You may think that your hair has the hardest time in summer from the sun, sea and chlorine, but actually winter is just as bad.
This is because we tend to use styling tools more in winter as we don’t want to wonder round in the freezing cold with wet hair. All the heat, chemicals and friction cause serious damage to your hair’s cuticles. So instead of lying flat, the shingles that lie on top of the cuticle are roughed-up, and even completely torn off, making your hair look and feel like a rat’s nest. Now I don’t expect you to stop styling, washing and dyeing your hair, but here are a few tips to reduce the damage.
This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised what a difference a nourishing mask can do. Use one once a week, we promise you’ll see a huge difference.
These are different to normal conditioners because the ingredients are much more concentrated. Because of this, they are able to penetrate much deeper, and coat the hair in a protective film which will last a few days. The absolute best ones I’ve found so far are Philip Kingsley Elastizer and any of Lee Stafford’s or Aussie’s ones.
Award winning hairdresser, Lee Stafford gives us his advice on using hair masks: “Make sure to use a treatment AFTER you have shampooed and BEFORE you condition. The reason for this is because shampoo initially roughs up the cuticles of the hair, which releases the dirt from the hair shaft. This naturally leaves the hair shaft open, becoming the perfect absorbing environment for your treatment. It allows the proteins to penetrate deeper into your hair, for the best results possible. You would then use conditioner to slick the cuticles of your hair back down, creating the shiniest glossiest hair ever!”
Next on the list is to wash your hair correctly. I know it’s tempting to lather-up until you look like a meringue, but you’re not doing your hair any good. Before you start, make sure your hair is sopping wet from root to tip, this way you’ll need far less shampoo. Then gently massage your scalp, don’t rub or pull at the hair. You should always focus on the scalp area most as this is where most of the dirt and grease is. Then rinse thoroughly. As tough as it is in winter, using the coolest water you can bear will help flatten the cuticle.
Another obvious one is to stop colouring your hair as much, and when you do, only colour the bits that need it. If you do a full head of colour every time you dye your hair, the end bits will end up being triple or quadruple dyed, which will completely ruin the cuticle. The same goes to highlights; try and just do your roots. Your hair will thank you.
Styling tools are the number one culprits when it comes to damage. Think about water in a kettle, and what it does when it boils. Exactly the same thing happens to your hair when you use heat tools; the moisture in the hair shaft heats-up and expands, pushing out the cuticle, and causing damage. So if you are going to use heat tools, it is important to use good quality ones.
When looking for a hair dryer, you need one with at least 2000W of power. My favourite is the Philips SalonDry Control 2100W dryer. This means it will dry your hair quicker, thus reducing the time your hair is exposed to the heat. Ionic and tourmaline ones like Toni&Guy’s 2000W Joystick Control Dryer (exclusive to Clicks) are even better, as they have been developed to help flatten the cuticle and protect colour.
When drying your hair, always rough dry your hair first before your start using any brushes. Pulling your hair with a brush while it’s wet can cause it to break, as hair is much stretchier. When the hair is about 80% dry, you can start using a brush to style. Again, look for brushes with good quality bristles. ghd have a range of brushes which were developed and designed in collaboration with professional stylists to ensure they make your home styling easier. The range comprises 10 brushes and 2 combs, so there is one to suit every possible need.
A flat iron should have ceramic plates. This is because the ceramic surface won’t drag and pull at the hair, and instead glide over smoothly. The ghd will always be my favourite, but if your budget won’t stretch to one, try and find one which has a temperature control, and use it on the lowest setting. The Paul Mitchell Express Ion Smooth and the Vidal Sasson Hydra Gloss are good choices.
Before you use any heat styling tools, always, always give your locks a generous spritz of heat protecting spray – think of it as an oven mitt for your hair. It will minimise the damage.