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Damaged Hair + Colouring

Hair that is damaged, brittle, porous and fragile can not absorb and retain colour pigments adequately.

When the outer cuticle layer has been damaged from over-processing, the hair will become more porous. Porous hair will over-absorb colour and also leak colour, leading to darker, duller colour results which will fade quickly.

Damaged hair will be more porous. Damage is typically a result of high repetition daily habits such as heat styling, hair care practices which inflict wear and tear, and repeated lightening processes.

How is this damage occurring?

Lightening Processes:

Repeated or regular lightening processes will damage to your hair. We do not recommend any more than 1-2 lightening processes a year to remove colour build-up.

Ammonia Based Colour:

Ammonia in colour products is used to raise the hair cuticle so that colour pigments can ‘enter’ the hair. Ammonia is also used as an industrial cleaner, and is listed as an extremely hazardous substance in the United States.

Hair cuticles which are damaged from repeated use of ammonia products will not be able to hold or lock in moisture and colour, leading to colour fade and dry, brittle hair.

Heated Styling Tools:

Heat is drying by nature, and heat applied directly to the hair will dry your hair. Using styling processes and tools which are gentler on your hair can prevent significant damage to your hair. Air brushes are a much gentler yet very effective option than flat irons for straightening and styling. Flat irons tools apply heat along the length of the hair, and regular use will damage the hair’s structure, leaving you with brittle, damaged, dry hair. Switching to a gentler option such as an air brush with a cool setting will keep your hair straight, healthier and, by protecting the integrity of the hair, will help your hair retain colour longer.


We have touched on damage from ammonia based colour products, now let’s talk sulfates. Sulfates are the chemical component in soaps and detergents which create the bubbles, froth and foam. Sulfates cut through the oil on your plates, and the oil on your head, causing dryness and damage to the hair cuticle. Any damage to the hair cuticle will result in loss of colour, because the hair cuticle protects the coloured cortex of the hair and helps retain the colour molecules within the hair. For best hair colour results and colour retention, switch to sulfate free shampoo and conditioner products. Avoid alcohol based hair care products such as hair spray and mousse as they can lead to colour fade too.

Caring for your Hair

You can prevent some damage to your hair by colouring with products which are ammonia free, and using hair care and styling products which are free from heat, sulfates and alcohol.

Colour applications will dry the hair just a little bit. When the cuticle of the hair is lifted to let the colour enter the hair, some moisture also leaves the hair. Choosing colour products without ammonia and which are also blended with hydrating botanicals will help your hair retain moisture during the colouring process.

Lightening processes are more damaging and strip moisture as well as colour pigments from the hair.

We recommend botanical and oil treatments to repair damaged hair.

Porous, dry and damaged hair needs to be repaired.

Look for products with pure botanicals, and without ingredients such as silicones and sulfates which will further erode your hairs condition.

Our Repair Mask, Repair Spray and Split End Serum are loaded with organic botanicals and are free from all nasties. They will deeply nourish, hydrate, strengthen and repair dry, dull, porous, fragile and damaged hair, and leave your hair instantly softer and smoother.

We recommend using weekly Repair Masks or oil treatments to rebuild damaged or porous hair. Use Repair Spray and the Split End Serum daily as needed.

Thermal oil treatments are most effective as the application’s gentle heat lifts the hair cuticle, which allows the oil to be absorbed within the hair. Thermal treatments provide better and longer-lasting benefits than a heat-free oil application.

There are many different oils which can be used, and some suit different hair types more than others.

Our preferred oil hair treatment is Tsubaki oil, a lightweight, pure dry oil from the Camellia Japonica flower, grown on a volcanic island in Japan.

Tsubaki oil is extremely high in a range of nutrients including oleic acid, glycerides and proteins. It is readily absorbed and leads to stronger, shinier hair which is less prone to breakage. It will repair damage, and strengthen and hydrate your hair, leaving it stronger, softer and shinier.

Use Tsubaki oil with a heated thermal cap for a deeply penetrating and intensely nourishing treatment to boost shine, softness, strength.

You will require a lightening process, such as a bleach wash, if you are looking to lighten your hair by more than two colour levels.

Pre and Post Lightening Care:

It is important to boost and protect the condition of your hair before and after a lightening process, as all lightening processes will dehydrate and weaken your hair.

We recommend Repair Masks or thermal Tsubaki oil treatments in the weeks before and after a bleach wash process, to boost the condition, hydration, strength, shine and softness of your hair.

Two treatments a week for 1-2 weeks before your lightening process and for 2-4 weeks after a bleach wash will restore hydration and condition to your hair and counter-balance the drying effects of a lightening process.

It can also be helpful to wash your hair less after a bleach wash, to let the natural oils accumulate, as they help hydrate your hair and scalp.

If you lighten your colour any more than 4 colour levels, in particular if you repeat this several times, you could push your hair to its breaking point.

Not every hair transformation needs to be drastic.

Using a colour that is the same level as your natural colour will help you to boost your colour and cover greys. Colouring doesn’t have to be high drama. More often than not your natural colour suits yours complexion, so keep your choices closer to your natural colour for easy maintenance, flattering colour which does not require significant, drying lightening processes.

A beautiful, flattering colour, or a bit of grey coverage can keep you feeling energised, refreshed, polished, and give you many great hair days.

Use colour to enhance and boost colour, or perhaps to conceal, but let’s let go of the idea that it is worth destroying your hair health for an idealised colour goal which would require you to sacrifice the health of your hair.

We are firm believers that you can have great colour and gorgeous, swishable, can’t-stop-touching-it hair. We also know that this means smart (possibly even sensible) colour selection and products without unnecessary harsh chemicals and as much hair TLC as possible in your products (such as 100% pure Tsubaki oil).

Treat your hair with some love and respect, to build and nurture your best, healthiest and most beautiful hair ever.

Small changes in your daily hair routines will preserve and restore condition, strength, softness and shine to your hair.

Stronger, healthier hair will respond better to colour, be easier to manage and look much better than damaged, dry hair.

Fantastic hair dye. It lasts for ages, without fading like previous hair colours I’ve purchased from the shops or the hairdresser’s I love that The Shades hair dye uses natural ingredients so it doesn’t damage my hair. I would never go back to any other dye.

A. Keeley

I really loved my hair colour from The Shade. It made my hair much softer and more manageable than the regular colour I was buying from the supermarket. I love that it’s much better for me and my health, and the colour was perfect. I’m hooked.

A. Moonen

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