THE CHEMISTRY BEHIND BEAUTIFUL HAIR

 

Hair care brands make many claims often misleadingly supported by pseudoscience. It makes it difficult for the consumer to know what is healthy and what is damaging to hair. Before you hand over your money, take a look at the ingredients.

Some people recommend: using silk pillow cases, rinsing hair with mineral water, rinsing with rice water, rinsing with real ale beer, egg/mayo/honey/avocado food masks. I havent tried these yet, partly because of the inconvenience, partly for fear of being mistaken for the plat du jour. The ‘no-poo’ bicarbonate of soda hair cleaning method seems equally demanding.

I can however whole-heartedly impart the following knowledge which has proven to keep my hair looking lovely.

If there is one thing I would recommend to improve hair quality it would be to use Sodium Laureth Sulphate-free (SLS-free) shampoo – especially if your hair tends to frizz. SLS is the foaming agent in shampoos but it completely strips your hair. L’Oreal have launched a new shampoo range without sulphates. But just type in « SLS free shampoo brands » into Google and you will get a list of all the ones available. I really like “Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Lather Shampoo” it’s pricey but worth it. From then on its a experiment as to which one suits your hair type the best. (Ordering samples from eBay can be an inexpensive way to test.)

Nearly all conditioners/ shine products have silicones in them: Silicones are excellent for shiny, silky hair… at first. Silicone coats the hair strand suffocating it and no amount of argan oil will penetrate the hair and make it soft. DIMETHICONE is the worst offender because it is non-water soluble meaning that no matter how much shampoo you use it will take months to get all of the build-up off your hair. For more details read this article:http://www.naturallycurly.com/…/pro…/water-soluble-silicones.

Happily, there are ‘clarifying’ shampoos lift hair product build-up on your hair. Although these are packed full of SLS, which is why they should be used sparingly (once a week max), they are very effective at deep-cleaning which means you can then efficiently moisturise hair.

The biggest enemy to your hair is dryness. With that in mind leave your (preferably silicone-free) conditioner on for as long as humanly possible. Minimum 2 minutes, otherwise there was no point putting it on.

Overnight oil hair masks are very effective, just put a towel on your pillow and use lots of shampoo the next day – argan oil, olive oil, almond oil, rose hair oil, coconut oil, jasmine oil, are all good – try and get the least chemically treated one because the more natural it is the more it will sink into your hair i.e baby oil will do no good. I use amla (Indian gooseberry) oil on my scalp which has really helped hair loss. It is a natural disinfectant and anti-inflammatory and my head feels really clean and non-dandruffy afterwards. I also give my myself a little head massage when I put it on to stimulate hair growth. (Even more relaxing if someone does it for you!)

For shine and softness VINEGAR RINSE IS AMAZING – Grab a jug of cold water and put 1cm of vinegar in and then pour it over my hair and just squeeze the water out and pat dry. You honestly cannot smell the vinegar once your hair is dry and I’ve used all types of vinegar including malt. The best is apple cider vinegar but you can use any – just try and get the organic, least chemically treated one.

Temperature makes a big difference. Hot water weakens your hair so a cold water rinse sort of seals it, stops it falling out and being prone to damage once you style it. Also, cooler water is gentler on your scalp limiting irritation and therefore greasiness and/or dandruff. Try your best not to comb your hair when its wet, hot water makes hair really fragile and it stretches and snaps when you comb it wet. Try and let it dry as much as possible and if you need to comb it – do so very carefully with a large wide tooth comb and maybe some (non silicone) leave in conditioner. The best hairdressers say hair should be treated like a delicate piece of silk – so think about that when you’re drying/styling it. I use a boar bristle hairbrush which helps with shine.

It obviously goes without saying – try not use straighteners, hairdryer, curlers or wash/dye your hair unless you absolutely need to. There are lots of hairstyles and dry shampoos which can cover up unwashed hair. And in the long term your hair will be so much more moisturised for it. I have always maintained that any hair cut or colour will look good as long as its soft and shiny – you can pay a small fortune to dye your hair, but if its dry it will still look awful and cheap.

If you want super glossy hair for special occasions then use hair glazes – they make your hair ridiculously shiny because they’re packed with silicones, just remember to use a clarifying shampoo/ hair mask after to prevent damage.

In my bathroom I have: Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Lather Shampoo; The Tresemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner; Joico-K Pak Clarifying Shampoo; Aveda Clove Color Conditioner. All of which have rated very highly on online reviews.

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My own very fine, long, dark, straight hair. Upsides: very soft and shiny. Downsides: fragile, flat and prone to greasiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “THE CHEMISTRY BEHIND BEAUTIFUL HAIR

  1. Pingback: PRODUCT REVIEW: Le Petit Marseillais Shampoo and Hair Mask | L'ART DE VIVRE

  2. Pingback: PRODUCT REVIEW: Le Petit Marseillais Shampoo and Hair Mask – LIFESTYLE LODESTAR

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