I went to the store yesterday with wet hair. When commented upon, I replied that using a hair drier just made me look like a poodle. The other problem I have with using hair driers is that they make my hair even more dry than it normally is. Curly hair tends to be dry and mine is no exception so to counteract this tendency I use rich shampoos, minimise hair washing to twice a week and ensure I get heaps of good oils in my diet. Whether you have dry, normal or oily hair, there are some key ways you can look after your hair.
You are what you eat
We’ve heard it all before, but nutrition is key when it comes to healthy, shiny hair. Why? Because hair not only depends on a constant supply of blood and oxygen, but also nutrients, and a deficiency in these nutrients will show up on your skin, hair and nails. Brittle, dry or dull hair that easily breaks is therefore a tell-tale sign of poor nutrition. Eating protein three to five times a week will help maintain hair colour and texture, while keeping a close check on sugar levels will also help – high sugar consumption creates a higher demand for B group vitamins, which can also affect your locks. On top of this, an imbalance between good and bad fat consumption can either lead to an overly dry and flaky scalp and dry hair or excessive oil production. Correcting the imbalance will help to normalise the health of the scalp and the relative dryness or oiliness of the hair.
The type of surfactant in your shampoos may also be wrecking havoc with your locks – those containing sodium or ammonium lauryl sulphate contribute to irritated and dry scalp and hair issues. Softer surfactants such as decyl glucoside and coco glucoside or coco betaine are better choices.
Try to avoid conditioners and stying products containing added silica as this will build up on the hair shaft and create ‘artificially’ shiny and silky hair. These products also increase the need to wash hair, which in turn dries the hair out, creating a cycle of poor hair management and ultimately poor hair health.
Blow-drying or straightening your hair, if done excessively, can also cause damage, weakening the hair shaft. The less you dry and straighten, the better the hair condition will be. In conventional styling products synthetic plastics such as PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone polymer), acrylic copolymers, VA (vinyl acetate), polymer and acrylamide polymer are used as holding agents, all of which are synthetic petroleum-based plastics. While these may not be specifically damaging to your hair, they are not environmentally friendly and are easily absorbed through the scalp, contributing to the total toxic load your body has to deal with. Instead look for natural products containing beeswax or coconut oil and sugar biopolymer-based products instead of hair spray or mousse. The natural wax products will also help to keep the hair shaft moisturised.
Wash less often
Most people wash their hair too often, stripping back the protective oils from the scalp and hair. If your scalp is dry or itchy try waiting an extra day before washing, allowing the sebum to protect the scalp for longer. Washing twice weekly for normal to dry hair is a good benchmark – obviously oily hair needs to be washed more frequently.
If you have any great hair tips please let us know.
Out and about in Paddington recently I came across what was for me a completely new concept in hair – a colour-only salon. Curious, as I tend to be, I ventured in and it was what I didn’t see rather than what I did that was interesting. Instead of the traditional mirror facing cutting chairs, I was seated at a large table with a floral display. There wasn’t a mirror in sight…well not until later anyway. There were also no hair cutters. This salon is for colour only. Popping up around Brisbane, colour salons are ideal for women, and men, that want color specialists to determine the best hair colour for them.
My appointment followed standard hair salon lines with a few nice treats thrown in. I was treated to a relaxing shoulder massage and then had an in depth discussion about what particular shade of brown I wanted my hair. I was given wine, nuts and numerous magazines to read while waiting for my hair to dye. I didn’t have to look in one mirror during this entire 40 minute or so process and I didn’t miss it at all! At the end of the consultation, I was moved to a styling room (with mirrors) and had my “hair do” completed.
Initially I wondered how a colour only salon would survive with so many standard cutting and colour salons to compete with. However, as I drank my glass of wine, I contemplated the many people that would suit this very concept and I decided that I was one. With curly hair, I only need a cut every 12 or so weeks. However, colour is another matter and I make a regular visit every 6 weeks for a “top up”. I also remembered the numerous times I have asked for ash brown and emerged with magenta or chestnut hair which just accentuates the red tones in my skin and makes me look like Ronald McDonald. With the focus across all industries on specialization, there is definitely room for technicians that specialize in matching hair colour to skin and eye tone.
So once complete, I made a follow up appointment and now I visit the colour salon every 6 weeks or so and see my regular hairdresser for a cut only every 12 weeks. And I am spectacularly happy with the colour of my hair! To experience this for yourself visit Micolor in Paddington for your very own colour consultation. (Tell Leah & Megan I sent you!)
Of course, another big trend is environmental consciousness. There is a growing awareness of the importance of ecologically sustainable products and all industries are “greening up”. However, expectations still remain high for the best in technological development and performance…and in the hair industry a natural henna dye just doesn’t cut it!
Finding the balance between environmental responsibility and modern technology is the challenge, and there are a growing number of haircare
brands that are meeting this challenge by creating products that address both. Ranges such as Eko Organica, Nature’s Symphony, H2 Colour, Organic Hair Systems and Essensity Care Collection are proving that they are not only viable alternatives from an environmental perspective but that they also provide the high level of performance that we all want.
Natural hair colours which are free from ammonia, fragrance, silicones, paraffin, mineral oils, parabens and formaldehyde-derivates used only be available in home DYI kits. I spent too many years with multi-coloured hair and hair dye stains on my bathroom sink to go there again. Fortunately now you can experience professional hair colour ranges in salons so you can have the best of both, great colour done by a professional and be pampered at the same time. Naturally Organic Hair Salons in Toombul uses Organic Hair Systems again with no ammonia, no parabens or sodium laurel sulphate. They see their salon as a viable alternative for those with sensitive scalps and skin. Micolor in Paddington uses the Essensity range. Krop Hair in Norman Park also uses ammonia free hair colours.
Have you had any unique salon moments, disasters or glamour moments? Tell us about your hair care experiences and the brands you love.Twitter It!
We wash, style and blow-dry in order to tame our often un-ruly tendrils. Yet some of the everyday hair care practices we use are actually doing more damage than good. This article takes a look at the issues we face in our efforts to achieve well groomed, shiny and healthy hair.
The average human head has about 100 000 hair follicles and from each one emerges a shaft of hair. Nourished by blood vessels the follicles produce new keratin cells promoting the constant growth of new hair. The inner layer or medulla,
which is protected by the outer keratin cells, contains pigment cells (for colour), fat granules and oxygen. Separate glands run alongside the follicle producing sebum, a natural hair and scalp conditioner. Straight, shiny hair is the result of sebum produced by the glands easily travelling the length of the hair shaft. By contrast, curly hair will often look and feel dry because the sebum has a more difficult time getting from the base of the hair shaft to the tip.
The overall health of the hair depends on numerous factors however nutritional status is key. There are no topically applied hair products that can compensate for poor nutrition. Hair cannot repair itself because it is already dead tissue. However, you can grow healthier hair from the “inside-out”. Healthy hair depends on a constant supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to grow and maintain the look and feel. Any deficiency in key hair nutrients will show up in our skin, hair and nails first, before affecting our internal organs. Therefore, brittle, dry, dull hair that easily breaks may actually be a signifier to check your general nutritional status.
Hair is predominately made up from protein so a deficiency can result in changes to the colour and texture resulting in brittle, weak and thinning hair. Eating protein 3-5 week will help maintain your levels. If you have had a protein deficiency you will notice hair returning to healthy condition within 12 weeks of correcting the deficiency, as the new hairs grow through.
In addition diets high in sugar and animal fats may contribute to poor hair health. An imbalance between good and bad fat consumption can either lead to an overly dry and flaky scalp and dry hair or excessive oil production. Correcting the imbalance will help to normalise the health of the scalp and the relative dryness or oiliness of the hair. High sugar consumption creates a higher demand for B group vitamins, which can also affect hair health. Reducing highly processed and sugar rich foods will not only help hair health, it will also improve general health.
While internal factors affect hair health, external factors also have the potential to damage hair. If you have ever washed your hair with soap you would know that it tends to get tangled and knotty afterwards. The outer “scales” on the hair shaft stand up when in the presence of an alkali, such as soap and get caught up creating a tangled, messy “do”. The scales will lie down flat in the presence of an acid such as lemon juice or vinegar, which is why vinegar hair rinses were traditionally used after washing. While shampoos don’t create this effect they come with their own set of issues as they are stronger cleansers than soap and strip more of the natural oils from the scalp and hair, leaving it dry and in desperate need of moisture. This is where conditioners come in, their key functions to make the hair scales lie back down and coat the hair so that it feels smooth again.
In addition the type of surfactant used to clean hair in shampoos can be problematic with those such as sodium or ammonium lauryl sulphate contributing to irritated and dry scalp and hair issues. Softer surfactants such as decyl glucoside, coco glucoside or coco betaine are better choices for both hair and scalp health.
In general try to avoid conditioners and stying products with added silica as these will just build up on the hair shaft and create “artificially” shiny and silky hair. They will also increase the need to wash hair which in turn dries out hair again, creating a cycle of poor hair management and ultimately, poor hair health.
How often we wash hair is an individual choice however, most people tend to wash their hair too frequently, each time stripping back the protective oils from the scalp and hair. If your scalp is dry or itchy, try waiting one extra day before washing allowing the sebum to protect the scalp for a longer period. Twice weekly for normal to dry hair is a good benchmark. Obviously oily hair needs to be washed more frequently and often daily. Washing hair often entails blow-drying or straightening which if done excessively, damage the hair shaft. The less you dry & straighten, the better your hair condition will tend to be.
Hair styling agents can also impact on the health of the hair and more importantly your general health. In conventional styling products synthetic plastics such as PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone polymer), acrylic copolymers, VA (vinyl acetate)
polymer and acrylamide polymer are used as holding agents, all of which are synthetic petroleum based plastics. While these may not be specifically damaging to your hair, they are not environmentally friendly and in addition are easily absorbed through the scalp thereby contributing to the total toxic load your body has to deal with. Look instead for natural products such as beeswax or coconut oil based products for strong hold pastes or gels and sugar biopolymer based products from corn or vegetables instead of hair spray or mousse. The natural wax products will also help to keep the hair shaft moisturised. Generally styling products based on such ingredients are healthier for you and for the environment.
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