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New Year’s Tips to Great Hair… (2)

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      7. Use the right product for your hair. If you know your hair is oily, don’t grab products designed to help dry, damaged hair. And the reverse is also true. The formulas denoted on the product labels are designed to deal with specific hair problems. Dry hair shampoos are light on cleansing and high in moisturizers, while the shampoo for oily hair will have stronger cleansers and astringents to help absorb, strip away and manage the oils in the hair over longer periods of time. If you shampoo daily, use as gentle a shampoo as you can find. If you use a lot of hair products and find that your shampoo seems to get less effective as you use it repeatedly, try adding a clarifying shampoo into your routine every third or fourth shampoo. As with most hair damage, the results of using a hair product are often cumulative, so while you may not see a problem using a shampoo for oily hair on your dry-type hair at first, the effects may become more pronounced as you continue to use it.
 
tapered long hair       8. If you color your hair, use color-protective products. Chemical treatments like color can damage hair because the chemicals have to penetrate the outer layer of the hair (or cuticle) to allow the hue to be absorbed. Color-protective products are specially designed to minimize dryness, keep color true and prevent damage. They typically have more nourishing ingredients, strip less color and are less abusive. They can also maximize the length of time needed between color retouch services, so the little bit extra you pay for them is reclaimed in fewer color services per year.
 
      9. If your hair is chemically processed – permed or straightened – make sure to treat the hair as “damaged”. Don’t use products for “normal” hair on hair that is permed or straightened chemically, because you no longer have “normal” hair in those circumstances. Many people make the mistake of assuming that because they go back for “retouch” services every 6-8 weeks that this is the life-span of chemical services. This is untrue. Once you have exposed the hair to chemical treatments, it is from that point on, always going to be “chemically treated” hair until such time as you discontinue the treatments and begin growing out the chemically treated portions and trimming them away. And even if you haven’t had a perm or straightening service in months, and your hair looks and feels fine, you need to be careful with how you treat it because until it is removed by cutting, that portion of the hair strand will always be more prone to stresses from styling and other environmental factors.
 
      10. Deep condition once every two weeks. These treatments penetrate the hair shaft and strengthen strands. In addition, using heat (from a blow-dryer) can intensify deep conditioning, as the heat causes the cuticle to open and the ingredients to penetrate deeper. Another tip for more successful deep conditioning is to cover the conditioner-coated hair with a plastic cap and wrap the head in a turban made from a towel that has been pulled fresh from a hot dryer. As the heat penetrates and the conditioner settles into the hair shaft, you get to enjoy the luxuriant feel of a warm towel wrapped around your head.
 
      11. Try an ionic dryer. Ions are basically atoms with a positive or negative charge. These particular hair-dryers bathe your hair in negative ions, which help break up water molecules faster and cancel out hair-damaging positive ions. This allows the ionic hair dryer to dry the hair using less heat and thereby causing less stress to the hair. Plus, your hair-drying time is cut in half.
 
      12. Use your hair dryer effectively. Most dryers come with attachments that most people completely ignore. If you want to get your hair smooth and straight, just use your dryer's concentrator nozzle. It's the best way to help prevent frizz because it concentrates the airflow on sections. By directing the airflow away from the scalp along the hair shaft, you keep the cuticle smooth and flat and are left with smooth, shiny hair. Also, without a nozzle the dryer's grill gets very hot; if your hair gets too close to it, it will cause damage and/or breakage. For curls, use the diffuser attachment to gently surround your hair with air. Use your fingers or a pick to gently lift the curls and allow the air to circulate without breaking up the curls too much.
 
      13. Give textured or relaxed hair a break. African-American hair tends to be coarse, and may suffer from a lack of natural oils (a problem which can be increased if chemically processed). I strongly recommend opting for gentle color choices like semi-permanent or vegetable color. Make sure to accompany your regular relaxer treatments with weekly conditioning treatments in between for shine maintenance and to keep the hair healthy.
 
      14. Use the right accessories. This is where most women do the greatest damage to their hair. Buying and using cheap hair accessories can have cumulative damaging effects that add-up much more quickly than you may expect. Look for accessories that are carefully coated to prevent snags and pulling on the hair. Don’t use clips or binders that have exposed metal that comes in contact with the hair. When possible use claw clips to secure the hair instead of elastics or other traditional barrettes. Treat your hair gently and it will flourish for you.
 
Stacy - Hair Stylist
 
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