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We often get asked by our customers: “what is the safest way to dye curly hair”, “how can I minimise the damage”, “is it okay to dye curly hair at all”, “will I lose my curls”? 

These are just some of the questions and we decided to investigate and ask the experts, some of our Salon Stockists aka the curl specialists. :)


Visit a Curl professional

“Visit a Curly specialist if you have one accessible to you. Take a look at the salon’s social media and see if they have any pictures of the look that you desire. Inspo pics are always great to show when you have a consultation”.  - Charlotte & Emma atBella Box Salon, Hertfordshire.

If possible, ask for ‘natural’ hair dye

“We try minimise using harsh chemicals on our clients so we work with an amazing vegan colour range ‘Sensus’, which has 97% natural ingredients. This gives the hair a lovely shine and smells great!” - Charlotte & Emma atBella Box Salon, Hertfordshire.

Which colour causes the least amount of curl damage?

“Where possible, opt for an open air colour. This will be more gentle than something like foils. Ideally go to a curl specialist salon so they can ensure the integrity of the curl”.  - Tori SRSH,The Hair Lounge, Barnstaple.

Open air colour involves the dye being applied free-hand, directly on to the hair, and the hair is then left without any foils or cover to allow it to absorb in ‘open air’. Your hairdresser will often use the sweeping technique when painting your hair unlike traditional highlights where the dye is applied in straight lines. This technique is suitable for those who don’t wish for regular colour upkeep and don’t dye their hair often. It’s a more natural method of adding some colour to your curls.

Going lighter - what’s the process?

“If you want to go lighter, try to do it gradually over multiple sessions to keep the hair nice and healthy. Depending on your desired result, we like to let the hair lift naturally by using less foils”.  - Charlotte & Emma atBella Box Salon, Hertfordshire.

“You will also need to ensure you keep up your protein and moisture treatment more often than usual”. - Tori SRSH,The Hair Lounge, Barnstaple.

The Only Curls Deep Hydration Hair Mask is the perfect treatment to keep your curls hydrated, and reduce the damage that can be caused by colouring. There’s a really nice balance of protein and moisture across our Curly Product range including the hair mask.

What about dyeing curly hair with box dyes?

“If the budget allows, avoid box colours. They’re one size fits all and too strong a product can ruin your curl pattern. If you’re going for a box hair dye, true semi-permanent dyes are recommended, which means they don’t mix the colours. These are more nourishing for curls. You could also add in a coloured conditioner to your routine once a month for enhanced shine.” - Tori SRSH,The Hair Lounge, Barnstaple.

“If a home treatment does suit you better, some box dyes recommended by curlies are:

- Naturtint & Herbatint (permanent)
- Directions & Crazy Colour (semi-permanent)

These are great to cover greys or add a touch of colour at home but if you're looking for a drastic change or to go lighter, we would always recommend seeing a professional. Henna dyes are also another natural option. Please be aware though that henna can cause a buildup of metallic salts that bind to the hair, and make it very difficult for future colour treatments to work on the hair”. - Charlotte & Emma atBella Box Salon, Hertfordshire.

What are bond builders and why are they helpful to colouring curls?

Bond builders help to protect and rebuild the hair from within each strand. They reduce breakage and help to rebuild damage caused by colouring, heat-damage or perming. 

“Make sure you have a bond rebuilder in your colour service, especially if you've lighten your hair, to reduce any breakage and unnecessary dryness. For example, Olaplex” - Charlotte & Emma atBella Box Salon, Hertfordshire.

Another suggestion from our salon expert is the K18 bond builder. “It really helps keep your curls healthy and bouncy”. - Tori SRSH,The Hair Lounge, Barnstaple.

Caring for your curls - before and after colouring... and always!

“Always follow your stylist's advice and aftercare tips to keep your hair in tip top condition, and colour looking amazing for as long as possible. The products we recommend after a colour service are Only Curls Deep Hydration Hair Mask and Only Curls Hydrating Curl Creme”. -  Charlotte & Emma atBella Box Salon, Hertfordshire.

Protect your curls in the shower (between wash days) with our Only Curls Shower Cap, and remember, ‘wet-plopping’ helps to hydrate your curls and lock in the moisture.You can use this alongside our Hair Mask as well as when you apply the Hydrating Curl Creme to allow the hair to absorb the product thoroughly.

If your curls are in need of more protein, why not try a rice water rinse? It’s a simple and natural way to help with reviving curls and damage, as well as strengthening the hair.

Don't forget to protect your curls at night. Check out our Curl Sleep Accessories. Regular cotton pillowcases can zap moisture out of curls and cause frizz and/or loss of definition at night. Wearing sleep protection (Only Curls Sleep Turban or Pineapple Protector), or using our Only Curls Silk Pillowcase helps with protecting your curls and reducing breakage and knotting. You wouldn't need all three, so it's whichever works best for you.

Avoid heat

This is our advice for curly hair always, even if you don’t dye your locks, but your hair will be a little more fragile than usual after colouring. It may be tempting to straighten or blow dry those curls out for the full colour effects, but we’d recommend resisting... for the good of your curl!!

If you diffuse, do this on a low setting and avoid drying out the ends 100% (aim for 90% to leave them a little extra moisture). Otherwise, leave your curls to air dry, without any heat. Only Curls Microfibre Hair Towel will help with speeding up drying and scrunching time, while reducing breakage and frizz. It will also encourage the bounce and curl pattern to return as curls can often misbehave freshly after colouring.

Can I still use my Only Curls range when colouring my hair?

The Only Curls Cleanser is sulfate-free, so it's very gentle and won't strip the colour. Many of our customers have coloured hair and use this.

We just don't recommend it for very vibrant colours (e.g. bright red) - here we would advise a shampoo that adds the pigment back into the hair, as this would fade over time, even with water. You can still use our All Curl Conditioner, Hydrating Curl Creme, Enhancing Curl Gel, and Hair & Scalp Treatments alongside your colour-care shampoo.



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