Surprising Shiny Hair Sabotage & How to Prevent It
Posted by Cat Meeker on September 8, 2012 at 7:51 PM
I die for silky, shiny hair. I don't know how celebs do it, but anytime they step on to the red carpet they have the prettiest, glossiest strands. Unfortunately, with product build-up, constant heat styling, and more, my strands are looking lackluster. Turns out, in addition to the obvious damage, there are some surprising ways you might be sabotaging your chances for shiny, healthy hair. Read on to find out what mistakes you might be making and how to prevent them!
The saboteur: Your shower.
The sediments from your showerhead is dulling and damaging. The shower pipes contain mineral deposits and rust that could be the culprit of your lackluster locks.
The savior: Vinegar.
Citric acid found in apple cider vinegar will remove all the mineral buildup found in your hair. Simply add one teaspoon of ACV to a cup of water and pour it over your hair after shampooing and conditioning. Allow it to soak for five minutes, then rinse. Is there anything apple cider vinegar doesn’t do?
The saboteur: Careless conditioning.
A six-minute shower is great to save water, but if you’re rinsing conditioner off seconds after you apply, you may as well have not used it at all. The proteins and lipids found in conditioner need time to penetrate the hair shaft.
The savior: Patience.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a thick or light conditioner; none of them hydrate instantly. Leave any conditioner on for at least two minutes in order for it to fully penetrate and hydrate the hair. If your ends are especially damaged, wait even longer before rinsing. If you don’t want to waste water, then turn off the shower while you let the conditioner soak, or use that time to shave your legs.
The saboteur: Soggy styling.
Unfortunately, this is one mistake I am too often guilty of. I’m just a little impatient sometimes, but should know better. Using hot styling tools on damp hair completely damages strands. That sizzle or faint steam you notice when clamping down on still-damp hair is actually water inside the shaft bubbling and expanding. Which is no bueno.
The savior: Hair armor.
Before styling hair, be sure to mist on a heat-protecting spray. A lotion is less-effective since it’s heavier and takes longer to dry. Then, wait until your hair is damp, not sopping wet to blow dry. I try showering at night to allow my hair to air-dry while I sleep. Then make sure your hair is 100 percent dry before breaking out the flat-iron.
The saboteur: Sun exposure.
Just like your skin suffers from sun exposure, so does your hair. As a matter of fact, 100 hours of direct sunlight damage is as bad as leaving bleach on your hair for 30 minutes. After a summer in the sun, your hair is likely drab and brassy.
The savior: SPF.
Spritz your hair with a UV filter or top your look off with a hat or scarf before heading outdoors. Look for leave-in products containing benzophenone-3 or -4, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, polyquaternium-59, or cinnamidopropyltrimonium chloride to protect your strands.
The saboteur: Shine-spray OD.
Did you know the molecules inside silicone and the recently super-popular argan oil that are used to boost shine are unlikely to penetrate hair and instead just sit on top of it. After regular use, those molecules form thin, water-repellent layers that will not just deflect the moisture that causes frizz, but all other hydration sources too. Too much use can end up drying out your hair.
The savior: Portion control.
Regardless of how long or thick your hair is, a dime-sized amount of shine serum is all you need. Using portion control won’t only benefit your hair, but the bottle will last much longer, too. Try non-drying alternatives, like almond and coconut oils, instead of argan oil as well.
The saboteur: Tepid tools.
This one is tricky. You may think that lowering the temperature on your flat iron is healthier, but not if you end up ironing the same piece over and over. Low settings often don’t get the job done in just one pass, so you end up doing worse damage by overdoing it.
The savior: Higher heat.
Experiment until you find the right temperature for your hair type. For thick, coarse hair, settings up to 425 degrees should be adequate, but for fine hair, 325 degrees should be hot enough. Next time you’re straightening, just play with the settings to determine the lowest temperature you can get away with.
How do you get shiny hair? Are you guilty of sabotaging your shiny strands? Share your comments below!