now that we are a few days into a new year and have skipped out on the potential of any kind of world ending apocalypse, you may be deep into racking up your 2013 resolutions. like many women who aim to “restart” at the beginning of the year with lists of promises to loose weight, save money, meet “the one”, take more vacations, and spend more times with friends, this is also a great time to “reset” your hair care regimen.
a year’s worth of combing, pinning, braiding, blow-drying, cornrowing, coloring and forgetting trims can wreck your hair. a few years worth? even that makes us a little scared. and even if you think you all but babied your hair last year it could still be time for a hair care rehab. “most women don’t think twice about the hair habits they’ve had for years and years. lackluster, frazzled, overworked hair—that’s the price we pay for handling our hair like a pair of jeans. hair is a fragile fiber that needs to be handled more like a silk blouse. oftentimes, the style we feel the most comfortable with reinforces our bad habits. it’s a problem with all the earmarks of an addiction,” says says longtime hair-care advocate and health scientist audrey davis-sivasothy and author of Hair Care Rehab.
picture all the chemicals you’ve used on your hair – and we aren’t just talking relaxers (can you really pronounce everything that’s on your product labels?) – to all the detangling and combing (and sometimes ripping out split ends with your nails – we see you) you’ve been doing. “blow-drying, teasing, flat-ironing, highlighting and lowlighting changes what mother nature gave us and may lead to a price for rebelling against nature,” says audrey. add on too much exposure to sun, surf, bad air and water, fad diets, smoking, low water consumption and you can have a disaster on your hands! the good news however, according to audrey, is that once you’ve kicked your habits, you’ll liberate your bad hair, unlocking new dimensions of hair potential.
if you are wracking up your hair sins as you read this and getting a little nervous, do know there is a way to start to undo the damage. the way back to happy, healthy, post-apocalyptic hair? a rehab of course and audrey offers an easy to follow five-step rehab for damaged hair:
chelating your hair
products containing oils, conditioners, serums and pomades (or minerals), which make you feel better in the short term, can build up and actually prevent your hair’s ability to hydrate. that’s why the first step in detoxing hair is the use of chelating shampoo, which is typically clear and lifts stubborn buildup from products and hard water. while many chelating shampoos are sulfate-based, there are more sulfate-free products entering the market to accommodate sensitive scalps and hair. clarifying shampoos are a good substitute when chelating shampoos cannot be found. moisturizing shampoo should be used for general use after detoxing is complete.
chelating and clarifying products we like: L’ANZA Swim & Sun Daily Chelating Shampoo, Sofn’free GroHealthy Nothing But Clarifying Shampoo, Carol’s Daughter Rosemary Mint Clarifying Shampoo
deep conditioning your hair
after chelating, deep condition for 10 to 15 minutes. this should be done every seven to 10 days using moisturizing conditioners such as instant and cream-rinse, deep conditioners, protein treatments or leave-in conditioners. to go the extra mile, consider an apple cider vinegar rinse to close the cuticle and enhance your hair’s shine.
moisturizing your hair
this step adds a layer of leave-on protection. you can use either leave-in conditioner or a dedicated moisturizing product, or both. for thick, dry or curly hair, this step hydrates and adds “slip.” for fine or oily hair, these products should detangle strands while encouraging volume.
sealing your hair
this is the last major step in your hair intervention. sealing with an oil or butter product locks in moisture and solidifies the gains of rehab. it smoothes out the cuticle and keeps hair moisturized for a longer period. always use sealant on slightly dampened or misted hair, or pair the product with a water-based moisturizer to maximize the benefits. if you have naturally oily hair, you can skip this step.
styling your hair protectively
imagine wearing a favorite sweater every day; washing, drying and ironing it several times a week – it would look pretty worn out after a few years! this is exactly what happens to hair that is bleached, colored, blown dry with artificial heat, ironed, weaved and on and on. don’t do this anymore! there are several measures you can take to preserve the health of your hair, including wearing it up more often, cleansing it cautiously, detangling strands with a large-tooth comb, protectively using blow-dryer heat, reducing chemical use and not coloring your hair more than three shades lighter or darker than your natural color. in general, be gentle. do not pull to hard or rapidly when styling it, too; be slow and steady.
by following these easy and fast steps and making a conscious effort to baby your hair, you can get your tresses back in order in no time. a little rehab ain’t never hurt nobody – and makes for beautiful hair while you’re at it!.