Chemical Services at Young AgeQ: My 14 year old niece has been obsessed with coloring, bleaching and highlighting her hair with a wide range of colors. Already, at her young age, she has colored or highlighted 8 times in less than 2 years. Her hair is dry and ratty looking all the time. I am trying to get her to stop ruining her hair. Could you email me some advice to share with her? I would be pleased if you could help me.
A: Hair has always been a source of pride and vanity for many women. The condition of a person's hair is a mark of health and vitality. Making the most of the hair has been an obsession that has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry in our time. Processes have been developed that will allow you to have virtually any color and wave pattern of hair you desire.
However, the ease of access to change for the hair can lead to problems when proper care is not taken. Healthy hair looks smooth and shiny regardless of the wave pattern or color, and it is possible to create the look you desire for your hair without losing that healthy sheen. When the hair looks dry and feels rough, it means that the hair is damaged. Unless care is taken to protect it and soothe the damage, you will destroy the hair completely.
The process used to lighten the hair opens the cuticle of the hair and disperses the melanin in the hair shaft. This can also weaken the hair. The process of coloring the hair can also involve opening the cuticle and dispersing melanin, as well as depositing a new color to replace the color that was removed. Even processes that only deposit color open the cuticle, and can leave the hair susceptible to damage. Unless care is taken to keep the hair moisturized and healthy, these processes will lead to dry and brittle hair.
Given that hair grows 1/2 inch per month on average, a person whose hair is six inches long and has been damaged by color and styling will face a minimum of one year to replace the damaged hair with healthy new hair growth. There is nothing that can be done to speed up this growth. That is why it is so important to take care of what you have.
When the hair becomes damaged beyond a certain point, there is no way to do more than minimize the effects. At that point, virtually everything results in breakage, and the hair begins to look tattered, frayed, and fried. And as unfair as it may seem, even the loveliest woman with bad hair is considered unattractive.
I cannot begin to express how important it is to take care of your hair. If you fail to do so, you should be prepared to lose it. I offer you three suggestions to take care of your hair:
One: Condition, condition, condition. You need to condition your hair daily, even when you don't shampoo. Use a rinse-through conditioner, followed by a leave-in conditioner to protect the hair when styling. In addition, give your hair weekly deep-conditioning treatments until it begins to again be soft and smooth.
Two: Keep chemical services to a minimum. If you want to have variety in your color, use temporary or demi-permanent color to give you the change and variety you want. These will allow you to safely change the hair color as often as you desire. Using temporary and demi-permanent color will also allow your hair the chance to grow out the damaged portions without depriving you of variety in your hair.
Three: Remember that your hair is delicate. It may seem able to withstand a great deal of changes, but all of these changes have an impact on the hair in the long term. If you treat your hair like a precious resource, you will see it become the crowning glory you want it to be.
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