Daily shampooing with something other than a sulfate free shampoo - check
Daily hot styling - check
Coloring more often than you should - check
Too much fun in the sun no hat in sight - check
Congratulations. All those check marks tell me your hair has run the gauntlet. It's been through the wringer. Whether you intend to or not it's getting a regular dose of abuse. So it is any wonder your mane is not getting its share of admiring glances?
No, no surprise there. Frazzled hair rarely does catch the eye of cute guys. And suggests you haven't visited sites like Terrific Tresses any time lately too.
So let's explore some ways you can rescue those shattered strands displaying more than their fair share of damage warning signs. It all starts by determining
What's the Damage?
Forget where I saw this dunk/sink test first. But what I do is yank a few dry strands of hair from the back of my head. Roll then into a loose ball and drop in a glass of luke-warm water. When the hair hits the water start timing how long it takes for it to sink.
If it remains buoyant for at least a minute no worries. You're dodged a bullet - for now. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't mend your ways and start taking better care of that mane of yours.
On the other hand anything short of 30 seconds float time is a bad sign. That suggest the cuticles are loaded with tiny breaks and fissures that are no longer protecting the inner cortex. That's a sure sign of damage you need to start to attend to as of yesterday if you don't want it to get worse.
A first year cosmetology student would also bring up there's also the stretch test you can do where you try to pull a wet strand apart but we'll save that one for another time.
Okay now that we've determined the extent of the problem, or at least have an idea, it's time to get busy with some quick fixes.
Shining Things Up
Let's start by assuming you can't remember the last time your hair shined like patent leather. Locks with a matte finish are not what you are looking for trust me. It's two close cousins, dull and faded, aren't either. Yet you can restore the shine as long as you are committed to what it takes to get glossy, sleek, sexy hair. So if you are wondering "Where did the shine go?" here's some ideas loaded with the potential to turn the shine back on you can try to bring it back.
Color In the Shine
For one, over coloring is a real buzz kill for your shine challenged strands. Especially if you lean towards bleaching. I mean ever see a bleached blonde with shine to die for? No, me neither. That's because the chemicals required to permanently lighten your hair don't do the shine any favors. Which makes you wonder, why men find blonde women so attractive, doesn't it?
Yet you don't have to swear off coloring. Just switch over to more temporary dyes. Not only are they gentler, they tend to fill in any breaks in your hair shafts making for a more reflective surface.
Color choice plays a role too. Darker or warmer colors will lead to a shine renaissance because they better reflect the light. Which is why working caramel highlight into sunny blonde tones or going for rich chestnut colors overall will help put your shine restoration project on the fast track.
Shining Moments In the Shower
We've all heard this a thousand one times before I know. Shampoo less to preserve the oils your hair so desperately needs to look its best. The extra hydration will especially help your shop worn ends. This bit of hair care wisdom certainly makes perfect sense - for those who live where high humidity is rare, who have any hair texture but fine or who haven't seen the inside of a fitness center for ages. For everyone else it's simply not doable even armed with the best dry shampoo going.
But here's what is doable.
Whenever you squeeze shampoo into your palm work it into the hair near your scalp forgetting the rest.
Wash in luke warm water that's on the cool side.
Condition then rinse with the coldest water you can stand.
These three words of wisdom covering how to shampoo your hair will close the cuticle and flatten the surface of your stands which will enhance the overall shine-ability.
Oh and before I forget. By definition most any conditioner should make your hair smooth. The reason is on the label. They are loaded with smoothing ingredients. Some newer ones however will lay down a layer of protective omega-3 laden oils on your strands. And don't worry. The one from John Frieda I've used will do that without weighing your strands down. This is important because it will aid the hair rescue you are undertaking.
Safer Hot Styling
Now if your styling routine would be lost without hot styling then you need a bullet proof heat protectant. Failing to use one is not an option. (If you don't use any you must have a death wish for your hair in fact.) While it's not 100%, a good strand-shielder will minimize the damage you are inflicting by repeated blow drying and ironing. So where do you stand on blowouts and heat protectants?
Also any staple heat protector used in your styling routine wants to sport either amodimethicone or dimethicone or better both. Ingredients like these lock in the moisture preventing drying during hot styling. Protection like that should also cut down on split ends leaving you with healthier looking hair.
And don't forget a leave in conditioner.
The let me ask you. Know why you want to use a ventilated brush? If not, let me 'splain it to you. The openings let the hot air flow through the brush preventing your delicate strands from coming in contact with what could be a super-heated surface. To add a second layer of protection you want to always keep the blow dryer in motion and no closer than six inches away from your hair. That avoids concentrating the hot air on any one section which brings with it risk of heat damage.
Here's a video you might find helpful. It promised a salon blowout at home and starts off by focusing on protecting your hair. Always a good place to start if you ask me.
Anyway it's ironic isn't it. The styling tools and techniques many of us use to bend our manes to our will are the same devices that make our hair difficult and hard to work with. While the glossifying tips found here will not add a shot of glam they will help your everyday hair to look it's best. And that ism in the end, what you want, isn't it?