Have you ever done any of the following things to your hair?
Held the blow-dryer directly against your hair while styling?
Colored it at home, and then gone to a stylist to 'fix' it without telling them about your do-it-yourself attempt?
Colored your permed hair, or permed your colored hair?
Left a relaxer on too long?
Gone several months without a haircut?
These are just a few of the most common mistakes that can lead to the salon for repair work. Don Capellani says these frequent mistakes can damage your hair and leave you in desperate need of an emergency fix.
How can you avoid wreaking havoc on your hair?
Here are some key dos and don’ts ....
Don’t Get Overheated
Many women like to "blow out" their hair at home by straightening and styling it with a brush and blow dryer. But that direct heat can actually burn your hair, says Don Capellani, owner of salon ~ Capellani - "People put the dryer directly against the hair because they think that’s the way to get it straight. Especially with a metal brush, that can do real damage. If it’s not too bad, you can repair the damage with conditioners, but once hair is too overstressed and chemically dried out from heat, there’s nothing to do but cut it and let new hair grow in."
Even if you think it takes too long to style your hair this way, pull the blow dryer a bit away from the brush and don’t let it touch the hair directly.
Flat irons can also overheat the hair, but Capellani notes that most women move flat irons through the hair, as opposed to holding them at one spot for awhile as they do with blow dryers. But take care with over-ironing as well.
In addition to burns from a blow dryer, you can also burn your hair or scalp with chemicals used in hair processing. That’s a common problem, says Sun Chung. “I often see chemical relaxers left on too long, to the point of burning or irritation of the scalp.”
She advises clients to have chemical processing applied by a trained professional who takes appropriate care to avoid injury to the scalp or excessive hair damage. Sun suggests protecting the scalp with a petrolatum-based ointment, like petroleum jelly, that is applied before the relaxer, a step called “basing the scalp.”
Chemically treating hair and then exposing it to high heat -- for example, from a curling iron -- inflicts a double whammy of damage, says Sun. “The hair is already weakened by the relaxer, and then damaged further by the intense heat exposure. This can cause hair to break very easily. With this in mind, I advise my clients to minimize the intensity and frequency of thermal hair styling techniques and to use conditioning shampoos to protect-strengthen the hair.” Sun says that hair loss from traction alopecia and scalp burns due to chemical relaxers would usually be temporary, but if the damage is longstanding or severe enough, it can be permanent.
Know what your hair can and can’t do. If you have very curly hair, it will need some layers -- but not too much, says Don. "If you layer the heck out of it, it will become too round," he says. "On the other hand, you do need to have some graduation or layers to let the curl form. If you leave it all one length, it just becomes a big pyramid frizz ball."
Be mindful of what hairstyle you’re willing to maintain. If you get your hair heavily colored, that means you’ll need to be back in the salon every few weeks. If you don’t have time for that, you’ll be walking around a lot of the time with half-grown roots. "You’ll look good for the first three weeks, and the next nine you’ll look awful," Capellani says.
Don’t Go Solo With Color
For very simple highlighting or a color change that’s not too radical, maybe a home boxed hair color job will work out fine. But if you want significant or complex highlights, or want to go from ash brown to strawberry blonde, call in the experts.
"You can make a lot of mistakes with home coloring," says Don Capellani. "Some of the worst results I’ve seen have been when someone has colored their hair and then attempted to correct it themselves as well. Often, people don’t realize that the color on the box is not necessarily the color their hair is going to be."
You also can’t "lift" one color with another color. In other words, if you colored your hair brown and now you’ve decided you want to go lighter, the color you get will only lighten the part of your hair that’s not already colored -- in other words, the roots. "You wind up with light roots and dark ends, which we call 'hot roots,'" says Capellani. "While it’s not damaging to your hair, it’s not particularly pretty. The only way to have that fixed is by a pro."
The same goes for perms. Some women might get their hair permed -- either at home or in a salon -- and then not be happy with the results. So they go out and buy a relaxer at the drugstore." But using two different types of chemicals so close together can seriously damage the hair. "Once it’s chemically stressed, hair has no life to it and it’s impossible to style. It will just look dry and flat," Don says. So if you want a bad perm fixed, don’t do it yourself -- find another stylist.
You got your hair lightened for summer, and you really liked it. You liked it so much that you thought you’d go a little lighter. And then a little lighter still. "Every time you take a permanent color that’s lighter and pull it through somebody’s ends, you’re removing a lot of the natural oils and condition that’s already there," says Capellani. "Over time, the hair will get drier and drier, and lose its luster." As with heat-damaged hair, you may be able to fix some of the problem with oils and conditioners, but the only real remedy is to cut and grow out the straw-like strands.
You may like tight braids or cornrows, but your hair and scalp may not. If you regularly wear your hair in this style, it can lead to a form of hair loss known as traction alopecia. “I treat many women, especially those of African descent, with thinning hairlines due to excessive tension from hairstyles associated with traction,” says Don.
Get Regular Trims
Capellani still remembers a friend he had in fourth grade, a girl with waist-length locks. The girl moved away, and then came back in sixth grade, with hair only halfway down her back. "You got your hair cut?" Don asked the girl. "No, Mom will never let me cut it," she replied.
Don realized that the girl’s hair had simply become so ridden with split ends that it had broken off on its own. "It was really tattered and torn and brittle-looking," he says. "Split ends are nature’s way of trimming. Especially as we get older and our hair has gone through years of blow drying, flat irons, curling irons, and wear and tear in the sun, we need regular trims. The maximum time between cuts should really be 8 weeks, especially if you blow dry and go out in the sun regularly."
Don’t Lie to Your Stylist
"People will come in to have their hair colored, and they won’t tell us that they’ve already tried coloring at home and been to two beauty salons," says Capellani. "They keep trying to change their fabric -- hair is basically fabric. You can create what you want with it, but after awhile the fabric gets overworked, and you have to give it a break. We can’t help you if we don’t know what you’ve been doing to your hair."
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What's one of the best-kept secrets for healthy hair?
Is it the latest exotic potion from Europe?
An exclusive Hollywood salon conditioner?
You might be surprised to learn that it's a balanced diet!
A healthy diet with the right mix of protein, iron, and other nutrients can help improve the health, look, and feel of your hair.
Healthy hair is hair that's growing appropriately out of every follicle, not easily broken, and connected to a healthy scalp. It's bouncy, shiny, and manageable. A balanced diet can give your hair all the nutrients it needs to satisfy both definitions for healthy hair.
Healthy Hair: Protein Is Important
Your hair needs the same well-rounded diet that provides all the recommended vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients required for good health in the rest of your body. But it doesn't mean that when it comes to hair, all nutrients are equal, especially when it comes to protein.
A strand of hair is composed of mostly protein, which means your hair needs protein to grow. Some people mistakenly take extra calcium, but hair and nails are both protein fibers.
At any given time, about 90% of your hair is in the growing phase. For each individual hair, this growing phase lasts 2 to 3 years. At the end of that time, hairs enter a resting phase that lasts about 3 months before they are shed and replaced by new hair. If you don't get enough protein in your diet, a disproportionate number of hairs may go into the resting phase.
On a normal scalp, there are about 120,000-150,000 strands of hair, and about 50 to 100 strands of that are shed each day. Most people don't even notice that small amount. But if an unusually large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, hair loss can become noticeable, even alarming.
The good news is that the problems caused by not getting enough protein can be reversed. By restoring protein to your diet, whether it comes from plants, such as beans and other legumes, whole grains, and soy, or meat from animal sources, you can restore the normal hair cycle and stop the abnormal hair loss.
Iron and Other Nutrients
Protein isn't the only nutrient needed to maintain healthy hair, you also need iron, vitamin E, and trace minerals, such as selenium, copper, and magnesium to help keep your hair in good shape. These are all involved in the production of the various proteins that make up your hair.
Iron may be the most problematic of these nutrients to get in effective amounts, especially for women and vegetarians. Not getting enough iron, like not getting enough protein, can cause hair loss.
The best source of iron in your diet is meat. At the top of the source list for iron are clams, oysters, and organ meat. But there are problems with eating a lot of organ meat. Lean meat, though -- pork, beef, and fish -- are all good sources.
Good vegetarian sources of iron include fortified cereals, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, white beans, lentils, and spinach. The problem with iron from non-animal sources is that the body absorbs iron less efficiently from plants. It's possible to eat a vegetarian diet paying attention to iron and still not get enough.
Talking with your doctor about your diet and asking your them to test the level of iron in your body. With a simple blood test, your doctor can determine whether or not you should consider taking an iron supplement.
Vitamin D and Your Hair
Another potentially important nutrient is vitamin D. Though the evidence still isn't clear, some studies suggest that vitamin D may play a role in the hair cycle. We can get vitamin D from the sun, but dermatologists don't recommend a lot of sun exposure.
Dietary sources of vitamin D include fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and cereals. But, according to some studies, many Americans aren't getting enough vitamin D. Plus the actual recommended dosage is controversial. As with iron, talking with your doctor about your vitamin D needs and whether or not you should take a supplement.
Are Hair Supplements Necessary?
Any vitamin deficiency will cause hair loss. All the vitamins are important -- B, C, E. But that doesn't mean, as other experts point out, that you need to buy special supplements for your hair.
The best source for the nutrients you need, is a true, well-balanced diet. If you are going to take an over-the-counter supplement, talk with your doctor or nutritionist to make sure you're "getting a high-grade multivitamin that will ensure you get what you need.
It is often asked about adding zinc or biotin supplements to a diet. It's very hard in an American diet for those things to become deficient. And there hasn't been any good evidence that taking zinc or biotin supplements actually offers any benefits for hair.
Taking extra biotin won't hurt, but it's not clear it does much good, either. You need to weigh the monetary cost against what health benefit you think you might get.
Hair Health and Weight Loss Diets
Weight loss, especially rapid weight loss from a restrictive diet, can cause major hair loss. For instance, when the Atkins diet came out, their were a tremendous number of women who were complaining about hair loss.
Women on a very strict calorie-deprived diet will lose weight very quickly. But it's hard to ensure they get the nutrients they need. In addition, weight loss causes physiological stress, which also contributes to hair loss. Even if you lose weight very slowly on a doctor-approved program, you can still have associated hair loss.
Shedding hair after a weight loss of 15 pounds or more is common. The hair loss is reversible, and in otherwise healthy individuals, hair will come back after weight stabilizes.
It's important to be patient and remember you can't do both -- lose weight and nurture your hair -- at the same time. Master hairdressers know without being told when their clients are dieting -- just from the changes in the hair.
The important thing to do is remember that "balance" is the keyword to keep in mind. A healthy diet supplemented with a good daily multivitamin is the best diet plan for healthy hair.
You love your wavy hair, but the frizzy fly-aways you get when you brush those curls? Not so much.
Why does hair get frizzy, and do you really need a pile of products to keep it under control?
What Causes Frizzy Hair?
Hair is complex. It's made up of three layers and thousands of cells. But the reason it gets frizzy is pretty simple.
Your hair's outer layer -- the cuticle -- looks kind of like a shingled roof. When hair is smooth, those shingles lie flat. But when you run a brush through dry, curly hair, those “shingles” lift.
To compound the problem, frizzy hair is often drier, and naturally tends to absorb moisture from humid air, Again, those “shingles” lift.
Fortunately, there are ways to tame the frizz. You just have to give it a little effort.
Frizzy Hair: 12 Quick Tips to Keep Hair Frizz-Free
1. Don't brush dry hair. If there's one tip repeated by just about every expert, it's this: avoid brushing hair after it dries. Brushing not only disrupts your hair's cuticle, it can also stretch hair, leading to breakage.
Instead, towel drying hair after a shower; brushing, combing, or finger-combing it; adding a touch of your preferred conditioner or anti-frizz product, then just say no to styling with brush or comb.
2. Comb dry hair with wet fingers. If you shouldn't brush, what can you do when humidity or a brisk day leaves your hair a frizzy mess? Water is the key... The problem with frizzy hair is that it's dry. Water is a basic response to this basic problem. Wetting your hands, then finger-combing to tackle frizz and tame tangles.
3. Tame with a touch of conditioner. To foil frizz, water down a bit of hair conditioner, then using your hands to apply it to just the tips of your hair.
4. Look for protein in your conditioner. A protein-infused conditioner will not only help you manage frizz, it helps create shine, too.
5. Don't over-process hair. Relaxers and straighteners can make hair brittle and lead to breakage, so go easy on these products.
6. Put moisture back in your mane. Frizzy hair tends to be drier, so you need to put moisture into it. Use a conditioner, a natural oil, or a frizz cream. Natural oils are better than synthetic because they are absorbed into the hair, while synthetic silicon moisturizers lay on top of the hair, making it appear dirty.
7. Stop 'cooking' your curls. Anything that would blister your skin doesn’t feel so great on your hair either. To minimize frizz, avoiding flat irons, curling irons, and limiting heat sources to a blow dryer with a diffuser.
8. Use a round brush to smooth your hair. If you spin a round brush through your hair as you blow dry it, it helps smooth the cuticles flat.
9. Dry only the roots of your hair. To help reduce the chance of frizzy hair, blow drying only your roots, it gives hair lift but helps you avoid drying out the hair shaft and hair tips.
10. Go alcohol-free. Because alcohol can dry hair out, setting you up for frizz, look for alcohol-free products. That may mean switching to salon-quality shampoos, conditioners, and hairsprays. Salon-quality products don't have to last as long on the shelf, so they don't contain as many harsh ingredients -- like alcohol -- as supermarket and drug store products do.
11. Fight afternoon frizz by smoothing hair with a small amount of detangling spray, the kind made for baby hair. Spray a smidge of it in my hand and then smooth it down. It's very lightweight and doesn't make your hair look oily.
12. Talk to your stylist. If what you're using works, use it, whether it's a pricey product or a great drug store find. But if you want help in the fight against frizzy hair, remember that your stylist is there to help and probably has a host of hints that'll help keep you frizz-free from morning to night.
When it comes to healthy hair, it’s not just what you put on your tresses that count -- it’s what you put in your body, too.
Lather, rinse, repeat" may be standard advice, but shampoo and conditioner alone won't give you the healthy hair you crave. For the most luxurious locks possible, you'll need to step out of the shower, and into the kitchen.
Your hair grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month, and the foundation of all of our new hair, skin, and nail growth is the nutrients we eat, If you eat a healthy diet, you will grow stronger and healthier cells throughout your entire body -- inside and out.If you were born with fine, thin hair, you'll never have rope-thick tresses -- no matter what you eat -- but a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can make a difference, say nutrition and hair experts.
And beware of dietary supplements often marketed to thicken hair or make it grow faster. They may backfire.
Even though you can find beauty supplements on the shelves of most stores, try to get the nutrients you need from foods whenever possible. In rare instances, excess supplementation of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A, has been linked to hair loss.
Read on for the 10 top foods that should be the foundation of your healthy hair diet.
Healthy Hair Food No. 1: Salmon
When it comes to foods that pack a beauty punch, it's hard to beat salmon. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.
Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support scalp health. A deficiency can result in a dry scalp and thus hair, giving it a dull look.
Vegetarian? Include one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed in your daily diet for some plant-based omega-3 fats.
Healthy Hair Food No. 2: Dark Green Vegetables
Popeye the Sailor Man didn't eat all that spinach for healthy hair, but he could have. Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body's natural hair conditioner.
Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium.
Healthy Hair Food No. 3: Beans
Beans, beans, they're good for your ... hair?
Yes, it's true. Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. While rare, biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair.
Healthy Hair Food No. 4: Nuts
Do you go nuts for thick, shiny hair? You should.
Brazil nuts are one of nature's best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp.
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.
Healthy Hair Food No. 5: Poultry
Chickens and turkeys may have feathers, but the high-quality protein they provide will help give you the healthy hair you crave.
Without adequate protein or with low-quality protein, one can experience weak brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can result in loss of hair color.
Poultry also provides iron with a high degree of bioavailability, meaning your body can easily reap its benefits.
Healthy Hair Food No. 6: Eggs
When it comes to healthy hair, it doesn't matter whether you like your eggs scrambled, fried, or over easy. However they're served up, eggs are one of the best protein sources you can find.
They also contain biotin and vitamin B-12, which are important beauty nutrients.
Healthy Hair Food No. 7: Whole Grains
Sink your teeth into hearty whole grains, including whole-wheat bread and fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, for a hair-healthy dose of zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
A whole-grain snack can also be a great go-to food when your energy is zapped halfway through the afternoon, and you've still got hours to go before dinner.
Healthy Hair Food No. 8: Oysters
Oysters may be better known for their reputation as an aphrodisiac, but they can also lead to healthy hair -- and who doesn't love that?
The key to their love and hair-boosting abilities is zinc -- a powerful antioxidant.
If oysters don't make a regular appearance on your dinner plate, don't despair. In addition to getting it from whole grains and nuts, you can also get zinc from beef and lamb.
Healthy Hair Food No. 9: Low-Fat Dairy Products
Low-fat dairy products like skim milk and yogurt are great sources of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also contain whey and casein, two high-quality protein sources.
For some healthy hair foods "to-go," try throwing a yogurt or cottage cheese cup in your bag when you head out in the morning to snack on later in the day. You can even boost their hair benefits by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseeds or walnuts for omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.
Healthy Hair Food No. 10: Carrots
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy scalp along with good vision.
Since a healthy scalp is essential for a shiny, well-conditioned head of hair, you'd be wise to include carrots in your diet as snacks or toppings on your salad.
The Big Picture: A balanced diet for healthy hair.
An overall balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fatty fish like salmon and low-fat dairy will help keep hair healthy.
If you're tempted to drop pounds fast with the latest fad diet, it could leave you with less-than-healthy hair -- along with a growling stomach. Low-calorie diets are often low in some of the most important nutrients for healthy hair, including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin A. In addition to stunting hair growth and leading to dullness, super-low calorie plans may even cause hair loss.
Crash diets can affect the hair cycle. Losing a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time can affect that normal hair rhythm. Two to three months later, you might notice a significant increase in shedding. This is a temporary problem that you recover from with a well-rounded diet.
If this year's runway events are any indication, hats are the it accessory for Fall/Winter 2011. In addition to being fashionable and anything but boring, hats can also be functional part of your arsenal to help protect your hair from the glacial and moisture sapping winter winds.
Here are some recommendations for trendy headgear:
If your preference is for a classic, boy-chic style then a Fedora hat is for you. They come in a variety of shapes and designs and are often decorated with feathers for an incredibly eye-catching look. They can be paired with formal outfits but are just as good when used to complement a daytime, casual look.
TIP: If you are fond of wearing hats, be sure to wash or dry clean them often to prevent buildup and greasy looking hair. Do you already sport one of these types of hats? Would you recommend another style?
Winter can be a trying time for our hair. Heated air in offices and homes saps moisture from your hair (as does the cold and windy weather outdoors). It seems like a no win situation! Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your hair looking flawless all winter long. Besides, it's holiday party season and you want to make sure you look your best! Here are 8 tips to help your hair during winter:
1. Don't go outside with your hair wet. Your hair can actually freeze and can suffer severe damage as a result.
2. Use some type of conditioner every day. Options include a wash and rinse conditioner, serum, leave-in or spray shine. TIP: Only apply the conditioner to the bottom half of your hair to avoid making your hair look too greasy.
3. Use hot tools sparingly, and when you do use them, shield your hair from damage with a hair heat protector and leave-in conditioner.
4. Avoid showering in water that's too hot. This help minimize your hair's exposure to heat which ultimately lessens damage and keeps as much natural moisture in as possible. In addition, if you're using a wash and rinse conditioner, do a final rinse in cool or cold water to help lock in moisture and create great shine.
5. Wearing a hat or scarf outdoors can help protect your hair from harsh winter weather. Make sure it isn't too tight and dry clean or wash it often to prevent buildup.
6. A humidifier at home and/or work can make a big difference in the moisture levels in your hair. Because Winter is so dry, the water disappears very quickly but this shows you how much moisture is being stripped from your hair.
7. Let your hair air dry when possible. Just like hot tools, blow drying can damage hair and sap moisture.
8. Less is more when it comes to washing your hair during the winter. You should do it *less* during the Winter because daily shampoos can do more harm than good. Wash your hair every third day or every other day if you must.
Even if you skip the shampoo in your daily shower, don't forget to use conditioner!
These tips should help keep your hair lustrous and manageable despite Winter's best efforts to do its worst.
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