It’s Spring! Try a Temporary Hair Color- No Damage

A big thank you to Merrell Readman of SheFinds and M. Davis-McAfee over on Suggest for quoting me about hair dyes. Being a hair expert is part of my work at The Right Hairstyles.

Davis-McAfee’s article talks about what hair experts wish you knew about hair dye. I mentioned temporary colors, but I’d like to add that if you have dry hair, don’t use semi-permanent or permanent dye. Just don’t. Both penetrate the hair shaft and cause changes to the hair structure that dry or damaged hair might not be able to handle.

Solution? Temporary hair color that sits on top of the hair structure only.

How can I temporarily dye my hair without dying it

There are a few ways you can dye your hair without semi-permanent, demi-permanent or permanent dyes and bleach:

Henna

You can use henna. The henna market has come a long way in the past several years but is still restricted to shades of brown, red and black. Henna penetrates the cuticle layer of the hair only and dyes it. It’s still a semi-permanent color as it fades some over a six-month period, and you have the option to retouch the roots.

Your hair might feel a little dry after you use henna, but that is normally due to residual henna left on the hair. After a few washes, the dryness decreases and moisture can still get in and out of the hair shaft. Plus, henna strengthens the hair. If you’re interested, have a look at these three companies. 

Henna Color Lab

The Henna Guys

Lush

Temporary hair colors

If you want to express yourself with pastels or a rich purple, say, go for temporary hair colors. These have also evolved. They started out as temporary hair color sprays and chalks. Those are still around. But now a lot of women with natural hair are using temporary colors, which means they are non-drying. There are temporary hair color wax, gel and cream to suit your application tastes and hair texture and all are moisturizing right out of the jar. 

Does temporary hair dye damage your hair?

Temporary hair dye can damage your hair if it’s drying, like hair spray color that’s temporary and colored chalk. There are some people who can’t do with anything drying at all or their hair become brittle and snaps right off. So if you’re one of those people, check out some of the new creams, gels and waxes on offer that can have you colored up for spring without dryness.

Unlike natural henna, these temporary dyes contain chemicals. But they don’t adhere firmly to the hair cuticle, they only coat it. They wash right out in your next wash, as long as your hair isn’t too porous or dyed previously. They’re not designed to enter the hair shaft or re-color the protein inside your hair. But again, if you’ve had another dye job or your hair is overly porous due to chemical processing, a temporary hair color might actually get inside your hair and do some staining.

Can I oil my hair after I colour it (or what does aftercare look like)

You can’t oil your hair or the product will slide off. What you can do is apply gel to seal it and cause less color transfer. If the weather is hot or you work out, don’t apply the color close to your roots, or you’ll be a sweaty purple or pink mess. Sleep with a bonnet so there is no color transfer to your sheets. If it gets on your clothes, wash them immediately.

Best temporary hair color that pops on dry hair

Ready? All these work on dark hair, so there is no need for bleached hair or blonde hair before you get started. Why do I make an assumption that the better the product is packaged the more thought went into the formulation? I don’t know, and that’s probably not fair. But here we go in order of best packaging. 

Gemini Naturals Get Hued

Gemini carries 13 colors and a Curl Awaken Primer, that is a lightweight leave-in conditioner with an aloe vera base. Each color contains aloe vera, avocado oil, glycerin and castor oil. The dyes are gel-based, so there might be a little crunch after it dries, but that fades. It vegan, can be applied to wet or dry hair. The company says you can use a gel or jojoba oil to seal the color, but it starts to fade after three days. They are all vibrant colors. 

Check them out:

As I Am Curl Colors

As I Am also has 13 colors added to their original line of haircare products. These are gel colors also and give medium hold and good definition. The formulas are boosted with black castor oil and ceramides. These colors improve moisture levels by 83%. 

Check them out:

Curl Fit

Curl Fit are gel colors that the brand says works well to cover even jet black hair. There are 13 shades. (What?) It contains beeswax, which can make it look a little chalky if you don’t use regular gel over it. It also has glycerin, jojoba oil and castor oil. If you have straight hair instead of textured hair, the brand recommends you try the colors for highlighting instead of an all over ‘do.

Check them out:

ORS Curls Unleashed Color Blast

Curls Unleashed Color Blast comes in 21 colors, and they have a try on feature on their website so you can get an idea how the colors will look on your skin tone. The colors are hair waxes and contain beeswax and glycerin. At $10 for 6 oz., they are also the cheapest on this list.

Check them out:

Crown Paint Colors Hair Shadows

There are over 80 shades, neon, metallic…take your pic! The brand says these are not waxes or gels but creams. They contains cocoa butter and shea butter. Crown Paint Hair Shadows work best on hair that’s already light, so you will need two coats to get a vibrant color. If you blow dry your hair, the shades will not come off on your fingers afterwards.

Check them out:

Mysteek Naturals Color Pop

Mysteek has 12 different colors to their hair waxes and the recipe is super simple — beeswax, petroleum jelly and pigment. It’s kid-safe. The color is vibrant even on dark hair and there’s no need to blow dry to set the color as it only sticks to the hair. It’s recommended with this color and most of the colors on this list to use a hair bonnet at night to keep it from staining  your bedding.

Check them out:

DIY your own temporary hair color

Looking at the ingredients of all these, it didn’t look like rocket science to do a DIY. So I mixed a little pastry color powder in a curl pudding. Did it dye? Yes, but it was too dark. A lighter color probably shows up better on dark hair.

The next surprising thing is that it didn’t feel dry at all. It’s an edible color, so maybe that’s why. It gave the pudding a lighter texture that transfers to the hair, making it softer. 

Enjoy your new temporary hair color, however you decide to do it. And let me know how it goes!

Weave or Wig? Let’s Be for Real.

Due to visible texture differences, I’d say the bottom of her hair is a halo extension.

I work in the beauty industry and I’m gonna tell you, I see new hair companies cropping up all the time. I don’t mean hair product companies, I mean hair companies that sell hair.

It’s a huge business. In the scheme of things, the growth of human hair companies is right after that of hair loss companies. Is there a reason for this?

Well, yes and no, sorry, yes. 

Are hair extensions bad for your hair? To be frank, hair extensions rip folks’ hair out, so I would say, “Yes”. Wigs are a little better, but if they are worn constantly, they don’t allow the scalp to get sufficient air which can cause hair growth problems. And if you’re wearing the same one over and over, it breeds bacteria.

But all this is addictive, right? There’s nothing quite like getting the hair of your dreams in a one day process. Long, strong and straight… 

Wait. Did I say this was somebody else’s hair?

Where Hair is Produced

That lace front you’re wearing is likely made from the hair of hundreds, if not thousands, of women who sold their hair to make it through the week or had it forcefully taken from them.

The hair industry is largely unregulated. Hair companies only know that maybe 20% comes from Hindu temples in India where the hair is donated for religious reasons. What about the other 80%? No one really knows. Rather I should say no one really wants to know.

Those tape extensions look really nice, don’t they?

How to Tell if Someone Is Wearing Someone Else’s Hair

Sounds stolen, doesn’t it?

Well, anyway, let’s break from the ethics for a minute and get straight to practicalities.

Black women. Most have hair that in its natural state is thick and short. When straightened, it becomes thin – more so over 30 years of age. There are exceptions, of course.

White women. Hair grows longer but tends to get really thin around 30 years of age and over. Naturally, there are exceptions.

So all these people over 30 – black or white – who are sporting bouncy, voluminous locks are probably wearing somebody else’s hair.

But before we say, “Do your thing, girl,” let’s look at the consequences.

Bald spots.

The consequences are baldness, baldness, and more baldness. I hope I’m being clear. Anything that weighs on and pulls in your hair follicles is going to eventually pull out your natural hair from the root.

Constant pulling also causes inflammation inside the scalp. Inflammation fosters permanent hair loss because the hair follicles die under its pressure.

From Weave to Wig

So now it’s permanent wig time to hide the bald spots. 

Unless you have a Hollywood supply of decent human hair wigs – please, really, no synthetic hair – you’ll be wearing the same two or three choices. Considering the way wigs are woven, there is really no way to get them thoroughly disinfected without ruining them. So you’re looking at breeding bacteria, fungus and more complicated alopecias. 

Just say bye-bye to healthy hair period.

Is anyone listening?

Let’s Get Your Natural Blowout Straight, At Home

Yes you can.

You could do it. Yes, of course. Go borrow Mom’s hairdryer from the Ice Age and get that blowout done! No? True, you’ll only be in the bathroom for hours huffing and puffing to hold that heavy thing up. And did it ever get hot? No. Okay, let’s get back to 2021.

Technology has us all running to keep up with the latest, so let’s see what’s new in hairdryers and get it done right. Tourmaline? Ceramic? Titanium? Which will give us hair that runs with the breeze – even if it’s just for a week?  

What Is A Natural Hair Blowout?

Blowouts are designed to give movement and flow. You can almost see each hair move in the same direction as the head turns. Beautiful. That’s a good blowout. 

Blowouts can be accomplished on pretty much any head of hair. To get that swing, Type 2 hair needs it too! For curly and coily hair types, the process becomes more involved. That’s because you’re breaking down the natural curly bonds of the hair to assume a straight structure, get rid of frizz-like-never-before, and produce movement.  

Stretching Your Natural Hair or Blowing It Out?

We’re not just stretching the hair here. If that’s what you’re after, you can stretch your hair with braids or knots. Stretching the hair is perfect for checking your true length or for trimming damaged ends. But don’t use a blow dryer to stretch your hair! After all, why take the risk with heat damage, if you’re going to bun it back up anyway?

That’s not what we’re after. We want it to whip then revert in a week or two back to curls.

The Tools: What Does A Great Natural Hair Blowout Require?

There are a couple of essential items you need to get a good, moving blowout at home.

Movement Sans Damage: a Bonnet and a Bunch of Rollers

Rollers, what?? Let me say this up front. If you’ve ever blow-dried your hair and eventually suffered breakage, it’s because putting focal heat on wet or damp hair causes bubbles within the hair shaft. In short, that means brittle, dry hair that eventually breaks. 

The best way to avoid damage and retain a straight blowout is to use rollers on very small sections and dry your hair first using a bonnet attachment. (It is old technology. So don’t let anyone see you.)

Once your hair is fully dry, only then use a blow dryer. Yes, this is the Dominican blowout method. Before you stop reading, compare the length retention of Dominican hair and ours and get back to me. (Ahem, it’s the same hair.) Our normal straightening procedures make us constant targets for big “trims” at the salon. 

That point aside, it’s just easier to straighten the keratin in your hair when it’s already partially straight. As in, we blow dry first then use a curling iron. Check. 

Okay, so use rollers that are big enough for your hair to only wrap around one, or one and a half, times. The curls aren’t the point, but stretching the keratin is. So roll with tension. Rollers also give a lift to the roots and that’s where the movement starts!

In a salon, they use hard, plastic rollers. For home use, a few dozen Velcro rollers will be easier to work with. 

Round Brush

A round brush is the second step to get movement. 1 ¼” or 1 ½” barrel brushes are the easiest to handle because they’re the same size as the average curling iron. Go bigger if your hair is longer. After your hair is dry from the bonnet, use the round brush to streeettttch each roller section straight with the fantastic heat of your new blow dryer. Focus the dryer on each section, one by one. The coarser your hair, the harder the bristles you will need.  

Hair Dryer

Blowouts require a good blow dryer. We need the right shape, though. If you can’t maneuver a 12” nozzle around your head with a round brush, what’s the point? 

Your blow dryer also needs to be powerful enough to straighten curls and coils – at least 1600 watts are needed. But unless you’re a pro, it can’t be too powerful or too hot, or instant damage will result. So which type will combat frizz and give you the movement you’re looking for?

Which Type of Dryer for Natural Hair Blowouts?

Cut. Got a friend with a story about her hair reverting unexpectedly at a party? She probably used her mom’s dryer. Take two.

Okay, so here’s what’s up. There are basically three types of hairdryers in the at-home market, although you’ll find some that have more than one technology: tourmaline, titanium, and ceramic.

Ceramic

With ceramic dryers, the heat from the dryer passes through a ceramic device that changes the structure of the heat and allows the hair to heat up evenly. That means you won’t have patches of breakage from the dryer distributing too much heat too suddenly. 

Titanium 

These dryers give off an abundance of negative ions with even heat. They seal the cuticle of the hair, preventing frizz and excessive damage. There’s a problem with titanium, though. It heats up so quickly that it’s hard for the average user to control the levels of heat applied to the hair. So it’s probably better left to professionals. 

Tourmaline 

Tourmaline basically heats evenly like ceramic, but it uses ionic technology to produce shine and reduce frizz. You could consider it a milder form of titanium.

Good news: Many dryers are both ceramic and tourmaline, making them great for at-home blowouts – more movement, less frizz!

Other considerations: Wattage

We don’t need the wattage to be so high that the minute you turn on the dryer it frizzles your hair up into smoke! You guessed it, super-high wattages are for professionals. Of course, we want the dryer’s strength to be enough to do the job in about an hour, (No, thanks, Mom. Keep your dryer.)  Still, for novices, look for watts between 1600 to 1875 – no higher than 2000. 

Best Blow Dryers for Natural Hair Blowouts

We kept an eye on the shape and weight for ease of use.

  1. Andis 82105: Tourmaline Ceramic Styling Hairdryer

Okay, it looks old school. But the shape of this dryer makes it easier to work with while using a round brush. It also comes with a brush attachment that will give you some tension – just not as much as a round brush. It has 1875 watts.

Note: We wouldn’t recommend the hot air brushes that have a round brush shape as none of them go over 1100 watts. They’ll straighten your hair, sure, but it won’t last.

  1. Remington Impact Resistant

Made just for resistant coils and curls, this dryer combines all three technologies. It’s ceramic, tourmaline and titanium. It’s 1875 watts. Because it has titanium, I would start working with the low heat setting first.

  1. Conair Infiniti Pro Smooth Wrap

This 1875 watt dryer also has a short nozzle and it uses ceramic and positive/negative ionic technology. It reduces frizz but is best for looser curl patterns. 

The Art: How to Get That Flow from a Natural Hair Blowout

The best results I’ve seen from blowouts have been in the Dominican Republic. Now I know Dominicans have a bad reputation, and not all of it is false. But if you’re able to do your Dominican blowout at home, you won’t have to worry about anyone putting a spoon of relaxer in your conditioner, right? Some stylists do that because of a lack of technique. 

But imagine Dominicans doing this process every two weeks and still having healthy-looking hair. No, it will probably never revert to their original curls and coils. We recommend you only do a blowout a few times a year. Your hair won’t suffer, and you should revert to your natural texture without any issues. 

Here’s the full process:

  1. Wash with a clarifying shampoo then deep condition and rinse. It’s better still if you wrap the deep conditioning product onto your hair and apply heat to allow the product to penetrate.
  2. Roller set with a water-based leave-in conditioner. You could also layer your heat protectant in this phase by using a straightening balm instead. Don’t be heavy-handed. 

Otherwise, your hair will revert in less than a week as the product wears off.

  1. Grab that hairdryer bonnet. It mimics hooded dryers that give a constant, indirect flow of air. Did you know that for wet hair, the dryer should be kept 15cm away and used with a constant motion? The proper way to use a blow dryer on wet hair will only give us a frizzy, tangled mess! We recommend a larger bonnet to keep the air flowing constantly. Check!

    Hairdryer bonnets are designed to slip right over the barrel of your dryer, and the tube is at least three feet long for indirect heat.
  2. Use focused blow-drying on the hair with a heat protectant and round brush only once your hair is completely dry.
  3. Flat iron, with no extra product added – and only if necessary.

Now here’s the thing. Silk presses are way more popular than the Dominican blowout. But because they skip the hooded dryer step, it will damage your hair more than the Dominican blowout ever could. Remember no direct heat on wet hair! If you keep silk pressing, and your stylist keeps cutting your “ends”… eventually you might be using a silk press wig instead. 

The Products: What Does a Great Natural Hair Blowout Require?

Use no oil-based products with heat! Our hair loves oil, but using oils with heat literally leads to frying. Ah, yes! That old smell of burning hair in the kitchen. You get my point.

A Good Conditioner

Don’t just start with freshly washed hair. It’s good to prepare your hair before the blowout by using a good hydrating mask or deep conditioner.

Heat Protecting Serum

Now here’s the thing, hair can only accept temperatures up to 130 (266F) before damage starts to occur. The highest most blow dryers go is 140C. 

Dow, a manufacturer of silicone products, wants us to know, “Silicones [form] protective film to help prevent water loss from the hair shaft caused by the heat of dryers or heated styling tools.” You’ll need a good heat protectant because heat destroys the inside of the hair first by boiling the water inside it and evaporating it. Healthy hair is about 25% water.

Heat protectors allow you to use high temperatures while protecting some of the integrity of the hair. Heat protectants do not protect the hair fully, so some damage will still occur. Proper technique and a good heat protectant will help out.

Because most heat protectants are made with silicones, the downside is that you might need a sulfate-based shampoo to get it out fully.

Note: You do not want water in your serum before blowing it dry as, again, your hair will boil from the inside. The serums below contain no water or oil.

Straightening Balm or Leave-in Conditioner 

Straightening balm is another type of heat protectant serum. There are usually more conditioning ingredients added. Some of the best balms are:

These do contain water, so I would use these like leave-in conditioners by smoothing a little into the hair before rolling during the first phase of drying.

How Long Will My Natural Hair Blowout Last?

It really depends on the humidity in your area, so don’t expect miracles. However, if you wrap it nightly, your straight hair should last at least a week.

We also like using a little no-water serum combined with pin curls or Bantu knots. But if you’ve reached day five and your hair wants to revert, use a little water-based serum or leave-in conditioner instead with your knots.

Can My Hair Handle A Natural Hair Blowout?

Blowouts, well, heat period, are really only for certain types of hair. In short, your hair needs to be able to endure the heat so that it doesn’t break off while you’re blow-drying. 

Fine hair

Hair that is thin in diameter is usually not as strong as hair that is thick in diameter. If your hair strands are thin, but your hair is abundant, you’re probably thinking that a blowout will help you reduce tangling. That’s true – if you have good tensile strength. And even if you do, know that your hair is more fragile than coarse strands.

Weak tensile strength

Grab a strand of hair from your comb or brush. Stretch it between your fingers. If it pops easily, forget about that blowout. 

Damaged hair

Heat will exacerbate breakage if your hair is already damaged. Use protective styling until you feel comfortable cutting off all the damage, then try a blowout.

Working With “Problem” Natural Hair in a Blowout

Curly hair that has thick strands blows out easier than coily hair. Here’s what to do if you run into “problems” with virgin, coily hair.

Resistant hair

I should call this healthy hair. It’s hair that has never been straightened – or “trained.” Make sure to use plenty of rollers to get each strand as straight as possible in the first phase. You’ll almost certainly need a flat iron in the end. Sometimes a point is reached where the hair just refuses to go further. Wrap it and leave it for the next day.

The weird thing is that, regardless of texture, Dominicans use very little product when doing a blowout. We’re used to applying a lot and that can make your blowout revert almost as quick as you unplug the dryer. So change a few habits, even if they are different from what you are used to getting at the salon. 

Keep in mind that, in school, your hairstylist had extensive education about hair Types 2A and 2B. Some things from cosmetology school apply to most hair types, but when dealing with coils things are learned along the way. Then there’s word of mouth, and you know how fast that travels about hair. Regardless of what anyone says, there’s always room for new straightening techniques, a little more science, and a lot less burnt and damaged hair.

So go hand your Mom back that hairdryer from 1952. She’ll be asking you to do her hair in a minute with your new one anyway.

How to Recreate Lupita’s Hair from Black Panther

Can you get the elegant grace of Nakia’s (Lupita Nyong’o) Black Panther hair? Of course!

Naturally? 100%. And easy, too. Find out how below.

To Look Like Lupita, What Hair Type Works?

Without a doubt, Lupita has type 4c natural hair. This style was created for naps. Yea.

More than that, anyone who’s going to try pulling it off must have very thick hair. Otherwise the knots are going to be spaced further apart, and  you’ll end up with a different look.

I would guess that if you have really thick hair that ranges between 4b and 3c, this style might work out okay, but the results won’t look quite the same as Lupita.

Okay moving on.

What Hair Length Will Give Me This Black Panther Look?

No you don’t have to do a big chop haircut to get this style going on. This is a perfect twa style, but as long as your hair is shorter than neck length, you’re good. Looks like about 5 inches of hair worked nice in Black Panther.

Of course, the longer your hair is, the more volume your knots will have in the end. Nothing wrong there! Length can work to your advantage too if your hair is not super thick.

How To Style My Hair Like Nakia?

Did I say knots above? Yes these are very similar to bantu knots! What makes Nakia’s knots different is that they are installed closer to the scalp, instead of mounting up vertically. .At the same time, they are not kept tightly wound, but are styled somewhere in between knots and a knot-out. Sort of.

How to:

  1. Start on clean hair. Use a styler like natural gel – one that provides hold and sheen without crunch – a natural hair product like Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel.
  2. Section off small sections and form the knots. If you look carefully, Lupita has more than 100 knots in there!
  3. While Black Panther lead stylist Camille Friend told the New York Times that she knotted the hair close to the scalp, the description in the article actually sounds a lot like small pin curls.
    Pin Curl Hairstyles For Short Hair Beautiful Pin Curls on Tapered Natural HairPin curls can be wound like flat bantu knots and secured with a hair pin, as shown above. Alternately, because 4c hair can secure itself, you can try making the knots, by twirling right at scalp level, like Camille Friend says. Then tie the knots down with a scarf to secure them while they dry. 😉
  4. If you want your style to last longer, do this on wet hair.  The PR pics from the movie show how this unique curly hairstyle transforms as the days wear on.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther
Day 1 hair.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther2
“Day 2” hair. We really don’t know for how many days the style was in, hence the quotations.

hairnbyutwriter hair lupita-nyongo-black-panther3
“Day 3” hair.

Suffice it to say, your hair should look like Day 1 hair when you’re done. It will fluff out on its own in subsequent days, as you can see in the pics. But if you create the fluffed out look initially, the style won’t last as long. That’s up to you.

5. Once your hair is completely dry, remove the scarf or pins. (You can use a hooded dryer to help them dry quicker.)

6. The last step is to take a pick (or tip of a (rat tail) comb, like Camille Friend) and lift the roots gently.

How to Get Nakia’s Black Panther Hair Color, Naturally!

I’m glad the stylist didn’t dye it blue, or I wouldn’t be able to help you here! I promised to deliver this style naturally, and henna can be used to get those deep mahogany highlights. How? With vinegar.

The color step is optional, and more involved, whereas the hairstyle itself is quick and easy. So I put the color routine last instead of first.

  1. Mix henna with apple cider vinegar to form a paste the consistency of mayonnaise.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 hours in a warm spot.
  3. Uncover and add a few tablespoons of sugar for moisture.
  4. Beat the mixture again. It should be sticky. Let it sit for another hour for the sugar to completely dissolve. You can add essential oils at this stage to help mask the smell, if you like.
  5. Apply to hair in sections. You should have enough henna mixed that your head is completely saturated in it and is a gooey mess. 🙂
  6. Wrap your head in plastic wrap tightly, so no air is allowed in. Keep all that in your head for 12 hours.
  7. Rinse thoroughly and condition but don’t use shampoo. The color continues to develop the next day. So wait a day, then you can use a sulfate-free shampoo.

Again, all that is optional. You won’t need the color highlights to get hair like Black Panther’s Nakia. You’re going to be turning heads anyway, whether it’s mahogany, black, brown, blonde or pink.

Interesting fact? All the styles in Black Panther, including Lupita’s, are actually wigs created by Ms. Friend for the set.

Photo credits: Matt Kennedy/©Marvel Studios 2018

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