Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Split ends and healthy hair. Part 1.

First of all, split ends are a problem most women have to deal with sooner or later.

The trouble with split ends is that they damage ends of the hair shaft and can increase the damage to the entire hair strand if not cared for soon enough. (Think rips in panty hose. Once the hole is there, if you don't mend it, it'll run bigger and bigger until you can't even wear them anymore. Same concept: these little breaks in your hair can get bigger with time too).

Unfortunately, the only cure for split ends is to actually cut them off. But we can prevent them if we take the proper precautions. First let's take a look at what causes them.

Heat damage from styling tools is a huge part of this. Blow driers, straighteners, curlers, and triple barrel wavers can style and dry your hair by heating up the hair shafts and therefore shaping them. The heat is very drying and damaging. To help with this, try and cut down on styling by letting your hair air dry, or by investing in a heat-protecting product to apply before hand. They have sprays, mousses, and gels, and even shampoos and conditioners to protect your hair from breaking and losing elasticity due to heat. Check out my favorite in John Freida hair care.

Environmental damage from wind, cold, heat, and dryness in the air can be a problem too. Did you know that UV damage doesn't just affect your skin? It penetrates the hair shafts, too, and fries them! In the summertime, wear hats or use UV protective styling products, such as this complex from Fekkai.
In the wintertime, be sure to cover hair and add moisturizing products to your regime. My favorite is the Dove Daily Moisture Therapy Replenishing Mist.

Improper detangling techniques like cheap combs or brushes, using your fingers, or anything else that snaps or rips your hair. Make sure to invest in soft bristle brushes like boar hair, and wide tooth combs. Never brush wet hair! When your hair is wet, it loses elasticity that it would normally have when it's dry, and can cause unwanted damage. Combing might take a little longer, but it's worth it.

Trimming with inferior scissors can cause uneven cuts in the bottom of the shaft, and could end up damaging your ends as much-or more- than they were already.

Overwashing hair. Overwashing has long been overlooked. It's actually not healthy to wash your hair every day. If your hair is used to it, it might be uncomfortable to go without, as your hair will seem greasy or oily when you do not. However, you have trained you hair to react this way, and you can reverse it. Try switching to washing your hair every other day, so you are not constantly depleating your hair and scalp of its natural oils. You'll find that within a week, going a day without washing won't make your hair greasy at all. It will still have a nice, clean look to it, as your hair no longer has to over-produce sebum and oils like it used to.

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