Caring for Straightened Hair
Straightened hair can look amazing and can enable you to experiment with a whole new image, but taking care of it isn't always easy. Unfortunately, straightening treatments can leave your hair dry, brittle and prone to breaking. To get the sleek look you've always wanted, you'll need to be diligent about your hair care routine. Fortunately, new products and new approaches to care are making this easier and easier to do.
Washing Straightened HairThere are two reasons to be careful when you wash your straightened hair. The first is that it can be extra vulnerable to damage. The second is that overwashing can restore it more quickly to its natural curly state.
Most people actually wash their hair more often than is good for it. Because of the drying effect of most straightening treatments, you hair will need more natural oil than usual in order to be healthy. This means you should brush or comb it regularly in order to draw oil produced by the scalp along its strands, right to the tips. Washing strips out this oil and should be done only when you hair starts to look or feel limp or greasy, usually after three to four days.
When you wash your straightened hair, use a gentle shampoo. Massage it firmly into the scalp but pad it in gently to the rest of your hair. After rinsing, use a conditioner designed for dry hair. This will not only keep your hair softer and stronger - the extra weight it leaves there will help to weigh the hair down, preventing curls from re-forming.
Hairsprays and MoussesStraighten hair, especially if it is fine hair, can easily fly around and become difficult to manage, so many people prefer to use a light coating of hairspray to manage it day to day. For a more dramatic, silky, evening look, running mousse through your hair can bring out its shine and help with styling. Both types of product, however, can damage your hair. Hairspray can enhance its brittleness so should be used sparingly and always washed out before combing.
When you use mousse on your straightened hair, always use one with an inbuilt conditioner. Some products also provide extra nutrients for your hair and can help to protect it against damage. Draw it through your hair using a wide-toothed comb and smooth out your hair afterwards with your hands. Never leave it in whilst you sleep as it can lead to your hair getting bunched up and coming under extra stress.
Protecting Your Hair when StylingBecause straightening makes hair more fragile, it's important not to place it under strain when styling. This means not only that you should avoid tight clips and clasps, but also that you should avoid pulling it too hard during the styling process. Avoid styling when wet, when your hair is at its most vulnerable. Stay away from heat treatments and, if you must blow-dry, use a cool setting.
Straightened hair is also more likely to pick up static electricity, which can be a problem when styling and can sometimes damage the hair itself. To resolve this problem, avoid using metal or plastic combs. A wooden comb or a natural bristle brush is best. Avoid nylon brushes. Bear in mind that nylon tops or bedlinen can also cause problems.
Rescuing Damaged HairIf, despite all your precautions, your straightened hair becomes damaged, it's time to think about rescue remedies. The first thing you can do is to start wearing a leave-in conditioner. This will make your hair a little heavier and harder to style than usual, but it will significantly reduce the risk of breakage and will immediately restore your shine.
Secondly - hard though this may be to face - it is sometimes necessary to cut off damaged hair. This usually means simply trimming off the ends, where damage is most likely to start, before it has the chance to work its way up the hair. Prompt action will save you from having to do worse later.
Using these simple methods of care and applying rescue techniques as needed, you can keep straightened hair in healthy condition and looking great.