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How Hair Colour & Hair Dyes can damage your hair

This post was last updated on August 8, 2022 by Preethi Sukumaran

Can a hair colour damage your hair? Regular salon or at home hair dyes, hair colour and other treatments like hair smoothening, keratin and cysteine treatments can all seriously damage your hair. Read on for more.

India loves experimenting with hair.  The Indian hair colour market is growing by nearly 18% every year and is now valued at $ 477 million.

Interestingly several industries reports also highlight the growing demand for hair loss and baldness reversal solutions. It is estimated that balding has now begun appearing 10 years earlier than it used to with a drastic rise in teenage and young adult hair fall problems. The hair restoration industry is now worth over Rs.800 crores in India with a year on year growth of 25% !

The irony of these 2 research reports is not lost on us. We receive a staggering number of enquiries from consumers who can make the correlation between their hair colouring treatments and subsequent hair loss.

Why do chemical hair colours damage hair? And what can we do about it? In this post we are going to focus on the hair damaging effects of chemical colours.

How hair colouring damages the cuticle of the hair

The cuticle of the hair is a very carefully thought through structure that protects the inner core of your hair from damage. Just like the bark of a tree, it provides an outer coating and the health of the cuticle determines the gloss, shine and smoothness of hair.

Hair colours attack the inner core of the hair, and the cuticle is the first barrier to the entry of hair colour into your hair. To penetrate the hair shaft, the hair colour alters the pH of hair from its natural acidic state to an alkaline level. At this alkaline level, the cuticle is forcefully lifted up exposing the inner sections of hair, and the hair colour penetrates through into the hair shaft.

This process causes large cracks in the cuticle structure which are visible under a miroscope – these cracks weaken hair and increase its porosity bringing down its elasticity, making it more breakage prone.

How chemical hair colours dry and damage hair

Once the hair cuticle has been lifted, the chemical hair colour can now alter the natural colour of your hair. However, the new colour cannot be added onto your hair’s existing colour. So the first step to changing colour is to remove the existing natural colour of your hair. This is where peroxide and other bleaching agents in hair dyes and hair colours come in.

Peroxide breaks down the hair’s natural colour pigment and bleaches hair. Bleaching agents like peroxide are extremely drying and damaging to hair. With the protective cuticle now being lifted up and your hair’s natural colour being broken down, your hair’s texture will slowly become unhealthy, dry and straw like.

At this stage the colour is applied to your hair and there is a waiting period as the colour penetrates the hair shaft. During this entire time, because of the altered pH of your hair, the cuticle remains in a lifted state – the longer the cuticle is in this state, the weaker is basic structure becomes, and the higher the damage is.

There is a physical limit to how many times you can colour your hair with chemical colours

As you continue to colour your hair repeatedly with chemical hair colours, the hair texture becomes worse. The process of liftng teh cuticle, leaching colour pigments and removing natural oils is to blame.

After a point of damage, your hair will no longer be able to absorb any colour!

Hair colours are semi permanent, but the damage done to your hair is pretty much permanent.

To sum up – what happens to your hair with regular chemical hair colouring

Chemical hair colours and hair dyes damage hair structure.

The effects are:

  • Drop in hair strength and elasticity (so hair breaks easily)
  • Reduction in thickness
  • Increased coarseness and roughness of hair
  • Reduction in hair growth + quality

How can we help hair that has been damaged by hair colours?

  1. Space out chemical hair colours as much as possible or switch to natural colours
  2. Give your hair regular nourishment in the form of good Ayurvedic hair oil. We recommend the Krya Damage repair hair oil for this)
    • Make sure you pre-oil your hair before hair wash (atleast 2 hours before)
    • In addition leave on oiling is a MUST for colour damaged hair – it helps stimulate and heal the scalp
  3. Limit or avoid heat styling.curling irons, flat irons and even simple blow dryers
  4. Do not alter your hair colour very far from your natural shade. This needs more work. And therefore causes more hair colour damage . However even here, try choosing a natural hair colour if possible
  5. Use a super gentle hair wash and reduce the number of times per week you wash hair
    • Colour damaged hair is extremely fragile and has reduced elasticity. So frequent washing can cause high breakage.
    • Try reducing the wash to once or twice a week.
    • A synthtic shampoo can be extremely drying on hair. Dilute your shampoo with 3 parts water to reduce the drying effect.
    • We recommend the Krya Damage repair hair wash for colour damaged hair.
  6. Use a scalp healing and revitalising treatment once a fortnight or once a month
    • We recommend the Krya Damage repair hair mask.
6 tips for hair colour damage

The Krya Damage Repair Hair Range – Why is the Krya Hair Damage Repair hair range suitable for colour damaged hair

The Krya Hair Damage Repair hair range consists of the Hair Oil, Hair Mask (Lepa) and the Hair wash. All 3 products are specially formulated for colour damaged hair.

Colour Damaged hair becomes extremely porous because of multiple injuries to the hair cuticle. When tested in water, this kind of hair will absorb water and sink to the bottom as its porosity allows water to invade the hair. In this state, hair is vulnerable to the many chemicals that are applied on it and will absorb all of them increasing damage.

Colours also permanently damage the hair shaft as they lift the cuticular structure and inject chemicals like PPD inside the hair shaft to ensure the hair colour stays longer without getting washed out. (The lack of this kind of chemical in natural hair colours is why they wash out much faster from your hair compared to your salon brand of hair colour).

Colour damaged hair also contains a layer of toxins on the scalp as this kind of hair is regularly coated with synthetic conditioners and treatments to artificially smoothen it and “condition” it externally.

The Krya Damage Repair hair range has been carefully formulated and addresses the needs of colour damaged hair:

The Krya Damage Repair hair oil is a specially formulated hair oil that is easy to absorb and is nutrient rich. It makes the hair more manageable and stimulates high quality hair growth by boosting scalp nutrition.

The Krya Damage Repair Hair Mask is a scalp stimulating and revitalizing Ayurvedic hair mask. It helps improve new hair growth and clarifies the scalp

The Krya Damage repair hair wash cleanses very gently . It does not strip natural oils from scalp and hair or damage it further.

Finally is there a better way to colour your hair? Glad you asked. Explore our natural colours here.

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Preethi Sukumaran
Preethi Sukumaran

Preethi is deeply committed to the formal study and application of the timeless principles of right living as laid down in the Ayurvedic canon. At Krya, her synthesis of ayurvedic principles with botanical expertise drives R&D & Product development.

We have over 100 proprietary formulations in the market today which are trusted and loved by our consumers.

Preethi is also deeply passionate about building Krya based on the Indic principle that Dharma leads to Artha ; we call this "Dharmic Entrepreneurship". She works with the Krya team on establishing Krya as one of the most trusted wellness brands in the categories we operate in.

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One comment

  1. I have severe premature greying and have to colour my hair every month as much as I hate to. And for anyone who colours hair due to premature greying knows that once you start it, you are stuck for life. Any suggestions on how to manage this?

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