We’ve all heard beauty rumors about various things. Kind of like when you make a face and someone hits you on the back, you’ll freeze that way. We know that’s not true.
Perhaps you’ve heard that dyeing your hair will stop it from growing. Is THAT true? Nope! Not at all!
What CAN stop it from growing though is severe damage. If your hair is breaking off, that’s the reason for it seeming to halt in growth. Trimming on the regular helps you keep things healthy. The combination of heat styling and all the other things you do to your hair can weaken it and lead to breakage. Those trims are essential for keeping it thriving and growing.
I get it…you don’t want to hack off half your hair. But realistically, if you just trim it once every 4 to 6 weeks, you’ll find your hair grows faster and healthier.
Think your hair isn’t growing? Just look to your roots. If you see a difference in color, you can be sure your hair IS growing. But if it’s not healthy, it’s breaking off at the lengths, and you’ll need to do something about that.
Keep reading and I’ll walk you through everything you need to do to get your hair back in perfect condition!
Why dyeing your hair feels like it stopped it from growing
Please don’t fear that coloring your hair will cause hair loss. No evidence exists of such a thing. While hair loss happens for many reasons, regular hair dyeing sessions aren’t likely to be the culprit.
However, if you’re not coloring your hair properly and using lots of heat styling, you can damage your hair which causes it to break off. Hair strength is formed by disulfide bonds. When you don’t properly color your hair, you can damage those bonds, which makes your hair weak.
Conditioning your hair the right way and coloring safely is how you avoid this. Keeping your hair from becoming brittle will ensure you won’t later on go bald. Those harsh chemicals in permanent formulas are rougher on hair, so it’s wise to limit those. I’ll talk about other ways to get that color and shine without all those chemicals shortly.
Before I do, let me explain further what could go wrong in the way of damage. The good news is that your hair that hasn’t grown out your scalp yet can’t be damaged by hair dye. Hair shedding can increase though if you’re constantly exposing your hair to these harsh ammonia and peroxide chemicals.
There’s also the rubbing that comes with dyeing, which loosens your hairs in that telogen phase. And this can cause those hairs to come out. So, with the harsh chemicals, the pressure, and weakening of hair for breakage, your hair can technically shed out more when you’re dyeing it than when you’re not, which is why dyeing the right way is so important.
When lightening your hair, it’s even more prevalent. Those high volumes of peroxide take away the pigments from your hair shaft to turn them blonde. If you went from dark to light, you’d notice the breakage catching up with you; a term stylists refer to as ‘weathering’.
And in the worst cases, if you go too light from too dark, it can break off right at the roots, which will make you look like you have alopecia. It’s all temporary until your new hair grows in. If that scares you, just avoid it by coloring your hair a darker shade.
You may even notice right after you color your hair that more of it falls out. This is because the dye weakens your hair. Products with those harsh chemicals like ammonia and peroxide do the worst damage. Ammonia opens your hair cuticles to let the dyes in and change the color. Then a color-stop conditioner or pH balancing conditioner can help, but your hair is now more porous and hence, weaker.
Be cautious with what you use though. Some formulas don’t contain ammonia and smell lovely, but they can have an ingredient in them similar to ammonia, which could also damage hair.
What does hair dye do to your hair then?
It all depends on the color you choose and whether it’s permanent or not. In the most basic sense, hair dye chemicals get into your hair cuticles to change the color. They also change the structure of your hair. You’ll likely notice a different texture after the dyeing process.
With bleached hair, it will feel rougher. This is why going blonde is important to do with an experienced stylist. I think a lot of things you can do at home, but bleaching your hair is so hard to get just right. One wrong move, and you’ve got years of damage correction ahead. A good stylist can minimize your damage and get you that look you want.
With bleaching, stylists will tell you that your hair’s elasticity is always altered. It damages your hair more quickly than coloring. You’ll have to use what your stylists recommend to keep it looking good and healthy.
One thing you must know that all colorists will urge is that you should stay within 2 shades of your natural color when you’re coloring your hair to avoid brassiness. If you’re highlighting, you can go within 4 shades. Anything more and it could feel too harsh on your scalp.
When you should consider stopping dyeing your hair?
Not sure if your hair has suffered enough? Look for the following signs that you should give it a break!
– Your hair feels and looks dry
Hair dyes that simply deposit color aren’t a likely culprit for damage, according to dermatologists. But the lightening process will lead to damage as it hurts the cuticle. Damaged hair cuticles flake off and peel back, resulting in a straw-like feel. It’s dry, brittle, and frizzy. Additionally, if you have varying lengths of hair and never had layers cut in, that’s your cue that your hair needs a break from dyeing.
Keep an eye on your hair when you brush it too. If you find little bits of hair or shorter hairs in your length, you’re doing more harm than good with that coloring and you need to let your hair recover.
– Your scalp is itchy and irritated
Scalp damage is a surefire sign your hair needs a break from dye jobs. This is why you’ll see those at-home hair dye boxes encourage you to do a little patch test before going through with the whole thing.
Read the labels and if you see “paraphenylenediamine” on there, it’s a skin irritant. Sometimes listed as “PPDA,” it can cause an allergic reaction. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve colored your hair in life. If you have itchiness, soreness, or other troubles, you’re having an allergic reaction to that dye. To avoid this, choose semi-permanent and wash-out varieties. You’ll need to apply them more often, but they may be more gentle overall.
– If you’re visiting the hair salon frequently
Sometimes, you just have to cut your losses. If your gray hairs keep intruding to the point that you need to go see your stylist every 2 weeks but feel like you should be there every week instead, you might be better off just letting it grow in. You’ll be more relaxed this way. And if that drives you mad to show gray, ask your stylist what they recommend. There might be a color that makes it less noticeable while avoiding all those frequent trips to the salon.
– If your hair stands start breaking from going lighter
Going lighter and lighter to conceal silver roots is never the answer either. Going that degree of light where it only slightly differs from your roots means you need to stop dyeing your hair. All that drying out from hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons, and other heating options can harm the hair and that peroxide for lightening is the final nail in the coffin.
How to grow color-treated hair?
If you’ve been coloring your hair, particularly bleaching it, with such fierce regularity and you’ve been pairing that with heat styling, it’s time to focus on the repair stage to help it grow.
That new hair underneath is just waiting to come out and you can encourage healthy and faster growth by stopping the madness. The first step comes with putting down your heat styling tools. What I did when my hair was damaged was I stopped blowing it out. I’d let it air dry and then used my straightener (paired with a heat protectant spray that I applied to every section of my hair). I also avoided washing my hair daily.
And while you’re taking this damage control break here, please trim your hair. Get a new haircut from your stylist. He or she will be able to pinpoint the damage and help give you a flattering cut that gets it primed for growing out. With their expert hands, your hair will look thicker and healthier immediately.
After that, it’s up to you to keep up healthy hair habits. Seek out a conditioner with enriching natural oils. I recommend anything with argan oil or coconut oil. Hair strengthening products are good too, but don’t forget that heat protectant spray for when you do style your hair. Never apply heat to your hair without using it.
Pro tip: you don’t need all that on your scalp. Apply it around ear-level for your best results!
Got breaking hair?
Check your brush. Hair that was meant to fall out will have a bulb at the end where it fell from the root. If it’s broken, it won’t. Breakage can be treated, but it takes dedication from you. Here are some tips:
- Don’t tug at your hair
- Avoid using metal or hard plastic brushes (see my brush post)
- Be gentle in how you handle your hair
- Use warm water rather than hot when washing your hair
- Use a lower heat setting on your hair dryer when blowing out (and get a great hair dryer – see my post)
- No sulfates in your shampoo or conditioner
And above all, when you must color, do so less frequently and with products that don’t have those harsh chemicals.
Choose hair growth products too. Rogaine is one you can now get without a prescription. You may find it effective for this type of hair loss, but if your hair loss is medically-related or from stress, it may not help. And if you’re not good to your hair, any help it does provide will simply come out in your brush or get lodged in your drain to create an epic hair creature of sorts.
Your stylist is one to ask about Rogaine since it needs to be applied daily. You’ll want to find out what that means for your particular hair style.
Dyeing your hair won’t stop it from growing. The only thing that stops it is damage, which can be caused by excessive dyeing with formulas that contain harsh chemicals. If you must color your hair, it’s worth it to explore those gentler options that don’t have peroxide or ammonia in them.
Check your hair for the signs of damage and if you find them present, start doing your part to nurse your hair back to good health. That includes halting heat styling for a spell, using nourishing products, protecting your hair from the heat when you do style it, and getting regular trims to keep it looking fresh and healthy. It might seem like a lot, but once you enact all these little steps, you’ll soon start to notice your hair looks beautiful and alive again!