It's pretty much agreed upon by everyone that colouring hair is damaging, and that to attain extreme hair lengths, it's best to stick with one's natural colour.
However many of us, for whatever reason, choose to dye our hair. For many in their teens and twenties, it's to experiment with colour. For those of us who are older it may be to cover the silvers. That is the case for me. I use L'Oreal's Preference hair colour in Medium Blonde. It's not to ashy and not too golden--just right for me.
While I know many beautiful women with salt and pepper or silver hair, it's just not a look that I'm comfortable with. I feel as though I'd disappear if my hair was its natural colour, which is now predominantly white.
I may or may not be correct in that assessment, but I am not prepared to give up my blonde locks. Whether or not that may change in the future, I don't know.
I do know that by the very fact that I'm colouring my hair, I am limiting its ultimate length. While my real final goal is tailbone length hair, I may have to accept that I won't be able to grow healthy looking hair beyond waist length. I guess I won't know until I get there.
There are some things that I've learned that have helped keep my coloured hair in better shape than it's been in the past.
There has been research done that shows that the application of anti-oxidants before colouring may help to reduce peroxide damage. Ktani, a member of the Long Hair Community, found that coconut oil has these properties. I was one of her first guinea pigs, and I've been coconut oiling my hair before colouring for over a year and a half now. While the evidence thus far is merely anecdotal, I've been very pleased with the results.
I apply coconut oil all over the length of my hair, right up to the roots before a touch-up. I leave it on for a minimum of 15 minutes and sometimes as long as several hours before I apply the dye to my roots.
I make sure that I rinse very, very thoroughly, and I use a lot of colour safe conditioner afterwards.
Additionally, I try to go as long as possible between touch-ups; I go about 6 weeks.
With regular deep moisture treatments in between colourings, and my regular small trims, I'm managing to keep my hair looking and feeling relatively healthy, and I'm happy to say, split-end free thus far.
So while I would never recommend that anyone dye their hair, I know that many will anyway, so I thought I'd share some of the tips that I've learned. While they may work for me, they may not work for everyone. And remember; dying your hair is a commitment. It does require upkeep, and should you decide to go natural, depending on the colour you use, there will be demarcation during grow-out. Not everyone is comfortable with this idea.
However, for me, it's a small commitment of time and energy, and it keeps me feeling happy. Feeling happy with my hair is all that I really want from my hair anyway.