You have been highlighting or coloring your hair as long as you can remember or maybe you tried something new and now you're left wondering.. what happened to my hair? The texture is different, you noticed pieces breaking off when you brushed your hair and you feel like you completely lost all of your shine and body. You love the color, but want your hair to look healthy again.... now what?
Is it damaged or dry?
This is the question you have to ask yourself. To know the solution, you have to know the answer to this question. To save you from A LOT of science jargon Im going to keep it super simple. I love home renovations, so lets say your hair is a house. The cuticle (outside layer of your hair) is made up of layered cells that represent your roof and the cortex (inside your hair) is made up of different types of bonds, mostly protein, that make up the structure of your house. So the cuticle is the roof and the cortex is the structure. What happens when your roof leaks and rain gets in your house? Damage. This is when your hair is spongy and feels like wet noodles when you wash it. This type of damage is usually irreversible, but with the right products can sometimes be improved. When your roof is just worn and old (dry hair), it may not look shiny and new, but rain doesn't get in and your house is still standing strong. This is when your hair is dry and you might say that feel like your hair feels like hay and it's very dull. You may even have small pieces breaking off occasionally. This is dry hair, and the solution is moisture. This can easily be corrected with the right at home hair care regimen.
Dry Hair Vs. Damaged Hair
Dry hair is when your hair becomes brittle. It may break off when you brush it or you see more hair in your brush. You may feel like your hair is rougher or looks matte instead of shiny. Damaged hair is when your hair feels matted or spongey when wet. In extreme cases you may have hair loss. Dry hair needs moisture while damaged hair needs protein. Speaking to our previous analogy, dry hair is when the shingles may be worn down and look old, but they still aren't allowing rain into the house. Damaged hair is when a few or more roof shingles are missing and rain is getting in causing damage to the house (cortex).
Solution: For damaged hair, I would reach for shampoos and conditioners that are high in protein and provide strength to the hair such as Kevin Murphy's Repair.Me Wash + Rinse. For dry hair, I would choose Kevin Murphy's Hydrate.Me or Young.Again Wash + Rinse. In both situations, adding an KM's Untangled as a leave in conditioner is a great option as well as a masque as a third step in the shower. I also add KM's Young.Again Oil to all hair needing moisture.
Are You Over Washing?
One cause of unhealthy hair is by over washing. I really can't stress this point enough. You should only be washing your hair 2-3 times a week tops. (Im talking to you everyday washer lol) Then, evaluate what brands you are choosing to wash with. Cheaper shampoos are cheap for a reason. They are full of fillers and alcohols that dry your hair out. Which in turn makes your body think it needs to produce more oil and thats when you feel like you need to wash everyday. Worse, some contain silicone and waxes that make your hair feel good, but in reality they are coating your hair in a wax that makes you think your hair is in great condition, but in reality it's blocking your hair from retaining any moisture. Overtime it builds up and your hair becomes brittle and unmanageable.
Professional high quality shampoos fill your hair up with ingredients that your hair needs. Every time you wash, your hair feels better and better. Low quality, cheap shampoos strip your hair without giving anything back, so overtime your hair becomes extremely dry.
Just to note, over washing can contribute to dry hair, but rarely to damaged hair.
Solution: Try using a dry shampoo like Fresh Hair from Kevin Murphy to help you go longer in between washes.
Heat Tools: Are They Really THAT Bad?
Flat irons, curling irons, and wavers... are they really that bad? I find them to be a necessary evil if you will. Yes, they cause damage. Are we going to stop using them? No. Two telltale signs of heat damage for me are fly aways towards the top of the hair and breakage around the face. The person who says "these pieces never grow" and point to their hair (that is always around their face) usually have heat damage. I ask them if they use flat irons and the answer is always yes. The obvious negative about this is that your hair only grows around 1/2 an inch a month, so it will take a long time for hair to grow back once it's basically been burned off. If someone continues to flat iron they will just continue the cycle and they will feel like their hair "never grows".
Solution: Use heat tools less and always use heat protectant like Kevin Murphy's Heated Defense. It protects up to 450 and is added in before your blowout. Try adding a ponytail or messy bun look into your week. Try to restyle or smooth your hair using product and a blowdryer with a nozzle before reaching for your flat iron or curling iron. Even if it doesn't completely correct the problem, it may keep you from having to use as much heat during styling.
Chemical damage occurs when you color or highlight your hair. The damage can become very extreme if the hair is overly processed. I think one myth we have to bust right away though, is that your hair can remain completely flawless or in an untouched state while still coloring and highlighting your hair. It's impossible. Im not saying that your hair will be damaged or broken I'm just saying that when you chemically change your hair (by coloring or highlighting or balayage) it will change the texture and look of your hair.
Remember the house we were talking about, well to put it simply, chemical processing could be high winds. They blow against your shingles and sometimes blow them up. Healthy strong shingles stay put, but over time you may lose one or two in a storm and God forbid a hurricane (major overprocessing) comes through you will need a whole new roof and the house will be thoroughly damaged. (Thats when you have to cut your hair and start again.) While the latter is uncommon, slightly damaged hair from chemical processing does happen..so the question is how? There are three types of beauties that I find that struggle the most with damaged hair.
1. Someone who is never blonde enough and constantly has their hair highlighted. They are constantly wanting it lighter which leads to lightening already lightened hair and can possibly lead to damage.
2. A guest that changes back and forth between different colors. They are highlighting and coloring the same piece of hair until the hair can't take it anymore and breaks off.
3. A guest who doesn't wait long enough in between appointments. A guest that highlights their hair and doesn't want to see ANY new growth so they come back at four to five weeks when there is barely anything to highlight which leads to accidental overlapping and possible breakage.
Solution: ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. use a repair shampoo and conditioner if you fall into this category. Consider adding a weekly repair masque to your routine. Use professional products geared to keeping your hair strong.
- If you are the guest who never feels blonde enough, ask for an Olaplex treatment in addition to your normal services. It will help keep your bonds ( the structure of your house) strong.
- If you are the beauty that is constantly changing your hair, try doing it gradually or along the same color story.
- If you are the beauty that never wants to see your new growth, try adding a base bump service to your appointment visit. It slightly lightens your base giving you a more all over blonde appearance and helps you go longer in between visits.
Last, But Not Least - Aging and Enviromental Damage
I can't leave you without touching on this factor. As you get older, your hair along with your skin tends to get drier and more brittle. The term Anti-Aging and hair may not be two things you immediately think to put together, but are commonplace in the hair industry today. Anti-Aging hair products speak to the changes our hair goes through by normal aging or chemical aging of the hair. This goes along with the aging of hair by environmental damage. Simply, its just the everyday "wear and tear" on your hair. It can be from wearing a pony tail, being in the sun, brushing your hair, or the cold winter winds. Aging hair happens naturally as you get older. That's why when you get gray hairs most beauties notice that the texture is harder to control and more wirey.
Solution: Invest in products that are geared towards this problem such as Young.Again Wash + Rinse and Young.Again Oil.
Healthy hair is always the goal. (We want a strong house with no shingles missing lol) Repairing hair is possible with the right products and knowledge of haircare. If you have any questions, feel free to connect with me on Instagram and follow along for the latest blog and beauty updates! I look forward to connecting with you! -P