2 weeks ago

How to Care For Damaged Hair

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When it comes to hair care, we need to change what we use just as we do our skincare. While we’ve all become conscious of caring properly for our skin, does anyone under the age of 30 care about the condition of their hair? When we’re young we just want the style or colour we want. In the 1980s, this meant perming and crimping our hair into oblivion; now it’s more about changing colour at whim, or lashing in the extensions. Peter Mark stylist Grace Murray notes that girls come in with the darkest hair begging to go platinum blonde and are not remotely interested that this would entirely ruin their hair, ignoring any advice to the contrary.

Hair brands are coming up with anti-breakage ranges and products to reduce “hair fall” (a kinder, less emotive way of saying “loss”). Since we lose up to 100 hairs a day naturally, this shouldn’t be anything to panic about, most of the time. But if your hair does thin, whether through age, illness or at a life stage such as post-pregnancy or during menopause, it can be really worrying. The range of things that can have an impact is long: stress, sweat, silicones and pollution can affect your hair. If you follow a vegan diet, high levels of good protein are essential for hair health.

So as the strength and health of our hair becomes our main concern, we’re assessing everything from what we’re eating to how we treat our hair. As Paul Hession noted, at the launch of Kerastase’s Genesis range to help with hair fall, “while we double-cleanse our skin using masks etc, we don’t do anything for our scalp”. A Mediterranean diet can be beneficial, and supplements; my mother-in-law swears by a vitamin A capsule a day to help hair health and reduce breakage. Grace Murray recommends Nioxin, but says you must use the entire three-step system regularly to see results. Pantene’s new Hair Biology range supports different hair stages; their research has shown that our hair has changing needs, just as our skin does.

Styling is another issue. Passing heated irons over hair is effectively like frying it. As someone with depleted hair due to a lifetime of colouring (now stopped), I now judge a blowdry as much on the gentle care the stylist takes when washing and combing as the finished style. Dyson’s new Corrale is billed as a straightener that’s kinder to your hair. Would you spend €500 on a hair tool? It depends: if you have a blowdry a week, this would pay for itself in about four months. We love the cord-free, high-tech approach, and if it helps to reduce damage, we’re all for it.

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