Ponytail after Coloring HairQ: Is it okay to put your hair up in a ponytail right after coloring it? I don't want it to leave a ring on my hair where the elastic was or have the haircolor run to the elastic.
A: I personally would advise AGAINST putting your hair in a ponytail right after coloring it; not for fear of leeching color (which would leave the ring you describe) or color bleed (which is the discoloration of the elastic you mention) but because after any chemical service, the hair tends to be left more porous and easily damaged.
This porosity can lead to both the color bleed and leeching effects described, but such effects are cosmetic, while the potential structural damage is a greater concern.
The key is in understanding the condition of your hair before and after your color process. You want to use a good conditioning agent after coloring the hair - one specifically designed for use on color-treated hair. There are many that are made and marketed specifically for use after color applications, and some haircolor brands include after-color conditioners in their packaging.
You should also understand that certain color formulas are more prone to leeching and bleeding simply by virtue of their composition. For instance, most stylists will advise you against wetting (and especially) shampooing your hair for a period of time after a color service that uses a red hair color formula. Typically, the darker or bolder the red color, the more caution you should exercise.
This is because many formulas for red hair color use pigments whose molecular structure makes them more easily passes through the cuticle layer of the hair. This is also true of some demi-permanent color formulas, which are designed to be short-lived and wash away completely in 8-12 shampoos. The after-color conditioning products mentioned above are meant to help close the cuticle more tightly and seal it to prevent the color from escaping and thus making the color last and stay more vibrant.
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