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Coloring Relaxed Hair: Proper Aftercare and Alternatives

Coloring Relaxed Hair

They say that manners maketh man… but so does hair.

Everybody loves to change up their looks every now and then, and changing your hair color is certainly one way to do it!

But we all know too many permanent treatments or chemical services can damage our hair and we must tread carefully.

If you have relaxed hair and are thinking of changing your hair color too, it is possible but should be done right.

Table of Contents

Permanent Hair Color on Relaxed Hair

Permanent Hair Color

If you tell your stylist you want to relax your hair AND change hair colors, they’ll probably tell you to come back for another appointment.

This is because they’ll need to relax your hair first, give it some time to rest, and THEN apply hair dye.

Permanent hair dyes are formulated with peroxide, assuming it will be applied to virgin hair.

Here's What You Need to Understand:

It’s important to get your hair relaxed first because the relaxer will lift off some of the hair dye and could over-process your hair.

Moreover, a relaxer chemically CHANGES the structure of your hair so your hair will need that time to rest and return to its natural pH levels.

This is also why your stylist will probably wash off the treatment with neutralizing shampoo to help balance your hair’s pH.

After relaxing your hair, you’ll be able to dye your hair around one or two weeks after.

Have Previously Permed or Color-Treated Hair?

If you have previously colored your hair, we recommend waiting to grow it out first then cutting it off.

Dyeing over previously colored hair requires more work and chemicals to get the color right, or you’ll end up with an uneven and altered color. Watch out for the following:

  • It’s best to avoid having to re-color your hair along with a relaxer service or you’ll risk actually burning your hair off.
  • WAIT and cut off or grow out any other hair that’s been chemically treated (like permed hair) BEFORE relaxing and coloring your hair.
  • Take note that different hair types and conditions react differently to each chemical process.

Determining Your Hair Type and Condition:

Determining Your Hair Type

Even with virgin hair, you should take into consideration what type of hair have to keep your hair healthy post-treatment.

Keeping your scalp and hair hydrated and healthy is key to determining what treatments you can go for and maintaining the color.

If you have black hair or textured hair, you’ll need to put your hair and scalp through MUCH MORE to get the desired style.

Especially if you’re hoping to go many shades lighter than your natural black hair or African American hair.

You’ll have to go at least two rounds of bleaching to lighten your hair enough to get the right shade.

1. Hair Porosity

Porosity refers to how well natural oils and hair products pass through the cuticles along the hair shaft.

Medium-porosity hair would take color and treatments best, while higher porosity hair might be prone to more breakage.

2. Hair Texture

The more texture your hair has, the more processing it needs to get soft, relaxed hair.

There are four main textures: straight, wavy, curly, and coily.

3. Thin or Thick Hair

Your hair’s density may result in really flat hair after.

It all depends on whether you have thin or thick hair strands. 

4. What About Keratin or Protein Treatments?

If you haven’t already gotten your hair relaxed, we suggest getting a keratin protein hair treatment.

This type of relaxer treatment doesn’t chemically alter the texture of your natural hair— instead, it is a smoothing treatment that infuses keratin into the hair cuticle layers.

You won’t be able to get pin-straight hair like you can with relaxers, but what you do get is smooth and frizz-free hair!

This is great for people with wavy, curly, and even oily hair that would like to simplify their hair routines WITHOUT having to compromise their natural hair.

Even better, you can apply hair dye right after this treatment!

Of course, this depends on the overall condition of your hair so we recommend listening to a stylist you trust.



1. Demi/Semi-Permanent Hair Color

These kinds of hair dyes usually won’t contain any chemicals in their color formula like ammonia, peroxide, or bleach making it MUCH SAFER for relaxed hair.

Since they don’t contain any harsh chemicals, they are easy and safe to apply yourself at home for any touch-ups on new growth you might want to do right away.

They can also be used to fix a brassy tone that might develop after a few weeks post-coloring.

Just take note they will also wash off and fade faster than permanent color.

The difference between demi and semi-permanent color really depends per formula, but usually refers to how long the dye will last.

Most semi-permanent hair dye will last anywhere between 12-24 washes, so for around six weeks, depending on your hair porosity and how often you wash your hair.

Semi-permanent dyes can also easily be found in your local beauty supply store! The can come in shades of red, blue, and purple.

Just be sure to follow the manufactures instructions carefully.

2. Hair Chalk

Hair chalk is a great alternative that comes in different forms which will have to be applied accordingly.

They’re pretty simple to apply and inexpensive but will go away after only a few washes. Also, be sure to do a skin test to check for an allergic reaction!

You can simply apply some to a small bit of skin on the back of your hand.

3. Extensions and Wigs

Instead of going through the lightening process for your hair, you can always use colored extensions or some of the best lace wigs to change up your style!

This is probably the most inexpensive and the least damaging alternative to permanently coloring relaxed hair.

Tips on Caring for Colored and Relaxed Hair:

Some of the best hair care tips on maintaining the health of your colored and relaxed hair are good habits anyone with hair should have!

  • You’ll need a good conditioner to restore moisture and add shine.
  • Try deep conditioning once a week and avoid the blow dryer when you can.
  • If you must, blow dry on warm or using the cold setting. This will keep your hair from losing too much moisture and will protect it from split ends or breakage.

Choosing the Right Hair Care Products for You

What you will have to do differently is pick products meant for color-treated hair.

These special hair products protect our color from changing from the sun or fading too fast with every shower. 

It’s also formulated to balance your hair’s natural pH.

How Healthy is Yours?

How Healthy is Yours

There’s really nothing more beautiful than healthy hair— just love and care for it so that it loves you back!

Healthy hair will take in and maintain chemical processes best so be sure to keep that in mind for your next trip to the salon.

We also highly recommend consulting a trusted professional stylist that knows your hair’s ins and outs best before getting any permanent treatments done.


September 6, 2021 – Updated article formatting and content

July 19, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.