Have you ever wondered about the difference between conditioner, deep conditioner, and leave in conditioner? What's the difference between a rinse out treatment and a leave in treatment? Are leave in treatments styling products or haircare? What should my regular haircare regimen be?
Have no fear, Auntie Lynn is here to sort it all out. This will probably be a picturless post, I would really rather share some great info than spend time hunting up pics, and since tomorow is a hairwash day, I need to get up early. On the days I have to wash my hair my shower can take about 30 minutes, and it will take me an hour to blow dry, grrrr, the curse of thick hair.
So to break it down, there are 4 basic types of haircare products:shampoo, conditioner, treatment, leave-in.
1) Shampoo: so we all know what shampoo is for, but in case you have been living under a rock, shampoos sole purpose is too clean the hair. Cleansing the hair removes residue, dirt and oil, and enables treatments to penetrate better. For most of us, we want to shampoo everytime we wet our hair (there is an exception for curly haired folks, but thats another blog post)
2) conditioner: This is usually the last step in the shower. The main purpose of conditioner is to close down the cuticle of the hair shaft and bring the hair back down to it's proper PH level (both water and shampoo have a higher ph level than your hair, if you raise this level and don't bring it back down. While many conditioners do moisturize the hair and make it feel soft, mostly we want to lower the ph, and lay the cuticle back down so hair detangles easier, and we want to hold in the active
ingerdients in your products. You want to use a conditioner every time you get your hair wet.
3)Treatments: Treatments are designed to treat the hair, whether to address a specific problem, or just to keep the hair healthy. Most people should have treatments as part of a regular regimen, but these should not be done every time you wash your hair, too much of a good thing can actually cause more problems with your hair. These are usually products that will be rinsed out of the hair. Most treatments are done after the shampoo but before the conditioner, although there are some treatments that are applied to the hair before you shampoo. The two main types of treatments are protein (a.k.a. reconstructing treaments) and moisturizing (a.k.a. deep conditioner). Protein treatments deal with repairing the hair and adding strength back in. Hair is made up of 70 to 85% protein. Imagine that inside your hairshaft there are these spiraling ladders made up of protein, when the protein in the hair is damaged imagine rungs being broken off these ladders. The more protein you lose, the weaker your hair, until it breaks off. These protein bonds can be broken thru perms and chemical straightenening, haircolor and bleach, swimming in chlorine, excessive heat styling. Protein treatments help to replace the damage done and keep your hair strong. Regular protein treatments will also help your haircolor take better and last longer. Moisture treatments help replace any moisture loss we suffer from chemicals, heat styling, sun exposure. Hair is made up of 10 to 15% moisture. Even if you don't style your hair with heat, or get chemical services done, if your hair is naturally dry, you will benefit from regular treatments.
There are also treatments for smoothing hair, refreshing color, adding body, etc.
4)Leave-In Products: These are products that are usually apllied to towel dried hair. The purpose is to further support whatever your hair needs. For example, if you have very dry,frizzy hair, a leave-in made for your hair type will give extra moisture and frizz control to your hair. They also help with detangling. Also, if you don't like using styling products, leave-ins will give some protection from the sun and heat styling.
So that's the basics. Part 2 will deal with finding the right products for your hair. Part 3 will deal with how best to use them.
I apologize for the science lesson (boring I know), but I feel it's really important to understand your hair so you can make the best choices as a consumer. I actually held back on the chemistry a bit. But for any of you chem heads out there, here's a quick science/hair lesson.
The composition of hair:
*70-85% Protein: adds strength
*10-15% Moisture:softens and adds flexibility
*3-6% Lipids: keeps the hair supple (oils)
*1% Pigment: this is where the color comes from
*.05-.5% Minerals:attracts and binds the proteins together(a good reason to take your vitamin and mineral supplement)
*.1-.5% carbohydrates: Intercellular cement that binds moisture and protein together.(another reason why low carb diets are bad for you, we need carbs.
And with that, I am off to bed.