How to Repair Damaged Hair
How to Repair Damaged Hair – A person’s hair looks dull and lifeless and it doesn’t shine, and it is obviously difficult to manage. Examining a few hairs under the microscope would reveal what has happened to it, and suggest what might be done. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of blaming the last product put on to the hair as the single cause of a problem. Much more often, hair condition is lost as a result of a combination of mistreatment over a long period.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Damage from Hair Weathering
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Weathering, is the gradual wearing away of the cuticle of the hair shaft. The damage exposes the cortex, which becomes worn down as well, and the hair can eventually break. Fortunately, hair is tough by nature: hairs taken from ancient Egyptian mummies and even from the bodies of our Stone Age ancestors look remarkably well preserved after thousands of years. Many of us have hair that withstands reasonably well most of the abuse we seem determined to throw at it.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – But in spite of this resilience, badly weathered hair is quite common. All too often it results in disappointment and an unhappy client for the stylist and the technician to sort out. But whatever their expertise, repeated attempts to restore the hair to good condition by further experiment may be doomed to failure. All hair has its limit: once that limit is passed and the hair has seriously broken down, the only thing to be done is to cut it off.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – When new hair first grows up out of the scalp, the cuticle consists of up to ten layers of long ‘scales’. Even so, it is incredibly thin – only 3 or 4 µm – and it has to last for may be six years or more. As the hair grows, the layers are little by little worn down. At the end of the hair, especially if it is long, they have worn almost completely away.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – This wearing is a perfectly natural process, and has little effect on the hair. But it is very much speeded up by some of the things that happen to the hair. These can include wetting, friction, sunlight, heat from hair dryers or the sun, chemicals in swimming pools and salt in seawater, as well as cosmetic procedures of various kinds, are just some of these.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – If the problem is really severe, the cortex bursts right out of the hair.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – In normal hair, this sort of damage is only noticeable near the tips of untrimmed long hair, which may look lusterless and pale with some split ends. The length of time for which hair can grow without the damage becoming visible depends on the natural quality of the hair, how frequently it is damaged, and how much on-going protection has been given to it by conditioning.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – The reason why conditioning is so important in slowing down natural weathering lies in the ability of the cortex to retain moisture. Dry, out-of-condition hair lacks moisture, and the correct moisture content (hydration) of hair has to be restored for the hair to regain its condition and its ‘healthy’ look. Without enough moisture the number of hydrogen bonds may be reduced.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Conditioning allows re-establishment of the hydrogen bonds and improves the moisture content of the hair by improving the weatherproofing of the cuticle. This determines the amount of static charge on the hair and the resistance of hair to mechanical stresses like brushing and combing.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Hair Damage from Hair Cutting and Hair Styling
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Cutting hair with blunt scissors results in a cut with a long, jagged edge, at which the cuticle scales will be especially vulnerable to further damage. This is why stylists use good-quality steel scissors, which are very sharp indeed and cut cleanly. It is even possible to tell whether a stylist chose to use scissors or a razor by looking at the record of the hair: razor cutting produces long, tapering sections of cuticle which weather quickly, and even peel back. Some stylists prefer to cut hair when it is dry, in the belief that this will save the hair from heavy brushing when it is damp and therefore vulnerable to damage. A circular or semicircular brush is probably the least damaging to hair.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Hair Damage from Bleaching
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Shampooing should not in itself damage the hair, since modern shampoos do not lift the cuticle. In the past, when harsh shampoos were often used, acute and irreversible tangling or matting sometimes followed shampooing. The culprits were usually antiseptic shampoos, and they could turn hair into a mass that looked more like sheep’s wool than human hair. This kind of matting is seldom seen nowadays, fortunately, since most modern shampoos contain conditioning agents and help to protect hair.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Small amounts of tangling and occasionally matting are still quite common, however, especially in long weathered hair. It generally affects only small locks of hair or even a few adjacent hairs. It may be the result of wetting and drying hair without shampoo, since friction is higher in wet hair than in dry. It can happen when the hair is piled up on top of the head for shampooing -a recipe for tangling if ever there was one.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Of the common cosmetic procedures, permanent waving, bleaching and dyeing all damage the hair to some extent. Permanent waving, by its nature, disrupts the structure of the hair: indeed, it has to do so for the perm to be successful. In order to change the shape of the hair, permanent waving agents first break the disulphide bonds that give the hair shaft its structure. The hair is then put into its new shape and ‘neutralized’.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Neutralization is the name given to the re-forming of the chemical bonds in their new positions, a process that fixes the hair permanently into its new shape. The secrets of satisfactory perming lie in the manufacturer’s formulation of the product and the stylist’s expertise in applying the neutralizing lotion after just the right length of time, so that the perm is fixed but the hair is damaged as little as possible. Permed hair should always look beautiful in spite of this deliberate ‘damage’.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Bleaching and dyeing change hair structure too, because the dyes and the bleaches used have to penetrate the cuticle and get into the cortex where they have their effect. Some degree of chemical damage is unavoidable. Cosmetic procedures do not damage the hair follicle within the scalp, and so do not cause hair loss. Only a serious chemical burn to the skin of the scalp that destroys the follicle cells can do so. Burns like this can follow indiscriminate over-use of permanent waving or relaxing solutions, and therefore these solutions must be handled carefully at all times.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Hair Damage from Sun
How to Repair Damaged Hair – The ultraviolet light in direct sunlight affects the cuticle in a similar way to a bleach, and eventually the keratin protein of the hair breaks down. The result is than the hair is gradually weakened and becomes drier. The effect shows up as light streaks in the hair (sun bleaching). The reason is that sunlight breaks up some of the chemical links within the amino acid groups, in particular those between carbon atoms and sulphur atoms. It does not affect disulphide linkages or hydrogen bonds.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Mechanical Hair Damage
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Though hair is so robust, it can still be damaged by over-enthusiastic brushing and combing, especially when it is wet and if there is some degree of tangling. Metal combs are particularly hard on the hair. Back brushing and backcombing are extremely harmful, since they tug against the scales of the cuticle, which all lie pointing towards the tip of the shaft like tiles on a roof.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Once hair has been backcombed the delicate scales are lifted. The next time a comb passes over the scales they will be ripped off. There is no way of repairing this. The effects of these processes can build up over time and cause considerable damage: backcombing is one of the most damaging physical treatments that can be inflicted on hair.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Hair that has been treated chemically (permed, colored or bleached) has, as we have seen, already been damaged to some extent. The result is that it is at greater risk of damage from the daily hair care routine. The surface of chemically treated hair is receptive to conditioners and other protective treatments, however, and if applied regularly these products can give real protection to the hair.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – How to Protect Hair from Heat Damage
How to Repair Damaged Hair – We have seen the importance of the moisture content of hair to the hair’s condition. Processes like blow drying reduce the moisture content below its normal level and can in themselves be harmful. Hair dryers and other heated appliances first soften the keratin of the hair. If they are too hot, they can actually cause the water in the hair to boil, and tiny bubbles of steam then form inside the softened hair shaft. The hair is thereby weakened, and may break altogether. There is no treatment for seriously heat-damaged hair, although trimming the damaged hair can reduce the formation of split ends.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Once it has been significantly damaged, the cuticle cannot be repaired. So hair care must be aimed at preventing injury in the first place. Obviously, all procedures should therefore be carried out as gently as possible. Apart from this, the best way to keep damage to a minimum is to condition regularly and thoroughly. This helps to keep the cuticle intact, lower friction and reduce static charge on the hair.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Conditioners that contain dimethicone (a silicone compound, made from silica which is one of the commonest substances on earth) deposit mainly at the edges of the cuticle scales – just where the damage happens most easily. Micro-fine droplets make the hair surface smooth and shiny (less ‘fly-away’)- Dimethicone protects the hair from damage by reducing its resistance to brushing, combing and styling, when wet as well as when dry.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Other ingredients in conditioners and other hair care preparations also work to smooth the outer layers of the cuticle. These may include protein extracts (collagen, and the amino acids obtained from silk) and panthenol and similar compounds, which are related to vitamin B5. Some of these are known to penetrate hair and to help to increase its moisture content. Well-conditioned hair is quite easy to de-tangle. Use a large-toothed comb or brush with rounded ends.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – The only way to avoid split ends altogether is to use preventive conditioning and to avoid all chemical treatments. Split ends, if they do develop, can never be repaired ‘like new’. The so-called ‘split end repair fluids’ are applied directly to the hair tips. They contain high-density silicone fluids which draw the splayed ends of the fibers together and hide their ragged appearance. The fluid is removed at the next shampoo, however.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Hair that has been badly damaged by cosmetic treatments is surprisingly common. Of course, stylists and technicians are trained to examine hair before carrying out chemical treatment to determine its porosity, and whether there is any possibility of serious damage. But take an enthusiastic amateur embarking on bleaching and perming at home without any basic knowledge or experience, and combine this with a hair dryer used on its hottest setting: you have a recipe for disaster.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Here are a couple of all-too-familiar examples of severe cosmetic damage. Both of them can be avoided by treating the care with the care it deserves.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Trichorrhexis Nodosa
How to Repair Damaged Hair – This is an explosion of the cortex at a single point on the hair. It looks like a tiny white bead on the hair, and can lead to hair breakage. It is a classic sign of cosmetic and chemical over-treatment of the hair.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – Permanent Hair Damage
How to Repair Damaged Hair – A permanent wave process inexpertly applied is probably the most damaging chemical treatment that hairdressers see. With excessive waving treatment , the cuticle scales on the hair have been lifted up and separated from each other. They will never return to normal, and as soon as a comb passes over them they may break off. The cuticle may be completely stripped off, revealing the cortex underneath. This too is now exposed to weathering, and will probably not survive unbroken for long.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – When a new client walks into a salon, the hairdresser never knows what problems are going to face them. A quick assessment reveals whether the client is Caucasian, African, or Asian descent: all these different racial types have different hair qualities and different hair structures. Is this client’s hair curly or straight? Dry, greasy or normal? or perhaps of a mixed type? Is it long or short? Thick or thin, in terms of its density on the head? Are the fibres coarse, medium or fine? All these characteristics interact with each other.
How to Repair Damaged Hair – And then, what is the past history of this hair? Has it been permed or bleached, or possibly both? No two clients are the same.