It’s fun trying out new hairstyles, colors and every type of curl that is possible with permanent waving, but how can you keep it looking as good as when you left the hairdresser?
Often you have saved for weeks for that new hairstyle that could give you a radiant new image. You go to the hairdresser’s expecting to get your money’s worth, but it doesn’t turn out that way. Your euphoria is short-lived when that stunning new colour seems to fade or disappear after a few weeks, or that voluptuous new cut and body wave droops and falls into an uncontrollable mess.
There are many reasons why this can happen and one of them is the lack of proper discussion between you and your hairdresser. A discussion is an important first step towards getting good results with your hair. Many incredibly simple routines and hints are second nature to a hairdresser. They are things she could have told you but didn’t.
Something as simple as brushing your hair, for instance. How often should you do it? Which hairstyles are safe to brush without ruining them? Is it damaging to brush wet hair? These are just a few of the things people are unsure of.
In general, brushing is good for hair. It distributes the natural oil, called sebum, along to the entire length of the hair strand; it helps to remove the dead skin cells which often accumulate in masses causing dandruff; it stimulates the circulation of blood, therefore promoting healthy growth, and it helps to remove dirt gathered from the air.
Always use a brush with natural hair bristles which are made of the same protein as your hair. When you feel that pleasant tingling sensation all over your head while you’re brushing then you know you’re doing it properly. Do it every day without fail.
Putting Life Into Your Hair
You should not brush hair when it is wet; it can be stretched more easily, and by the time you eliminate all those knots, you have most likely excessively damaged it. You should use a wide-toothed comb instead.
Shampoo and conditioner
This brings us to shampoos and conditioners. A good shampoo is a fairly acidic one. You can test it on nitrazine paper; the paper should remain gold in colour. This is the same reading as for hair, and such shampoos cannot be damaging.
Shampoo should contain protein which controls the moisture level of hair, therefore increasing its sheen and its manageability. It is essential to use a shampoo that can be easily rinsed, to prevent scalp and hair dryness. By the way, an abundance of lather does not necessarily indicate a good shampoo. A good one should make your hair feel silky soft and manageable.
After shampooing, it is important to use the right conditioning rinse. Conditioners for damaged and dry hair add protein; moisture, which takes up a great percentage of the hair structure; and certain oils which seal in the moisture, making hair soft.
It is also important that the rinse is quite acidic in order to firm and tighten the hair to prevent loss of moisture, rather like the effect of a toner or astringent on your skin. Conditioners for normal to oily hair should have the same properties except for the oil which is readily produced by the skin glands.
Lemon juice or vinegar
Lemon juice or vinegar make two incredibly effective rinses which can be used with the creamier rinses; both are very acidic. Just make sure you rinse them out thoroughly with water. These rinses will pick up the natural highlights in blondes and brunettes respectively. They will also add brilliant sheen and will certainly make hair easier to comb.
Internal factors play a very important role in the health of your hair, too. We are all born with a certain amount of hair and that amount will never increase. Hair grows at a rate of approximately 1 cm a month, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, depending on certain factors. It will grow faster in summer than in winter, for example.
Excessive worry, emotional tension and mental strain over long periods of time will slow down and inhibit growth as well as affect hair health.
A poor diet will also affect hair. Unfortunately, the natural aging process slows down hair growth as well and leads to more fragile hair structure. So please don’t blame your hairdresser for not being able to keep your hair as bouncy as it was 30 or 40 years ago – it is impossible.
However, your lovely locks are not doomed completely. There are several things that you and your hairdresser can do. Try to select a style that can be easily managed by you. This will allow you to carry out home treatments in between salon services. Regular brushing is an integral part of this treatment, with a good brush, of course.
A good, balanced diet containing dairy products, eggs, wheat germ and lecithin is important. This will provide internal nourishment which will be carried via the bloodstream to your hair.
Have a regular scalp massage. If you can’t have this service regularly, then at least try it yourself. Once you know what it is all about, you can massage your scalp every time you shampoo and condition your hair.
Remember to always start from the back of your neck and work forward, following the direction of the blood supply to your scalp.
Some benefits that can be obtained from regular massage:
- Nerves and muscles are loosened and relaxed.
- It hastens blood circulation to the neck, scalp and forehead, carrying nourishment to the hair.
- It effectively helps natural shedding of skin cells to allow the skin to breathe and function properly, therefore reducing dandruff problems.
- It relieves tension, and consequently headaches.
Looking After Your Perm
Now, about that perm that didn’t last – you could have been spared the heartbreak if only you’d been told how to look after it. As your hair grows, the weight of it also increases and this heaviness will make your curls drop, consequently, you think your perm is falling out, and it probably is.
A light trim will remove the excess weight and allow your curls to bounce back; your style will regain its shape. It only needs to be a cut of 1 cm to remove the ends of your hair which are the driest because they have been around the longest and therefore suffered more damage.
The trim will remove split ends and knotting which put an additional strain on your curls every time you comb them. Just remind your hairdresser that it is the first or second trim you have had since your perm.
Blow-waving should be done carefully with cool air. Hold your dryer at least 14 cm away from the hair. Don’t use heated rollers more than three times a week, and don’t use curling wands every day. Don’t sleep with ordinary rollers, bobby pins or twists. All these will damage your hair.
Wash and wear perms
Wash-and-wear perms are not usually styles you can wash under a tap, shake dry and race off to go about your business. Shampoo and condition it carefully, towel dry well and comb it into shape with a wide-toothed comb; allow it to dry without further disturbances. If you don’t shampoo every day, spray a little water on the surface in the morning to rejuvenate the curl.
Perms that aren’t wash-and-wear keep longer if you avoid steam. Use a tight-fitting shower cap and leave a window or door open, at least until the hot water has finished running. If you have an exhaust fan, turn it on.
Damp, wintry or humid summer weather will do the same damage to your perm. Wear a scarf if possible. A little setting lotion or a light mist of hairspray will form a temporary protective coating to help seal off dampness.
Before a perm, it is important to tell your hairdresser what you’ve done to your hair in the way of home treatments or previous salon treatments, or whether you are on medication. It makes a big difference. You could also mention the size of rollers you have at home so your hairdresser will know what curl to give you.
Making The Most Of Colour
Whether it’s a semi-permanent rinse or a permanent colour, there is always the problem that it doesn’t last as long as you were told it would. Once again, it’s after-care that keeps colour in.
If you’re out in the sun or wind, wear a hat or scarf. Anything that dries your hair will cause a faster loss of colour. Remember, too, that the more often you shampoo, the less your colour will stay. A colour designed to last six shampoos will be out in a week if you shampoo every day but will last six weeks if you only shampoo once a week.
Other factors alter the natural colour of hair. If you smoke and you have a complete head of snow-white hair; you’ve probably noticed it tends to get yellowish, especially around the front. This cannot be shampooed out, but with the right rinse, it can be toned down without affecting the remainder of your hair.
There are clear advantages in giving hair a colour rinse – dull hair can become silky-looking and radiate shine, hair with nobody can gain bounce. If you’re still skeptical, try it. Remember to explain carefully what you expect the colouring to do, so your hairdresser can make the correct selection.
Now that you know the secrets to achieve the perfect hair forever, you should get excellent results.
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About the author: As a Health/Beauty Expert, Scarlett is passionate about sharing her beauty secrets and healthy living tips that will help you feel great and look pretty like a model.