Sunday, February 20, 2011

Habits That Damage Our Hair

Oh, Snap! Ten Habits That Damage Our Hair

By: Allison Ford 

Many of us obsess about the health of our skin, but how many pay the same attention to the health of our hair? We color, brush, and style it, and we blast it with heat and chemicals. Some hair takes a significant amount of abuse, and the result of all that mistreatment is a mane that’s dull, lifeless, frizzy, and prone to breakage.
But not all bad hair habits are created equal. Many people would confess to the occasional dalliance with the “hot” button on their hair dryer, but how does that compare with the occasional bleach job? Which causes more damage? We’ve ranked the most common hair no-nos, from the slightly sinful to the dangerously damaging. 
Temporary Hair Color
Products like Level 1 rinses, washes, stains, and color-depositing shampoos cause virtually no damage to the hair. Since they do not contain chemicals that allow the color molecules to penetrate the hair shaft and interact with the hair’s natural pigments, they merely sit on top of the strands until they wash away, in about six to ten shampoos. Threat Level: Damage-Free!
Hot Showers
In addition to being bad for skin, washing with hot water is a poor choice for hair. It rinses away natural protective oils and accelerates the fading process for colored hair. It’s a myth that a final rinse with cool water will close the hair’s cuticle, but using tepid water in general is much gentler on hair. Threat Level: 1 out of 10 (with 10 being the highest threat level)
Brushing When Wet
When hair is wet, it’s significantly weaker, and brushing it in this vulnerable condition leads to increased breakage. The individual strands can’t handle the tugging and tension, so they stretch until they snap. To detangle wet hair during or after the shower, gently use a wide-toothed comb, working from the ends upward. Better yet: use your fingers. Threat Level: 2 out of 10
Demi-Permanent Color
Non-permanent Level 2 color, a popular at-home option, is generally safe for hair, but it’s not 100 percent gentle. Demi-permanent dyes (like Clairol’s Natural Instincts) contain no ammonia, but they still have a small amount of peroxide to open the hair cuticle and deposit the color molecules. Even though demi-permanent color cannot lighten hair, it still causes a small amount of damage, especially when compounded by other harsh styling practices. Threat Level: 3 out of 10

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