Monday, July 26, 2010

Damaged Hair Care

If you're willing to put up (and pay for!) periodical hair color/highlights, straightening treatments, professional blowouts, and more...you should definitely invest in a high-quality, dense deep conditioning treatment.

How do you know if you need a deep conditioning treatment?
  • Does your hair break off at the ends?
  • Do you have split ends?
  • Is your hair dry and crunchy (not just from styling products)
  • If your hair is usually wavy or curly, is it fizzing out in strange ringlet formations?
  • Is your hair hard and sticking/poking at your neck?
  • Have you had multiple hair color treatments in the last 3-4 months?
  • Do you heat style your hair periodically (straighten, curl, blow dry, diffuse)?
  • Do you have your hair professionally blown out periodically?
All these help you have the coif you always wanted, but they can also put undue wear and tear on your tresses. Please consider toning down your processing, but more importantly, consider reviewing your shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioning routine.

If your hair damage is severe (knots, breaking, fizz, unruliness, dullness, etc.) you may even want to consider cutting your hair into a shorter style to help it re-grow a little healthier. Because, you see, once hair is damaged, the damage expands/moves up from the tips of the hair (the oldest part of the hair strand) all the way up, working itself towards the root. Worsening the problem, and making your hair hard to work with.

Lucky for us, these days, there are PLENTY of choices in pretty much any store that carries hair products (from CVS and Walmart to Ulta and Sephora).

Here is a brief list of some of my very favorites:
  • Ojon - I usually try the smaller sizes because this brand tends to be pricey. They do have an amazing array of their treatment line at my local Ulta, which I've tried to great success.
  • Ouidad - the deep conditioning treatment has its own rules to follow, but leaves hair nourished and eager to curl up in orderly fashion. I've had varying degrees of success with this product, depending on where I purchased it, how long it's been under my cabinet (or in the shower), the degree of processing my hair is under, and what time of year it is (my scalp/hair is oilier in the summer and drier in winter).
  • Kerastase - their masque oleo curl intense was a peach hued gel that did amazing things to my hair. This is a L'Oreal Paris company whose expertise in the higher end hair product arena is renowned. It smells nicely fruity, it's a little hard to apply until you get a hang of the liquidy gel-like consistency.
  • Joico K-Pak - these guys are renown for their reconstructive line for very damaged hair. I found their conditioning treatment to be a little too drying for me which is unusual. I'm not sure if this has to do with too much protein in the treatment versus emollients like natural oils. I tend to react better to non-silicone, emollient products.
If you are unsure about being able to identify your hair condition or being able to recognize any issues requiring your attention, it's probably a good idea to list the treatments and things you do to your hair in a month or over a quarter. Then, to identify the best regime and treatment, why not try look at recommendations on MakeupAlley from individuals with similar hair as yours? This is one of the great options in the MakeupAlley search fields, and many folks put their hair/skin/etc type on their signatures so a search with the right keywords and search field choices will produce wonderful, informative results.

Another great resource is just chatting openly with attendants at Ulta or Sephora. They may have own experiences that you can compare with (particularly if you look for people to ask, who also have similar hair texture or your desired style). These are the best recommendations, but should NOT BE the ONLY recommendations you obtain when researching products.

As for me, I recently got rid of a very large garbage bag full of hair products I no longer use or that I haven't used in a very long time. Many of these products came highly recommended by my sources, and yet did not have the desired results on my hair. This is, sadly, a huge shameful waste of money. I can tell you honestly that I am going to do much more due diligence from now on, because I really don't have these hundreds of dollars to spare in today's economy. Ben Franklin was right: a penny saved is indeed a penny earned.

I've pared down to the bare essentials. I am relying on a sulfate free shampoo and strengthening silicone-free conditioner from L'Oreal, a color depositing shampoo and conditioner from Aveda, and a number of deep conditioning treatments that I like to alternate depending on the need. I've also gotten almost four inches cut off of my hair (the last 1/2 to 1 inches where breaking off starting from the past month or so), going from a past the shoulders bob (curly or straight) to a stacked bob just below my chin (curly or straight).

Here's to your strands good health, and happy research! Remember to have fun, this isn't brain surgery and hair ALWAYS grows back :o)
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