breeze and I lose very little hair on wash day. I section my hair into four sections,then gently I shampoo, condition and apply deep conditioner to each section, one at a time. The entire process takes my about 10-15 minutes. I then rinse each section, one at a time while gentling combing and detangling with a really wide tooth comb under running water.

4. Protein treatments and Moisturizing treatments are important, now more than ever. I use the Aphogee 2 minute Reconsructor every other week to ensure that lost proteins replaced, this keeps my hair strong. I love this protein treatment. It has a lot of slip and a nice fresh fragrance that is very light, almost undetectable. For moisture I love the Superfruit Masque, it has a lot of slip, and I can literally feel it penetrating the hair shaft, making it smoother and softer! I also love the Carol's Daughter Monoi hair masque, it too has a tremendous amount of slip and is super moisturizing. But I do get quite a bit of color bleeding when I use the masque. Of course, the Monoi masque was not designed for color treated hair so that is to be expected. Alternating between protein and moisture treatments are important. If you do only protein treatments then the hair will get too hard, and too many moisturizing treatments will result in the hair being too soft and mushy.

5. Keeping my hair moisturized prevents my hair from looking dry and frizzy. To do this I use a wide variety of products. (Yes I am a product junkie, no I do not need any help :-) Since it is still pretty cold, I employ the L.C.O method. Liquid, Cream, Oil. I moisturize with a leave in such as Kinky curly knot today, Giovanni direct leave in, Carol's daughter Monoi Anti breakage spray or any other leave in. I then follow with a cream such as Camille Rose Natural's Almond Jai cream, followed by my Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla hair oil spray or an oil based cream such as Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar pomade (the smell is out of this world!), or the Qhemet Biologics Amla and Olive heavy cream.

Having healthy colored tresses is not an impossible feat. But being prepared to properly maintain it is vital. Don't be afraid to try something new, after all, it's just hair!

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