Loosen Curls with Hair Dye

Long hair with corkscrew curls
Photo: Progressman/Shutterstock
Q: Does dyeing corkscrew curly hair lighter loosen the curls? Because I don't want to loosen my curls but I really want to go lighter.
A: The chemical formula of any hair color that lightens the hair consists of an alkaline to open the hair cuticle, color depositors, and developer (which is typically hydrogen peroxide in varying strengths). In multi-process color services, there may be the application of peroxide developer with a specific bleaching agent.
Yet none of these ingredients will do anything to alter the chemical side bonds that make up approximately half the hair's strength (in terms of curl). Of course, the application of water – and in some cases heat – will alter the physical side bonds, but reapplying moisture and/or warm will allow the hair to revert to its natural wave pattern.
The important thing to remember is that you need to be careful with any color process to lighten the hair, and most especially when using bleaching agents. Single process hair colors (where you combine the color with a developer) have a limited lifespan once they have been mixed together, but bleaching agents mixed into peroxide developer will remain active as long as it is moist.
Therefore, you could easily over-process a bleaching step in a hair color service and must watch the lightening process closely. Damaging the hair in this way can be especially detrimental to very curly hair types as these types of hair often have points along the hair strand that are weaker as a result of the way the hair grows.
See also:
Hair coloring
Bleaching hair
Hair coloring and damage