Even with good intentions, styling your hair can be tricky. We don’t do these things on purpose but if we aren’t taught any different, how are we supposed to know? Believe it or not, you could be unintentionally sabotaging your efforts. Here are some tips for ultimate damage control.
Never style your hair without some sort of heat protectant. There has to be a barrier between the hot tool and your hair. My favorite is a combination for effective damage control is Unite’s Luxury Oil and Moroccan Oil’s heat protection spray. The Unite oil is an argan oil (similar to Moroccan Oil) and will repel water, which will help it blow dry faster, while protecting against the heat. After dry, I always use the protection spray to protect against the heat of an iron which can get up to 450 degrees!
Try to keep the nozzle of the blow dryer OFF the hair, the nozzle concentrates the heat, helping smooth hair around a brush. Same goes for the end of the blowdryer (nozzle-less), the hot coils are only about an inch in and if you have curly or frizzy hair, the hairs could singe by touching these coils. I recommend a nozzle, most dryers come with one, and learn how and why to use it.
When curling or flat ironing your hair, the most important thing I tell people is to turn the heat down. The 450 degree iron is not meant for all types of hair.
-Fine, thin hair, do not set the iron over 300 degrees.
-Normal hair can handle 300-380
-Coarser hair can handle up to 400 degrees but do not go over 420, it is unnecessary and will cause split ends.
Ceramic plates on an iron are a must, they help the heat distribute evenly and help prevent damage. They are worth the investment and can last years with good care.
One last thing about irons, be careful not to load up on hairspray or high alcohol content products pre straightening. Remember this girl who soaked her hair in spray and proceeded to break a whole chunk off? Yikes. This warning also goes for when spraying it to death after styling on day one, then going back and curl/straighten on day two. Even though it is the next day, the hair is coated in alcohol and that high heat will damage it as though you just coated it, resulting in split ends.
First, when it comes to choosing a hair color, please make up your mind. I can’ tell you how many people switch from blonde to brown only to go back to blonde again. It is fun to experiment and switch it up now and again, but do realize the toll it is taking on your hair.
For instance, if a bleach blonde came in to the salon and asked to be darker, then decided (however long later) she wanted to change it back, the only thing that will get that hair back to blonde is bleach. Now, that hair has already been bleached numerous times and may not be able to handle another process and most likely won’t be able to take it without considerable damage.
Coloring your hair at home is another story. That is where I see the worst cases. I’ve had to fix tiger stripes, leopard spots, too dark, too light, fluorescent tones and just about every nightmare you can imagine. Picking up a box of color with a gorgeous model on the cover seems harmless. Easy right? I want my hair to look like that so that’s the one I’ll get that one.. Yikes.
There are so many variables to consider: Current color, desired color, skin tone, natural level, undertones, cool, warm, permanent, demi, semi, grey coverage, maintenance… Precisely why we go to school for it. Please consult a professional.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Who would have thought that this could be part of the problem? Shampoo and conditioner are vital to the health of your hair. Knowing what your hair type is will help you to better treat your hair issues and in the long run save you money. I promise you, professional products exist for a reason and without them it is impossible to have healthy hair. Drug store shampoos can be so drying and damaging to the hair and can be so aggressive stripping off essential oils and even hair color.
Drug store bought conditioners, on the other hand, are usually a wax or lard base which coats the now stripped strand and makes it feel like it is softening and healing. Truth is, it is all on the surface and has little to no nutritional value for the hair. Did you know Head and Shoulders is so abrasive that it strips a layer of skin on your scalp away? No wonder why there are no flakes, but how can that be good for the overall health of the hair.
One last sneaky way to do unintended damage is one I hear a lot from my clients. They want to do an at-home conditioning treatment and will leave in a conditioner (meant to be washed out) and will sleep in it overnight or for an extended period. That process will actually dry the hair out. Conditioners are meant to be washed out and need the water in order for it to be effective. If the hair begins to dry out, the conditioner actually draws out the moisture in the hair. This isn’t disastrous to the hair but it is certainly not effective.