As technology advances and new discoveries in science are made, more and more new drugs are being developed. These medications help us to fight off illnesses, alleviate symptoms of diseases, and prevent the development of chronic conditions, just to name a few.
However, sometimes medications come with unwanted side effects. You’ve probably heard on various commercials advertising new medications that side effects can include nausea, upset stomach, dizziness, headache, etc. While these side effects are obviously a nuisance, one in particular can negatively affect a person’s self-esteem and quality of life: hair loss.
Several common classes of drugs can cause hair loss as a side effect, which sometimes causes people to stop taking their medications. What most people don’t know, however, is that hair loss caused by medications is temporary and the problem can often be overcome by a dosage adjustment or a little extra hair TLC. Keep reading to learn the medications that cause hair loss and what you can do about it.
How much hair loss is normal?
Did you know that the average woman loses between 100 and 150 strands of hair per day? This amount of hair loss is normal based on the way human hair grows: about 90% of the hair strands are in the anagen (growth) phase and 10% are in the telogen (resting) phase. Strands that are in the telogen phase fall out in order to make room for new hair to grow in.
However, if you are noticing hair loss that seems greater than normal, such as visible thinning areas or bald spots, you may be experiencing female pattern hair loss. According to WebMD, female pattern hair loss can be classified as androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium, alopecia areata, and traction alopecia.
Since loss of hair strands in the telogen phase is normal, when medications cause hair loss it is hair that is in the anagen phase that is affected. An article in the journal Drug Safety details the two main mechanisms for how drugs can affect the anagen phase:
- Anagen effluvium: the medication induces an abrupt cessation of mitotic activity in rapidly dividing hair matrix cells
- Telogen effluvium: the medication causes the anagen follicles to prematurely shift into the resting phase
Anagen effluvium usually occurs within days to weeks after the start of the medication. This type of hair loss most commonly occurs in those using chemotherapy drugs for cancer.
Telogen effluvium occurs when there is a change in the number of hair follicles growing hair. WebMD explains that many of the 90% or so of hairs in the anagen phase can actually shift all at once into the telogen phase when the body undergoes a shock, trauma, or stress. Besides certain medications, this type of hair loss can also be caused by surgery, high fevers and certain chronic illnesses.
Medications that cause hair loss
Below is a list of medications classes that have been associated with telogen effluvium. This does not mean each drug in the listed class will have this side effect. To know for sure if the medication you are taking has this side effect, reach out to your pharmacist for the drug’s medication guide, which will list all side effects associated with that specific medication.
- ACE inhibitors
- Beta blockers
- Contraceptives (both oral and injection)
- Retinoids and derivatives
- Thyroid medications
What you can do about medication-induced hair loss
Your doctor will be able to rule out other potential reasons for your hair loss and confirm whether or not the medication is the true cause. If the medication is found to be the reason, your doctor might adjust the dosage or switch to a different medication that does not have that side effect.
If a change in medication or dosage adjustment is not possible, there are still other ways you can help make the thinning hair less noticeable. Your doctor might suggest an over-the-counter hair regrowth formula, such as minoxidil (Rogaine). Minoxidil stimulates hair growth by two proposed mechanisms: it shorts the telogen (resting) phase of hair and causes premature entry of the resting hair follicles into the anagen phase, and it also causes prolongation of anagen and increases hair follicle size. (Br J Dermatol. 2004 )
There are also natural remedies you can try in order to help your hair regrow. One method is to gently massage your scalp with either jojoba oil or castor oil, both of which have been shown to promote hair growth.
When jojoba oil is applied to the scalp it first unclogs hair follicles of product buildup and excess sebum. Then, the oil is absorbed by the scalp’s sebaceous glands inside the follicles. As a new hair strand grows from the follicle, it will have a thick coating of sebum due to the jojoba oil, which protects it from breakage as well as hair loss. (Beverly Hills MD)
Castor oil can help to promote hair growth due to its composition of omega-9 fatty acids, specifically ricinoleic acid. The mechanism of this oil is similar to jojoba oil: it is able to enter the hair follicle and provide it with nourishment thus restoring normal hair growth. (Good Health Academy)
Of course, one of the best ways to prevent further hair loss is to give your scalp extra care and attention by using the right hair care products. If you aren’t exactly sure which products are the best for your specific hair type, take the stress out of choosing and allow the hair care professionals at Shtrands to select a personalized hair care regimen for you!
So you’ve said goodbye to your blonde highlights, allowed your natural roots to grow in, and you hardly ever touch that curling iron anymore… but your hair is still damaged. What’s up with that?
Turns out heat and chemicals are not the only culprits responsible for damaged hair. The cause of your breakage, frizz, and split ends may be mechanical damage. Below we’ve outlined a few common causes of mechanical damage and what you can do to prevent them from harming your beloved locks in the future.
Loving your up-do a little too much
Up-dos are the best – they can function in both casual and formal scenarios, and they make a great heat free hair style to give your hair a break from heated styling tools every now and then. However, wearing your hair up too often can cause damage on its own. Celebrity stylist Julien Farel tells Redbook Mag, “Wearing your hair up every day strains the hair at the root and can actually cause hair loss.” Let that gorgeous hair down to give your scalp some relief and air to breathe.
Braids are another one of our favorite heat free hair styles. Gently forming slightly damp hair into a loose braid before bed can result in effortless, beach waves in the morning. Braids can cause mechanical damage to the hair, though, if done incorrectly.
If your hair is wet when you’re pulling it into a braid, it is more vulnerable to damage. Even though wet hair can stretch up to 30% of its original length without any harm, irreversible changes occur when it is stretched between 30% and 70%, and at 80% the strand will ultimately break. (Int J Trichology) If you wish to create a precise and tight braided style, Lea Journo, hair stylist and owner of Lea Journo Salon, tells Redbook Mag to wait until the hair is fully dry.
Using the wrong kind of brush
The variety of hair brushes that exist seems to be almost as diverse as the different types of hair! While that might be slightly exaggerative, there are many kinds of hair brushes to choose from, and using the wrong kind can cause hair to snag and break. Matrix.com suggests to “Look for wide-tooth, seamless plastic combs and boar bristle brushes with rubber cushions to treat strands with optimal TLC.”
Wide-tooth combs are ideal for detangling hair post-shower when it is wet and highly susceptible to damage. These combs are ideal for thick, curly hair since it can detangle your curls without messing up their shape. (StyleCaster)
StyleCaster also calls boar bristle brushes a “great staple for almost any kind of hair.” The bristles can distribute the natural oils from your scalp all the way to the ends of the hair shaft, which keeps them healthier and can save your scalp from looking greasy. The type of boar bristle brush you choose is dependent on your hair type, however. One rule of thumb is the thinner your hair is, the wider the space should be between the bristles.
Fabrics that come in contact with your hair
It’s hard to imagine that damage can be done to your hair even when you’re sleeping, but it’s true! If you’re sleeping on the wrong type of fabric, that is. Highly absorbent fabrics, like cotton, absorb moisture from our skin overnight, which can cause hair to stick instead of slide. The friction caused by hair sticking to the pillowcase can lead to breakage, frizz, and split ends. Try switching to a silk or satin pillowcase to decrease friction, thus allowing your strands to slide easily across the fabric. Plus, a smooth pillowcase will prevent you from waking up with bed head!
Another way fabric can damage your hair is by the type of towel you are drying it with. Even though the absorbency of cotton seems ideal post-shower, this fabric once again can create a friction that causes mechanical damage to the hair. Redbook Mag suggests using a microfiber towel or even an old t-shirt since this type of fabric is less abrasive and won’t rough up your hair as much.
Say goodbye to damaged hair
Now that we’ve covered the most common ways mechanical damage to the hair can occur, you should be able to make the necessary changes when styling your gorgeous locks to say goodbye to damaged hair.
But we can’t forget about the other two culprits of damaged hair: heat and chemicals. These causes of damage could be articles on their own, but here’s a quick tip for you: using the right hair care products for your specific hair type can help to prevent future damage. The right shampoo, conditioner, heat protectant, and other styling products are vital when it comes to the health of your hair.
Not sure which products are going to work best for you? That’s where Shtrands can help! Shtrands is a team of passionate hairstylists and cosmetics chemists who recommend and deliver personalized luxury hair care regimens, so you can achieve salon results at home.
With hot summer days heading our way, summer is the perfect time to try out some new heat free hairstyles. Not only will these styles help to keep you cool, they will protect your strands from thermal damage. Check out these tried and true heat free styles to keep your hair healthy and looking its best this summer.
A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science aimed to test the claims made by manufacturers of curling irons by examining the effects of such thermal treatments on the cuticular structure of the hair fiber. Typical manufacturer claims state, “that no damage is inflicted upon the hair fiber if the curling iron is used according to the specified treatment conditions, such as dry hair, short curling times, and normal tension.”
The study found that using a curling iron exactly as directed by the manufacturer will result in minimal damage to the hair, but prolonged contact times and increased tension can lead to “compression, disintegration, radial cracking, and scale edge fusion of the surface cuticle cell.” Furthermore, the study found that the propensity of hair surface damage depends on the moisture content of the hair. If hair is wet and exposed to a curling iron, the cuticle cell will become distorted due to trapped moisture expanding in the form of steam in the fiber. (J Cosmet Sci. 2004)
Parting with your curling iron may seem unfathomable, but did you know that shaping slightly damp hair into a curl and allowing it to dry is equally efficacious as using heat tools, if not more so? (Refinery29) After washing your hair, allow hair to air dry about 80 percent, then try out these no-heat curling techniques to achieve the same curly look without the damaging effects of heat:
Headband curls: First, you’ll need to wrap a soft headband (or a long piece of fabric) around your head. Then, all you have to do is twist your hair around the headband. The smaller you make the sections, the tighter your curls will be. Leave your hair like this as long as you can, while you’re doing your makeup, getting dressed, etc., or preferably overnight. (GoodHousekeeping)
The pin-up method:
Start by wrapping a two-inch section of hair (use a slightly smaller section if you want a tighter curl) around two or three fingers close to the roots of your hair. This will form a doughnut shape (the larger the doughnut the looser the curl), which you will then pin against your head using a bobby pin or a single-pronged clip. Repeat this technique until all of your hair is pinned up. When you take the pins out, you’ll have soft, beautiful curls. (Refinery29)
Braids may remind many women of the hairstyles of their childhood, but when done correctly braids can give you a chic look that saves your hair from heat damage. Another benefit of wearing your hair in a braid is that once you take the braid out you’ll have soft, natural looking waves.
If you’re bored with the classic braid, try out these variations to give your hairstyle a new twist (no pun intended):
Good news: it is possible to get gorgeous beach waves even when you’re not at the beach and without exposing your hair to any heated styling products.
One of the best ways to achieve this look is to leave your hair in a twist or braids overnight. Similar to the technique for no heat curls, start with hair that is about 80 percent dry, then secure your hair into your favorite braid before bed. In the morning, take your hair out of the braid and you’ll instantly have beachy waves.
Up-dos are not only an easy heat free style, they are also perfect to extend the time between washing your hair without having to rely on dry shampoo. Plus, up-dos can be both casual or elegant depending on how you style them.
While there are pre-made sock buns and foam doughnut you can purchase to achieve this look, you can make your own sock bun by first cutting off the toe area of a long, unused sock. To create the doughnut shape, roll the fabric from the ankle end to the toe end. Ta-da! A DIY sock bun.
To get the perfect sock bun style, StyleCaster suggests to “Pull your hair back into a ponytail, where you would like the bun to be placed. Start by pulling your ponytail through the center of the sock doughnut. Next, spread the end of your ponytail around the doughnut and begin to tuck your hair while rolling down the sock doughnut. Continue rolling down the doughnut, making sure to tuck in any loose pieces of hair while you go, until you reach the base of the ponytail.”
This up-do is perfect on those mornings when you’re rushing to get ready for the day because of how easy and quick it is. Simply toss your hair into a low ponytail, twist it, then clip it to your head with a jaw clip.
Products to use with no heat styles
The key to achieving a heat free style to keep your hair healthy is using the right products. Besides an appropriate shampoo and conditioner, you’ll want to incorporate styling products to ensure your look stays in place throughout the day. Hair spray is a must to keep your curls in place, texturizing products are ideal to use with waves, and shine serums can smooth away any flyaways with an up-do.
If you aren’t sure exactly which product to use with your no heat hairstyle, don’t worry! The hair care professionals at Shtrands can help you to choose the right products based on your specific hair type and needs. Shtrands is a team of passionate hairstylists and cosmetics chemists who recommend and deliver personalized luxury hair care regimens right to your front door. With our expert recommendations combined with these simple heat free styles you won’t even miss your heated styling tools because of how healthy your hair will look and feel.
We have a broad range of serums, mousses and creams that will help these heat-free styles to hold. Abril et Nature Gold Lifting serum is formulated specifically to add shine and definition to your waves and curls. And remember, if you have curly/wavy hair, air dry during the summer will be the best treatment for your strands.
Healthy looking hair, defined as thick, shiny, smooth, and long, is something that everyone desires as it signifies beauty and youth in our society. But did you know that healthy hair is also a sign of good overall health?
Healthy individuals typically eat a balanced diet, which correlates to the healthy appearance of the hair. Studies have confirmed that proper nutrition is conducive to hair that grows in full and strong. Conversely, deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients correspond with thinning, weakened hair or even hair loss.
Drug store shelves seem to be flooded with supplements that advertise to consumers how the product can help them achieve healthy hair. Many people choose to take these supplements in the effort to fix their hair issues as it is easier than making the necessary changes to their diet. However, research suggests that excessive intakes of nutritional supplements may actually cause hair loss, thus these are not recommended in the absence of a proven deficiency. (Clin Exp Dermatol., 2002)
Continue reading to learn how nutrition plays a role in hair care and what you can do to maintain thick, healthy, beautiful hair without having to take additional nutritional supplements.
Why hair needs nutrients
The visible hair that grows from our scalp is called the hair shaft, which exhibits no biochemical activity and is considered “dead”. (Wikipedia) However, there is a part of the hair that is living, which is under the scalp skin inside of the hair follicle. To maintain life, arteries supply the entire follicle and root of the hair with a blood supply rich in oxygen and nutrients.
While the average amount of hair growth is about one-half inch per month, the rate of hair growth depends on many factors such as genetics, gender, age, and hormones. Hair growth rate may also be diminished by a deficit in certain nutrients. A vitamin or nutrient deficiency will typically first become apparent in the hair, which will look dry, dull, stringy, and thin. The most important nutrients for maintaining thick, healthy hair are the B group vitamins, iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Deficiencies that cause thinning hair
According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world. Every cell in the human body contains iron and it is vital for many functions, including transporting the oxygen from our lungs via red blood cells to all tissues of the body. Iron deficiencies can result in anemias, which if left untreated can lead to morbidity and death.
When discussing nutrition and hair care, studies have confirmed the relationship between iron deficiency and thinning or loss of hair. One study examined 200 women who presented with unexplained persistent hair shedding, but had normal scalp hair density. Blood levels for hemoglobin, serum ferritin, vitamin B12, serum folate, and serum zinc were drawn. The most frequent abnormal nutrient was a low serum ferritin (an intracellular protein that stores iron). (Clin Exp Dermatol., 2002)
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, inadequate protein in the diet can be a cause of hair loss. Research has identified the essential amino acid L-lysine, which is important in the formation of proteins, to be most relevant when discussing hair loss. Because hair is made out of the protein keratin, healthy hair needs a good balance of protein intake. This is actually the most important hair “nutrient”.
L-lysine is found primarily in meat, fish, and eggs. Vegetarian sources are soy, nuts, beans and seeds. Reducing the consumption of these foods in the diet results in a deficit of this important protein building block. Deficits of L-lysine then cause the body to prioritize its distribution to more vital organs, thus leaving nonessential tissues, such as scalp hair, compromised. Ultimately, this can lead to thinning hair and reduced hair growth. (Clin Exp Dermatol., 2002)
Diets that lack the appropriate amount of protein can also result in the loss of hair color. This is due to the process in which melanin is produced. Melanin is the pigment that gives hair its color. It comes from cells called melanocytes that reside in the skin surrounding each hair follicle. When a hair strand is being formed, the melanocytes inject pigment (melanin) into cells containing keratin, the fibrous structural protein that makes up each strand of hair. (Source)
The body produces melanin through the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine. Tyrosine, 4-hydroxyphenylalanine, is one of the 20 standard amino acids that are used by cells to synthesize proteins. It can be found in foods such as chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, soy products, lima beans, avocadoes, and many more. (Wikipedia)
The B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that are important for many metabolic processes in the body. This group includes:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
In regards to nutrition and hair care, vitamin B5 has a role in supporting the adrenal glands, which subsequently stimulates hair growth. (Dr. Axe) Vitamin B7, biotin, is required for several enzymatic reactions within the body and is also necessary for the proper metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Any diet that lacks an appropriate amount of biotin, can lead to poor metabolism of nutrients and contribute to undernourished hair follicle cells. (The Trichological Society)
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that provide the hair with nourishment and support hair thickening. These fatty acids are found in foods like salmon, walnuts, hemp seeds, and eggs.
In 2015, the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology published a study that investigated 120 healthy females with female pattern hair loss and the effects of a 6 months supplementation with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as antioxidants. During evaluation, 89.9% of females the treatment group reported a reduction in hair loss and 87% reported an improved hair density. (Dr. Axe)
Deficiencies of protein, iron, certain B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids can manifest as thinning or loss of hair. Speaking to a physician about nutrition and hair care is important because excessive intake of nutritional supplements can actually cause further hair loss, especially when a deficiency is not present to begin with. Generally, a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and grains is important for healthy hair growth. After all, you are what you eat!
Baking soda has a variety of uses other than for baking, including use as a cleaning agent, a mild disinfectant, pest control agent, odor eliminator, a method to unclog drains, pool maintenance, stomach ache remedy, and many, many more.
Recently, baking soda has gained popularity in the realm of DIY hair care remedies. You may have heard it being referred to as the “no-poo” method, which instructs people to stop using shampoo and instead use a tablespoon or so of baking soda mixed with water to wash the scalp and hair. The idea behind this method is that you are cleaning the scalp in a “natural” way as opposed to using the “harsh” surfactants found in shampoos.
However, the science behind how baking soda disrupts the pH balance of your scalp, strips hair of its natural oils, and causes irreversible damage to hair cuticles is well documented. This article will spell out why baking soda is actually awful for your hair.
The science of baking soda
Sodium bicarbonate, known as baking soda, is a chemical compound composed of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions with the formula NaHCO3. It is a white solid that is classified as a crystalline, but appears as a fine, white powder.
Sodium bicarbonate is recognized as a skin, eyes, and respiratory irritant due to dust. Moreover, when baking soda is combined with water it is converted to CO2 and sodium carbonate (a known skin irritant).
A solution of baking soda and water has a pH of 9, which makes it an alkaline substance. Potential hydrogen, or pH, is a measure of the alkalinity or acidity of a solution on a scale from 0 to 14. On this scale, a pH of 7 represents a neutral solution, a pH of less than 7 is considered an acid, and a pH greater than 7 is considered a base (alkaline).
Baking soda damages your hair in more ways than one
Dr. Audrey Kunin, M.D., dermatologist and CEO of DERMAdoctor, Inc. says the first principle of shampooing is to “Make sure your shampoo says it is pH-balanced and avoid those that are alkaline. Alkaline shampoos strip the hair’s natural oils and disrupt the acid mantle, causing dehydration and leading to porous, fragile hair.” More alkaline shampoos were called by some brands “clarifying” shampoos: working at higher pHs, these types of shampoos “lift” the hair cuticles, removing the build up better. They are NOT recommended to be used regularly!
While the purpose of washing hair is to remove excess oil and dirt from the scalp, removing too much of the scalp’s natural oils causes hair to become dry, frizzy, and prone to breakage.
Dr. Kunin refers to the acid mantle of the scalp, which is the term used to describe the acidity of normal skin, ranging anywhere from a pH of 4.5 to 6.5. The pH of skin is maintained in this range by sebaceous (oil) glands, sweat glands, normal skin flora, and more. The purpose of the acid mantle is to provide protection for the skin, such as fighting bacteria or other pathogens. When the acid mantle is disrupted (by using baking soda on the scalp, for example) the skin’s ability to fight off foreign invaders decreases, which can potentially make the skin more prone to infections.
The alkaline pH of baking soda also contributes to how it damages hair. A study that examined the effects of 123 different shampoos with pH values ranging from 3.5 to 9 found that an alkaline pH increases the negative electrical charge of the hair fiber’s surface, which leads to an increase of friction between the fibers. The increased friction can damage the hair cuticle and ultimately result in fiber breakage. The study concluded that, “It is a reality and not a myth that lower pH of shampoos may cause less frizzing for generating less negative static electricity on the fiber surface.” (Int J Trichology, 2014)
The final verdict: baking soda is actually awful for your hair
Dermatologists, cosmetic chemists and hair care professionals agree: baking soda is awful for your hair. The alkalinity of this chemical compound allows it to disrupt the acid mantle of the scalp, strip natural oils from the hair, and cause friction that can damage the hair cuticle.
Even though baking soda has been proven to be damaging to the hair, there are still some die-hard no-poo fans out there that claim baking soda is the only thing that gives them a clean scalp. Do you know why they may be correct in saying that? It all comes down to the fact that no two hair types are the same and what works for one individual may not work for another.
At Shtrands, we like to celebrate the diversity of hair while providing scientific and evidence based explanations for how to take care of your hair. If you’re still on the fence about trying the no-poo method, why not skip the risk of damaging your hair and allow the professionals at Shtrands to select a personalized, luxurious hair care regimen that will fit your specific hair needs?
Unlike brushing your teeth both morning and night, there is no set recommendation for how often you should wash your hair. Some people can go several days between shampoos, and then there are the lucky ones who can make a blowout last for an entire week. On the other hand, those with a more oily scalp may feel the need to wash their hair almost every day. Of course, this aspect of hair care, like others, ties back to the diversity of hair types.
So, how often should you really be washing your hair? The answer might be less often than you think! Keep reading to see what hair care professionals and dermatologists have to say about it.
What’s the problem with washing hair every day?
Washing hair with shampoo cleans the hair and the scalp, but it can also cause dryness and damage if done too often. Shampoos contain surfactants, which lower the surface tension between two liquids or a liquid and a solid, in this case water and the soil particles trapped in the hair.
One part of the surfactant molecule is a lipophilic hydrocarbon chain that can bind the sebum of the scalp as well as any oily styling products. Typically, chain lengths are between C8 and C18, the most used being C12 in cosmetics formulations as this length strikes a balance between mildness and detergency. Shorter chain lengths equate to stronger oil removing properties while longer chain lengths are more mild but also produce less lathering effect. (The Trichological Society)
The other part of the surfactant molecule is the hydrophilic head, which attracts water, thus allowing the shampoo to be washed out when you rinse your hair. (ThoughtCo.) Functional groups that make up the hydrophilic portion of the surfactant include sulphate, ethoxy sulphate, succinates, polyhydroxylates, and many more. (The Trichological Society)
The problem with surfactants in shampoos is that they can strip too much of the natural oil from our scalp, causing the hair to be dry and frizzy. This is particularly a problem when hair is shampooed more than necessary.
Another problem with too frequent washing is for those with dyed or highlighted hair: the shampoo can fade your color or cause brassy tones to develop. According to WebMD, “Shampooing causes the hair strands to swell, and the color then washes out little by little.” In fact, shampooing the hair more frequently is suggested in tutorials on how to fade a hair color disaster. (Refinery29)
Is there anyone who should shampoo every day?
You may come across numerous articles and hair care guides that insist no one ever wash their hair daily. Although this is true for the majority of hair types, there is a small population that may benefit from daily hair washing. Dr. Carolyn Goh, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, explains that those with fine hair, those who frequently work up a sweat through exercise, and those living in very humid environments may require daily hair washing. (WebMD)
Is there a recommendation for how often to wash hair?
Dr. Goh confirms that, “There is no blanket recommendation” for how often to wash hair, but she does recommend to shampoo if the hair is visibly oily, the scalp is itching, or there’s flaking due to dirt. On average, every other day or allowing 2 to 3 days between shampoos is acceptable. (WebMD)
How often you wash is also dependent on your hair type. StyleCaster says, “Hair that’s thicker and curlier can go without a wash for longer than hair that is fine.” Additionally, hair strands that are coarse, curly, or processed slow the dispersion of oil down the shaft much more than fine strands.
Find your perfect hair care regimen
One of the best ways to maintain the health of your hair and reduce the need to wash it as frequently is to find a hair care regimen that works with your hair type and lifestyle. Some stylists recommend using a light, volumizing shampoo for fine hair so the hair won’t become greasy as quickly. On the other hand, the recommendation for coarse or thick hair is a moisturizing product that will balance the scalp and hair. (StyleCaster) Ultimately, the type of shampoo, conditioner, and styling products that will keep your hair looking its best all depends on your hair type.
At the end of the day, the easiest way to ensure you have the ideal products in your hair care regimen is by allowing the Shtrands professionals to choose them for you. Shtrands is a team of passionate hairstylists and cosmetics chemists who recommend and deliver personalized luxury hair care regimens, so you can achieve salon results at home.
When our hair is looking less than perfect, it becomes easy to fall for any and all hair care tips we read. Especially when people suggest simple home remedies to cure common hair ailments. Since these hair care tips are easy to implement and usually inexpensive, you may think: why not give it a try?
Dr. Doris Day, a New York City-based dermatologist, tells Today, “How often you cut your hair doesn’t have anything to do with how fast it will grow.”
Whether you cut your hair or not, hair will grow an average of one-half inch every month. The rate at which your hair grows begins with the hair follicles in the scalp and which phase of growth they are in. Growth of human hair is divided into three stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. The anagen phase is known as the growth phase and the amount of time the hair remains in this stage of growth is determined by genetics. (Wikipedia)
However, trimming split ends may make your hair appear longer and thicker because you are getting rid of hair breakage, which is what can leave hair looking thinner and even shorter at the ends. (Today)
Myth: a vinegar rinse can get rid of dandruff
A common belief is that apple cider vinegar can leave hair cleaner, softer, and healthier than a commercial shampoo as well as get rid of dandruff. While some may find that apple cider vinegar does give the hair a softer feel, they may not realize the damage the vinegar can cause.
Vinegar is composed of 5 to 20% acetic acid, giving it a pH of approximately 2.4. (Wikipedia)
The low pH of apple cider vinegar may aid in removing mineral buildup on hair that is caused by exposure to hard water. (The Beauty Brains) However, similar to lemon juice, the acidity of vinegar can cause hair to change to a lighter, more brassy color as well as cause hair to become more dry and brittle.
Additionally, there is no evidence that a vinegar rinse can get rid of dandruff. Since some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can fight certain fungal infections, such as Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger, the root of this myth might have been using a vinegar rinse to halt the growth of yeast that is common with dandruff. (Thi-Qar Medical Journal, 2011)
However, the problem in seborrheic dermatitis is in the sebaceous (oil) glands and hair follicles, with people suffering from this disease producing too much sebum (natural oil of the skin). (AOCD) Since the main cause of seborrheic dermatitis is too much oil production, apple cider vinegar would not be helpful in ridding the scalp of the dandruff.
Myth: African hair is stronger than Caucasian or Asian hair
Each strand of African hair grows in a tiny, spring-like helix shape. (Wikipedia) Instead of being stronger, which is the common myth regarding African hair, the hair follicles are actually very fragile. Also, curly hair tends to have less water content and is more prone to dryness than the straight texture of Caucasian or Asian hair.
Myth: grey hair is more coarse than pigmented hair
Quite the opposite is true regarding this myth! Grey hair is more prone to dryness and frizz and is actually more fragile than hair that is fully pigmented.
As hair turns grey with age, it becomes more susceptible to becoming dry and fragile due to decreased production of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives hair its color. This pigment comes from cells called melanocytes that reside in the skin surrounding each hair follicle. As the hair is being formed, melanocytes inject pigment (melanin) into cells containing keratin, the protein that makes up each strand of hair. (Source)
Similar to how collagen production in skin declines as we age thus causing wrinkles, melanocytes produce less and less melanin over time, thus causing gray and eventually white hair. Since the hair contains little to no melanin, grey hair strands are thinner and more fragile than pigmented hair. (Livestrong)
Myth: dandruff results from a dry scalp
Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as dandruff, is a chronic inflammatory condition that manifests as a red, itchy rash on the scalp that often has flaky scales. While skin rashes and flaking of skin can be associated with dry skin, quite the opposite is true when it comes to dandruff.
As stated above in the “vinegar” section, the main problem in those that suffer from dandruff is the overproduction of sebum. This is where the name of this condition comes from: seborrheic meaning excessive discharge from the sebaceous glands and dermatitis meaning an inflammation of the skin. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology stress, fatigue, weather extremes, oily skin and infrequent shampooing or skin cleaning make it worse.
Purple shampoo for blondes and women with grey/platinum hair is an absolute must to keep brassy tones at bay. But did you know even darker shades of hair with light balayage or highlights can reap the benefits of a purple shampoo?
Since every single person has a unique hair type, texture, and color, one type of purple shampoo is not going to work for everyone. Before choosing your product there are a few things to know in order to get a purple shampoo that banishes your brassiness for good!
What exactly is purple shampoo?
If you look at a color wheel, you can see why these products work: purple is the exact opposite of yellow on the wheel. The purple pigments of the shampoo counteract the brassiness that blond and platinum hair can develop in between salon visits. Style House Salon defines brassiness as “the unwanted gold/orange/red tones that often appear after blonde hair color loses its desired hue.” Common external elements, such as sun exposure, pool or ocean water, and even unfiltered shower water can turn hair brassy. Hence why purple shampoo is such a savior!
How to use a purple shampoo
First, it’s necessary to choose a good quality purple shampoo product. The Beauty Department says, “A good purple shampoo will be dark purple, not light purple, and it shouldn’t be transparent.”
The frequency you apply a purple shampoo is based on personal preference and your hair type. How cool/ashy do you want your hair to look? It also depends on what your starting point is: did you just leave the salon with bright blonde highlights or are you completely yellow/brassy?
The process of applying a purple shampoo is also much different than your regular shampoo.
If you’re using a purple shampoo to maintain a recently done blonde color, simply apply a liberal amount of shampoo to your roots while washing, leave on for about one to two minutes, then let the shampoo run down to the ends as you lather and rinse. The ends need slightly less time with the shampoo because they are more porous than the hair near your roots, meaning they will take to the tone more easily. If you’re happy with the color and tone of your hair, many hair professionals recommend using the purple shampoo just once weekly.
Maybe you’re considering heading to the salon to have your colorist tone some of your yellow, but you want to see if a purple shampoo works first. If this is the case, apply the purple shampoo as described above, but leave on for at least 5 minutes. Do this every other time you shampoo until your hair is the desired hue, then adjust your usage from there.
If you are struggling with major brassiness, you could even try applying the shampoo to dry hair before getting into the shower. Since dry hair has no water molecules filling in the spaces between hair cuticle scales, the violet pigment will be able to better penetrate your hair. To do so, apply the shampoo to the brassy areas when the hair is dry, leave on for 5 to 10 minutes, then thoroughly wash out the shampoo. Ta-dah! After this, you should have a beautiful cool tone to your hair. (Refinery29)
Here’s a tip for first time users: don’t freak out if you overdo the purple shampoo! While drying your hair and seeing a bright shade of purple or gray can be shocking, it is nothing to worry about. Simply hop back in the shower and wash with a non-purple shampoo and the gray/purple tone will fade out. (The Beauty Department)
Who should use a purple shampoo?
Many hair colors and styles can benefit from a purple shampoo, not just blondes! Anyone who wishes to have a cool, ashy tone to their hair color can benefit from a purple shampoo. If you are highlighting your hair, give it a try! The only drawback of purple shampoos is their propensity to dry out the hair. So, using a high quality conditioner or a mask is a must after using a purple shampoo.
Using a purple shampoo can extend the life of your color, which means saving money from not having to run to the salon as often. The key is to find a quality product that fits your specific hair needs. Since Shtrands is all about celebrating the diversity of all hair types, you can consult with us to see if you can benefit from using a purple shampoo. Plus, by signing up for Shtrands personalized hair care regimens, your purple shampoo can be one of your four luxurious products specifically chosen for you and shipped straight to your front door. Brassy hair doesn’t stand a chance with convenient, quality service like that!
We do have a very high quality purple shampoo from Abril et Nature that many of our members ask for over and over (especially now, with the summer coming and all those pool and sunny days scheduled).
The jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) plant is a perennial evergreen desert shrub indigenous to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. (Wikipedia) This plant produces seeds which contain the liquid we have seen all over the hair and cosmetic industry: jojoba oil. (BTW, it’s pronounced hoh-hoh-bah.)
Before the hair related benefits of jojoba oil were discovered, it had quite a diverse range of uses. Centuries ago, Native Americans would extract the oil from jojoba seeds to treat sores and wounds. (Jojoba) This oil was even used by the US during World War II to lubricate machine guns. (Wikipedia) Jojoba finally made it to the cosmetic industry around 1971 after the ban on the importation of sperm whale products. (Jojoba)
Inside The Seed
Inside the jojoba seed, you’ll find a light, golden liquid wax ester, which makes up 50% of the seed’s dry weight. (Jojoba) The liquid wax ester is the primary storage lipid of the plant, which makes the jojoba seed unique from conventional oilseed crops such as soybean, corn, olive, or peanut that produce triglycerides as the primary storage lipid. (Jojoba)
The oil is mostly comprised of long-chain fatty acid esters (97%), but also contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, triglycerides, phospholipids, and tocopherols. (Rostagno & Prado, 2013)
Hair Benefits of Jojoba Oil
- Moisturizes dry, damaged hair – Shampoos contain surfactants which function to clean the hair by removing dirt and excess oil. However, surfactants can strip away too much natural oil, leaving hair dry and at risk for damage. Jojoba oil can be applied to either damp or dry hair to help with hydration as well as tame frizz and flyaways.
- Promotes hair growth – Applying jojoba oil to your scalp will first unclog hair follicles of product buildup and excess sebum. Then, the oil is absorbed by sebaceous glands inside the follicles. A new hair strand that begins to grow from that follicle will have a thick coating of sebum due to the jojoba oil, which protects the new strand from breakage as well as hair loss. (Beverly Hills MD)
- Healthier scalp – The fatty acid esters that make up jojoba oil’s chemical structure is nearly identical to the natural oil produced by our sebaceous (oil) glands. (Beverly Hills MD) Even though an oily scalp is often thought of as undesirable, the oil these glands produce is protecting the scalp from dehydration, germs, and environmental irritants. (Beverly Hills MD). Applying jojoba oil to your scalp will help to restore moisture and hydration. Your scalp will be healthier, making it more likely for new hairs to grow. How to Use Jojoba Oil For Soft, Healthy Hair
Tips on how to use Jojoba Oil
- Add four to five drops to your conditioner, apply to wet hair, allow conditioner to soak into hair for several minutes, then rinse thoroughly
- After showering, apply one to two drops to damp hair and gently comb through
- To smooth hair frizz and flyaways, apply one to two drops to palms, then smooth over areas
- Create your own jojoba serum by combining 1 teaspoon of the oil with 1 cup of water in a squirt bottle. Spray the mixture on damp hair before blow drying or use a small amount on dry hair to calm frizz.
Here’s a breakdown of exactly what’s in the oil:
11-Eicosenoic acid: An omega-9 fatty acid that can be found in many other plant oils and nuts.
Palmitic acid: One of the most common saturated fatty acids found in nature, often used in soaps and cosmetics.
Palmitoleic acid: This omega-7 fatty acid is also found in human fat cells. Because of this it is often used as an emollient.
Stearic acid: A saturated fatty acid with an 18-carbon chain that is found in many shampoos, soaps, and lotions due to its ability to act as both a surfactant and softening agent.
Oleic acid: This monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid also makes up the majority of the popular cooking oil, olive oil.
Arachidic acid: Another name for this 20-carbon saturated fatty acid is eicosanoic acid. It can also be found in peanut oil, cocoa butter, and cupuacu butter.
Behenic acid: Also known as docosanoic acid, this saturated fatty acid is often used to give hair conditioners and moisturizers their smoothing properties.
Erucic acid: A monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that can be used as a surfactant or a lubricant.
Lignoceric acid: A saturated fatty acid also known as tetracosanoic acid.
Nervonic acid: This monounsaturated fatty acid exists in nature as an elongation product of oleic acid with its immediate precursor being erucic acid. It is essential for the growth and function of the brain. (Wikipedia)
In addition to fatty acid esters, jojoba oil also contains alpha, delta, and gamma tocopherols. (Beverly Hills MD) Tocopherols are a class of organic chemical compounds, many of which possess Vitamin E activity and are classified as antioxidants.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Jojoba oil is also made up of various vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, Vitamin B complex, copper, chromium, iodine, selenium, and zinc.
Due to the unique composition of the liquid wax ester and its similarity to human sebum, jojoba oil is extremely beneficial for both skin and hair care. Incorporating jojoba oil into your hair care routine will give you a healthier scalp along with soft, shiny hair.
Damaged hair is something that everyone struggles with at some point in their life. A few major causes of damaged hair include brushing your hair when it’s wet, frequently exposing hair to chemicals, and the overuse of hot styling tools. There are also several little known factors that could be traumatizing your tresses, such as spending too much time in the sun and using hair care products improperly.
Breakage, frizz, and split ends may seem inevitable, but before you head to the salon to get those ends chopped off, consider trying these simple fixes to help heal your damaged hair.
Avoid the Major Causes of Damaged Hair
We all know the major culprits of damaged locks: aggressively brushing wet hair, overusing heated styling tools, and frequent exposure to chemicals. It’s not to say that you should never curl your hair or freshen up your look with some highlights, but rather try to limit these activities.
Give your locks a break from time to time by allowing hair to air dry or at least using a cool setting on your hair dryer. Additionally, since wet hair is more fragile and prone to breakage, ensure you are taking extra care by using a wide tooth comb and a detangler, if needed.
Try a DIY Hair Mask to Heal Damaged Hair
Honey is a staple in the kitchen for use in baking and as a sweetener. But did you know honey is extremely effective for healing damaged hair? The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, it has a high viscosity to provide a protective barrier, and it acts as a humectant to attract moisture. (Asian Pac J Trop Biomed)
Honey is a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and other compounds. Honey contains trace amounts of the vitamins B2, B4, B5, B6, B11 and vitamin C. Minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, chromium and manganese are also found in honey. (Ayu)
With all of these components, it’s obvious to see how honey can help heal damaged hair and keep it healthy and shiney. Find the recipe for a DIY hair mask to try on dry and damaged hair here.
Heat-Infused Deep Conditioning
Felicia Leatherwood, celebrity natural hairstylist, told E! News that applying a deep conditioning treatment twice a month is one step in keeping your locks shiny and nourished. Leatherwood says, “When your hair is wet, the hair cuticle opens, which allows your hair to soak up the nutrients it needs to thrive.” (E Online)
But here’s the key: you must use heat!
Heat allows the product to penetrate through the hair cuticle even further. After applying your deep conditioner to clean hair and placing hair into a plastic shower cap, you have a few options for applying heat. You could sit under a dryer, use a heat cap, or use a steamer. Whichever method you choose, make sure you give the product adequate time to work, usually between 10 to 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly afterward to reveal softer, healthier hair.
Oils for Damaged Hair
Jojoba oil is unique as it is mostly comprised of long-chain fatty acid esters, along with small amounts of triglycerides, phospholipids, and tocopherols. Jojoba oil can moisturize dry, damaged hair, promote new hair growth, and give you a healthier scalp.
Studies have shown that coconut oil can increase the strength of hair. This is because one component of coconut oil in particular, lauric acid (a principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins. Due to the low molecular weight and straight linear chain of lauric acid, it can penetrate the cuticle of the hair shaft. (Journal of Cosmetic Science)
Buriti oil contains high concentrations of monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) and also exerts a photoprotective effect against UVA and UVB rays that can damage hair.
Argan oil is composed of 99% acylglycerides, primarily oleic and linoleic acid. It can improve the elasticity of dry, brittle hair, make hair softer and less prone to frizz, reduce further strand breakage, and aid in hair growth.
While there are many additional oils you can apply to your hair to help heal damage, the oils listed above are some of the best. You can even create your own deep conditioner by combining your favorite natural oil with your normal conditioner.
Be Wary of How Nature Affects Your Hair
Believe it or not, mother nature can affect the health of your hair. The UV rays from the sun can not only damage your skin, but also the integrity of your hair. Read this post to learn why hair sunscreens are vital for keeping your locks protected and healthy.
Furthermore, the cold, windy months of winter can harm your hair as well. Utilizing a nourishing leave-in conditioner or hair mask during these seasons can aid in replacing the moisture that is lost due to the harsh weather conditions.
Take the Stress out of Healing Damaged Hair
If you’re unsure of what product to choose to help heal your damaged hair, the professionals at Shtrands can help! Shtrands is a personalized hair care service that provides you with a custom hair care regimen based on your answers to a short questionnaire. Professional hairstylists and cosmetic chemists will select the best products for you based on your answers and these products will be delivered straight to your front door. You will also receive a handwritten card with instructions and tips on how to use each product. It doesn’t get much easier than that!