If your hair looks like this it may be time for some extra TLC.
Hair goes frizzy on us for a myriad of reasons including harsh chemical treatments, too much coloring, too much heat from hot blow dryers and curl irons, harsh weather conditions, poor health, aging, and/or stress. Notably, a combination of these factors will make matters worse and may explain why some of us are struggling to get our tresses back in order. Add to that the simple fact that not all of us are genetically blessed with soft and lustrous locks to begin with and may find it difficult to even reach for such a lofty goal. But more often then not we become the victims of over-processing and get caught in a cycle where we spend gobs of money trying to repair hair damage that could have been prevented in the first place.
I believe in education, so lets first go to the crime lab website to examine the anatomy of hair so we know what our hair really looks like on a microscopic level: The Anatomy of Hair
Amazing, huh? Hair is yet another part of this extraordinary machine called human body. But is healthy hair really different from damaged hair and if so, how? To answer this question take a look at Curly Nikki’s website and take the quiz at the end of the page: Healthy vs. Damaged
If you clicked back here you probably have some form of damaged hair. Then read on because that is exactly the point of my post today, what to do once you know that your locks are no longer in prime condition and you have suffered some serious loss of shine and bounciness.
I think of hair as an accessory, regardless if it is curly or straight or long or short it should envelope your face in a way that brings out the best in you. Hair without luster is like a shoe without the chic factor, you can still wear it but where is the fun in that? Let’s face it, if you are reading my site you care about your looks (and your locks). So what to do?
If hair is badly damaged from over-processing one must weigh the cost of making it manageable vs. cutting it short and simply getting rid of it. Hair consists of mostly keratin which hardens when the hair grows out of the scalp. Thus, hair is essentially dead material that cannot be healed or repaired once damaged. Over-processed hair cannot be restored to its former health, it can only be made “to look better” which can be costly and frustrating. If you are spending tons of money on a truck load of products just to wake up to the same old frizz head every morning it may be time to consider a sweet short cut that will allow your hair to come out healthy and shiny again and make you look younger and fresher. Youthful short hair is a lot more appealing than damaged long hair. Besides, hair grows back. Below is a link to Rachel’s experience with the Pixie cut. I do not know Rachel but I think that she is awfully pretty and I really like her website and how she walks us through going from short hair back to longer hair (and explains the pros and cons): Rachel and the Pixie Cut
One of my most favorite short cuts is Meg Ryan’s shaggy bob; it makes her look young and chic and fresh. Besides, short hair will tolerate bright blonde highlights better than long hair since it is often cut: Pretty Meg Ryan Bob
Another favorite is the short cut that Cecile De France sports in the move “Hereafter”, which is ideal for anyone with wavy hair: Cecile de France Wavy Bob
But hair that is completely damaged from over-processing is not the same as hair that is somewhat neglected, although certain products can help both to look better. For example, conditioning treatments can nurse neglected tresses back to their former glory. A good nutrient mask can do wonders for dry hair (e.g., masks from Kerastase). Sometimes a combination of cutting and conditioning can help too. There are many products on the market that can “make hair look better”. For example, products like glossers that contain silicone can make hair appear smoother (e.g., Fekkai Salon Glaze). Read all about silicone here: Silicone for Dry Hair
Another option for growing out hair is to get extensions. Hair extensions can be costly but if done well they can be quite beautiful. It is important to stay away from wanna-be extension shops that damage hair with glue and nasty chemicals. Here is a site that shows various hair extensions by using a (glue- and chemical free) locking method: HairAngel Extensions
As we get older, hair gets more brittle and less forgiving. Things that always worked suddenly work no more, especially when gray hair comes into the picture. As I have been finding out lately, gray hair can be quite tricky to deal with. Gray hair is not really gray, it looks gray because some hair suddenly turns white. This happens because cells called melanocytes (pigment cells) that inject our hair (keratin cells) with pigment stop producing melanin, the result is colorless, i.e., white hair. White hair lying on top of darker hair makes the entire mane appear gray. This process comes with some surprises, for example, camouflaging gray hair can be challenging as not all dyes work well with gray. Some women opt to emphasize their silky white or salt-and-peppery hair, which can be quite nice if done right. I personally believe that white hair is simply stunning; just look at beautiful Meryl Streep and her silky platinum locks: Gorgeous Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada
Wearing white or salt-and-peppery hair is no longer considered outdated or old. But it does require a certain classiness and non-chalance to pull it off. White hair suggests confidence and a certain pristine elegance that one must be able to live up to keep it lady-like. Here is a good article on how to best care for gray hair to avoid the frizzy look: Gray Hare Care
I dye my hair (which is about 20% white now) but have always gone to a good hairstylist. I simply don’t want to take the risk of damaging my hair with home treatments. But I have recently started researching semi permanent color treatments that are peroxide and ammonia free (hence these color treatments are not permanent and will wash out after a few shampoos). On most websites, women report that these semi permanent dyes are not damaging to hair and add a lustrous shine. Care still has to be taken when doing this at home, including reading the label carefully to make sure that the product is safe. For the time being, I opt to see my stylist to avoid any potential disasters.
Whatever we do with our hair, whether our hair is long or short, wavy or straight, spiky or curly, the most important thing is to opt for healthy hair over trendy hair. Go for luster and shine over color and texture.