Tips to Avoid Damaged Hair and Restore its Natural Beauty – Facts from a Licensed Cosmetologist

Lets’ face it girls – If our hair looks bad, we look bad, which of course makes us feel bad! We all have an occasional “bad-hair day” due to hormones, humidity, rain, etc. Restore Damaged Hair is just not restoration but avoiding over-processed, split ends and “frizzies” best known as damaged hair!

How do we keep from damaging our hair or if we have to, how do we fix it?

As a cosmetologist, my job is to not only to create great looking hair, but to help my clients maintain their beautiful hair between appointments.

Let me explain what “damaged hair” actually is. A strand of hair has two main parts that we will talk about; the outer layer, called the “cuticle,” and beneath it, the “cortex”. The cuticle is much like shingles on a roof. When the hair receives any chemical process such as color, the cuticle softens and swells up so the color can reach the cortex where the process takes place. When the process is finished, the cuticle lies back down and locks in the color. If hair is damaged, the cuticle won’t lay down, causing that “frizzie, split-end” look.

What Causes Damage to Hair

1. Using mass-market, discount store product. This includes boxed hair color, shampoos, hair sprays, mousses, etc. A hair stylist knows what’s best for your hair (considering you have a good stylist). Yes, it costs more, but we’re talking about your hair, remember? Not everyone’s hair is the same! Your stylist can recommend products for your specific hair type that will help keep your hair in good condition. Listen to them – they aren’t just blowing smoke! They’re doing it for your benefit – not theirs!

Yes, salon products cost more than store products, but there are very good reasons. Store products are watered down – you have to use more. Next, they are loaded with detergents that actually strip your hair of color and dry it out. Finally, most salon product makers, such as Paul Mitchell, Keune, Tiji, Redken, etc. have been in the industry for years. They know what needs to go into these products to keep the hair looking great.

Remember, just because the package at your favorite store is pretty, and TV commercials are very persuasive promising you the world, it doesn’t mean they deliver.  So – – – listen to your stylist!

2. Blow drying, flat irons and curling irons are all very hard on your hair. For some of us they are a necessity. In addition to using good shampoos, conditioners, mousses, etc, I suggest a thermal “protectant” on your hair. I find that sprays are easy. Just lightly spray on a section of the hair before using your flat iron or curling iron. This will help protect the hair from drying out. If you can wash your hair every two or three days instead of daily, that will also help.

3. All chemical process such as color, perms or straightening the hair. These are very hard on the hair since it causes the cuticle to rise up. Knowing how to get the cuticle to lie back down is a key skill your stylist has been trained to do. Again, you must have a stylist that is good at what he/she does. Using good color products and proper after color shampoos that will be gentle, yet effective on the hair are important.

Key: The stronger the smell, the stronger the product. I’ve had stylists put hair color on me that was so strong, I could hardly breathe! This was extremely harsh to my hair. So, let your nose tell you if your stylist is trying to save money by using inexpensive harsh products or if they are looking out for your best interest.

4. The sun and chlorine. The sun plays a factor in your hair condition. The sun is really hard on your hair especially in the summer. It will fade color and dry the hair out. Chlorine is very drying too. Try to wear a hat if you are in the sun for long periods of time. (Again, if your stylist is using a good color line, it shouldn’t fade as fast).

Key: Remember, you cannot repair damaged hair! If a product promises that – it’s simply not true! However, there are deep conditioners that will help the hair “look” better until the damage has grown out.

Getting Back on the Road to Healthy Hair

Step 1:  Cut your hair every 6 weeks. You may have to cut it shorter than you like initially. If you don’t want to do that, at least get your hair trimmed every 6 weeks.

Step 2:  Use quality products that have protein in them. Since your hair is made of protein, it makes sense to use products with protein in them. There are protein sprays or protein repair conditioners that work really well. They will help strengthen the hair so it won’t damage as easily.

Step 3:  Don’t forget to eat healthy! Diet is SO important. Eating healthy is important for all aspect your health. What goes in your body will show up on the outside of your body – your skin, eyes and yes your hair. If you are healthy, your hair will be healthy. Of course what goes hand in hand with diet is exercise. Just walking a mile 4 times a week will benefit you greatly. If you don’t invest in yourself, no one else will!

It is Easier to Avoid than Restore Damaged Hair

Finally, I hope this has cleared up any myths you have heard about damaged hair. A little time an effort on your hair will keep it good condition. I know it’s impossible to follow all these steps perfectly all the time. However, if you begin to put these tips into practice, you’ll be back on the road to healthy, beautiful hair.

Photo by akk_rus