Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hair damage? Slow growth?

Many of you I'm sure blow dry your hair, following with loads of product just to keep your precious tresses at least somewhat tame. But how good is this for your hair?

Apparently, not very. I was inspired for my first blog by Veronabrit's post, she mentioned Cheryl Cole spending so much money on her hair and that her own hair grows very slowly. This was my response:

The best advice anyone ever gave me was this: the less crap you put in your hair - the better. It sounds awful, but it's so true. The reason Cheryl spends so much money on her hair is to repair the amount of damage done to it every day!! I worked at Ulta and when we learned about cleaning the makeup brushes, there were two types of cleaners: an alcohol (for the synthetic brushes) and a special brush cleaner (for the animal brushes). They told us to not EVER use alcohol on the animal hair brushes, and showed us what happened to a Studio Gear Kabuki brush (which btw is the MOST AMAZING makeup brush I own - totally worth the $50) when someone did use alcohol on it - it became nappy and tangled. The hair fibers themselves were DESTROYED because the alcohol eats the hair away.

Now the majority of hair products have alcohol in them, or at least some sort of fragrance that contains alcohol. So you can imagine how much damage is done when products after products are put in repeatedly.

The less distress, the better. I ALWAYS air dry my hair. When I do blow dry, I must continually blast the cool button, otherwise it immediately feels like straw.  I also only wash  my hair once every five days or so. When I was younger everyone would always make fun of me for this, saying, "That's so disgusting!" But now hairstylists are advocating that washing too often, especially for longer hair, is too drying and strips the hair of its natural protective oils. (Not to mention the chemicals from the shampoo infusing into the scalp are horribly toxic for you in general - but that's a story for another day).

I wash my hair at night (rinse and repeat, followed by a little empty butter spread tub filled 1/5 of the way with vinegar, and the rest with water to remove all the shampoo, then rinse that out), towel dry, then comb it out. I'll finish up my nightly routine doing whatever (usually check my mail, drink some tea, update myself on the latest news, etc) and by that point, the bangs and other shorter pieces of my hair are dry. I then take the front bang pieces and pin them back in a small poof  so that my bangs look straight the next morning - I only secure the ENDS with one of those spring clips or bobby pin, which ensures there's no creases once I wake up the next morning. By the time I awake, the hair is dry. I straighten just the front pieces (the bangs and only if they got curled strangely overnight) and throughout the day, usually tie everything else in a ponytail, a bun, a french braid, or throw it up with one of those butterfly clips. I usually only wear my hair down for special occasions (when I do, it looks phenomenal - I'll do a blog on that soon!), and noticed it needs to be washed the following day anyway due to of all the crap in it.

"But Annette! My shampoo bottle says to use this stuff AT LEAST twice a week!" Yes, and it also says to pair with THEIR BRAND of conditioner - so that you run out of both bottles twice as quickly and dish out another $10.00 from your pockets into theirs.

"But Annette! My hair gets so oily when I don't wash it every day!!" This is due to the overdrying of the hair, the scalp then begins overproduce oils in order to compensate for the stripped oils. Your skin reacts  similarly after using overdrying acne treatments. The solution?  Prolong not washing the hair for as long as you can, the hair will slow down its production of oils shortly. Put some baby powder in the hair for a day or 2 to just get you by.

Go to your local Sally's and buy one of those Protein treatment packets. These are stronger than Deep Conditioners (which usually only prevent breakage, protein treatments will actually repair the hairs) and is one of the first steps to getting glamorous hair. I'd say use one of these every other month or so for very processed and damaged hair. In fact, leave it in overnight with a shower cap on top, then wash it out the next morning. I would recommend the Aphogee treatment at Sally's. It smells rancid but here's the specs from Sally's:
"This unique treatment is formulated with magnesium and modified proteins which fuse into the hair with the application of heat. The result is that breakage is drastically reduced. ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment is a salon service product unlike any product available for at-home use. During the process, ApHOGEE treatment hardens into the hair, dramatic evidence that something special is occurring."

I'm no hairstylist, but I do know that the repeated buildup of chemicals is most likely the reason for slowed hair growth. Hair grows an average of half an inch per month. Not to toot my own horn, but mine grows almost double that, and I attribute that to the minimal products I use.

What is your experience with air drying? Any advice you can share on your routine? Feel free to spice up your comment and post a picture (or link to a pic) of your hair too ^__^


  1. YAY! I GOT FIRST POST! sorry, just had to ;)

    putting my 2 cents in... the only times i really blow dry my hair are: a) going out in the cold weather shortly after a shower, b) if i intend on going to sleep, as sleeping on damp wet hair is just plain uncomfortable for me :) even more fun is to blow dry it upside down, as it dries quicker... but i wouldn't recommend it unless u want to look like some anime character after :)

    as for alcohol... alcohol is a cleaning agent for just about anything (sooo not looking forward to using purell in the datacenter in the winter again... cracked, dry, bleeding hands = paiiiin), so naturally i'd imagine it eradicates any kind of natural oils/chemicals in your hair, thus the reason why it destroys

  2. Lmao Matt - didya hear that Purell changed their ingredients list cuz little kids would drink it and get drunk? Craziness! lol

  3. geez, the youth these days.... :P back in the day i remember friends sniffing permanent markers and white out to get "high", haha

  4. As you know, I'm all about the "hippie hair movement." Lol. I haven't tried the vinegar rinse...simply because I always forget to pull the vinegar out of the kitchen when I take a shower, but I've heard good things. I've also heard of people making a paste from baking soda and using it as a shampoo substitute. Vinegar and baking soda are pure magic. lol (We also use vinegar and baking soda as a kitchen/all purpose household cleaner and it works a thousand times better than any store-bought, chemical laden cleaning agent).

  5. Yep! Baking soda I've used that before too - I alternate between the shampoo wash and baking soda wash/vinegar rinse. I like how shampoo makes my hair feel but I know it's not the healthiest option - blog on that to come!!

  6. annette- do you use the vinegar every time you wash? How often do you wash your hair?

    What is the vinegars main purpose and what are the benefits?

    thanks :) I loved this entry!

  7. Aw no problem Veronika! I wash my hair once every 5 days - sometimes sooner depending if theres something happening the next day (like a party, interview, etc). By the 3rd or 4th day it usually gets greasy, so I'll run some baby powder on the roots and brush it through to hold me over til the 5th day. Then wash and go! Also, i NEVER use conditioner - my baby fine hair is just weighed down from it and my hair turns greasy the following day!

    Vinegar is like magic lol. It does many things: it acts as an astringent for dandruff, it gets rid of residue (liek from the the excess shampoo not washed out completely), it stimulates blood flow in the capillaries (speeding up hair growth), prevents tangling, and it seems to add a bit of shine to the hair (especially when NOT rinsed out). And no worries, the scent disappears as the hair dries :)

    And I usually use about a Tbsp of vinegar per cup of water