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Woman with dark, colour-treated hair

Five ways to keep your color-treated hair healthy

Colored hair damage can be traced back to what’s happening at a molecular level. So how we protect it should start there too. At Dyson we’ve invested over £100m and employ hundreds of engineers, scientists and stylists to investigate the science behind hair. We’ve put artificially colored hair under the microscope to determine how we can help keep it healthy, vibrant and shiny for longer.

Why colored hair damages more easily

Permanent hair dye is formulated to penetrate the hair strand’s natural outer barrier and deposit color molecules deep inside the hair shaft.

But the process of getting the color molecules there can be damaging.

The outer barrier of the hair is called the cuticle. Its transparent protein cells are tightly bound together and coated with a lipid layer that can help repel water, giving hair its natural shine and integrity.

Hair dye breaks down the lipid layer and swells the hair strand. This swelling lifts the cuticle and allows small color molecules to pass through to the center of the strand. A chemical reaction then occurs inside the hair strand, creating larger color molecules that are trapped within the hair, resulting in a new hair color.

Removal of the lipid layer and a damaged cuticle can reduce your hair’s natural shine, make it feel rough and result in increased porosity. So other molecules, such as water, can move in and out of the hair strand more easily and make hair susceptible to further damage.

So when it comes to keeping colored hair healthy and making hair color last longer, protecting the hair structure and keeping the new color locked inside is key.

Woman with blonde, colour-treated hair

Five practical tips to keep colored hair healthy

1. Limit exposure to extreme heat

High heat can change the proteins in the hair and cause irreversible damage to its structure. Damage to the strands can affect how quickly the new color is washed out as water moves through.

Dyson hair care technology is engineered to reduce reliance on extreme heat. This helps keep your hair strands healthy and your color intact.

2. Wash your hair less

The cuticle is particularly vulnerable to damage when wet because the hair strands swell and become fragile. The swelling causes the cuticle scales to lift and the strand becomes rough. A rough cuticle tangles more easily, leading to mechanical damage.

3. Condition your hair regularly

Conditioners and oils help limit water absorption into the cuticle by depositing a hydrophobic layer over the hair. A water repellent layer over the strand helps to smooth its surface, increase shine and prevent friction.

Condition the ends of your hair liberally every time you wash and opt for more intense conditioning treatments every week or so.

4. Keep hair out of the sun

UV radiation from sunlight has been shown to oxidize and destroy the color molecules formed during the dying process. It also breaks down the hair’s protein structure leading to visible hair damage such as bleaching, broken fibers and split ends.

Staying out of the sun can help keep your color fresh and closer to its “first-dyed” state.

Wear a hat when out in the sun for long periods of time or use UV-protecting products.

5. Beware of swimming pool water

Copper algaecides are sometimes used in swimming pool water to clear algae. But the copper molecules can also penetrate deep into the strands and change the hair’s color.

Wet hair in a swimming pool can also swell hair strands, break some of the hydrogen bonds that hold the structure together, and make hair more vulnerable to damage.

Using leave-in conditioners or oils before swimming in a pool can help repel the water from the strands. Or wearing a swimming hat can prevent exposure altogether.

For personal advice from Dyson Stylists, visit a Dyson Demo Store and discover how our technology can help improve your hair’s health, colour and shine.

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¹Jennifer Marsh, J. G. (2015). Healthy Heair. New York : Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

²Wickett, E. T. (2012). Practical Modern Hair Science. Allured Books.