With Summer comes the urge to switch up your hairstyle for a vibrant new look. Coloring hair is a popular way to update your look and when kissed by the sun, hair dye takes on a fresh, radiant shine. Only this week, Ciara debuted new blonde highlights, Selita Ebanks showed off a new red bob and in the boldest move of all, Teyana Taylor dyed her ends mint green.

But too many times hair color leads to hair disasters when newly-colored coifs go uncared for. The chemicals in hair dye can be distressing to the hair and cause breakage if you don’t proceed with extraordinary caution.

Here are 5 tips for caring for color-treated hair:

1. Same-day color and relaxer are like oil and water; they don’t mix! Coloring and applying relaxer will put your hair into chemical overload. It’s best to wait at least 10-14 days after your relaxer before dying your hair and even then I suggest going for a semi-permanent dye to play it safe.

2. Use a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer regularly to prevent fading and breakage. Sometimes coloring your hair can take a heavy toll on the hair’s texture especially if bleach or other chemicals are used. If hair is already in a fragile state, you don’t want to inhibit it any further by allowing it to be dry. This will ultimately lead to breakage. Deep condition hair often as well. Your hair needs the intensive care of a conditioner or mask after coloring at least twice monthly.

3. Use products that are specifically for color-treated hair. A regular shampoo can be too harsh and can strip the color or dry out hair. There are also conditioners that are specifically for color-treated hair that are formulated to seal in moisture, luster and shine. Also, try not to wash your hair before coloring it because the natural oils in your hair and scalp can actually help protect it from damage.

4. Don’t be a serial colorist. Over-processed hair is never a good look! Coloring your hair with permanent dye too often is a sure way to weaken the hair shaft which leads to breakage. Try getting color touched up every 5-6 months. If you like to change your look often or just want to test a new shade, temporary color or rinse is your best bet. They usually last about 25-30 days and the color becomes less intense with each wash.

5. Trimming about ¼ to 1/2 inch of hair every 6-8 weeks is important because it fights split which help prevent breakage.

-Margaret Francois

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