July 28, 2013

How to Choose the Best Hair Color for African American Women

If you’re looking for a way to add color to your hair, there are tons of hair color choices for African American women available. Trends over the years have given black women many different ways to express themselves through their hair, where previously they had only a handful of options. It’s important to remember that because black people’s hair tends to be drier than non-black hair, there are limitations and different guidelines about how to apply particular colors.

Color Rinse

Perhaps the easiest method of all hair color changes, a color rinse can enhance natural colors, bring out a new sheen, or develop a whole new coloration altogether. These rinses are free of chemicals like peroxide and ammonia that would have the potential to harm hair follicles. If you do not have the time or inclination to go to the salon and get professional-grade coloration done, a color rinse can be done at home.

Temporary Coloration

Temporary coloration usually washes out the next time you use shampoo, so they can only be used for short-term color. Temporary coloration, however, often has some of the brightest colors that you can find in the styling world. These colors will not lighten, stain, or permanently impact your hair, and have no chemicals that can damage hair follicles. They also do not get deep enough to color roots. Think of temporary coloration as paint for your hair that can be washed out whenever needed.


Like the name suggests, a semi-permanent will last longer than their temporary cousins, but not long enough to last for more than about two weeks. These can be done at home with nothing more than a sink, though they have to be activated by intense heat like a hair dryer or a curling iron. Semi-permanents are safe to use on processed hair and leave no marks or colors. These dyes can last for weeks to months depending on which one you use, but most will not last past about a dozen shampoos.


More permanent than a semi-permanent but still not totally permanent, these colors can last up to a month or two and provide natural-looking color. They utilize a small quantity of peroxide in order to kill any germs on the hair itself, but otherwise have no chemicals like ammonia that could permanently affect your hair follicles. These dyes do not lighten the color of hair, but are capable of enhancing a natural color or covering up grays. These treatments can be done at home, though many women prefer to go to a salon to get it done. Adding color to your hair at a salon can ensure the quality of the dye is at its best!


The only way that a permanent color fades is when the hair grows so long that you can no longer see the color. These treatments need to be done by experts at a salon with touch-ups every month to eliminate roots that peek out. This color wash will use both peroxide (to clean the hair) and ammonia (to lighten it), which can have long-lasting effects on your hair and scalp.

Best-Selling Types of Color

The most trusted brands for African American women’s hair outsell their competitors by large numbers. The Soft Sheen Carson line of Dark and Lovely is one of the better-selling black hair care products, specifically meant for coarse, curly hair. The Mizani hair coloring kits are designed with black women in mind, while the Creme of Nature offers all-natural and organic hair care products for African American men and women.

Threat of Damage

Since black people’s hair is usually less moisturized than non-black hair, a hair dye can cause damage if used frequently or improperly. A bleaching process to lighten hair can be damaging to the scalp and should only be done by a cosmetics professional. Black hair should not be lightened by more than five shades from its natural color.

Learn More!

If you’re interested in learning more about black-specific beauty tips, check out our Top 5 Natural Skin Care Tips for African American Women. You can also get some black hairstyle inspiration for your wedding! If you’re interested in learning more about our salon services or beauty school programs, give us a call!

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