Note: Although I mention a lot of specific brands, this is not sponsored content. I am just sharing what helped me!
They say beauty is pain. But I have no tolerance for the scalp-burning kind of pain that hair dye has always meant. Not to mention the other problems that come with dyeing your hair once a month or more…
I’ve been dyeing my hair at home for years, and only recently realized some of my little health issues were related to this habit. I would also get a rash on a few spots on my scalp after dyeing my hair, and had previously used a prescription serum on the spots when they would get really irritated. I decided to switch from those box dyes at the grocery store and Ulta to the better quality dyes at Sally’s Beauty. Part of the logic behind this is that you are custom mixing for your hair type, since the box dyes need to be just as effective for a girl with thick, coarse, black hair as for a girl with fine, processed blonde hair. The boxes were obviously much too harsh for me, and my hair and scalp improved when I switched.
I also started adding a sensitive scalp treatment to my hair dye mixes. It was just this little bottle I found at Sally’s called ion Color Brilliance Sensitive Scalp Protector, but since I started buying it and using it each time, I haven’t once experienced that burning feeling that accompanies hair dye normally. If I use too much developer there might still be burning and around the twenty-five minute mark, there’s a little itching sometimes, but otherwise this stuff improved my whole life. This also helps if you get your hair relaxed! Seriously- I will NOT DYE MY HAIR WITHOUT IT!!
Then, I found sensitive scalp developer. Sally’s developer selection is already great since you can buy a gentle 20 level developer to mix with your dye, rather than a super strong 40-level. The sensitive scalp formula even further helped my process, making it so I could barely tell I had hair dye on at all, since it was so comfortable. It isn’t overly drying, and my hair is soft after conditioning. It makes it so my hair doesn’t have a long journey to come back from.
Most importantly, I recently switched to PPD-FREE hair dye! It’s still a permanent hair color (so it will cover gray), and the color range is awesome. But most incredibly, my scalp rash has completely cleared up. I’d also had a small rash on my eyelid that would NOT clear up and seemed to come and go without any rhyme or reason, but after switching to this I realized it was correlated with me dyeing my hair. I was getting a rash on my eyelid from using hair dye with PPD! It would be so irritated and itchy and painful in the few days after dyeing my hair. This has happened to other people as well, I’d heard. Once I switched, it is completely healed and 100% gone, like it never happened. I find it lasts the exact same length as any other hair dye and works great. I have only praise, no complaints.
So, switch from box dyes to the kind you need to mix yourself and buy separately at a real beauty store. The employees at a place like Sally’s can be really helpful if you mention that it’s your first time dyeing without a box (because you probably will forget something). Get the extra products like sensitive scalp protector, hair mask for afterwards, sealant, color booster, and sensitive developer. It all helps! Lastly, definitely look for the PPD-free color lines that stores are carrying now. They’re a life changer! This whole process hardly smells anymore, either- no pain, no itch, no awful hair dye smell. Miracles do happen.
Also, if you get your hair colored at a salon but it’s always a nightmare, you can ask your stylist to get you sensitive specific developer and dyes, and you can bring your own little protector vial and ask them to add it when it’s time to (as Ted Gibson says) mix up the magic.
Good luck! May your hair be freshly dyed and your scalp happy and pain-free!