Causes of Hair Damage

With so many products and tools to choose from for hair "care" and styling it is hard to find a place to begin. So it seems only fitting to start with the content and structure of hair to more easily see how it can be damaged. As we all know our hair is very fragile, even more so when we begin our daily routine of washing, drying, brushing, and styling.

Hair consists of three layers; the medulla, the cortex, and the cuticle. The inner most fibers make up the medulla which is surrounded by the cortex; and the cuticle is the outer layer that protects the inner more sensitive parts. Hair is made from proteins which are held together by bonds. They grow from follicles in the scalp.

Looking at the obvious, if the cuticle is damaged, then the more sensitive inner fibers are exposed and hair becomes dry and easily broken. Washing our hair is a daily event, which strips our hair of its natural ability to protect itself if not done properly. Although countless hours of research have gone into making shampoos beneficial for our hair, too much of a good thing can have a negative effect. Over-shampooing causes the hair to lose its natural moisture that keeps hair looking healthy and shiny.

Blow drying and straightening and/or curling hair without protecting it can cause severe damage to your hair if not done correctly and periodically. This "heat styling" is literally frying your hair. It may look great for a while but as we continue to do it over time it destroys the hair and can cause permanent damage. It will become dry, brittle, and damaged.

Many would look at this and think; well I guess I will just stick to using chemical products to style my hair instead of "frying" it with a blow dryer. This couldn't be further from the truth. Hair is made up of proteins which are held together with bonds. Chemicals break down the bonds and proteins and make them weaker. If this process is continued over and over again the hair will become so brittle it will actually just break off. This can be avoided if the correct processes, products and techniques are used.

Just the environment can damage hair also. The sun, water and wind can inflict mayhem on hair, drying and causing frizzing.

The worst thing we can do to our hair is bleaching. Bleaching the hair penetrates the outer protective cuticle layer with chemicals and erases the natural pigment. In doing this the structure of the hair is changed making it more susceptible to damage. Couple this with heat styling and blow drying and you could have that dull look with split ends in no time.

Perming is another good way to destroy hair. Once again chemicals are used to either create curl or create straight hair. This chemical styling procedure breaks the inner structure of your hair. Basically it takes healthy straight hair and breaks and weakens the structure to create unhealthy curls, and vice versa for curly hair to make it straight.

Even if you don't use anything and just brush your hair and wear it in braids or a ponytail can cause damage. Over brushing can break hair and cause split ends. Pulling and wearing hair tightly like in a braid or ponytail can break hair. If this is worn everyday it can cause permanent damage.

It looks as though like nothing we do to our hair actually helps it any. But, with all this done in moderation with help from professionals and utilizing the correct techniques and products; we can mitigate the negative effects all this styling has on our hair. But every once in awhile we need to just give our hair a break and let it go.

Source by Jeannine M Davis

Proper Hair Care Simplified

Having been around the beauty industry for pretty much my whole life, I have been educated over and over again on hair structure and products. Although it is all very fascinating to me, and I truly appreciate having the knowledge, I now realize just how complicated many large companies have made this industry. They use a lot of big words and even larger chemicals to compete against other large companies. This is more of a marketing strategy, to make the products sound more complex and professional. The strategy is to sound like a chemist to the clients, and look as though they are the best and most knowledgeable. The consumer then thinks, "These guys sure sound like they know what they are talking about, so they must be the best!"

Of course, after discovering the harm that these products cause due to their high quantities of SLS Products in them, I realize now that I do not have to think about "active ingredients", only natural surfactants and humectants. You really do not need all that technical mumbo jumbo in order to understand what makes your hair healthy. Here's what you do need to know;

Hair has 3 very important parts. There are many more, but these are the ones that I think are most important for you, the consumer, to know about. I'll start with the most important part, the follicle. Pull out a strand of hair and look at it closely. The end that came from the scalp has a little bulb on it. That's the follicle. It's like the feeding tube for the hair itself. It needs blood circulation to deliver nutrients. A lot of male baldness is caused by a loss of circulation to the scalp. I have personally seen new hair growth start to appear on a bald head through massaging the scalp. It also needs the nutrients from your body in order to grow healthy hair. This is why people with poor diets have thinning, dull hair, and why people with eating disorders lose their heads.

The next part is the Cortex layer. This one you can not see (you're in trouble if you can). This is the inner part of the hair that gives it strength. It's made up of every thing good or bad in your body, and can actually show us good or bad health, because it has been produced by the follicle. This is why I am always stressing to my clients that they should never strip the hair with a shampoo and crème rinse that contains harsh chemicals. It needs it's natural oils and it's natural moisture in order to maintain elasticity. These items also give hair it's body, it's ability to curl, and help it to grow long. I like to think of my hair as a result of what I've put into my body.

The third part is the cuticle. This is the outer layer of the hair, and the most mistreated part of all. It is constantly exposed to weather, pollutants, chemicals, as well as heat from blow dryers, tongs, and brushes. The list is endless what this poor part has to end. Unfortunately, it's also the most delicate. When you use a shampoo that contains chemicals that strip the hair, they open the cuticle, which robs the cortex layer of it's nutrients. The more the cuticle gets opened, the harder it is to shut it down. This results in more tangles, which then means more product is needed to eliminate those tangles, which means the more clogged it gets. Over time, the cuticle becomes weak, and can no longer protect the cortex. Then, the cortex weakens because it can no longer hold onto it's strength qualities, and that's when it breaks.

Now, take that hair you pulled out earlier and hold it between your thumb and fore finger. Then, with your other hand, slide your finger from the follicle end down the closed cuticle. Now, go in the other direction. That's the roughness of an open cuticle, Then, hold it at both ends and gently pull it, as if you are stretching a rubber band. If you have a healthy hair, you will actually see it stretch, because it has maintained a healthy balance of oils and moisture. The more damage, the less it will stretch. Severely damaged hair will just snap with no stretch at all, and that is why hair breaks off. Once you reach that point, there is no way to repair the damage. You can not repair a cuticle that is not there, no matter what. This is why the shampoo and crème rinse that you use is so important. If you're not stripping the hair in the first place, you will not have the need to spend hundreds of dollars trying to replace and repair it. Your hair has a natural balance, and it only makes sense to use a naturally balanced product to enhance it.

Source by Christin Coulter

Visiting a Salon Versus at Home Hair Care – Which One Is Better?

Everyone wants to be able to have hair that is healthy and looks great, and everyone is capable of doing so. It does not take professional knowledge and skill to take proper care of your hair. For some women hair care is quick and easy while others take a lot of time and spend a lot of money to purchase high-quality products that have proven to increase the overall health and look of their hair. Other women take the time to make monthly trips to the salon to ensure that they are getting what they need while some do a combination of all of the above.

You've certainly washed your hair at home and used a variety of hair products such as gel, mousse, hair spray, and moisturizers. Even with all the products available today, many women are still unhappy with how their hair looks. Others do not like the limitations to what they can do at home with their hair. This is why a lot of women will depend on a trip to the salon on a routine basis to get exactly what they are looking for.

Which one is better?

Women who are on a tight budget will often lean more towards home hair care as it saves money each month versus going to the hair salon. Those who have a bit of experience with hair or those who keep things simple (ie. No dyeing) will also kindly more up their personal hair care regimen at home. With the increasing amount of hair products sold in stores today, women have even more options and products to use right in their homes without having to go to the hair salon.

At the same time, despite the high amount of available hair care products, there are limits as to what we are able to do at home. Although women can purchase hair dye kits from the stores, undergoing hair dyeing at the hair salon is usually much safer, less of a hassle, and leaves very little room for mistakes. The same goes for haircuts and trims. Anyone can trim their hair but it definitely is not easy or smart to try to trim your hair at home, unless of course unevenness is the style you were seeking.

The fact is that there are both positives and negatives to visiting a hair salon and doing at home hair care on your own. Neither one of these hair care options should be delegated out entirely as they are highly beneficial. At home hair care is limited and because of that there are times when you will not only want to go to the hair salon but will need to.

Source by Carolann Schmidt

Hair Care – Myths and Truths

Think washing frequently does damage your hair? Or you trust repeated brushing is great for your hair? Continue reading to find out the truths and myths behind nice looking hair.

Does washing frequently damage your hair?

Washing frequently does not damage your hair. While some may need to wash it once in three days, some people may in fact need to wash it almost everyday. It's the shampoo and conditioner with strong chemicals that causes the damage. Opt for a shampoo that is safe enough for every day use. In actual fact, the right shampoo will add the needed moisture, And, rest assured you can wash it as often as you need.

Do conditioners help?

Conditioners does work wonders to moisturize your hair and possibly make it more manageable and tangle free, but it will not help you to fix split ends. Trimming is the best to fix split ends. (Trim it every four to six weeks) And, the myth that oily scalp does not need conditioner is false. It is just as late to tangles as any other hair type. So when it comes to conditioners, just use it after every wash detergent of your hair type, to keep it shining and smooth.

Is excessive brushing good for the mane?

Rough, excessive and repeated brushing can eventually lead to hair breakage and split ends. Brush it only as much as you really need to, as repeated brushing can prove quite fatal. Also, never brush you tresses when its wet as it will lead to severe breakage. Instead, use a large toothed comb.

Are hair dryers harmful?

Hair dryers dry out hair and harm the shafs when they are used very hot and too close to the mane. As far as possible avoid it. If you must, use them when your hair is moist and avoid too much of hot air from the dryer. Also, avoid excessive use of curling iron, straightening iron or hot rollers as they cause immunity damage in the long run.

Is hot water beneficial for the hair?

Never wash your hair with steaming hot water. Hot water damages your scalp by taking away the natural oil. Always use cold or lukewarm water. When you wash it massage your scalp with your fingertips. Messaging helps to stimulate the oil glands to produce better results.

Is it advisable to pull out the strands of gray hair?

This is a common myth that pulling out a strand of gray hair will cause some more to grow. The fact is that when your hair starts to turn gray, there is really nothing much you can do about it. It is natural that the roots tend to produce more gray hair no matter what you do. Here, stick to a good-quality coloring agent and have the roots colored every now and then.

Last but not the least ....

If you have to go out in the sun regularly, use products that have sunscreen. Choose mild shampoos or preferably home - made hair care products. Finally, one of the best ways to get healthy, shiny mane is to take a healthy diet. Include a lot of protein rich foods in your diet along with green vegetables and fresh fruits. Never forget to drink lots of water.

Source by Yogitha Ramamoorthy

Love Chocolate? – Got Naturally Curly Hair? – Read On

The taste or even just the aroma of chocolate triggers a cascade of feel-good chemicals into our body, according to the smart folks at Neurosciences Institute, San Diego, California, USA.

Chocolate is comforting, smells divine and tastes yummy and delicious. Yet you may regret eating too much of this diet-be-damned delicacy. But now there is a calorie-free way to give yourself - or at least your hair - the treat (ment) it describes, in the form of a topical deep conditioner using dark, rich luxurious chocolate.

Natural hair care goodies made from unrefined cocoa butter and pure cocoa powder gives your hair all the necessary wholesome nourishment needs. Unrefined cocoa is loaded with calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, vitamins A1, B1, B2, C, D, E, phosphorous, chromium and has been dubbed "Fruit of Gods". The vitamins and minerals within chocolate are essential for hair growth, skin, nails and general good health.

Chocolate contains polyphenols, which are natural anti-oxidants that guard the scalp and protect hair from damage from free radicals. Pure cocoa / cacao also has natural caffeine, providing a stimulating effect and encouraging healthy hair growth. The purer chocolate, the higher the cocoa content, the more polyphenols it contains the better it is for your hair and scalp.

Polyphenols give skin and hair extra elasticity, strengthens the capillaries which distribute oxygen-rich blood to the hair root, help prevent scarring and collagen tissue damage and also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Oh yes, chocolate is a rich concoction of vitamins, minerals and protein that smoothes and conditions your curls, making your hair, not your hips more supple. Do not you think it is high time your hair got the treatment it describes?

Source by Anita Grant