When having a color treatment at a salon, there may be occasions when heat is applied. If the thought of sitting under a dryer when coloring your hair is causing you concern, then read on. Is this procedure good or bad? In this article, we will answer the question.
You can use a hair dryer to speed up the process of coloring hair but it is generally not recommended. Heat works to open up the cuticle and by maximizing heat, whether from your own head or an external source like a blow dryer, your cuticles will open much quicker. Be careful though as too much heat can cause damage to your hair.
How Can Heat Affect the Hair Coloring Process?
A colorist uses bleach to highlight hair or to go a lighter color.
Powdered bleach is mixed with peroxide of varying volumes depending on what is required.
If bleach is mixed and applied correctly, it should stay moist for about an hour and lift the color while lightening for that entire time.
Heat is not necessary for the bleach to perform.
While heat is not necessary for lightening the hair, it does speed up the process.
This is perhaps a factor for stylists using it. However, it can cause serious damage to the hair by lifting the moisture.
Your stylist might decide to give you a little heat boost if your color isn’t appearing light enough. But it’s all too easy for a little heat to become too much heat.
After applying hair dye, it is important to check that the head and scalp don’t drop in temperature.
In the first 20 minutes of the hair dying process, the cuticles open up due to the heat and the pigment penetrates.
If heat is lost in that first 20 minutes, you risk the color being uneven, and even worse, damaged hair.
The damage occurs because the chemical reaction stops due to the drop in temperature and the cuticles can break.
Should You Be Sitting Under the Dryer When Coloring Hair?
Nowadays it is quite rare for hairdressers to use the blow dryer after applying hair dye.
This is because it is not really necessary as hair dyes contain ingredients to ensure that the pigments penetrate the fiber of the hair.
In addition, a thermal or plastic cap is often used to keep the head at a consistently even temperature.
Consistency of temperature is key as the dye requires heat to undergo the chemical reaction that enables pigment absorption.
Hair dye dries when it is exposed to the heat of the blow dryer.
This makes it difficult to rinse out. The result of this is that the color is still saturating the hair fiber and continues to expel residual pigment which can negatively affect the final color result.
When Is It Okay to Apply Heat?
Colorists advise that the only time it is really necessary to use heat during processing is on virgin black hair as it is hard to lift.
However thin hair should never have excessive heat applied, nor hair that is consistently chemically treated.
You can decline if a colorist wants to put you under the dryer during the coloring process.
If they insist, ask them why they believe you need it and how long they intend to have you under there.
Sometimes it is a reasonable request, for example, if you have had balayage and after a while, the bleach is drying out. In this case, five minutes of gentle heat application is recommended.
How To Use A Blowdryer When Coloring Hair At Home
If you are dyeing your hair at home and you are determined to use some heat in the process, it can be beneficial for hair types that tend to resist color.
This is especially relevant for hair that is thick, or naturally dark hair which you are coloring lighter.
The last 5 to 10 minutes of coloring is the optimum time to apply a little heat in this case. This may improve the penetration of the color to achieve the results you are after.
It is unlikely you will have access to a hooded dryer, so simply use a regular hand-held blow dryer with a diffuser attached.
The diffuser will help distribute the heat more evenly across your head.
Alternative Ways To Apply Heat
If you are trying to protect your hair by avoiding the heat from a blow dryer, what can you do? Below are some alternatives to ensure the right temperature during coloring:
In modern salons, infrared heat applicators are often used. This is a ring that lights up and heats.
The coloring process can proceed consistently and the hair fiber remains undamaged.
However, you may not have access to an infrared heat applicator.
In this event, there are several ways to cover hair to ensure consistency and even heat, and as a result an even color you can be happy with:
- Shower cap
- Nylon bag
- Aluminium foil
- Thermal cap
You should avoid drafts during the hair coloring process. The room temperature should be consistent and comfortable.
Now that you are equipped with the information above, the next time a stylist offers you the option of heat from the blow dryer, you can make a more informed decision whether to accept or politely decline.
You can decide if the time saved is worth the health of your hair.
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