Using the right methods to color, brush and curl your hair will help it keep its shine.

As I grabbed the sunscreen last weekend to protect my skin, I forgot a hat to protect my hair. This gave me the idea to offer tips to you this week on keeping your hair in tip top shape. Let’s start with a few items that don’t involve the summer time, just regular every season things that can damage your hair over time, and ideas to minimize the carnage. Next week I will have some information on sun protection.

Color

Chemicals have to be used to open your hair shaft. Your hair is damaged when, after showering, your hair dries almost instantly. That shows just how porous those color chemicals have made it. Make sure that your color line has buffers and conditioning properties. Get regular trims (your ends are prone to soaking up excess color); for gray coverage, go demi-permanent – it’ll fade faster but is less harsh than permanent. Avoid color and highlight at home. It’s too hard to do correctly and avoid color overlap. Home cap highlighting kits are one of the worst culprits. Done wrong, major color changes can cause harm, so leave those to the pros. We recommend Redken color products. They are simply the best, when it comes to conditioning the hair.

Hairbrush

The wrong tool or the wrong technique can tangle and tear your hair. If you look in a mirror and see tiny hairs sticking up along your part and hairline, you have done some damage. These aren’t “baby hairs” growing in, they’re hairs that have broken. Bristles are the key to preventing breakage. They should be soft and smooth – avoid those with plastic balls on the ends – and spaced out, as on a comb. Don’t brush wet hair (it’s too fragile) and work in inch-long sections, from ends up to roots, bottom of the shaft to the top.

Blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons

All of these can cause your hair’s outer layer (the cuticle) to lift up, releasing moisture and leaving the hair shaft dull, dry and brittle. You’ve gone too far when you pull out a hair, run your fingernail from root to end (as if curling a ribbon), drop the strand into a glass of water – and it doesn’t uncurl. This is a sign that your hair has lost its elasticity. Throw out any heat-styling tool that you’ve had for more than five years: The older the appliance, the higher the chance that the temperature gauge has gone bad. Use your blow-dryer’s nozzle attachment; it cuts down on cuticle ruffling. Pick a flat iron that has ceramic plates: Since ceramic heats up evenly, it straightens hair faster and won’t stick to – or singe – any one spot. We use Chi flat irons. Before ironing or drying your hair, use a spray or serum that contains dimethicone. It will melt in the heat, creating a protective barrier.

I hope this is helpful information. Next week…on to sun protection! Have a great week, and a beautiful day.