Hello, Googlers! I hope this post has the info you’re looking for! Thanks for stopping by! -Angela
I’ve coloured my hair since 1985. I’ve used pretty much every brand on the market. Recently I got into a colour debate with someone who has been brainwashed by the hair industry to think that any colour purchased outside a salon is bad for your hair. It’s 100% bullshit, of course, but students tend to believe what they are taught in school and if your school is Wella based, then Wella is the best. If it’s Aveda based, then Aveda is the best. If it’s Paul Mitchell based…well, you get the idea.
I’m here to dispel some myths about hair colour, bleach and hair washing. My mother was a bouffant hairdresser in the 60s-70s, so I grew up in a salon – literally, the salon was IN OUR HOUSE. The hair industry has changed little since then – other than the intense indoctrination of students to be loyal to ONE brand only. And better products in general.
Let’s start with basic hair care myths. (Please note all of the following is about WHITE hair, not ethnic hair.)
Myth: Washing your hair daily will ruin it.
Truth: Not necessarily. It depends on YOUR hair and scalp. This myth is linked to hair colour fading over time, I think. Most average hair and scalp can probably go unwashed for a day. Very dry hair and scalp can go for much longer. Very oily hair and scalp (like mine) simply cannot skip a day. Every morning my hair is saturated with oil and plastered to my scalp. I MUST wash it or have slimy hair. I’ve washed my hair every day for my whole life. My hair has not fallen out, gotten split ends or anything else. If your hair needs washing, WASH IT. There is nothing grosser than seeing an otherwise cute girl with unwashed, visibly dirty hair. GROSS.
Myth: Using “regular” shampoo with sulfates in it will strip your colour and ruin your hair.
Truth: Perhaps in the days of Prell this was true, but not these days. Prell really would strip your hair, but remember, in the days of the bouffant, women put that shit up for a WEEK, sprayed it with lacquer hairspray every day and they NEEDED a stripping shampoo just to get the hairspray off! These days, drugstore hair care products are very mild and generally fine for daily and/or coloured hair use. I’ve spent the big bucks for sulfate free shampoo/conditioner and I feel that it strips MORE colour out of my hair! Maybe it’s just my ultra fine hair that doesn’t like it. I’ve seen no visible difference between high dollar sulfate free salon brands and drugstore brands. Use what you like.
**New! I found L’Oreal Everpure sulfate free at Big Lots and I LOVE IT! You use a TINY amount and my hair is very happy with it. I use the color shampoo and fine hair conditioner. [Oct 2017]**
I don’t put much faith in the claim that sulfate free shampoos/conditioners will keep your colour longer. I’ve not had that experience. But if you like the sulfate free stuff, use it. I’ve determined that SWEAT is the biggest enemy of hair colour. I am a head sweater – most of my sweat comes out of my head. Weird, I know, but true. Sweat is the best colour stripper out there. It has a bleaching effect that I’ve experienced – you should see my bandanna covered in hair colour!
**New! I have started using the Zotos Quantum Perfect Plums (and Riveting Reds) shampoos to keep my colour fresher and they work! I keep my hair plum (Ion Color Brilliance Permanent Plum 4VV) and I use the Zotos Quantum Perfect Plums about every three washes. I also tried Biotera Sheer Illuminator tinted conditioner in Shiny Red (when my hair was red) that that stuff is great! It has ACTUAL SPARKLIES IN IT. EEEEE!! NEW: Sally has a conditioner by Ion called PIGMENTS that is truly a great conditioner. It stains my hands! HIGHLY RECOMMEND! All these are at Sally.**
Wanna know what damages your hair the most? HEAT. We use much less of it these days than in, say, the grand ole 80s when we strived for BIG HAIR, but heat is what causes the most damage to your hair. Curling and flat irons are especially harsh. For white hairstyles these days, there’s little done other than a decent cut, so it’s a non-issue.
Next, hair colour myths:
Myth: If you use drugstore hair colour, it’s going to ruin your hair due to (pick one) a) metallic dyes b) harsh developers c) cheap ingredients d) whatever the current myth is.
Truth: Like other hair products, the drugstore hair colours have improved immensely since the 70s. They are much gentler on the hair and cause fewer reactions than ever before. As for metallic dyes, I doubt very much that the major brands use any of that since it tends to be an allergen, but I suppose some could. Clairol using metallics would not surprise me, since Clairol is the only colour that bothers my scalp. But I can assure you that L’Oreal Feria colours do not contain metallic dyes (I will include the email they sent me about it at the end of this post). The new pastel colours that Feria has released (Jan 2016) are also NOT metallic, nor will they “melt your hair” as a popular meme suggests. That is stupid. It promises 3 levels of lift, which I am sure is a lie. There’ll be lots of botched colour jobs from people with dark hair expecting it to turn out pink. Not gonna happen.
As for harsh developers, I’m here to tell you that peroxide is peroxide, my friends. There are no “organic” or “natural” peroxide developers. It’s just MARKETING. You HAVE to have peroxide to provide lift and/or deposit of the pigments. Your only other choice is vegetable dyes (think Manic Panic, or henna – which are VEGETABLE based dyes, again, NOT metallic in any way) that stain the hair cuticle but do not penetrate the hair. I will say, however, that again, Clairol is the only colour that aggravated (BURNED) my scalp, so their shit definitely has *something* irritating in it.
As for cheap ingredients… Well, that is marketing, too. Some of the crappiest colours I’ve used are the “professional” ones. Here is what my experience with some of the most common “pro” colours (I could get them through my mother):
– Wella. Muddy colours, orangey reds. Fades quickly.
– Matrix. Bright colours but fades extremely quickly.
– Redken. Nice reds, good staying power. I used Redken for years.
– L’Oreal (professional). Muddy reds, pretty good lasting power.
– Pravana. Orangey reds, nice shimmer, pretty good lasting power.
– Pravana Brights. EXCELLENT. I love their bright stains. These do not use developer, like all veg dyes.
– Framesi. (may not exist any longer) One of the harshest colours I’ve ever used. Marketed as “metallic” colour(!!). Expensive and pretty nasty stuff.
– Feria (pro and boxed). The best reds I’ve ever used. Lovely shimmering colour. Long lasting, albeit with a colour shift. NON METALLIC (see email after post).
NEW: I have started using Ion (Sally Brand) colours. Their line of brights is pretty good. They have permanent and semi-perm choices as well as straight up veg dyes that do not require developer. Their permanent purple is good.
Myth: Bleaching your hair is a recipe for disaster.
Truth: Not necessarily. It really depends on the type of hair you have and the talent of who’s putting on the bleach. Bleach is powdered peroxide. It can be a harsh product and it can really mess up your hair if you’re not careful. It’s not so much the bleach itself that is the problem, it’s the developer that you use – which is usually 20, 30 or 40 volume. 40 volume is some powerful developer, my friends and it can certainly destroy the cuticle of your hair if you leave it on too long! Generally, curly hair is much more difficult to bleach since the cuticle is aleady open and therefore it’s easier to burn than fine, straight hair (straight hair has a closed cuticle). My rule of thumb is to use no more than 30 volume developer for a first time bleach. See how the hair responds and if it holds up well, then bleach again with 30 vol to get the desired lift. With my ultra fine hair, I can bleach the hell out of it with 40 vol and have no damage. I’m lucky that way. I’ve been known to bleach my hair 3x in a week when I went from red to blonde. But that’s MY hair. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else trying that unless you know your hair and know what you’re doing! Bleach is not an automatic ticket to damaged hair. Just be careful and don’t use 40 volume unless you KNOW what you’re doing.
Myth: Manic Panic, Special FX and other bright dyes are metallic.
Truth: Of course they are NOT metallic! They are basically vegetable dyes that just stain the hair. You don’t even use developer with them! These stains require that the hair be very blonde to work. So if you’re a naturally light blonde, then you can put it on and rock. Most of us are not level 9-10 blondes, tho, so typically we bleach first then apply the bright stain. Any brights you look at (Manic Panic, Special FX, Splat, Adore, Ion, etc.) will say that you must have blonde hair to get results.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had women with dark hair tell me that they want to go blue, pink, whatever, and are shocked to learn that you can’t put these dyes on dark hair and expect results. Every time I go to Sally I have to school someone on this.
You MUST have very light hair to do a pastel! It’s PASTEL! Anyone who thinks you can put the Feria boxed pastels on her hair w/out lightening first will have horrible results. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then PLEASE head to a pro colourist. If you really want that perfect pastel and you have no experience with multiple process colours, SEE A PROFESSIONAL. **This advice is double if you have ethnic hair.**
Cosmetology schools these days are all about creating brand loyal students. They pound it into their heads that Brand X is by far the best on the planet and everything else is inferior. It makes sense for the brands to do this. It just puts out a ton of misinformation about drugstore and less popular brands, which is why I wrote this post.
When it comes to hair, do what is best for YOUR hair. Use the brands you like! Don’t get caught up in the pro brand wars. Trust me, the stuff on the shelves at Rite Aid are just as good. I’ve got 25+ years of using this crap to tell you that with confidence. And don’t believe everything you read on the intertubes, either. There are plenty of sites saying that Feria is “dangerous” and “full of metallic dyes”, neither of which is true. I’ve put the email from L’Oreal regarding their Feria line after the cut.
As they say at Manic Panic: LIVE FAST AND DYE YOUR HAIR! :)
Continue reading “Hair Care & Hair Colour Myths”