Let’s be honest. Everyday heat styling, overprocessing, missing a hair appointment… We’re all guilty of it. While it might not seem like a huge problem now, unfortunately over time these habits often lead to dull, dry or lifeless locks, and those occasional bad hair days can become a regular occurrence. It’s scientifically proven that bad hair days can have a negative impact on our mental health. For instance, on these types of days 51% of British women feel self-conscious, and 1 in 5 are left feeling anxious, according to research commissioned by TRESemmé. At Neäl & Wølf, we know how much beautiful hair means to our stylists, their confidence and the way they feel. So today, we’re discussing five ways to prevent damaged hair, with the aim of re-energising your locks to keep those bad hair days at bay:
- Are you washing your hair too often?
- How to protect your hair against hard water
- Tips for avoiding heat damage while styling
- Ingredients to avoid in haircare products
- Shielding your hair against the sun
ARE YOU WASHING YOUR HAIR TOO OFTEN?
According to experts, there’s no straightforward answer to how often you should be shampooing your hair, mainly as washing schedules are determined by personal factors, such as hair type, texture, colour and natural oil production. However, in most circumstances it’s suggested that daily shampooing is too frequent and can lead to an increase in split ends, dryness, breakage or a lack of elasticity and movement. Shampoo is designed to clean the scalp and hair by removing excess oil and dirt. So, if overused, it can also strip away the healthy oils naturally produced by the body that keep the hair and scalp hydrated. Like anything, it’s always better to catch the signs of damage early. However, if you feel like your hair is past the point of split end redemption, not all is lost!
Although it may sound obvious, the best advice we can give is to retrain your hair to stop overproducing oil by altering your washing schedule. The best way to break the cycle is to gradually wean yourself off daily shampooing. To start with, we’d recommend washing your hair every other day. Then after a couple of weeks, add in another day of ‘not washing’ between your next session, and continue like this until you eventually reach one or two washes per week. A hair hack whilst breaking the cycle is to only use shampoo on your roots, so that when you rinse, the ends of your hair will be cleaned as the water runs out. This should help to reduce the amount of product used.
Are you ready to break the cycle? To get started, we’d recommend using our Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo & Conditioner. This sulfate-free, clarifying duo is formulated with silk and milk proteins to boost moisture and reduce flyaways by preventing the bonds from breaking. The result? Soft, silky and hydrated hair.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HAIR AGAINST HARD WATER
Hard water has a high number of dissolved minerals, particularly those like calcium and magnesium. Naturally, as pure rainwater filters through the ground it binds to these mineral salts. Over time this can result in limescale build up in bathroom and kitchen utilities, mineral deposit on glassware and tableware, and even causing fading in clothes after washing.
Despite approximately 16 million households in the UK living with hard water according to Kind Water, specialists have found it can have an adverse effect on the scalp and hair, leaving it dry, prone to tangles and vulnerable to breakage. Why? The minerals found in hard water mix with shampoo to form a salt, which leaves a residue on the hair’s surface. This film of excess mineral buildup tends to block the hydrating ingredients found in conditioners and prevents moisture from entering the strands. In short, this reduces the effectiveness of the conditioner, which in turn leads to increased usage. As a result, in the long run the hair is left dull, brittle, and discoloured, and the scalp itchy and dry.
To protect against hard water and combat damage to your follicles, you could try using a deep nourishing conditioner, such as the Neäl & Wølf Harmony Intensive Care Treatment, as a hair mask once a week to lock in moisture. Designed to repair damaged hair, Harmony has been specially formulated with a unique combination of intensive conditioners that deliver an instant transformation in texture and appearance, leaving the hair shiny, healthy-looking and more manageable.
TIPS FOR AVOIDING HEAT DAMAGE WHILE STYLING
Before applying heat to the hair, it’s vital that you identify and understand your hair type and choose an appropriate styling tool to suit it. With numerous different hair types comes a vast choice of tools available on the cosmetic market. For example, if you have finer hair, it’s often better to choose a tool with a ceramic surface, as these generate infrared warmth that’s gentle yet effective enough to hold a style. If you have naturally curly hair, you might find it beneficial to use a diffuser attachment on a hair dryer, as it will disperse the air to reduce frizz and lower the chances of the heat disrupting the natural wave pattern.
Let’s be real though. All styling tools have the potential to cause damage to your hair, even if you take the required steps to protect it. Hair is at its weakest when it’s wet, as the natural hydrogen bonds that keep the strands robust can be easily broken down by water. High heat from a styling tool can do this too, and while the damage may be subtle to begin with, over time it can impair the inner layer of hair, commonly known as the cortex. Unfortunately, this can lead to your hair finding it difficult to cope with breakage, colouring or further styling.
If you can’t part with your favourite pair of straighteners, our best advice for shielding your hair against heat styling is to turn down the temperature down and use a heat protection spray, such as our best-selling Miracle Rapid Blow-dry Mist. Miracle has a special blend of saintly ingredients to help add moisture to the hair and protect it from heat damage. Enriched with shea butter, Miracle also helps to reduce frizz whilst styling, with the added benefit of avocado oil to help strengthen the hair from within.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN HAIRCARE PRODUCTS
Keeping your hair hydrated is one of the most important steps to take for healthy, happy results. Whether you have fine or coarse hair, any good haircare routine should begin with a shampoo and conditioner that contains hydrating, saintly ingredients.
Whilst all our products are free from toxins including sulfates, parabens, DEA and TEA, if you’re looking to add thickness and strength to your locks, our award-winning Amplify Volumising Shampoo & Conditioner are fine hair miracle workers for retaining moisture and adding incredible body.
SHIELDING YOUR HAIR AGAINST THE SUN
With the warmer months just around the corner, it’s important to ensure our hair is healthy and protected against the Sun. Research commissioned by Philip Kingsley discovered 26% of women in the UK found that sunshine was likely to cause the most hair damage while on holiday, with the same amount suffering from scalp burn. UV exposure from the Sun can break down proteins in the hair, especially on the outermost layers of the shaft which experience the most intense radiation, hence why those with finer hair can experience more damage. Those with darker hair pigments have a better chance at filtering out the UV rays than those with fairer hair, however this filtering action is what causes hair to lighten with increased sun exposure.
For Sun damage prevention, we recommend using the Neäl & Wølf Velvet Nourishing Hair Oil. Not only does Velvet provide UV protection, it also contains a blend of natural oils including Argan, Avocado and Jojoba, designed to transform rough, unruly locks into smoother, more nourished styles. Simply apply a small amount onto damp hair before styling, or alternatively on a finished look.
Check out our full range of cruelty-free haircare products today.