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Coloring Natural Hair to Embrace the Fall Season

Coloring Natural Hair to Embrace the Fall Season

Leaves don’t have to be the only thing that changes color this season. If you enjoy dyeing your hair, fall is a great time to do it! Common colors to dye your hair during fall are warmer shades of blonde and brunette as well as blends of orange and red. While the specific shades may vary from year to year, most of the preferred seasonal colors mimic the environment and look stunning.

People with curly hair are often told to avoid color because it will cause irreversible damage. While this concern is warranted, it shouldn’t scare you from changing your hair color if that’s what you desire. Curly hair is prone to damage if it’s handled incorrectly or over-processed. However, there are ways to keep your hair as healthy as possible while altering your hair. If you’re interested in exploring changing your natural hair color to feel festive, this is for you. There are a lot more options for coloring natural hair than you may think!

Permanent Hair Dyes

If you’re certain about wanting long-lasting change for your hair you should be looking at permanent dyes. You’ll still have to get root touchups and refresh your hair once it begins to fade, but the color will never fully wash out. For most colors to stick on darker hair bleaching isn’t suggested, it’s required. Bleaching strips the hair of its natural color when it’s applied to the hair’s outer layer. Darker hair often needs multiple bleaching sessions to obtain vibrant colors. Repeated bleaching can cause the hair’s cuticles to permanently rise. Hair cuticles need to close after the cleansing process to retain moisture, if they’re raised then the hair has a harder time staying hydrated. Dry hair comes with its own set of issues, such as brittleness and bre


Dyeing and bleaching can be done in a way that minimizes the hair damage caused by the chemical treatments. Permanently altering your hair will inevitably cause some level of damage. The ideal outcome is to have minimal damage so your hair is as healthy as dyed hair can be. Going to a licensed professional who has successful experiences with dyeing tight curls (while preserving said curls) is key. A professional will be able to achieve your desired color using precaution and the skills needed. They may be able to offer safer alternatives if you don’t want a permanent change, such as a rinse.

Pros and Cons

Pros: This dye is permanent and will not wash out of your hair. Permanent dyes are great for those who are ready to fully commit to a new color.

Cons: The color will still fade so touchups are still required. The types of chemicals used may lead to hair damage, so you may want to go to a professional. Professional dye jobs are expensive and so is the upkeep.

Demi-Permanent Hair Dyes

Not ready to commit to a permanent dye job but don’t want a temporary dye that washes away as soon as you cleanse? Rinses may be your natural hair coloring answer. They are the perfect in-between for those who want to play around with color but not permanently alter their hair.

Rinses are demi-permanent and a great option for coloring natural hair. They come in all different colors, allowing for the same versatility as permanent dye. You can also use a rinse to add a natural-looking gloss to your hair. Rinses last for about 4 weeks and do not contain ammonia. That means rinses come with less risk of damage. However, if you continuously use rinses back-to-back, you can still damage your hair.

We still recommend going to a licensed professional for this hair procedure, but if you insist on DIY projects, this is a safer option. Rinses are easier to apply and have a reduced risk of irreversible damage. They also do not require bleaching which is a huge damage dealer. If you want to switch it up just for the fall season, hair rinses may be for you!

Pros and Cons

Pros: Hair rinses give you temporary color that lasts for weeks. There is less of a chance that it will cause damage to your hair so it’s a safer DIY option.

Cons: If you want a long-lasting dye, this is not for you. Doing rinses too frequently can still lead to hair damage. If you want a consistent hair change, consider permanent dye.

Temporary Hair Dyes

If you’re just interested in playing with some color on your natural hair but would like to avoid all possibilities of damage, temporary dyes are for you. While spray dyes are popular, we recommend finding a wax-based temporary dye. There are wax-based dyes that can be applied to the hair wet or dry depending on the brand. We love this option because it allows for bright, vibrant coloring without permanency or bleach. Most companies that sell this product carry natural and unnatural hair colors.

A high-quality wax will last until the next time you cleanse your hair. We recommend a plant-based wax so it’s less likely to need a clarifying shampoo to be fully removed. Our founder, pictured below, is trying a plant-based temporary color wax. She was not only pleasantly surprised, she loved the results!


Pros and Cons

Pros: The wax provides a vibrant, temporary color that doesn’t compromise your curls. It washes out easily so you can remove the pigment whenever you’d like. It can look like a natural dye job if applied correctly.

Cons: It’s important to know how to apply it correctly or it may look greasy or unnatural on your curls. Some waxes may transfer onto your clothes and depending on the brand they may not wash out entirely. Bottles are typically on the smaller side so if you want to use the wax on your entire head you may run out of product.

Colored Extension Hair

Wearing extension styles with color is a fun alternative to using temporary or permanent dyes. Our recommendations for “protective styles” or as we call them, alternative extension styles remain the same. You need to make sure your style is still taking hair health into consideration. That means avoiding excessive tension on the scalp, washing your hair weekly, covering it at night, and wearing it for a maximum of 6 weeks at a time.

While protective styles are a great way to change your appearance and express yourself, they can come with irreversible damage, chronically dry hair and scalp, and different types of hair loss. So while this method of coloring natural hair may not include chemicals like ammonia, there is still risk. We encourage all of our curlfriends who wear these styles regularly to be mindful.

Pros and Cons

Pros: There are endless color combinations and plenty of styles to choose from. You can also play with hair length. Extension styles are non-permanent and when managed correctly will not cause excessive damage to the hair.

Cons: Extension styles can cause permanent hair damage if installed incorrectly or not well maintained. Delayed maintenance can lead to chronically dry hair, an irritated scalp, hair breakage, and other hair issues. Wearing these styles back-to-back will increase the likelihood of damage.

Colored Wigs

Wearing wigs will allow for versatility in texture and color. Wigs are a fantastic option if you’d like to play with length, layers, or bangs. Wigs allow you to easily try different styled cuts and explore colors that would be difficult to dye your hair. You can try out trendy colors, and have fun. self-expression If you wearing wigs, we implore you to prioritize your hair health. Our main issue with wigs is that the hair is often neglected for weeks to months at a time.

Wigs are also extension styles but they require slightly different care than a style like knotless braids. Wig installs mean hair that’s fully tucked away for weeks at a time. When your hair is braided down and covered, you aren’t able to wash it weekly. This can quickly lead to an irritated scalp and dry hair. We have a dedicated blog on how to best take care of your hair while wearing wigs. This can help you optimize your hair’s health.

Pros and Cons

Pros: You can change the length, cut, and texture along with the color. Wigs can be washed and worn again if taken care of and are low maintenance when installed. Wigs are non-permanent and when managed correctly, will not cause damage to the hair.

Cons: It’s very easy to have delayed hair maintenance which can cause chronic dry hair,  an irritated scalp, hair breakage, and other hair issues. Tight braid downs can result in hair loss. Wearing wigs back-to-back without proper maintenance will increase the likelihood of damage.

Coloring natural hair shouldn’t scare you!

Fall is a great time to explore new hair color options for tightly textured curls. Whether you prefer a permanent dye, a rinse, a temporary dye, or an extension style, it’s important to take proper precautions to minimize damage to your hair. Going to a licensed professional who has experience with dyeing tight curls is key, but if you insist on a DIY project, a rinse may be the safer option. Remember to prioritize hair health and make sure to take care of your curls, whatever style you choose.

If you’re interested in learning how to properly maintain your hair health, regardless of your coloring option, you can learn within our Tight Curlfriends community. You can also begin debunking common misconceptions surrounding tight curls with our free Natural Hair webinar.

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