One of the best ways to brighten up your curls and make your curly texture pop? Some fresh color. Want to learn how to prep your curls before and after a curly hair color treatment to keep them healthy? Or perhaps you’re in need of some ideas around curly hair highlights? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
How to Prep for Curly Hair Color
Adding any kind of chemical to hair can change its structural integrity. And the same is true for curls. When you color your curly hair there’s a good chance your curl pattern will change.
The good news? You can take steps to minimize that damage and keep your hair strong.Before you make a salon appointment for color, make sure your strands are clear of residues and properly hydrated.
After your hair is highlighted, wait a few days before shampooing. When you do shampoo and condition, fortify curls that have been chemically compromised with a strengthening product. This can help restore your hair’s natural curl pattern, which may have loosened up.
Our favorite? Kale Cocktail, which minimizes breakage by fortifying the bonds within hair. Makes hair twice as strong with just one use.
What Kind of Curly Hair Color Techniques Work Best?
The most popular color techniques when it comes to curly hair color are ones that focus on enhancing the natural curl pattern. A colorist trained in curls will likely add color curl by curl, rather than section by section.
The reason? Curls tend to form natural groupings, and if you force the hair into perfectly divided sections, like you would with straight hair, you’d end up with a very choppy color that’s heavier in certain areas.
One of the most popular methods for custom color is balayage. Balayage color is a common choice amongst stylists because they can paint the curly hair highlights directly onto individual curls, helping them catch the light in a way that makes curls pop.
What is balayage exactly? Balayage highlights are a form of hair color where the color is hand-painted or swept along the surface of the hair. The product application is free-handed and less structured, so if done well, you don’t have any harsh sections and the grow out can be less obvious - aka no harsh root lines.
Ideas for Curly Hair Highlights
If you’re committed to adding color to your curls, but you’re not quite sure which look is right for you, don’t worry. We scoured Instagram for some WOW curl-spiration.
We love Lynn Kate’s (@lynnkatee) voluminous curls (click here to watch her tutorial using Dream Coat Curly) but her curly hair highlights really make her individual curls stand out. She’s rocking: light brown curly hair with blonde and light brown highlights.
They say blondes have more fun and that is definitely true for Sanee (@curlsandblondies). To get her multi-dimensional look, go blonde with platinum blonde highlights.
Don’t want to hide your dark roots? Look no further than Dervla (@dervscurls) for inspiration. She rocks her dark brown hair with highlights. To get her look ask your stylist to preserve your roots and create contrast by adding golden highlights.
Want to add more dimension to dark hair? Channel Sayria (@sayriajade) who sports her dark brown hair with highlights. Ask your stylist for copper highlights and lowlights to create this look. Ready to rock a fresh curly hair color?
How to Preserve Your Curly Hair Color
Once you’ve prepped your hair and committed to your color your next order of business is to preserve it and make it last. Here are some key tips for keeping your curly hair highlights looking fresh.
Use a Color-Friendly Cleanser + Conditioner
Many cleansers can strip your hair of color or lather on leave-behind ingredients that end up dulling it out. Conditioners are notorious for leaving behind ingredients that can, well, condition, but they also commonly contain ingredients that can cause your color to oxidize. Yikes!
To keep your curly hair color looking fresh use a cleanser that does only that - cleanse. And opt for a conditioner that’s free of oxidizing and color distorting ingredients. Our pick: Color Security Shampoo and Conditioner.
Watch out for these ingredients commonly found in conditioners that yellow or darken light hair (conditioning agents):
- Distearyldimonium Chloride
- Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone
- Dicetyldimonium chloride
- Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride
- Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride
- Stearalkonium Chloride
- Behenalkonium Chloride
Toss your gels, serums, creams and opt for a superlight spray styler that delivers the curls of your dreams. Dream Coat for Curly Hair is a light-as-air moisture miracle and curl enhancer. Perfect for highlighted curls… colored curls... ANY curls!
Read more about managing curly hair on the Color Wow Blog: