My Stylist Puts Me Under Heat When I Get Color, Is This Ok?

Empty hair salon, hair dryer on floor
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So you're sitting in the hair salon with your entire head painted with color and your colorist brings over a space-age looking heater, which is meant to process your color faster. You wonder if this is OK and why is she doing it. The answer is: maybe.

Before we get into the whys and hows of heating hair that's being colored, let's get into some background on the processing involved in highlighting hair.

Bleach is used when highlighting hair. Generally, it may be a powdered bleach mixed with 10-, 20-, 30- or 40-volume peroxide. The bigger the number the peroxide, the stronger it is.

Did you know that if a bowl of bleach is mixed it has a life of a couple of hours or more? In other words, when I do highlights on a client and there is leftover bleach, I can use it on a client 2 hours later. It may need a little refreshing, but my point is that it has a long life. If bleach is applied well, it will stay moist up to one hour and will lift for the entire time.

So do we all have to go under the dryer? NO! Is it bad for your hair? YES!! I believe bleach + heat = breakage (most times). All the heat does is speed up the process, that's all.

Because it's difficult to know if the hair has had enough heat (in terms of the strength of the hair), especially if the color is not light enough, it's easy to use too much heat.

Then, after your hair is blown dry, all of the sudden you have a sea of "flyaways" at the top of the head. If you are a salon blonde you know what I mean.

When I highlight clients, the only times I use heat is if it's healthy, virgin, black hair, which is very hard to lift; or if I did balayage and after 30-45 minutes, the bleach is drying out.

Then, I would use five minutes or so of gentle heat. But only when I have to.

You, the client, should know that you have the choice between fast processing time or healthy hair.

Pro Tip:

If you have fine, dry hair and you see the heat coming, my advice is to grab your purse and RUN!