Most people generally presume that styling products can be harmful to their hair. Many don’t realize that the shampoo they’re using could be causing way more damage than their gel or hair spray. Talking to clients on a daily basis, I’ve come across more than my fair share of misconceptions regarding hair cleansing and styling products, relaxing treatments and styling tools.
This week’s blog is dedicated to some facts regarding hair damage from styling and cleansing products, and next week, I’ll give you the lowdown on the effects of styling tools, hair colour and straightening treatments.
Firstly, a small lesson in science is in order, so that you can understand the hair biology on a deeper level and in future, this will also help you as you can ask your stylist informed questions while deciding what you want to do with your hair:
Hair comprises of three layers. The medula’ is the innermost layer, wrapped around by the second layer, called the cortex’. The cuticle’ is the third layer which is the protective outermost layer.
The cortex is the largest portion of the hair shaft and this where all the magic happens; hair color, texture and elasticity are all determined by this layer. The cuticle is responsible for how your hair appears, whether healthy with a shine or dry due to damage. Now, let’s get to the products!
Shampoo & Conditioner
In our grandparents’ time, everyone used soap to wash their hair. Then, came multinationals and their ads and social campaigns encouraging people to use shampoos instead. Like everything else, this has been an evolutionary process and right now, where we stand, a gradual awareness is coming about on the effects of chemicals like sulphates and parabens on hair, which are present in most of the shampoos and conditioners you’ll find on the shelves of retail stores.
Most cleaning agents are created using sulphates as it is an inexpensive material. Sulphates are used in detergents, soap, hand wash basically anything that creates foam. The most common sulphates used in shampoos are Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), Ammonia Laureth Sulphate (ALS), TEA Lauryeth Sulfate (TEA) and Sodium Myreth Sulphate (SMS). These sulphates actually dry out hair and skin and are the cause of some of the most common issues people face when it comes to scalp and hair conditions; including dry/itchy scalp, dandruff, dryness in hair, color fading and hair loss.
Sulphates cause serious deterioration of the cuticle, which leaves the cortex open to damage, which affects the health of your hair. Next time you go shampoo & conditioner shopping, keep the above in mind. Invest in an organic shampoo and conditioner it might pinch your pocket in the short run but your hair will be thanking you in the long run. Label.m has two ranges of organic shampoo & conditioner: the Orange Blossom range is for oily scalp to normal hair, and the Moisturizing Lemongrass range is for dry hair. If you want to go for a local and cost-effective option, visit your local Saeed Ghani store.
Hair Styling Products
Many people blame styling products for their hair woes, such as baldness, dryness, hair fall, etc. In theory and on the contrary, if your hair is healthy then styling products from reputable brands can go as far as becoming conditioning agents for your hair and can prove to be quite helpful. Label.m, L’Oreal, Redken, Paul Mitchell, American Crew, Vidal Sassoon, Aveda, etc. develop their styling products using some of the most cutting-edge technology and almost all of them are created using essential oils and other natural ingredients derived by methods that retain the good qualities of these ingredients and contribute to maintaining healthy hair. If the hair is damaged, meaning if the cuticle is broken, a small percentage of the chemical elements in styling products can penetrate to the cortex, causing minimal damage.
Keep in mind that this damage is negligible so you need not worry. So, for example, if you’re using a curling product, bear in mind that it contains ingredients that actually end up locking the moisture in the hair, thereby hydrating hair. There’s a reason companies are instructed by law to list the ingredients on the back of a product: so that you, the consumer, can make well-informed decisions. Till I get to the second part of this blog next week, keep in mind this handy tip of checking out the product information before buying any product.