Hair Rehab Tips
● By Melissa Gulden
The Mane Event
Story by Melissa Gulden
If you’ve played your cards right, these past few months have been filled with dips in the pool, evening drives in a convertible and long, lazy days in the sun (slathered in SPF, of course). No doubt your spirit has appreciated the summer, but what about your hair? Not so much. Let’s bring those strands back to good health after a season of soul-affirming, hair-damaging decadence.
You want strong, healthy hair, but have fried, broken ends? Moisture-evaporating rays lead to major dryness, and while that damage starts at the tips, it can slowly creep its way up. Don’t throw in the towel—it’s time to fight for those long, luxurious locks! Here’s a three-step rehab plan.
First, get a trim. Summer may be a great time to play with all those fun styles (the beach waves, the crown braids), but scissors are a friend to beat-up hair. Every four weeks, get the ends “dusted” (hair speak for “cut only this much”) so split ends can’t move up the shafts and compromise even more of your hair. Second, shampoo backward. Hair is like a rubber band, so a pre-shampoo of conditioner with vegetable oil and elastin can protect strands while helping to restore their bounce. Leave on for a few minutes, then rinse and follow with a gentle, detergent-free wash. Finally, gloss it over. Natural oils like shea, jojoba and almond work in two ways: They soak into the hair shaft to fortify it against future breakage and they slick down pesky flyaways.
You want high-wattage shine but have dull, frizzy strands? Blame the heat and humidity, since frizz happens when cuticles get dried out by rays and swollen by moisture. Here are some tips to get that polish back. Your goal is to create a barrier to keep moisture out, so start in the shower by using an oil-based shampoo and conditioner duo. And if you’re blow-drying afterward, commit to going at it until strands are bone-dry; otherwise, whatever water you missed invites wrinkles back into the hair. Also, stay protected. Even before you step outdoors, use a leave-in treatment as insurance against rain, sweat and humidity. Look for a sheer mist with a lightweight blend of botanical oils. Frizz-prone hair will soak it up, but still keep some body.
What if you want vibrant color, but have faded, patchy streaks? UV light actually breaks down pigment molecules and leads to bleached-out brassy tones. Another summer bummer: Water (from pools, oceans and showers) can dull your hue, too. Let’s brighten up, shall we?
For your color rehab plan, the first suggestion is to skimp on showers. Every time your strands come in contact with water, your hair cuticles open up and color molecules seep out. To help pigments stay put, lather up only once or twice a week, and use a gentle, non-stripping, sulfate-free shampoo. At the pool, protect your color with a swim cap or a product that acts like one. When in the sun, keep your head covered. Ultraviolet rays penetrate the hair shaft and break down pigment molecules. Did you know that 50 hours of sun exposure damage hair as much as a half hour of bleaching? Every couple of weeks, combat fading with high-tech products that offer an instant boost. For blond to light brown hair, use a violet-hued rinse to immediately counter brassy tones. If your hair is red, medium to dark brown or black, use a tinted gloss to deposit a bit of color for a luscious look.
You’ve played, now it’s time to pay. But with the right products and the right care, your hair doesn’t have to look like it just rolled in with the tide.