Becca: Is it true that the more you do stuff with your hair (like braids, straightening, etc) the more likely you are to get split ends or cause breakage and even more likely if your hair is wet?
Sarah: Yes, definitely. Wet hair is much more fragile than dry hair. Putting your hair in a ponytail can easily cause you hair to break because the hair expands as it dries and the ponytail holder cause stress to the strand, possibly causing it to break off. The same goes for tight braids. Not using a heat protection product on your hair when blow drying or using mechanical heat (like flat ironing or curling) can actually cause it to melt from the inside, even if you can’t tell from the outside. NEVER use mechanical heat on wet hair!
Becca: Is there any ways that you can make your hair grow faster by eating certain things, or using certain things?
Sarah: Hair is made primarily of a unique protein structure, so protein will help keep your hair healthy, and healthy hair grows faster. A protein rich diet is healthy for you and your hair! You can also ask your hairdresser for a scalp massage the next time you come in to stimulate your hair and scalp. A scalp massage is also great for this time of year when your hair and scalp dry out from the weather outside and dryness indoors because it stimulates the scalp’s natural oils.
Becca: How can you tell if you have split ends?
Sarah: Think of a fraying piece of thread. You’ll see thin hairs peeling off of a strand of hair. Don’t pull the hairs apart or you’ll ruin the entire strand of hair. Split ends are a problem much deeper than just the outside. They start in the cortex (the inner layer) and work their way out to the cuticle (the protective outside). The only way to keep them healthy is to cut them off. Catch them while they’re just starting, you’ll have less to cut off. If you wait too long, you have to end up needing to cut off a few inches. Your hairdresser should then apply protein reconditioning to mend the ends and prevent them from splitting again. You can help keep them healthy by using a protein leave-in product, like TIGI’s Ego Boost.
Becca: How do you determine your hair type?
Sarah: Hair types are divided into three categories: fine, medium, and coarse. You can usually tell by touch. Coarse hair feels like wool, medium hair feels like cotton, and fine hair feels like silk. Coarse hair may be described as “wiry” and may be difficult to make completely smooth and flat. Fine hair, on the other hand, may easily have “flyaways” and tends to get weighed down if using too much heavier product.
Becca: I've heard that you can train your hair to produce less oil by washing it less, is that true? If so, is it bad to wash your hair every day?
Sarah: Using a harsh shampoo on your hair everyday can strip its natural oils and cause your sebaceous (oil) glands to produce more. The hair must always be coated with a layer of natural scalp oil in order to maintain a healthy pH. So yes, it’s possible it may be bad to wash every day, depending on your hair. But if your hair is gross and oily by the end of the day, not washing your hair will just turn you into a greaseball. If your hair is normal, it’s best to wash it every other day if possible. The dry-haired ladies can go 3-5 days without washing if they want to (though some girls say they feel disgusting if they don’t wash it for one or two days). If you wash your hair every day, just make sure your shampoo’s cleansing factor is moderate and not deep cleansing. If you’re not sure, ask your hairstylist if he or she knows (they may not know unless you bought it from them).
Becca: Should you deep condition your hair once a month? If so what should you use?
Sarah: Deep conditioning is great for if your hair is damaged or dry. Ask your hairdresser for a deep conditioning treatment and how often they recommend it for your specific hair type. Having it done at the salon would be your best option, but if you can’t do that, you could wet your hair and towel dry it, work in a generous amount of any thick-consistency conditioner, wrap your hair in a towel and leave it in for 15-20 minutes, then rinse it out.
Becca: Is a clarifying shampoo necessary?
Sarah: A clarifying shampoo removes residue, like dirt, oil, or product buildup. It usually contains sulfates, so see the next question…
Becca: Are sulfates drying and should people not use products with it in them?
Sarah: Sulfates are a deep cleansing ingredient. Sulfate shampoos are ideal for people who really need to get rid of a lot of residue in their hair and on their scalp. They are not made for everyday use. The sulfates clean deep into the hair shaft and strip the natural oils. So yes, sulfates can be drying if used too often. Since they are so intense, they tend to make colored hair fade, so it’s definitely not for people with colored hair or drier hair types, like curly or ethnic hair.
Sarah is in cosmetology school and she has her own blogs, http://modstylelounge.blogspot.com/ and http://sarahattruegold.blogspot.com/, so go check them out! Thanks again Sarah for answering my questions!