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Color Treated

 –  After taking the time, trouble and expense to have hair color treated, it makes sense to want to maintain it. While it’s true that any color process will eventually be undone, there’s no reason not to try to preserve the hair coloring as long as possible. Some of the ways this can be done are simple – avoiding long exposure to direct sunlight and wearing a cap while swimming in swimming pools treated with chlorine, for example – but choosing the right shampoo can also help.
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In the course of coloring hair, the outer cuticle layer of the hair shaft has been opened up to allow the process chemicals to work on the inner cortex. Depending upon the type of coloring process, permanent or semi-permanent, the melanin (natural color pigment) in the keratin of the cortex is either bleached and replaced or simply overlain with the new color dye. As a result, the hair shaft structure has been compromised and needs to be treated carefully to avoid undoing the hair coloring process. Many hair care products, including shampoos, are formulated specifically for hair that has been color treated. They do this by providing treated hair with ingredients that will benefit the condition of the hair and avoiding those that would speed up the process of color fading or cause damage to the hair.

Shampoos that are friendly to hair that has been colored do not usually contain sodium chloride, sulfates or high concentrations of alcohol. These ingredients can leach out the hair color dye, causing it to fade. Instead, the best shampoos for colored hair will cleanse the hair gently, removing accumulated contact dirt and airborne impurities without resorting to harsh chemicals. The pH of shampoos is also very important, to avoid re-opening the cuticle layer and exposing the keratin cortex layer of the hair shaft to environmental stresses and damage.

Hair that has been colored is often weakened, by loss of moisture and strength due to the chemicals used in the process. To help heal and strengthen the physical structure of the hair, shampoos for color processed hair often contain emollients, vitamins and proteins to help strengthen, cover and smooth the cuticle layer of the hair shaft. Many shampoos use botanical extracts and oils to bond with the hair shafts, providing a natural layer of lipids and proteins to keep the hair pliable. This not only seals the hair shaft, to protect the cortex, but keeps the hair strong and full, with more body and shine.

The ultraviolet rays of the sun are the cause of beaching, or fading the natural pigment of hair color. The same solar radiation can also cause havoc with hair coloring. Many shampoos formulated for hair after coloring will contain ultraviolet protection to help guard against fading. Additional care, such as using a protective serum before heat styling, can also help extend the life of a hair coloring treatment. These work well in conjunction with color safe shampoos.

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