The misuse of heated styling tools is one of the biggest contributors to dry hair and damaged hair. Using hot tools at their highest settings or applying them to damp hair can cause strands to burst, melt, burn or otherwise be permanently damaged.
Further, without the use of a heat protectant (a coating product designed to act as a buffer between your hair strands and direct heat) your hair’s cuticle and hydro-lipid layer can be completely removed leaving the inner layers of your strands vulnerable to splits, breaks and moisture depletion.
By its very nature, heat styling is counteractive to maintaining the moisture balance of the hair, so the use of hot tools requires greater attention to your hair’s condition. As a start, avoid heat styling damaged hair or hair suffering from chronic dryness. Hair in this state needs to be replenished, trimmed and pampered. Consider wearing protective styles for a few weeks or months until you are able to cut off all damaged ends and your hair has regained a proper moisture balance.
When your hair is healthy enough to withstand heat styling, proceed with care. When blow drying your hair, try using your blow dryer on its coolest setting. With flat irons, curling rods or hot combs make certain your hair is 100% dry to the touch before use, and avoid using these styling tools above 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Always use a thermal protecting product to provide a sacrificial layer to your hair strands that will take the brunt of the heat. In between styling sessions, deep condition your hair with penetrating emollient oils or an essential fatty acid-rich moisturizer to help rehydrate your strands and keep them healthy and strong.
Chemical treatments such as relaxers and ammonia-peroxide coloring treatments have the propensity to cause a lot of damage. These treatments break the natural bonds of the hair fiber, change the pH of your hair and scalp, cause cuticles to lift, and strip away your hair’s delicate hydro-lipid layer.
All of this leaves your hair in a pretty compromised state. Lifted cuticles and hair stripped of its protective mantle changes its texture making it feel rough and porous while also rendering hair less able to retain precious moisture.
The best care for hair is preventative, once the hair shaft has been compromised there are measures than can be taken to slow or prevent further damage but hair cannot be returned to the exact same level of resilience it exhibited in a virgin state. Even products with the potential to restore chemically broken bonds only claim to bring hair back to a “virgin-like” state.
When opting for a chemical process it’s advised to go to a highly rated professional who will ensure your hair is taken carefully though a chemical service with minimal damage. If you opt to conduct a chemical service at home, take a week or two prior to deep condition and moisturize your hair to ensure it’s in its healthiest state prior applying a relaxer or coloring process.
Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer of the product carefully and afterwards, treat your hair gently – switch to a regimen that emphasizes rebuilding and fortifying your hair. Incorporate a quality moisturizer, deep conditioner and penetrating oil serum full of essential fatty acids into your normal hair care routine to encourage elasticity, retain hydration and to protect your cuticles from further damage.
The mere act of brushing or combing hair can lead to gradual damage to the cuticle layer. For people with naturally dry hair, damaged hair, or highly textured hair, this mechanical damage can be exaggerated leading to protein loss, tangles, breakage and an overall feeling of roughness as well as lack of shine.
Use styling tools with smooth edges and no seams that can snag or cut your hair. Great materials for quality combs and brushes include wood, carbon fiber, resin, and stainless steel. Natural bristles are suggested for hair brushes, however if you are vegan or avoid animal-derived products, there are quality cruelty-free hair brushes available. Also remember to exercise patience when brushing and detangling to avoid knots and breaks.
Use styling products that contain “slip”. Look for ingredients such as Aloe Vera or Linseed extract or natural polysaccharide gums like Guar or Xathan in a hair products ingredient list. Other natural slip enhancers include light emollient oils like Camellia Seed Oil, Coconut Oil or Grapeseed Oil.
For an emollient that provides great slip and closely mimics our own sebum, Jojoba Oil is excellent for hair and scalp and provides the bonus benefit of helping to balance sebum production while also promoting moisture retention.
Lastly, exercise care when styling your hair when it’s wet. Wet hair swells causing the cuticles to lift to some degree; this makes them more vulnerable to being chipped off by rough handling. Some advocate never brushing or combing hair while it’s wet, however depending on how deeply textured your hair is, combing and brushing your hair while wet is far safer than doing so while it’s dry. Simple remember to be gentle and patient and to use a great conditioner or detangler with plenty of slip.
In this article we discussed three primary causes of dry hair and damaged hair and great ways to prevent them. We hope you found the information useful and that your will read part two of this article to learn more great tips to keep your hair healthy and strong.
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