The words ‘dry’ or ‘damaged’ are definitely not ones you want to describe your hair as. How are you meant to know if your hair is either or both of these things and what can you do to prevent it? It’s a common issue these days with increased heat styling, bad weather and products which we buy because of their amazing marketing could actually be causing more harm than good. Read on to determine whether your hair is dry, damaged or you just want some preventative tips to keep your hair in its healthy condition.
What is the Difference Between Dry and Damaged Hair?
If you are experiencing dry hair you’ll usually see this from roots to ends, whereas damage is typically concentrated in one particular area. Dry hair is static and dull and so is damaged. But damaged hair is also very brittle. When damaged hair is wet it just feels like mush and can snap off easily.
If you’re still struggling to tell, pluck a strand out and stretch it out tight. If it snaps right away it’s damaged. If it bounces back a little, it’s just dry.
What are the Causes of Dryness?
The Weather – Winter is a rough time for hair. The cold temperature means there is less moisture in the air, and thick wooly clothes can suck up any extra moisture from your hair. Summer isn’t much better either, as we all know that the heat from the sun can frazzle your hair. Protect it if you can with a cute sun hat or head scarf.
Sulfates – These are aggressive detergents made of mineral salts and are the foaming agent found in most cleaning agents, soaps and shampoos. They’re cheap and easy to get hold of, but are also harmful to your body. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the most common one found in hair products. To guarantee no damage to your hair and skin the concentration must be lower than 1%: most cheap shampoos have around 15% in a product. Sulfates strip your hair of natural oils and proteins that you need to keep your hair healthy and hydrated. When you use styling products containing sulfates, they coat your hair cuticle in a wax like consistency that melts into your hair once heat is applied. This is what will also cause your hair damage. Your hair will thank you for using sulfate and paraben free products.
Chlorine and Salt Water – After a salty snack the body craves a drink. The same thing happens with your hair. Chlorine and salt are both dehydrators that dry out your hair and damage the cuticle if you spend too much time in them. If you swim in a pool or the sea regularly, try and protect your hair with a swimming cap and treat your hair to a hydrating treatment afterwards.
Hot Water – There is nothing better, especially when it’s cold, to step into a red hot shower. But if it burns your skin, it’s doing the same to your hair. If you can’t face turning it down for your whole shower, at least give your hair a cooler rinse at the end.
What Are Some Causes of Damage?
Too Much Heat Styling – Using a straightener or curling iron everyday causes an irreversible amount of damage to your hair. Most heat stylers operate at around 420 degrees (pizza is cooked at 450!), so you can imagine the damage is done with them over time. If your styler has an option to turn down the heat, use it! Weekly blowouts are a great option to reduce heat styling, as when hair goes from wet to dry the cuticle forms in the shape it is dried in, meaning your style will last much longer. Silk pillowcases and showering with a shower cap will help to preserve your style even longer.
Bleaching Your Hair Often- Bleaching your hair strips away nutrients, colour and moisture. In moderation this isn’t the end of the world, but having constant dramatic changes in colour will cause permanent damage to your hair.
Tight Ponytails – We all love an Ariana Grande style ponytail, and it’s super handy to be able to pull your hair right back when you need to, but applying stress at the same point in your hair regularly will lead to breakage in that area. Switch up your style regularly and try and use scrunchies or bobbles designed to be gentler on your hair to minimise breakage.
Too Much Protein – Also known as over keratinization, too much protein can actually cause further damage to your hair. Keratin is a protein that is used to strengthen damaged hair but should be used in moderation.
How to Remedy Dry Hair
The best ways to remedy dry hair is with:
- moisturising hair treatments
- sulfate free/paraben free non-toxic shampoos and conditioners
- washing your hair with cooler water
- have regular blow drys
How to Remedy Damaged Hair
Unfortunately the only real solution is to cut off the damaged hair so that it can grow back healthy and strong. Once the cuticle is damaged, it will not be able to repair itself no matter how many treatments you apply. It can be a hard pill to swallow if you are trying to grow your hair, but when you imagine having long, flowing locks, you don’t imagine them being straggly and dry do you? Put the time and effort in to keep your hair healthy and invest in it and it will pay dividends in the long run.
Hair is like a lot of other things:, you have to look after it and nurture it to keep it healthy. The more educated you are about what you’re putting on your hair and how best to look after it, the shinier and healthier your hair will be. If in doubt, always listen to your stylist and utilise their expertise. At Victoria Hutchinson & Co we trust in Kevin Murphy products because we know they are kind and healthy for your hair. Please get in touch if you would like some advice.