10 Hair Related Questions And Answers That Might Surprise You
For a lucky few, enviably long hair just happens. For the rest of us, it requires patience, effort and some very deliberate changes in our haircare routine. If went to short at your last salon appointment, or you’ve simply found yourself getting discouraged because your hair just isn’t growing as long or as quickly as you’d like, don’t reach for the hair extensions just yet.
Technically, on average, hair grows half an inch in a month—however, if monitoring the whereabouts of your ends has left you frustrated, then you’re in the right place.
Check out these pro tips to guide you (and your hair) in the right direction. And who better to counsel on how to grow your hair faster than a Columbus Ohio trichologist—that is someone who specializes in all matters of the scalp, including the science of the structure, function and diseases of the scalp and human hair? We spoke with Tiché Florence, PLEIJ Salon+Spa’s owner and the salon’s trichologist for her best tips on how to make your strands grow longer, faster, stronger.
Implement these recommendations and people will be calling your Rapunzel in no time.
1) Baby Shampoos…? Why and Should Adults Reach for Children’s Haircare Products?
Baby shampoos are known to be exceptionally gentle in action so it is widely believed that these products take tender care of scalp and are free from irritating substances (synthetics, parabens and SLS). As such, consumers commonly reach for baby shampoos after overexerting either their hair or scalp. While it’s true that children’s shampoos display delicate action and cleanse gently, these products aren’t designed to handle the needs of adult hair and aren’t devoid of flaws.
Many adult shampoos contain an ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is a cleansing agent that can dry out your hair and strip color from color treated hair. Sulfates also tend to be pretty irritating to the skin and can over-strip the skin of oils, which can leave it dry and prone to allergic reactions. They can also irritate your eyes. Baby shampoos use amphoteric surfectants, a milder cleansing agent which is less harsh than traditional sulfates and clean without causing eye irritation. Amphoteric surfactants do not foam as well as sulfates and as a result they’re not as good at removing oil and product buildup. While this doesn’t tend to be a problem for babies, if you’re an adult using baby shampoo you may have to lather, rinse and repeat (particularly if you use lots of styling products).
Furthermore, some baby shampoos contain a preservative called quaternium-15, which when used releases formaldehyde, which can cause skin irritation. To be fair, the majority of traditional adult shampoos also contain harmful chemicals. When shopping for baby shampoo — or any shampoo for that matter — read the label. Look for ingredients that contain the letters “-eth,” some of which include polyoxyethylene, polyethoxyethylene, polyoxynolethylene, polyethylene and polyethylene glycol — which may also be labeled “PEG.”
If you’re looking to go for gentle hair care, limit comedogenic and heavy hair styling products. Also, try reaching for a stronger shampoo of highly cleansing features once a week. Another good solution is applying scalp peeling and combine it with hair oil treatment. After all, natural oils know how to leave scalp perfectly clean and restore its balance
2) Is It Possible to Repair Split Ends?
Split ends stand in the way of great hair, and we’re all susceptible to them. No matter the color, length, or texture of your hair, split ends can happen. When left untreated, they make hair dull, dry, tangled, and generally uncute.
Split ends occur when the protective outer layer of your hair, the cuticle, is damaged and worn away by heat styling, chemical processing, and everyday wear and tear. This leaves the inner core of proteins that make up your hair exposed, making them vulnerable to splitting and breakage.
When a piece of hair “splits,” it’s rarely a clean, even break. If you put a split end under a microscope, it looks like a piece of fractured wood, with many jagged ridges and edges.
When it comes to fixing split ends, you CANNOT repair the damage that’s been done and get back to untouched, virgin hair. Furthermore, once the hair has split it often can progress further up the hair shaft. The only real cure for split ends is trimming them off, a process that sacrifices length, or a technique called hair dusting. Hair dusting allows you to get rid of only the damaged hair tips by snipping only the very bottom of each hair stand. Your stylist will smooth your hair out allowing the damaged hairs to pop up. Think of it in terms of removing fuzz from clothes.
If you haven’t heard of this technique there’s a reason why your hairstylist hasn’t recommended it… it’s really time consuming. In fact, it’s almost like a second haircut after your stands are shaped and trimmed.
To achieve healthier hair, without going shorter, ask your hairstylist for a “dusting — not a trim.
But, with continued care and maintenance, you can keep your damaged hair looking and feeling as healthy as possible.
Use a weekly pre-shampoo conditioning treatment:
This will help to strengthen your ends and prevent splits from forming.
There are a ton of great conditioners that help with preventing split ends and repairing damaged hair, but one of our favorites is MELU by Davines.
MELU contains Villalba lentil seeds, which are rich in serine and glutamic acids, which just happen to be the most abundant amino acids in keratin. This makes it ideal for bonding ends back together, nourishing, and strengthening hair in the long run.
Purchase a gentle hairbrush:
“Your brush, being a tool you use every day, is very important. Avoid boar bristle and metal pronged brushes, as these can tear into the hair cuticle and result in split ends. Regardless of hair texture, choose a brush with rounded plastic prongs and a vented, cushioned base. These are gentle on both your hair and scalp. You can cater the size of your brush to the length and thickness of your strands. For instance, if you have long and coarse hair, pick a brush with a larger surface area.”
Always brush correctly:
Start at your ends and gradually and gently work your way up. Starting at the top can snap through tangles, splitting strands.
Heat Style Responsibly:
Even when you’re being more conscious of preventing splits, you’re probably not going to stop doing the one thing that we all know causes them: heat styling. We get it! Since you can’t put down your styling tools we recommend using products that protect the hair from heat damage such as MELU Hair Shield and Invisible Serum, as well as tools that are gentler on your hair like the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, and any of the Styling Tools from ghd.
3) Is It True It’s Better Not to Use Chemical Treatments During Pregnancy?
Although fairly limited, most research indicates the chemicals found in both semi-permanent and permanent dyes are not highly toxic and are safe to use during pregnancy. In addition, only small amounts of hair dye may be absorbed by the skin, leaving little that would be able to reach the fetus.
As such, this small amount is not considered harmful to the fetus. The same is considered true while breastfeeding. Although no data is available on women receiving hair treatments while breastfeeding, it is known that little of the chemicals would actually be absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, the chance of them entering the milk and posing a risk to an infant would be unlikely.
However, if you are hesitant to use regular hair dyes during pregnancy, there are some safer alternatives to consider. For example, having highlights put in your hair decreases any risk as the dye is only placed on strands of your hair and does not touch the scalp.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that pregnancy itself can naturally change the hair’s texture. Pregnancy may also cause your hair to react differently to perming or coloring. It is an undisputed fact that, thanks to hormones, your hair, skin, and nails change drastically during pregnancy. You may get a perm only to realize that your hair is not reacting the same as it had in the past. Or your hair may not take color as well as it did before. So perhaps more than worrying about the chemicals, you might be worried about the way you will look after your hair treatments. There are many women who have been getting perms or hair color all their life, only to find out the hard way that their pregnancy hair didn’t tolerate the procedures.
One option of course, is to find a professional hairstylist and a salon that uses only plant base hair coloring. Focus only on using semi-permanent hair coloring vs permanent treatments, these options are obviously not as long lasting, but serve as a temporary alternative allowing you to maintain your hair while you are pregnant.
4) Will Chlorine Used to Sanitize Swimming Pools Make My Hair Turn… Green?
I’m sure you’ve heard it before – swimming pools can turn blonde hair green (darker hair can also develop a green tint to it also). While most people are under the false impression that chlorine is to blame., the truth is, chlorine is not the main culprit, but it’s a sidekick.
It’s actually not the chlorine that directly causes the color shift, but rather the effect is due to high concentrations of copper compounds found in the pool water, particularly those filled with well water. Copper can also enter pool water from certain copper-based algaecides.
The copper in the water is oxidized by chlorine, which then binds to the proteins in the hair strands. The metal will produce a green tint in the hair. Simple chemistry. Saltwater pools are not exempt as they contain chlorine as well. Instead of adding chlorine manually with tablets or powder, salt is added to the water, which runs through an electrically charged generator, turning the salt into chlorine. If you have copper in the water, and the chlorine created by the salt oxidizes it, it may turn your hair green just like a regular chlorine swimming pool. Furthermore, this effect isn’t isolated to pools, and high levels of copper in tap water which also contains chlorine can also turn hair green.
Luckily, this damage is completely reversible. The solution to remove heavy metal and chemical buildup in your hair caused by hard water, swimming pools, and water softeners and the resulting greenish brassy hue is to get a Malibu Hair Treatment.
A Malibu Hair Treatment is usually done at a salon, although there are also at-home products like Malibu shampoos, conditioners and hair treatments. The best way to get the most effective Malibu treatment, is by visiting a stylist.
This treatment is also great for prepping hair for color, perms and relaxers. Think of each strand of hair as a small hallway. The more people you shove into the hallway, the less room there will be, and eventually, you will run out of space. When there is buildup in the hair, minerals and impurities absorb into the strands, saturating them. Therefore, when hair color or perms are applied to the hair, there just isn’t any room for the chemicals to absorb into it.
The Malibu Hair Treatment will often be applied right before professional hair coloring, perming or relaxing. Because it removes buildup, it will make room for these processes.
5) Is There Really a Difference Between Professional Salon Products vs. Store Bought?
Everyone at one point or another has thought to themselves—“ why spend more on a professional hair care product? Is it really worth it? Is it going to make that big of a difference in my hair?” The answer, YES.
Between the extensive training and our hands-on, day-to-day experiences, we understand that there’s a substantial difference between hair products. Here are some of the main differences, as well as client benefits, associated with salon brands versus store brands.
Better Ingredients, Better Products
Store brands often list many of the same ingredients contained in salon products, but they are far less concentrated. The ingredient list on the back of the store brands will often include the most desirable ingredients toward the end of the list. Simply put — it’s in there, but not much of it. The other glaring difference often seen in store brands is the first ingredient which, in many cases, is water. By contrast, highly concentrated salon formulas last far longer, which means the cost differential isn’t nearly as wide as they may have initially believed.
Next… surfactants. Those detergents which generate lather are listed using names that can sound similar yet function very differently on the hair. For example, salon brands often contain sodium laureth sulfate which produces less lather but is much gentler on the hair. The less expensive store brands, tend to contain sodium laurel sulfate (or ammonium laurel sulfate), a far more abrasive option that robs hair of moisture and essential nutrients and can strip the hair of color applications. The latter options do, however, generate more lather which can lead consumers to think the product is doing a superior job of cleansing their hair.
Finally… the other “stuff.” A review of the ingredients in many popular store brands will quickly reveal the widespread use of harmful agents such as alcohol and ammonia which are acidic and damage the hair overtime. Some of these store brands have also begun using inferior grade waxing agents which tend to build up over time, thereby reducing the effectiveness of color treatments. What often happens, after extended use, is consumers begin to notice their hair becoming lackluster and dry, causing them to return to the store to find “hydrating” products to counteract the damage. By contrast, professional salon products include hair and scalp nourishing vitamins, minerals and healthy oils – all designed to keep the hair in optimal pH and condition.
Maintaining Color Treated Hair
For those with color treated hair, the difference in the store and salon brands may be even more pronounced. Of course, color treatments look best on hair that is healthy, shiny and well-hydrated – all of which are promoted by the ingredients found in salon products. Store products create buildup that prevents the color from penetrating the hair properly. Without that, the color simply does not last as long, forcing them to schedule color treatments more frequently.
Even those who occasionally use store products insist that salon products can cost less in the long run (because the amounts used may be less), help hair maintain shine and luster in the long run (as opposed to the short run), and have a long history of working better for those who use them consistently, correctly and in conjunction with other hair care practices/guidelines.
Furthermore, we guarantee both our chemical and color services when the products and services have been purchased and performed solely from/by Pleij Salon staff. If you choose to have chemical and/or color services done by Pleij Salon, it is imperative that you follow the at-home care regimen that is recommended to you by your stylist(s). We use a complete hair color and hair care system which works hand in hand to compliment and support one another. If a store-bought product (professional or not) is used at home after the service is performed we do not guarantee the results of the service.
While the initial outlay may be greater, so too, is the payoff – both in the condition and feel of the hair and in how the client feels while presenting their best selves to the world. To borrow from another phrase we all know well: ‘When you look good, you feel good.’
6) Does Sun Exposure Damage Hair?
We all know that excessive sun exposure can damage your skin. But did you know the sun can also damage your hair?
Exposing your hair to prolonged sun exposure, UVA and UVB rays can damage the outside cover of the hair strand, called the cuticle.
Signs of sun damage to your hair include discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning and frizziness. Damaged hair has a dry look and feel. Damaged hair also is unmanageable and won’t hold a curl or style. Usually, damaged hair dries quickly.
Your hair is particularly vulnerable sun damage if it’s fine or light-colored. You’re also more at risk for hair damage from the sun if you are African-American due to the flat and coiled shape of the hair
When you plan to spend long hours in the sun, reach for a hat that will shield your scalp and hair roots. Apply hair products with UV protection, which natural oils offer. During summer, keep exposing your hair to oil treatment and apply oils to the strands a few times a day. They won’t only protect your hair against the sun but also against salty water. Spray conditioners are another good idea to make use of, especially those which don’t have to be risen off and are easy to apply. Among them you can surely find bi-phase conditioners composed of silicon and oil phase.
7) Do Hair Supplements Work?
You’ve heard of hair growth supplements that claim to give you thick, voluminous, lustrous locks, but do these products actually work? Whether your hair is thinning or you just want to accelerate the process, hair-growth supplements are a well-known “treatment.”
To work properly and optimally, our bodies requires a continuous supply of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. For example, vitamins B6, B12 and folate may be helpful for hair growth as they generate red blood cells which carry oxygen to all of the body’s cells, including hair cells. Iron also plays an important role in carrying oxygen to cells and women tend to experience deficiencies and anemia at a far greater rate than men. Biotin is a coenzyme that reacts with enzymes to make amino acids, the building blocks of proteins such as keratin, the protein hair is made out of. Eating foods or supplements which contain omega-3 fatty acids can help dry, damaged hair by adding luster, elasticity, and shine to dull locks. While, foods rich in protein serve to strengthen your hair, key to having long, lush strands.
For those with no clear deficiencies, experts say there’s no good evidence that supplements can make a difference. Unfortunately most of us are nutritionally deficient this as a result of; dieting, poor nutrition, or intense stress. And when you’re not properly nourishing your body, and/or you’re stressed out, your body will shut down your hair growth first and redirect nutrients and energy to the organs that need it most. While people who take antibiotics long-term or use antiseizure drugs, for instance, are more likely to be biotin-deficient. An over- or underactive thyroid may cause hair loss and dry strands. Iron-deficiency anemia can also lead to thinning hair and hair loss. If you’re deficient in fatty acids, this can impact your oil glands, which can cause your hair to look dull and dry. To enjoy healthy hair, that is stronger, thicker and fuller its advised to nourish it from the inside and outside.
The only way to know for certain if your body is deficient is to have your levels tested by a doctor (a service we offer through our Nourish, Balance, Thrive Program), but if you’re, on a diet, or simply not eating a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and healthy meats, while also overtraining in the gym, mourning a death in the family, or facing some other significant stressor, there’s a very good chance you’re lacking some nutrients.
If you’ve ever experienced a severe bout of physical or emotional stress, you might have noticed a sudden shedding of your hair a few months after. This is a delayed reaction to the stressor, and one that usually occurs three months later.
Stress and cortisol have a large impact on hair, and the ability to shift hair from growth cycle into resting phase which contributes to fall out and hair thinning. The anecdote? Adaptogens. Adaptagens help to reduce stress and rebalance cortisol level, allowing hair follicles to stay in their growth phase longer.
While hair supplements do make sense, they should be supported with complimentary haircare products and professional services which will strengthen and protect hair, thereby enhancing the growth and quality of your new hair, while also treating your existing strands. You see while vitamins will help the new hair that you’re growing, hair grows only half an inch a month, and thus it will take 6 to 7 years of taking supplements before your new, healthy hair even reaches your shoulders.
If thinning hair is your issue, it’s important to figure out why hair loss is happening before choosing a path: Are you losing hair because of changing hormones? Do you have a dermatologic or medical condition causing discrete bald patches? Or have you over-processed to the point where your fried locks are brittle, breaking, and simply falling out? Better understanding the reason for your hair loss or thinning is important in determining what products might be helpful. Talk with your doctor or a Trichologist / Hair Restoration Specialist about the possible causes of your hair loss to determine which treatment suits your needs.
Health & Beauty Tips
At PLEIJ Salon+Spa, we are committed to sharing health and beauty tips to enrich your life. Everyone deserves to live an empowered life and we want to help you get there.