If it seems like you’re having more than your fair share of bad hair days, it might be time to take a closer look at the state of your strands.
Just like glowing skin or strong nails, achieving good hair takes maintenance—especially during harsher winter weather. But, did you know that doing right by your hair isn’t always as simple as daily conditioning or laying off the heat?
The maintenance required for healthy hair involves tailoring treatments and product choices specifically for your hair’s needs. However, many of us don’t really know what type of hair we have—or what condition it’s in.
Hair is categorized by three characteristics: Porosity (how much moisture it can hold), elasticity (how easily it breaks), and texture (how thick it is). This equation takes into account the hair you were born with, plus what you’ve done to it, including chemical processing, color, and styling methods.
So, how do you determine the health of your hair? Start with an elasticity test!
First, make sure your hair is nice and wet, then select a single strand. With one hand, pinch it closer to your scalp, creating an anchor, so you don’t pull the strand out at its root. With your other hand, hold the end firmly between two fingers. Then, slowly create tension by pulling the end away.
How does your hair react? Is it gummy to the touch, is it brittle enough to quickly break, or does it return to its original state?
If it returns to its original state, congratulations! You’ve got some healthy hair on that noggin. Here’s a breakdown on breakage for the rest of us:
If Your Strand Snaps or Feels Brittle, You’ve Got Dryness.
With winter comes an unfortunate side effect: dry, brittle hair. The good news is that you can keep the harsh elements from wreaking havoc by giving your strands some extra TLC in the form of a deep conditioning treatment.
Want in on our favorite way to return moisture to hair? Of course, we’re a big fan of Shades’ in-salon treatment, the Indulge Masque ($18). This hydrating hair mask leaves even the thirstiest strands infused with moisture!
For maintenance, pick up one of our at-home deep conditioning treatments—each with a nourishing cocktail of oils and vitamins to condition your hair and seal up the hair shaft. Simply apply once a week to let the rejuvenating continue.
If Your Strand Feels Gummy, You’ve Got Damage
Whether you’ve decided to go blonde for the fifth time or subjected your hair to daily heat while getting gorgeous, gummy strands require more than just moisture to get them back into shape.
What to do about damaged hair? Meet Shades’ Protein Treatment ($12), designed to smooth cuticles and reinforce your hair shaft, restoring strength and shine! And, do be sure to come into the salon for this treatment. Protein treatments are serious business—applying too much or leaving one on for too long can cause additional damage to your hair.
If You Notice Fraying, You’ve Got Split Ends
Do the last few inches of your hair look like an under-watered lawn? It’s not hard to wax poetic about how much we hate split ends, which can be caused by anything from too-hot curling irons to overly-aggressive towel drying.
If you’ve already got tell-tale feathering at the tip of your hair, don’t pull or snip yourself! Pulling out hair strands can damage the follicle while snipping with the scissors you have at home will only cause another split, as they’re far too dull to create a clean cut.
Instead, the only real way to deal with split ends is to come in for a cut. However, if you’re dying for a particular style and need a bit more growth before you can achieve it, Shades offers a special Split End Treatment ($39) that seals back together damaged tips.
Do Your Best to Prevent Damage!
Follow these tips in between salon visits to help keep your hair healthy and beautiful year-round:
- Learn to work second-day hair: Washing every other day allows your hair time to repair with its own natural oils.
- Brush wisely: For daily detangling, choose a cushioned paddle brush with flexible bristles.
- Shampoo and condition correctly: Yes, there is a proper way! Learn all about it in our “Hair Care FAQs.”
- Towel dry softly: Don’t scrub n’ rub every which way. Instead, wrap a towel around different sections and gently squeeze moisture out.
- Use only wide-tooth combs with wet hair: They help you loosely manage shower-fresh locks without causing breakage.
- Style with less heat, and in smaller sections: If you use a heated styling tool, chances are it’s up way too high! Turn down the heat to a low or medium setting, then select smaller sections for more efficient styling and less damage. And, don’t forget your thermal protectant!
Finally, don’t forget that regular trims are super important for keeping your hair healthy! While following the steps above for proper care can help you stretch the time between appointments, waiting too long can allow dryness and split ends to cause even more damage.
Has it been over eight weeks since your last trim? Call Shades at (916) 960-5929 to make an appointment today!