Cooped up at home, with salons closed for a few months during the lockdown, many people took to experimenting with hair colour changes. Whatever the shade, hair colours demand a different care routine to ensure they last—and your hair keeps looking glossy. “Different colours need different proportions of colour pigments in your shampoo and conditioner to maintain them. Indian hair naturally has more red and copper tones, which makes caring for browns and chocolate tones easy. But if you have bleached and lightened your hair to change to bright colours like pinks, you need to take extra care,” says Dwyesh Parasnani, top stylist at the global salon and spa chain Jean-Claude Biguine India. Regardless of the colour, Parasnani recommends a good leave-in conditioner to reduce static and frizz, especially for bleached hair, and a hair bonding, rebuilding and strengthening treatment to avoid breakage and repair hair.
“You can either do it at home or at a salon, but get a rebuilding treatment done once every 20 days. Buy a jar of hair spa product (made with natural ingredients) and deep-condition your hair once a week. Always rinse off your hair post- conditioning with cold water to seal your cuticles for shiny hair that does not frizz,” says hairstylist Avani Yashwin of the Mumbai salon Happy in the Head. Avani also recommends using a paraben-, suphate- and silicone-free colour-protect shampoo and conditioner to make your colour last long.
Red is one of the most friendly colours for the natural Indian hair colour tone; you don’t need to bleach your hair. “Red tends to fade fast and can even bleed on your clothes initially, which is normal,” cautions Avani. Over time, the pigment fades, but you don’t always need to re-colour. “Use a red pigment shampoo or a red rinse once a week. It’s like adding a vibrant filter to your hair. It improves the sheen of your red and reinforces the colour pigment which has faded,” says Parasnani.
I’ve got the blues, purples, greens and pinks
These colours are considered fast colours, or direct dyes applied to lightened, bleached hair which needs TLC. “Like a red rinse, you don’t get a shampoo but pigment or colour conditioners for these shades. These colours are isolated pigments that just get deposited on our hair and do not need oxidization. So when the colour fades, you need to put the pigment back on the hair,” says Avani. She suggests mixing a bit of the colour with regular conditioner, applying it and leaving it on for an hour minimum. This will heighten the intensity of faded colour. These colours will need to be reapplied after three weeks. “The natural sebum which the skin produces is the perfect cleanser and protector. So washing your hair less often when bleached and coloured will make it last,” says Parasnani.
Blondes have more fun
Blonde colours also need to be applied on lightened Indian hair. They don’t fade or bleed but they can start looking yellow and straw-like if they aren’t cared for. You could end up looking like you have bleached your hair and there is no colour. “Hair keratin is yellow and it starts showing, making blonde hair look brassy over time. But just like you would neutralize a pimple with green concealer, use a purple pigment (which is the undertone of blonde) shampoo to make your colour look better,” says Parasnani. For blondes, you need to tone the hair every 10 weeks. You could also try this technique at home. “Mix the pigment with the lowest developer and a conditioner, and rinse your hair with this to make blonde look better,” he suggests. Or buy a “no-more-yellow” shampoo designed to keep blondes fresh.
For the love of chocolate
Browns and caramels are the easiest colours to handle, being the closest to ournatural tone. While you do get brunette shampoos, using a regular colour-protect shampoo and conditioner suffices. “Apply a mix of equal parts of conditioner and a dark brewed coffee for 15 minutes to refresh the brown,” says Parasnani.
Dhara Vora Sabhnani is a Mumbaibased journalist.