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Curly hair is ever-so-delicate, and hair dye is ever-so-harsh. But sometimes you just want to switch things up a little! What’s a natural girl to do? There are certain steps that you can take to protect your curls from damage while still achieving awesome, vivid color.

First, let’s start with the positive: the kinkier your hair, the more easily it absorbs color, and you don’t have to touch up your roots as often. Natural-haired women are also more likely to use gentle sulfate-free shampoos, which extends the color.

However, any coloring process is going to damage your cuticle to some extent, unless you use 100% natural henna. It’s a matter of minimizing the damage to keep your hair in good shape. Here’s how you can do it:

Prep Your Hair

The healthier your hair is, the more evenly the dye will be absorbed into the hair.

Before you apply bleach or dye, spend several weeks prepping your hair. Ideally, you should avoid heat for at least two months prior to your appointment. Deep condition once a week for at least two weeks, and moisturize daily with a leave-in conditioner along with an oil (but you were already doing that, right?!). It’s also a good idea to trim your ends.

For DIY Jobs, Go Semi-Permanent

If you want a subtle wash of color and your hair is 100% natural — i.e. not chemically straightened — you can give it a go at home, as long as you buy the right product. Stick with a shade that’s within one level of your natural color and use a gel or liquid formula. Look for a semi-permanent dye that’s free of ammonia and PPD.

Know When To Go Pro

If you plan to go lighter or want a drastic change, proceed with caution and head to a stylist you trust. You cannot lighten your hair without bleach, and bleach can easily damage curly and kinky hair. It’s best left to pros. Make sure to be completely honest with your stylist about your hair history. Keep in mind that, depending on the desired color, you may have to spread the process out over multiple sessions to avoid damaging your curls.

Practice Good Aftercare

After you’ve achieved the color of your dreams, don’t slack off! Colored hair requires special pampering. Look for a shampoo and conditioner that is especially designed for colored hair — not only are they better for your hair, but they also maintain the color for longer. Don’t wash your hair too often, and continue to pamper your hair with regular deep-conditioning and protein treatments.

You may have to go in for touch-ups to maintain your color, but luckily, curly hair is better at hiding your roots. As long as you take the necessary steps, there’s no reason that you can’t have healthy hair — whether it’s green or blonde or purple.

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Mood Boosters: Healthy Foods That Make You Feel Good

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut and had no idea why? Perhaps you have not been feeling well, and the strain has caused your mood to suffer as a result? When your body is not getting the nutrients it needs, it can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and overall negativity. Instead of reaching for medication or an artificial stimulant to make the world feel right once again, try these healthy and mood enhancing foods and feel the weight of the world lift from your shoulders almost instantly.

Chocolate

You knew this one was coming, right? Who doesn’t feel an instant sense of euphoria when they get to indulge in a rich and creamy piece of chocolate? Not only does chocolate taste like heaven on your palette, but it stimulates your brain to put you in a better mood quickly. Chocolate contains caffeine, which gives you a boost of positive energy especially when there is not a cup of coffee to be found. It also raises the endorphin levels in your brain. As a bonus, eating a small piece of dark chocolate every day will help lower your blood pressure.

Strawberries

Strawberries are considered to be happiness in a bowl. These bright red berries give you a friendly reminder that summer is looming and contain vitamins that will lift your spirits after only a few bites. Strawberries contain antioxidants that help your body fight off free radicals as well as vitamin C and manganese. Strawberries are a ground level growing berry, and so they absorb more soil nutrients than other berries that help your brain produce mood shifting serotonin.

Salmon

Salmon is considered to be a super food and is full of healthy fats and nutrients that do wonders for your body. Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid, which stimulates the brain and puts you in a better mood. Eat salmon at least two days and pair it with grilled vegetables to reap the rewards of better overall health.

Dates

Dates are considered to be nature’s candy and are a sweet way to get more nutrients into your body. Dates are full of antioxidants that clean out your body and make you feel better. They contain vitamin A and Iron, which help with oxygen flow and getting rid of toxins. These delicious, shriveled little fruits originated in the Mediterranean region, and they have been cherished for their healing powers since the time of ancient civilizations.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a delicious and healthy treat and can take the place of a sugar-loaded dessert when you are craving something sweet. Yogurt contains probiotics that balance out the bacteria in your body as well as a variety of different vitamins depending on which fruit-infused flavor you eat. Yogurt, linked to good digestive health, also increases brain function and makes you feel better.

Asparagus

Asparagus is rich in folates, fiber, vitamins A, B, and C, and contains antioxidants that encourage serotonin production in the brain, which leads to a smiling face. Asparagus is a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, baked, fried, or grilled. You can season this hearty vegetable in many different ways, and nobody will shame you for pouring some Hollandaise sauce over the top.

Bad moods happen to even the happiest people, and it can be difficult to rise from the funk you feeling. Instead of seeking a short-term artificial stimulant to boost your mood, incorporate these healthy and natural foods into your diet and get a surge of energy that is also healthy for your body.


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