You’re only given one chance to make a great first impression, right? You CAN have healthy looking chemically-treated hair or natural hair just by reading these helpful hints!
There are three types of damage that hair can have: chemical, mechanical and environmental. Here’s an interesting fact: 70-80% of the hair is made up of protein (gives hair strength) and 10-15% of the hair is made up of moisture (which softens and adds flexibility). When one or both of these are taken out of the hair, the results can be disastrous!
CHEMICAL damage is caused by the overuse of chemicals such as lighteners, permanent hair colors, permanent waves and chemical hair relaxers.
Think of a hair strand as a ladder. Each rung of the ladder represents a protein bond which holds the hair together and keeps it healthy. Every time a chemical is applied to a hair strand, some of the ladder rungs disappear thus making the strand weaker because the amount of protein is decreasing. When a strand becomes weak, the hair’s porosity changes making the color fade quicker than normal or grab too dark. In a perm or relaxer service, the hair could become too stretched out and never regain it’s shape again. The outer appearance of the hair will look dry and brittle and there may be more frizz or unruliness than normal.
Chemicals rob the hair of keratin; the protein that makes up the hair, skin and nails. Without enough protein our hair would literally disintegrate. The protein must be put back into the hair cosmetically before another chemical service or else the risk of damage is far greater. The ladder rungs must be significantly rebuilt through the use of protein products to ensure the health of the hair is returned to a more ‘normal’ state. Since the damage is on the inside of the strand, more protein is needed than moisture. A proper consultation with a salon professional is best to achieve maximum results and hair-repair.
Redken’s Chemistry Treatment is triple the protein and moisture than any of their other treatments. It’s a two-part in-salon treatment that repairs, protects and conditions the hair from the inside, out and the average cost runs between $15-25. Another ‘hair savior’ is the Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger KeraTriplex Treatment. This is also a two-part treatment that repairs years of damage in minutes. This in-salon treatment is running between $15-30.
MECHANICAL damage is caused by normal wear and tear from heat styling tools (blow-drying, curling, flat ironing) as well as brushing. Hair appears dull and lifeless and may have excessive frizz. The cuticle layers are not laying flat/compact and hair may appear to have split ends. Most people who have mechanical damage don’t even know they have it! Most are surprised to learn that they can have badly damaged hair without ever using chemicals on it.
In most cases, HEAT is the culprit for causing mechanical damage. Most of the blow-dryers available to purchase (non-professional) only come with two settings: cool and blazing volcano hot! This is totally unnecessary! Air is air! Cool air will dry the hair just as well as warm or hot air. Cool air, however, may not smooth the hair as well but it will dry it and leave the hair in a healthier condition. Heat strips the hair of it’s natural moisture and leads to frizz and unruliness.
There are many heat-protectant products on the market. I could take or leave most of them but I give many thumbs up to the Simply Smooth Xtend Keratin Repairative Magic Potion. It is a botanically blended keratin infused potion that will hydrate, smooth and detangle hair leaving it silky and free from split ends. This stuff is seriously amazing. It really has the best of everything all combined into one product! Everyone loves a product that smells good, right? This product will leave you reminiscent of sitting on a tropical beach sipping a pina colada. It’s vacation in a bottle! It may cost a little more than you’re used to spending on hair products (retails for about $23-25 per bottle) but keep in mind that this bottle will last you a while as you’re only spraying a little on each time.
ENVIRONMENTAL damage is caused by wind, water and UV rays. Many people forget what the elements are capable of doing to their hair and after a day on the ski slopes or out on the boat, they wonder why their hair feels dry.
Like mechanical damage, the hair has been robbed of moisture. The damage is on the outside of the strand causing split ends, roughness of the cuticle, and excessive dryness.
Ask your hairdresser what he/she would recommend for your hair type. Don’t be afraid to ask questions concerning the type of service, cost of service, and especially about the degree of damage that could potentially happen. A good hairdresser will listen to your concerns and use and recommend the best products available and explain all the details along the way.
Remember…every day should be a good hair day!