Hey there cats and kittens! As the last days of summer roll by us, and we all gear up for the new school year- some more excited about it than others!- it time to think about your head, and not just those luscious brains inside. What about your hair?! That poor mane of your has been fried by the sun, dipped in chlorine, soaked in lake water, baked by the fire-side, and suffered through all sorts of crazy summertime adventures, and now it needs some love and affection to have it looking rockin’ and great on into the fall.
There are all kinds of ways to restore some health to your head, and the pathway to shiny locks can be more than a little confusing to many of us! What to choose? Well, here’s some guidelines:
PROTEIN– that magic stuff that makes up your hair itself. Finding a good conditioner with some of this in there can really help out! Look for things like SILK, HONEY, AMINO ACIDS, BANANA, SOY and other natural ingredients, especially if you have sensitivities to things or if you’re going to be using them on young children. (I’d leave out the HONEY if using on kids under 2.) Many products contain KERATIN– which is the natural protein used by our bodies to build hair and nails! Just be careful in regards to “keratin treatments”. Many have recently been pulled from the Canadian market due to health concerns, because they may contain Formaldahyde. (Yeah- the same stuff used to soak that froggie in from Biology 101! Gross!) Ask your hair-care professional for advice if you’re looking into a smoothing treatment.
SILICON– silica and other “slippery things” can really help you out if your hair has become tangled and unmanageable, just watch out for buildup! Many products use waxes and different synthetic silicones to add slip to the hair, and to save money, but these things can build up on the hair cause other problems further down the line. You can “feel” buildup on your hair if the very nape of your neck feels extra silky when dry, but sort of squeaky or slimy when wet.
MOISTURE-ahh! Water! Nothing quenches a thirst, in body OR in hair, like water. The trick is finding a way to get it to STAY in the hair! (without making you look like a major grease-monkey in the process!) Water binds to protein, so that’s always a plus. The problem with plastics and waxes in hair products has the opposite effect. Wax repels water- pushes it away- so if you are using products that buildup on your hair, you’re actually causing a nasty cycle to start! See, your scalp is pretty smart: it senses your hair being dry, and makes more natural moisturizer to help it out (that what those greasies are.). A little is a good thing. However! Once you add a waxy product buildup on top of that hair, your scalp starts to get confused! Under that glossy coating, your hair may be getting dryer and dryer, so your scalp sends out more oils to help. The wax repels your body oil (’cause our natural oils have water in them too!), so your roots and up pooling with waaaay too much moisture, and your ends continue to get crunchier and crunchier! (Usually leading you to buy yet another hair product, which just adds to the layers of yuck!) If you want those locks of yours to really show the benefits of your love, you need to strip all that gunk away. There are all kinds of clarifying shampoos on the market. Look for something as simple as possible- and watch out for waxes! As always, your favourite hair guru can lend you a hand, and suggest something suited to your needs.