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‘Hair Care’ Posts

How Strong Is Your Hair?

Would you consider your hair to be strong? You may have found yourself wondering if your hair is strong enough to withstand certain products, hairstyles, or even certain activities without breaking. Who doesn’t want strong hair that looks and feel great?

One thing to recognize is that your hair is limited based on its tensile strength. So, what is tensile strength? Hair Tensile strength tells how much your hair can stretch before it breaks. Think of it as a test of your hair’s ability to “bounce back.”  The more elastic your hair is the more ability it has to stretch without breaking when wet, brushing, combing or handling. Hair with high tensile strength actually acts similar to a rubber band when stretched returning back to its shape.

However, when hair’s tensile strength is weak, it can very easily break with the same pull. Being able to evaluate your hair’s tensile strength is essential to achieving and maintaining the healthy hair.

Tensile strength can be affected several factors including damage from heat, harsh chemicals such as relaxers, perms, and dyes, or even sun damage. Such damage can leave the hair’s cortex weak and unable to bounce back.

What’s wrong with a little heat? The problem with this thinking is that most times heat is applied in unsafe temperatures that contribute to damaged tresses. Heat from blow dryers, curling irons and flatirons can spell disaster for hair whether it is chemically treated or not. When heat is directly applied to hair, you risk damage to the hair shaft and can permanently alter protein bonds. The strength and elasticity of the hair strands have been impaired from this process as a result. This is when you start to see little hairs on the counter from breakage.  It is advised to use heat sparingly and at safe temperatures in order to maintain strong and healthy locks.

The sun provides what we need naturally, right? Not in this case. The sun, when there is too much exposure, is not kind to hair. The sun’s harsh rays actually contribute to hair becoming brittle and less resilient. The sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to the hair shaft resulting in brittle strands leading to breakage. This is why the hair should not be exposed to the sun’s rays for extended periods of time. So be mindful of those locks while sun bathing at the beach.

Does processing hair affect how strong it is? It actually does adversely affect hair’s tensile strength. A very critical factor for hair strength can be determined by the products that you use on your hair. We seem to take for granted that our hair may have seemingly remained strong despite the use of harsh chemicals such as relaxers and dyes. The fact of the matter is that over time, the hair starts to show signs of damage and results in weak and brittle strands. Consider the processes of relaxing or bleaching the hair using chemicals which permanently breaks down or alter the protein bonds that give hair its strength.

When hair is handled when wet and chemically processed, the results are even more damaging. Handling wet chemically processed hair should be done with care to avoid breakage. Tearing through the strands carelessly will only result in breakage. It is also recommended to keep a good balance of protein and moisture to keep hair as strong and vital as possible.

Exactly how does wet hair affect the tensile strength? When the hair is wet, tensile strength is actually temporarily altered. It’s probably not a big surprise to most that when your hair is wet it is more vulnerable, making it more prone to breakage. When hair strands are wet, the keratin is affected, which allows for less elasticity. The keratin, or protein, is what makes the hair strong, however it cannot be dissolved in water. Since the hair is made up of keratin, it makes sense that it’s ability to remain strong is negatively effected.

So after examining the factors that contribute to your hair’s tensile strength, you have an idea of how to achieve stronger and healthier strands. Protecting your hair from outside factors play a huge role in the overall health of your hair. Keep in mind that taking daily steps to combat damage can mean a world of difference, and eventually your hair’s appearance will serve as your reward!

Want to know your hair’s tensile strength? Hairfinity offers several tests that can help you evaluate the condition of your hair, including a Tensile Strength Test.  How does it work? After ordering the Tensile Strength Test, expect a kit to arrive with instructions on how to send in your hair sample. Once the sample is received, your hair will be tested, and a report on the condition of your hair will be created along with a customized plan of action to address your hair concerns. Test results and hair care plan are detailed, easy to read, and include hair care tips and product recommendations.

 

Want a full evaluation of your hair’s health?  Our Complete Microscopic Hair Analysis is for you. This test provides the following:

  • Identifies damage to the hair’s cuticle and cortex
  • Identifies split / fibrillated shaft and ends
  • Identifies hair shape and pattern
  • Determines how much tension your hair can handle before it breaks.
  • Determines the hair diameter (thickness/thinness) so you know how to properly care for your hair.

We also take it several steps further with products that are proven to reduce breakage by up to 95%.  Hairfinity’s “Pure and Proven” Advanced hair care system replenishes your hair to bring it back to life while leaving out common ingredients that are known to cause hair damage.

 

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Edges Not Growing? Here is the Reason Why

If your once thick, luxurious hairline has disappeared, then you are probably wondering what happened. Men and women alike agonize over edges that have broken, leaving them with an undesirable missing or thinning hairline. If you are experiencing broken or thinning edges, it is imperative to examine the causes for this issue so that you can know what needs to be done to restore your hairline.

A major cause of broken edges is tension from braids and other types of protective styles such as weaves. Tension from tight braids and weaves wreak havoc to your hairline. Consider the constant stress and strain on your strands from being braided for sometimes months at a time. Simply put, tension causes damage, and damage causes breakage and hair loss. These practices contribute to a condition called Traction Alopecia. This condition is a direct result of consistent tension that damages the hair cuticle.

Upon deciding to wear a protective style, whether it be a ponytail, box braids, or weave your first priority is the health of your own hair (not the appearance of the style and/or extensions). How long are you wearing the weave? How tight are the braids? Is your ponytail holder tightly pulled? These questions need to be addressed to determine whether or not you are wearing a protective style that is killing your hairline. Wearing a weave for too long can be detrimental as the tugging of braids and added hair whether sewn in or glued in, only perpetuates more loss. Weaves should be taken out after about 2 months, and hair should be given a rest period to restore. When wearing a ponytail or bun, the holder should be loosely wrapped and not worn for extended periods of time. Keep in mind that a protective style is not serving its purpose if it is causing damage.

Did you know that products applied to your hair can lead to broken edges? You probably already assume that dyes and relaxers contain harsh chemicals that over time contribute to breakage at the edges. But did you know that even gels and “edge controls” products used to give hair a sleek and polished look can cause major damage due to the drying nature of these products.

Because they contain sulfates, and drying alcohols, gels are the culprit to our edges and need to be either eliminated from the styling process or used on a very minimal basis. Consider using natural products that compare to harsh commercial gels such as aloe vera gel. Aloe vera gel even promotes hair growth, which of course can help to restore broken edges.

How do you protect your hair at night when you sleep? Chances are if you are sleeping on a cotton pillowcase and wearing no hair bonnet or scarf, your edges are suffering! Friction from sheets and pillowcases can tear edges out. Hair can be greatly damaged at night if you do not have a haircare regimen that protects your edges. Be sure to sleep with a silk (not satin) bonnet or scarf.

What can be done to restore your edges so that you can enjoy a fuller hairline again? Infinite Edges Serum works to restore and revitalize your edges using 83% natural ingredients. Infinite Edges is not a styling product or tamer, but does improve smoothness over time. Some of the benefits of Infinite Edges include adding hydration to overworked or delicate areas of hair, such as the hairline, working to improve smoothness for stronger, shinier hair, and fortifying and protecting with vitamins and active botanicals. The great news is that Infinite Edges contains no sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates, mineral oil or petroleum. Infinite Edges can be used daily in your haircare regimen. This is a very concentrated serum and only a small amount is needed to achieve results.

It is not impossible to see your edges bloom and thrive again! Your broken hairline does
not have to be what it has in the past if you take steps to restore it today!

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8 Care Tips for Naturally Straight Hair

Just because you have the naturally straight hair other women lust after, doesn’t mean your hair care routines are a walk in the park.

In fact, your hair may even require a little more day-to-day maintenance, since straight hair is more susceptible to oil, dirt, and moisture.

Here are 8 of our care tips for ladies with naturally straight hair – and how you can get the shiny strands of your dreams:

1. You Need Regular Shampoos

Perhaps more than any other texture, straight-haired mavens need to stick to a regular shampoo schedule.

“Curlier, thicker hair tends to be drier and therefore does best with fewer washes and benefits from the buildup of natural oils,” explains Huffington Post’s beauty editor Ellie Krupnick. “But the minute my fine hair gets oily, it gets weighed down and screams out for a wash. More grease makes it limper.”

Wash every other day with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to keep from drying out your strands, and use a clarifying shampoo once a week to keep your hair from getting weighed down by product build-up.

You should feel squeaky clean and ready to style.

2. Try Dry Shampoo Between Shower Sessions

Because your hair and scalp may be on the oily side, use dry shampoo between your showering sessions or after a workout to cut down on sweat, dirt, and product buildup.

“Use your fingers to loosely lift and section the hair, and focus on spraying the root area,” hair stylist John D. told Glamour. “Keep the can six to 10 inches away from the scalp when applying. This way, you distribute it not just on but also around the roots.”

Once the dry shampoo has worked its magic sucking up dirt and oil, you should be able to massage your scalp, run your fingers through your hair, and sail out the door.

A word of caution: dry shampoo shouldn’t take the place of your regular shampoo.

It’s great in a pinch, especially for creating volume, but it builds up over time on your scalp – just like any other product!

3. Create Volume

Especially if you have fine, thin hair, you may be in need of a volume boost. Create lift by using a texturizing spray, then blow drying your hair upwards from the roots.

But be careful about which type of products you use, beauty editor Jada Wong advises.

“Naturally, volumizing products that promise lift and height sound like an easy solution, but…certain types of these products can be too heavy and will only weigh down hair,” writes Wong at Refinery29.

“Instead, try a dry texturizing spray,” she suggests. “Since these sprays add thickness all over, they won’t create unnecessary weight at the root, which is a recipe for limp strands later on.”

4. Be Careful With Conditioner

While women with coarse or curly hair can use the extra boost in moisture, some straight-haired women can easily overdo it when it comes to applying conditioner.

This is especially true if you have fine or thin hair, and you should be extra careful of the formula you purchase, says beauty editor Rachel Krause.

“Steer clear of thick, creamy formulas and opt instead for a lighter approach,” she writes at StyleCaster. “[The] best lightweight conditioners will give just the right amount of nourishment your hair needs without weighing it down or exacerbating oil production.”

Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair first, combing upward with your fingers. Never apply conditioner directly to your roots or scalp – unless you want to wind up with a greasy mess on your hands.

5. Give Your Blow Dryer’s Heat Settings a Workout

No – we don’t mean crank up the temperature. While you will need heat to get your volumizing sprays to do their thing, cool air can also help tame breakage or frizz.

First, says hairstylist Mark Townsend, rough dry your hair with your fingers, then apply a little bit of heat at your roots.

“Almost all volumizers you need to use a blow dryer with heat to activate them,” Townsend explained to Self.

Since too much heat can damage your hair, causing breakage or frizz, always finish your blow dry with a blast of cool air.

The cool air should help to set your style and add a healthy sheen to your locks.

6. Learn How to Battle Frizz

While curly-haired gals have to fight this battle, too, you’re not unfamiliar with frizz – especially when there’s humidity in the air.

Make your hair behave with a little dry oil, advises Cosmopolitan beauty editor Carly Cardellino.

“Keep straight hair from getting frizzy by brushing dry oil through it with a mixed bristle brush,” suggests Cardellino.

“While your hair is still wet, apply a moisture-locking dry oil…from your ends to midway up your hair shaft; oil acts as a barrier, keeping liquids from penetrating,” she explains.

Frizz halos, be gone!

7. Get the Right Brush

To prevent breakage, you’ll need the right brush at the right time. And for straight-haired ladies, that tool is a paddle brush.

“The flat surface makes this a great tool for smoothing, frizz, and static-fighting,” explains Sable Yong at StyleCaster.

“Plus, with its wide flat shape, it can fit more bristles on it and detangle your hair quicker and with less passes—so less shedding for you,” she adds.

But remember: never brush thick, straight hair with a paddle brush right out of the shower. You could wind up pulling, tangling, or breaking hair when it’s at its most fragile.

“To prevent shower-induced snarls, give your hair a brush before hopping in,” advises Renee Loux at Women’s Health. “If you like to comb in the shower, apply conditioner, untangle strands with your fingers, then use a wide-toothed comb before rinsing.”

Your hair will be happier, healthier, and shinier ever after.

8. See Your Stylist

Straight hair comes in all textures and densities, and it’s important to remember that your straight hair isn’t the same as someone else’s.

A good stylist will understand this, and give you a cut that caters to your particular texture. Your texture will also affect how often you head to the salon to keep your ends trimmed and your hair healthy.

While ladies with heavy, straight hair may be able to push their salon appointments to 8 weeks or more, women with fine hair aren’t so lucky.

“The challenge with fine hair is the need to constantly reshape it without cutting too much off,” stylist Nathaniel Hawkins told Allure.

According to Hawkins, you should wait at least 4 weeks to trim fine hair, but at 6 weeks, your hair will start to misbehave.

While your stylist can help you define – and tackle – your texture, you can learn more about your hair type at home by reading up on PopSugar’s natural hair type check list.

Which kind of texture do you have?

Don’t let straight hair fool you – it may look simple and straightforward to style, but naturally straight hair takes plenty of care and upkeep.

From mastering your shampoo and conditioner routine to zapping frizz during styling, there’s plenty you can do to make your naturally straight hair happy and healthy.

Have you discovered how to tame your naturally straight hair? Tell us what routines and products work for you in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Pexels

The Ugly Truth About Your Hair Products … Kicking Silicone to the Curb


Taking the time to get to know your hair care products may make you cringe if you’re not familiar with reading the ingredient names on the labels. Typical products may make your hair look and feel really great, but the truth is that many hair products contain ingredients that can actually damage your hair. The long term effects of these types of ingredients can eventually lead to hair that is dull, limp, and breaks. Specifically, the culprit here is a popular ingredient called Silicone.

Silicone is like plastic. It acts as as a sealant against water and air, preventing moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. This unnatural ingredient can give your hair the illusion of shine, but it is anything but healthy for your hair. Not only will it weigh your hair down, but the lack of moisture will cause your hair to become brittle and eventually break over time. And don’t even think of getting any benefits from the other ingredients in a silicone-based product. The “plastic” layer you just added with the silicone prevents any nutrients from penetrating the hair shaft as well.

Silicones are also hydrophobic, which means that they are difficult to wash out. This will cause the hair to look and feel heavy and greasy. This will likely make you to want to wash and style your hair more than necessary leading to even more damage.

So, what makes silicones so popular, and why are they used? Silicones, on the surface, give the hair the look we want. In essence, silicones smooth the cuticles, get rid of the frizzies, and give the hair a temporary shine. It makes detangling wet hair easy because of the added slip and can make hair that is damaged or dry look healthy instantly. Because of this, manufacturers can’t get enough of adding this product to their formulas. Mostly you’ll find silicones in your conditioners, detanglers, and some “oil” products. Be careful, some of these “oil” products contain less than 1% oil and are really just pure silicone.

Silicones provide a quick fix, but long lasting damage. Healthy hair actually shines because the cuticle layer is sealed and light reflects off the hair. This only happens when hair is properly hydrated and kept as healthy as possible. Healthy hair is also easy to detangle because of the sealed cuticle.

If your hair is dry and brittle, coating it with “plastic-y” ingredients like silicone will actually just make matters worse. The deposits that silicones leave behind deposits that will lead to limp and dull strands. If you’ve ever wondered why your hair is so dry even though you use “moisture” products, you can likely contribute it to the consistent use of silicone based products. Does your hair ever appear flat and lackluster? This is yet another effect of silicones on the hair.

So, how can you spot silicones in your hair products? Look for anything that ends in “cone.” Common names include Dimethicone, Methicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone, Dimethiconol, Cyclomethicone/Cyclopentasiloxane…and the list goes on. Also, ingredients are listed in order of the hightest to lowest concentration. That means that the closer an ingredient is to the top of the list, the more of it is in the product.

This is one of the things that makes Hairfinity SO different from other hair care brands.  ALL Hairfinity hair care products are free of silicones and other damaging ingredients. Our “Pure and Proven” hair care system will give your hair an instant makeover that only gets better with time. You will notice your hair getting healthier and you will not need to use as much styling products to get the look you want. You will also notice that you don’t need as much shampoo and conditioner (which means your hair products last longer). This is because your hair will actually become healthier overtime.

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4 Hair Routines That’ll Guarantee You Gorgeous Hair

Is hair just a routine matter for you? That can be a good thing – consistency is the key to reaching and maintaining your hair goals. So optimize your daily ‘do with a few key products and tricks. Here are four ways to work a little hair magic into your beauty regimen, from everyday to every season.

AM:
Start your day with a Hairfinity Healthy Hair Vitamin, literally feeding it the nutrients it needs. Adding a Supplement Booster targeted for your hair goal yields even better results over time.

PM:
Get the most of your beauty sleep by adding in a quick scalp massage with a few drops of Nourishing Botanical Oil before bed. The oil restores lost moisture to a dry scalp and roots, the massage helps to stimulate blood circulation, encouraging regular hair growth and turnover. “Rub it between your hands before using your fingertips to make circular movements along the scalp,” explains Amber Katz of Refinery 29.

Weekly:
Sneak in a little me time once a week with a deep conditioning treatment. Just 15 minutes with a repairative hair masque will keep your hair bouncy, shiny and unbreakable. “It’s good to get in the habit of using a mask weekly to make sure you’re giving your hair the moisture it needs,” recommends Rachel Adler of StyleCaster.

Seasonally:
You don’t need us to tell you hair needs regular professional maintenance. But a key time to hit the salon is during seasonal transitions. As the weather changes, so will your hair’s needs. Continues Rachel, “Even if you think your hair is relatively healthy, the change of seasons can be hard on your strands.” Trim off a little extra after a summer spent frolicking in the waves; ask for a hydrating treatment before and after winter to fortify hair from cold, dry conditions.

Make everyday a good hair day with the ease of our Autoships.

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Chemical Straighteners: Are They Really That Bad For Your Hair?

For some women, chemical straighteners are just a way of life. But are they really that bad for your hair?

According to Laken Rose, senior artistic manager at Kenra Professional, chemically straightening your hair is a pretty personal decision – but it’s one that will permanently alter the texture of your hair.

“Your texture is altered using chemicals that break the cysteine bonds—which holds the hair fibers together – in the hair to create a pin straight result,” Rose explained to StyleCaster.

“Because the natural bonds in the hair are permanently altered, the hair will not automatically revert to its natural state and has to be grown out,” she adds.

To find out more about what chemical straighteners do – and how you can expect them to change your hair, read on:

Chemical Straighteners 101

If you’re heading to the salon for a straightening treatment, there are a few basics you should know before you sit down in your stylist’s chair.

There are two common straightening treatments, a Japanese method and a Brazilian one, but each produce radically different outcomes in hair.

Japanese straightening, also called thermal reconditioning, “weakens the hair, breaking down each follicle’s cystine bond [with a thioglycolate compound]…so that it’s vulnerable to restructuring,” writes beauty editor Deborah Schoeneman at New York Magazine.

“[The] hair is then flattened with a special ceramic iron, after which a neutralizing serum is added to keep it straight.”

This process is notoriously hard on all hair types and is meant to last about six months. And, despite its popularity, the Brazilian straightening treatment – also called a Keratin treatment – isn’t much better for your hair.

“The hair gets coated in a protein, it is then dried and straightened with a straightener,” explains stylist Jaye Edwards at Vogue. “From the heat the protein coating acts like a glad wrap that has been melted onto the hair and smooths the hair out.”

This semi-permanent treatment lasts anywhere from three to five months before you begin to notice new growth.

With both treatments, you may notice that your hair becomes more porous and dry – making it more important than ever that you pay attention to symptoms like a dry, itchy scalp or an imbalance in your scalp’s pH.

Beyond the need for hair repair post-treatment, there are health risks associated with the process of chemical straightening itself, which is why many stylists caution against it altogether.

“In general, every client and stylist [exposed to keratin chemicals] complains of burning eyes, difficulty breathing, and burning sensations,” stylist Kelly Merriman told Cosmopolitan.

That’s because many of the chemical compounds used in straightening treatments are closely related to formaldehyde – that’s right, the chemical used to preserve dead bodies.

“When the manufacturers say not to use [their product] on pregnant women, that should be the first clue that their products are unsafe,” stylist Natalija O’Toole, who left a salon to avoid the chemicals, explained to Cosmopolitan.

Thankfully, there are a few formaldehyde-free treatments coming onto the market, though they’re not as strong as treatments that contain formaldehyde.

“Results don’t usually last more than two or three months, and these treatments won’t dramatically soften your curl pattern the way formaldehyde solutions can,” writes beauty editor Jenna Rosenstein at Allure.

Whatever decision you make, it’s important to talk to your stylist and find out more about their process – as well as the products they use – before committing to a potentially dangerous treatment.

Talking to Your Stylist

If you’re committed to having straight hair, then it’s time to have a serious sit-down with your stylist.

“The best salons and chemical specialists will give you an in-depth consultation,” stylist Diane Stevens told NBC’s Today.

Chemical specialists are trained in “analyzing your hair’s elasticity, porosity, texture, density, curl pattern in various areas and overall health of hair before recommending which smoothing system is best,” Stevens added.

According to Cosmopolitan, it’s also important to ensure your stylist has the bandwidth to handle the procedure. Even with proper ventilation in the salon, coming into constant contact with strong chemical straighteners can cause serious health problems for you and for your stylist.

Feeling the burn? Make sure you treat it immediately, says Ron Williams, who serves as national educator for Phyto.

“Any chemical that causes a burn should be rinsed off immediately with tepid water,” Williams explained to StyleCaster.

Finally, let your stylist know what other kinds of treatments you’ve used on your hair – since this can impact how your hair and scalp react to the treatment.

Alleviate Damage

Any time you use chemicals to alter the way your hair looks and feels, you’re going to need some serious hair TLC.

“Your hair is in a fragile state after you’ve gotten it straightened,” hairstylist Ted Gibson told Allure. “Sweating, moisture, and humidity can interrupt the [straightening] process.”

Most stylists recommend using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, as well as steering clear of salt or chlorine, which can sap moisture from already-fragile hair.

“Stay away from cleansers that bubble!” stylist Rudy Pena told Into the Gloss. “If your shampoo has a detergent ingredient like Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), which is literally found in laundry soap, it’ll just strip your hair!”

But, remember, no matter what kind of shampoo you use, there’s no moisturizing your hair back to its original texture.

“The only way to 100% get rid of ‘permanently’ chemically-treated hair is to cut it off,” confirms Angelica Di Guglielmo at StyleCaster.

For many women who want to return to their natural hair after years of chemical straightening, this process is often part of the “big chop.”

Even if you don’t want to rock super-short hair, you can start trimming a little at a time, says stylist Myss Monique.

“Every time I washed my hair the dead ends would get all knotted up, so trimming my hair made it more manageable and cut down on my styling time,” Monique told Self.

Remember to schedule a trim with your stylist every 6 to 8 weeks – or brave the scissors at home.

Getting Through the Growing-Out Process

Navigating the growing-out process after getting your hair chemically straightened is never easy. Your natural texture is gone, and you can easily get stuck sporting two different textures.

“When you grow out chemically straightened hair, the curls near your scalp clash with the rest of your hair,” stylist Jacqueline Tarrant explained to Cosmopolitan.

“For every new inch of growth, you should snip an inch off your ends (or an inch and a half, if you have very long locks),” Tarrant suggests. ““That way, the straight and the curly areas gradually blend together.”

While it’s not always easy for women to embrace the natural hair movement, going natural does have its advantages – especially if you’ve been straightening your hair for as long as you can remember.

Not only is it easier to wash-and-go, but you’ll also give your hair a chance to recuperate from chemical or heat damage.

“Whether your hair is fried from heat, damaged from styling, or changing with age, you need to give it moisture daily,” writes Kristin Collins Jackson at Bustle.

“Using water-based products like aloe vera is a totally acceptable way to get in some daily water, but also changing your style to a wash-n-go will help you get in the habit of wetting your hair often,” she adds.

With protective styling, as well as regular co-washing and masking, your hair will be back on the road to health in no time.

While chemical straightening is a common treatment, it can damage hair if you’re not careful. Even if you work with a talented stylist, it’s important to remember that the texture of your hair will never be the same afterwards.

Of course, this is an incredibly personal decision, and there’s plenty you can do to work with your stylist to mitigate damage.

If you do take the leap, be sure to stay on top of your moisturizing treatments, and schedule regular trims to encourage new, healthy growth in the future.

Are you currently growing out chemically straightened hair? Tell us about your biggest frustration in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Unsplash, Unsplash

Chlorine Hair: How to Protect Your Locks After Swimming

Now that summer’s finally here, it’s time to hit the pool. But you’ll have to do more than stock up on sunblock if you want to stay healthy this summer: chlorine and other pool chemicals can wreak havoc on your hair  – especially if you’ve recently had your hair colored or straightened.

Don’t let chlorine damage ruin your summer. We’ve got everything you need to know about how to protect your locks before – and after – you hop in the pool:

Chlorine Woes

When you’re seeking relief from the summer heat, it’s tempting to just go for a swim. But before you head to the pool, it’s important to understand why chlorine can cause such major problems for your hair.

A relatively harsh chemical, chlorine is great for killing bacteria in pools – but terrible for delicate tresses. Not only does it sap hair of moisture, but the chemical reaction also causes major fading or discoloration.

Chlorine “strips out the natural oils that protect your hair from damage and daily wear,” explains wellness reporter Min-Ja Lee at Health, and it can even “chemically [bond] to hair and skin.”

Yikes.

Don’t let your hair fall victim to chlorine or other harsh chemicals – be proactive, so your hair stays soft, moisturized, and protected all summer long.

Before You Jump

To make sure your hair is well-protected from potential chlorine damage, take a few precautionary steps this summer.

1. All Aboard with Oils

A moisturizing oil treatment, like coconut oil or olive oil, can help seal the hair follicle, making it more difficult for chlorine to penetrate and cause damage.

Just remember to add a swimmer’s cap, suggests stylist Scott Fontana.

“You have to use oil on the hair before going into the pool, as anything else will rinse right out once you hit the water,” Fontana told StyleCaster.

“However, you have to keep your head covered, as oil will also cook your hair in the hot sun.”

Since both coconut and olive oil are also great deep conditioners, this treatment has the added benefit of moisturizing strands that have fallen victim to summer heat and dryness.

2. Cap it Off

From a ponytail or loose bun to an old-school swim cap, protective styling can provide you with the coverage you need to keep chlorine at bay.

This is an especially crucial step for women who dye their hair in the summer, says Schwarzkopf brand ambassador Kim Vo.

“Try to keep your head and hair out of the water as much as possible,” Vo told Glamour.

“A cute bun, topknot, or braid prevents your strands from soaking in the pool water while you float around and wade.”

Braids and buns aren’t the only form of protection you’ll need.

Used to only applying sunscreen to your skin? You may want to extend your hair and scalp the same courtesy before you jump in the pool.

SPF can minimize the effects of chlorine damage in your hair and protect your scalp, too. Because it so often goes untreated or uncovered, the scalp is one of the areas on your body most prone to getting uncomfortable sunburns.

A lightweight spray with SPF is often all it takes to get the coverage you need to keep your hair and scalp happy.

3. Cold Rinse

One of the most important steps to take before you go for a swim in a chlorinated pool is to rinse off in the shower first. This might seem counterintuitive, but your hair will thank you for it.

“Hair is porous,” salon owner Nicole Hitchcock explained to StyleCaster. “Once it’s saturated with moisture, very little chlorine will [be able to] enter the shaft.”

Just be sure to rinse – not shampoo, emphasizes stylist Adir Abergel.

Shampooing “strips away your protective oils, leaving hair vulnerable to drying chemicals and salt,” Abergel told Health.

A cool rinse should get you all ready to show off your best swan dive into the deep end.

Out of the Pool

Now that you’ve got your pre-swim routine down pat, it’s time to reverse the process. These may put a few extra steps between you and your beach towel, but they’re well worth the protections they offer:

1. Rinse – And Repeat

That’s right – even though you hopped in a cool shower before jumping in the deep end, you have to head straight back to the locker room.

“For happy hair throughout summer, your best bet is to rinse hair with fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool or ocean,” explains Annie Crawford at Bustle.

“Chlorine sitting on your hair all day and baking in the sun is surefire disaster for blondes or anyone with chemical damage,” she added.

Not only can pool chemicals turn blonde or light-colored hair a ghoulish green, but they can also wreak havoc on chemically treated hair – which is porous and delicate.

Ever wondered why light-colored hair turns green?

According to InStyle, that green hue occurs when chlorine “enters your hair shaft and leaves behind traces of copper, which then oxidize and cause your strands to shift toward the chartreuse end of the spectrum.”

So, pretty please: put a quick shower at the top of your to-do list as soon as you get out of the pool. (Yes, it’s got to rank higher than scoping out the lifeguard stand.)

2. Clarifying Shampoo

If swimming laps is a big part of your summer, you may find that you’ve attracted chlorine deposits – those pesky chemical bonds we mentioned earlier.

Try a clarifying shampoo, or an apple cider vinegar rinse, to help re-set your hair.

“It’s cost-effective to use apple cider vinegar, which acts as a natural clarifier,” suggests Lee at Health. “Just add one part vinegar to four parts water and pour it over freshly washed hair.”

This should remove any chlorine or copper deposits – and eliminate the risk of your hair turning green. But beware – the one-two punch of chlorine and clarifying treatments will dry out your locks.

Using a leave-in conditioner after cleansing can help restore lost moisture and keep your hair soft – and strong – all summer long.

3. Style with Care

Spending a lot of time in the pool might make you re-arrange your calendar. For example, if you have an appointment to touch up your color or straighten your hair – stay far away from the pool that afternoon.

“If you don’t rinse, you can cause a chemical reaction,” celebrity colorist Frederic States told StyleCaster.

“I’ve seen hair fall out as a result of the chemical reaction, and it’s not pretty,” he added.

The risk of long-term damage may make going natural for the summer worthwhile, says dermatologist Jessica Krant. That means no color, no straightening – and no heat styling.

“This will keep the hair cuticle as smooth as possible, which helps the hair shaft to resist penetration by harsh chlorine and greenifying copper,” Krant explained to Fitness.

Can’t hack it? Remember to use a protective styling spray or cream, so your tresses can withstand the extra heat.

Don’t let dryness, damage, and that dreaded green hue haunt your vacation photos.

Whether you’re planning on swimming laps or just staying cool, it’s crucial to take extra steps to protect your hair from chlorine damage this summer.

Take the time to rinse and use conditioning treatments for softer, healthier hair, so you can actually relax once you’ve reapplied sunscreen and set your towel in the shade.

Do you have a summer hair care routine for the beach or pool? Tell us what works for you in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Flickr

Stem Cell Therapy: What It Could Mean for Your Hair

For decades, hair thinning and hair loss have posed serious problems for both men and women. What’s worse, the damage was permanent. But in the last few years, stem cell therapy has emerged as a viable solution to thinning and patchiness – so what could it mean for your hair?

With new advances in medical technology, positive changes may be on the way. Until then, here’s what you need to know about the future of this treatment – and what you can do about hair loss until stem cell therapy becomes more readily available:

Hair Loss and Aging

Dealing with hair loss or excessive thinning can make you feel exposed and anxious. But you’re not alone.

According to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation, more than 6.8 million Americans suffer from alopecia, or some other form of premature hair loss.

Now, thanks to new research conducted in Japan, there’s help on the way.

According to a study recently published in Science, researchers uncovered the relationship between aging hair follicles and excessive thinning.

“[Wear] and tear on the DNA of these hair follicle stem cells causes chemical changes that push the hair follicle away from growing new hair,” explains wellness reporter Alice Park at Time.

While scientists already understood that stem cells helped regenerate hair follicles, they didn’t realize that – over time – follicles under a lot of stress would essentially decide to stop producing.

“Our research revealed that hair follicle stem cells change their fate to be eliminated from the skin in response to DNA damage,” Emi Nishimura, the study’s lead scientist, told Time.

As Nishimura and his colleagues continue their research, they hope to discover ways to intervene in this process – essentially reversing the damage or preventing it altogether.

A Hair Loss Cure?

While stem cell therapy is still in the experimental phase, additional studies from Japan have led to “follicular regenerative medicine.”

This process “works by removing a small patch of skin and hair follicles from the patient’s scalp,” extracting stem cells from these follicles, and cultivating the stem cells in the lab, reports science writer John Boyd at Forbes.

Unlike other forms of hair transplants, follicular regenerative medicine promises to help patients continue growing their own hair in areas that have stopped producing new growth. This is a serious step up from hair transplants, where healthy hair follicles are moved from one part of the scalp to another to help hide patchy areas.

The developments, announced by Japan’s RIKEN medical research institute last summer, are due in no small part to previous research conducted at California’s Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

In 2015, scientists at Sanford-Burnham used similar methods to test hair regeneration in mice.

“If this approach is proven to work in humans, it will change existing treatments radically,” dermatologist Nicole Rogers told The Huffington Post in 2015.

It looks as if RIKEN scientists have continued the quest to bring follicular regenerative medicine to trial – which could one day help end baldness for good.

While You Wait: 4 Ways to Addressing Thinning Now

Even though the future stem cell therapy for hair loss looks promising, the reality is a long way off. So what can you do to address thinning in the meantime?

Don’t despair – there are plenty of steps you can take to encourage a healthy growth environment for new hair, from taking supplements to ordering a blood test in consultation with your doctor.

Here are four foolproof pieces of advice:

1. Consider Supplements

Hair loss often stems from a lack of protein, biotin, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients – all of which can be addressed through supplements or vitamins.

According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 80 women with pattern baldness “took fish oil, blackcurrant seed oil, vitamin E, vitamin C, and lycopene supplements every day for 6 months.”

The result? Thicker, healthier hair in 62% of women. Meanwhile, a control group took no supplements – and didn’t see any results.

Fish oil promotes oil and elastin production thanks to its essential fatty acids, while lycopene helps protect the DNA in hair follicles. Antioxidants like vitamins E and C also help with regeneration – not a bad combo!

2. Ramp Up Your Diet

If you’ve noticed a distinct change in the volume and sheen of your hair, it might be time to re-examine your dinner plate.

“It’s really [about] how healthy your body is,” Lucinda Ellery, a women’s hair restoration expert, explained to Huffington Post.

“You start to notice more shine and elasticity, if you start treating your body from within,” she added.

Ramp up your diet with the Omega-3s in fish oil and walnuts, the protein in whole milk yogurt and eggs, and the iron in spinach and other leafy greens.

Each of these nutrients promotes strong, healthy follicles and a positive growth environment for hair.

3. Scale Back on Styling

While styling your hair differently is a superficial fix, it can ease the anxiety of going out in public when you’re dealing with hair loss.

Stylist Mia Santiago sees clients who struggle with hair loss – whether from traction alopecia or another cause – every day.

“Alopecia acts similarly to a wild cowlick in that your hair will want to split open right where the trouble spot is,” Santiago explained to Allure.

“The easiest solution is to choose a style that’s going to keep hair over the spot that’s balding,” she added. “Try a side braid, low ponytail, or a topknot, whichever would best cover your thinning area.”

You can also create more volume by using texture or volumizing sprays and dry shampoo to lift the roots before styling your hair.

If you count on a bristle brush or heat styling tools, though, you may want to re-think. Heat can make the already-fragile hair shaft brittle, leading to breakage, while a bristle brush might be too much for your hair to handle.

Instead, comb damp hair with a wide-tooth comb to prevent unnecessary shedding and preserve the volume you do have.

4. Schedule a Doctor’s Visit

The human head naturally sheds about 100 strands of hair each day. If you’re noticing an abnormal uptick in shedding, including bald spots or thinning patches, make an appointment with your physician ASAP.

“Routine blood work can test your ferritin (iron stored in the blood) and vitamin D,” suggests Sally Wadyka at Prevention.

“Low levels can lead to hair loss, and the fix may be as simple as adding an iron or vitamin supplement.”

When it comes to understanding the many reasons behind hair loss or hair thinning – as well as the kinds of therapies you should consider – you can’t go wrong with talking to your doctor.

They’ve seen it all, assures dermatologist Francesca Fusco, though some of the most common factors are stress and hormone changes, including pregnancy and starting or stopping birth control.

“Whether you’re just starting it, discontinuing it, or changing brands, your body can react by causing the hair to go into an increased shedding mode,” Fusco told Self, referring to hormonal birth control methods like the Pill.

Whatever the cause may be, a doctor’s visit – and a blood test – will often clear up the questions you have about the health of your hair. Don’t wait!

Suffering from hair loss or thinning can be uncomfortable and embarrassing – but it doesn’t have to be something that you go through alone.

From scheduling a doctor’s appointment to overhauling your diet, being proactive about your health is one way to start feeling in control of your body again.

The more you can provide your hair with the nutrients it needs to be happy and healthy, the easier it will be to get back on the path to healthy regrowth.

And while we’re excited to see new developments in stem cell therapy, the technology is still a long way off for most women suffering from hair loss now.

So keep one eye on the news – but don’t forget about everything that’s in your power to change today.

Have you used hormone therapy or supplements to help you regrow hair? Tell us what helped you see changes in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Pexels

The 30 Second Guide to Healthier Hair

We get it, you’re busy. Between work, family, and trying to keep some semblance of a social life intact, self-care is usually the first to go out the window. So, we’ve come up with a few ways to keep your hair game strong, whether you have 30 seconds or 30 minutes to spare.

30 Seconds: Damage Defense Collagen Booster

Providing your hair with extra strength in the time it takes to drink a sip of water could be the ultimate beauty hack. Just add a capsule of Damage Defense Collagen Booster to your daily Hairfinity Healthy Hair Vitamin routine, gulp, and go.

1 Minute: Nourishing Botanical Oil

Consider this product the ultimate pinch hitter. Smooth a few drops onto your hair, paying special attention to the ends, to create a protective barrier from humidity and UV rays.

1 Minute: Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner

This multitasking product can save your hair in so many ways in a minute or less. Use it for added moisture when needed, and spritz liberally before any hair-challenging situations, like swimming or heat styling.

10 Minutes: Strengthening Amino Masque

Fortify your hair against everyday stressors like intense levels of indoor climate control, pollution and even frequent hair brushing with weekly deep conditioner rich in proteins and vitamins.

Sixty Minutes: The Ultimate Protection Kit

The name says it all: Geared towards weaves and protective styles, Beneath the Weave Purifying Shampoo and Beneath the Weave Moisture Balancing Conditioner cool and soothe your roots and scalp with ingredients like peppermint, tea tree oil and aloe. After cleansing and moisturizing, condition your hairline and any hard-to-reach areas that need hydration with the Infinite Edges Serum. Finish with a soothing scalp massage or treat the ends of your dreads, locs or braids with nutrient-rich Nourishing Botanical Oil.

Have a few more minutes to spare? Treat yourself to a custom hair care program on us with our complimentary consultations.

 

Color-Extend Hair Products: How Much Do They Really Do?

Color-extend hair products are always making promises – Strong color protection! More vibrant color!

Sound familiar?

But if you’ve invested your hard-earned money in an expensive dye job, it’s important to know that the color-extend hair products you purchase live up to the hype.

We decided to investigate how helpful color-depositing conditioners are for extending the life of your new style – and how you can prevent your color from fading before your next appointment:

Color-Depositing Conditioners 101

These deep-conditioning treatments are chock-full of nutrients dyed hair needs to revive shocked strands back from the dead.

Color-depositing conditioners can help you even out the color and tone of your dye job, says beauty editor Marianne Mychaskiw.

“Used once a week in place of your go-to conditioner, a color-depositing formula can help to revive the color lost to the elements, and buy you some serious time between appointments,” Mychaskiw writes at InStyle.

“These conditioners are infused with pigments that either help amplify your shade, or neutralize unwanted brassy tones,” she adds.

Whether you’ve gone bottle blonde or bold black, color-depositing conditioners will prevent roots from showing before their time and help your hair look and feel more even-keeled during that crucial post-dye adjustment period.

Non-Depositing Shampoos Work, Too

Although they don’t have the pigmentation of color-depositing conditioners, non-depositing shampoos still offer benefits for recently dyed hair.

According to Good Housekeeping, these “products…seal the cuticle of the hair so it better holds on to the dye you already have” and also help you “protect against UV fade.”

After product testing more than 24 color extend shampoos and conditioners, including mainstays like Redken Color Extend, for more than 500 hours on 220 samples of human hair, the great minds at Good Housekeeping gave non-depositing shampoos a thumbs up.

Still, if you want to keep your color around for as long as possible, it’s probably best to minimize the time you spend sudsing up your hair.

“If there’s one thing just about every colorist will agree on, it’s that washing your hair frequently does more harm than good,” writes Alexandra Duron at Prevention.

“The detergents meant to get grime off your scalp cause color to fade faster,” she adds.

Try shampooing every two days with a color-depositing formula and switching to dry shampoo if you need a pick-me-up after the gym or before a work event.

Color-Enhancing Glazes Offer an Extra Boost

In addition to color-friendly products for the shower, many stylists recommend using color-enhancing glazes to help extend the life of your hair.

“Unlike a gloss, a glaze does not contain peroxide or ammonia,” explains Samantha Faragalli at InStyle.

“They are incapable of depositing or lifting color from the hair cuticle, making them even more temporary than a gloss,” she adds.

While a color gloss might help you amp up the wattage on your hair, the harmful ammonias will strip already-delicate dyed strands – unless you already have blonde hair.

According to Faragalli, glosses are perfect “if you need to fill porosity and are looking to maintain the current color you have.”

Chat with your hair stylist to find out which product works best for your hair’s needs.

Fade into You

By taking a few protective measures, you can ensure your dye job sticks around for the full 4 to 6 weeks.

Here are six expert tips for maintaining color and infusing life back into your tresses:

1. Press Pause on Shampoo

Okay, don’t press pause forever. But you should definitely take it easy, especially in the first few days after your appointment.

“After having your hair colored, wait a full 72 hours before shampooing,” stylist Eva Scrivo told Good Housekeeping.

“It takes up to three days for the cuticle layer to fully close, which traps the color molecule, allowing for longer lasting hair color,” she explained.

If you don’t yet use a sulfate-free shampoo, consider making the switch to protect your color.

“If you have chemically treated hair, you’ll especially want to steer clear of the drying formulas [in sulfate shampoos],” writes Alexis Bennett at InStyle.

“Besides stripping hair follicles of essential oils, sulfate shampoos can also cause untamable frizz, and damage to the scalp,” she continues.

Um, no thanks.

2. Go Deep

A regular deep conditioning treatment is crucial after you dye your hair, says stylist Kyle White.

“To prevent damage, one week after dying your hair, do a deep-conditioning treatment; continue to do so on a weekly basis,” recommends White at Refinery29. “My favorite deep conditioner is coconut oil.”

Because it’s light enough to use regularly, coconut oil will add moisture to your newly dyed hair without adding oil or weight.

Jojoba oil, which is closest to the natural oils of your hair, is a great option for hair masking, too.

“Make a quick mask by adding a drop or two to your regular conditioner to amp up hair’s moisture level and color retention power,” suggests Duron at Prevention.

Whichever natural treatment you decide to try, your hair will thank you for the extra boost.

3. Seek Out Shade

As anyone who dyes their hair for the summer can tell you, a hot summer day is your dye job’s worst enemy.

In addition to wearing a hat or silk scarf while you’re sunbathing, you should also consider a shampoo with more oomph, says Danielle Emig of StyleCaster.

“Bring a shampoo that has UV protection on your vacation,” Emig suggests. “Use one that protects and also repairs damaged hair…[by removing] minerals, chlorine, and salt.”

The UV protection acts like a shield for your delicate tresses – and takes care of any build-up you manage to drag back from the beach, too.

4. Touch-Up Your Color

Nothing spells the end of a dye job faster than roots that show their true colors. Help your color last longer by scheduling an appointment for highlights, says colorist Rachel Bodt.

“Adding soft highlights by either painting or highlighting the ends will cut through the dark and add dimension to the hair so you don’t see the strong line of demarcation,” Bodt told InStyle.

Depending on how you transformed your look with color, creating natural-looking transition colors with highlights or lowlights can make your return to your natural shade that much more graceful.

5. Beat Mineral Build-Up

When you have dyed hair, it seems like danger is everywhere. Sun, shampooing, and styling can all cause hair to fade.

But there’s one danger lurking in your shower you might not have accounted for. To avoid mineral buildup that can cause dye jobs to fade fast, outfit your shower head with a filter.

A clarifying apple cider rinse once a month can also help with mineral build-up, says hair color expert Sharon Dorram.

“The rinse will freshen highlights and boost shine by removing the dulling mineral buildup that’s accumulated on the hair shaft,” Dorram told Prevention.

Apple cider vinegar is a great way to clean the scalp and remove excess oil or product build-up, too – here’s looking at you, dry shampoo users!

6. Nix Heat Tools

Because recently-dyed hair is porous, it absorbs heat more quickly – making it more susceptible to permanent damage.

“Try to avoid using volumizers, mousse, hairsprays, and even gels with high heat for long periods of time,” Dorram explained to New Beauty. “The hair is too vulnerable and easily damaged.”

And, just in case you feel like rolling the dice and taking a chance with your flat iron, you should watch this wild video from colorist Guy Tang before you plug that thing in.

In case you were still harboring doubts, color-extend products can help you breathe life back into dyed hair.

They’re full of natural moisturizers and – if you purchase a color-depositing product – pigments that help you eke the most out of your new color.

But color-extend products aren’t the only thing you should be doing to protect your new look.

Regular deep conditioning treatments, smarter styling, and preventative care will ensure that you look fabulous until you schedule that next appointment with your colorist.

Have you tried a color-extend product to maintain your color? Tell us your verdict in the comments below:

Images: Pixabay, Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash

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