What Really Happens When We Dye Our Hair Crazy Colors

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Of all the trendy things we put our hair through (I'm thinking along the lines of colombre and granny hair), sometimes it's easy to forget that we're actually damaging our hair every time we do these things. I mean, I maintain a blonde that - technically - I haven't rocked naturally since childhood, so I ain't judging here - but what are we sacrificing exactly when we dye our hair crazy colors? With the sassy new (and fun to look at) rainbow hair color trends that channel our inner Lisa Frank-lover, we decided to ask an expert what exactly goes down when we commit to these looks.

Dr. Robert Dorin, trusted celeb hair expert and restoration specialist of True & Dorin in New York City, gave us the scoop on the science that goes down when we begin the dyeing process. To achieve vibrant colors, you have to start off with a lighter base. If you already have lighter/blond hair (lucky you!), it's easier to begin with the color/dye you want to achieve. The rest of us have to bleach it with harmful chemicals, which will "ultimately really dry out and damage strands," said Robert. "These vibrant hair colors are even more damaging because it typically involves this two-step dying process."

Dang!

When we actually apply the color dye to see the end result, the ammonia inside the dye is what lifts the cuticles of our hair to get to the shaft of the strand, which is what "grabs" the color by elevating the PH. According to Robert, that's real bad.

"The cuticle is not meant to be lifted, but instead it is supposed to lay flat and smooth, protecting our hair shafts," Robert said. "Once the cuticle of the hair is raised to allow the dye in, the peroxide agent in hair dyes work to break down the original color pigment. Peroxide is also very drying and damaging for the hair."

The longer the peroxide sits on your head, the more damage it does until it's rinsed out. That explains why our hair typically feels extra dried out and brittle after a trip to the salon.

Ultimately, the more you have to lighten/bleach your hair to even get to the point of tossing some fabulous rainbow dye on it, the worse the damage will be. If you're determined to rock the rainbow tresses, though, just make sure you feed your hair some really good moisturizing treatments afterward (I'm personally a huge fan of It's a 10, $30 at Ulta).

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