Column by Diane Honey
The pursuit and maintenance of healthy hair easily soaks up a nice chunk of our time, effort and paychecks. Many people are confused about where to start to reverse damage caused by heat, chemicals, and general neglect. Most people I meet always ask me a ton of questions regarding my hair, and my personal journey to getting healthy hair was long, and it wasn’t always easy. So, I wanted to do a column shortly answering questions that I’m most frequently asked about hair.
“How do I repair my damaged hair?”
You can’t, at least not permanently. When hair is damaged by heat and chemicals, you can’t reverse that damage. If you have curly hair you may be able to easier notice damage, as curls become mashed, stretched, and lifeless when it is damaged. Curly hair should have some amount of shrinkage, as it’s quite physically impossible to have curly hair that is the same length curly as it is straight. Shrinkage is also a measure of elasticity in hair, so when your hair doesn’t snap back, its damaged. The only way to get rid of “fix” damaged hair is to cut it off. You can shirk the damage for a while by doing protein treatments, but it’s not a permanent solution. Let those ends go girl!
“How do I get hair like yours?”
You cant! LOL. You shouldn’t want to either. There have been times where I wished my hair curled the same way someone elses did or had more effortless volume. But, when it comes to getting healthier hair, you have to work with what you have, because that’s what looks best on you. Everyone’s hair is different, so the practices that work for some people may never work for you. (Example: my hair is chemical resistant, so I can dye it 5x and experience little, if any, damage. So people who are chemical sensitive can’t gain much from listening to my experience with chemical processes) In the end, listening to your hair, figuring out your hair “type” and learning what ingredients and products your hair loves and hates, will get you the most beautiful results that you’re looking for.
“What is my hair type?”
Andre Walker, hair stylist to Oprah Winfrey and many celebs, created the hair typing system as a way to differentiate between curl patterns and waves, and try to find the best products for each type. Straight hair is type 1. Wavy hair is in the type 2 range (2a,2b,2c), Curly hair is in the type 3 range (3a,3b,3c). Very curly and kinky hair is type 4 (4a,4b,4c). While personally, I like labels as a tool for recognizing differences and acknowledging different needs + experiences, the hair typing system falls short. First, there are people with many hair types in one head (I have 3b and 3c). And that system focuses mainly on texture and curl pattern as opposed to many other things that affect hair (density, porosity, strand thickness, sensitivity to protein, genetic hair concerns). Two people with 3a hair will likely have completely different hair care regimens because of the differences in their hair. Finding your hair “type” means taking all of these variables into account so you can find the best products and practices to foster your hair health and growth!
If you’re revamping your hair regimen + want to start taking better care of your hair, here’s how to start:
1. Eat right!
- foods like salmon, spinach, almonds, eggs, and avocados are great for hair health and encouraging growth.
2. Test yourself or visit a stylist
Give yourself a porosity test, density test, or thickness test for your strands. There are many websites that detail how to do each. You can also visit a professional hair stylist for a consultation and find out. This is an important step in figuring out how to care for your hair
3. Incorporate standard healthy hair practices into your routine
Shampooing at least once a week, deep conditioning every week, hot oil scalp massages, trimming or dusting your ends regularly, sleeping on satin pillowcases, and detangling gently with a conditioner that gives hair “slip” are all things that have been tried and true when it comes to hair, and are staples in any hair care regimen.
I hope this column helps you guys show your hair a little more love!