Friday, February 11, 2011

30 Days to Your Healthiest Hair

Sulfates are detergents used in shampoo among other cleansing agents and are responsible for producing lather in products.   I have heard many claims that Sodium Laureth Sulfate causes cancer.  Though I do not believe that we have any evidence to support the “sulfate as a carcinogen” claim, I do believe that consumers should avoid sulfates.   Please understand my viewpoint is one theory in health and beauty based on my personal experimentation as a hairstylist within my client base.  And I would encourage you to research, and experiment with your own hair and develop your own ideas and processes that work for you and your hair and scalp. 
Sulfate is a detergent that is not necessary for daily use by any means; it can be drying to the hair and scalp and can leave the hair brittle.  Not only does over-washing your hair cause the scalp to be dry and flaky, I have many clients that were washing their hair too often that were experiencing other scalp issues such as the over production of sebum causing their hair to look very oily within hours after shampooing the hair. Check the label on your shampoo and conditioner.  Look for ingredients like: ammonium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate.  These are all sulfates and should be avoided for optimum hair health. 

So, are you ready to have your hair to start working FOR you?  Wouldn’t you love to spend less time styling your hair, waste less time fighting frizz (or avoid the “poofy”ness that most men with shorter hair experience)?! I would like to encourage you to stop looking at shampooing your hair as cleaning your hair.  Sure, shampoo is loaded with surfactants that eliminate oil and product from the surface of the hair and scalp.  However, as you may recall from your high school physics class, a surfactant reduces the surface tension of water, thus aiding you in cleaning your hair.  Without shampoo you CAN clean your hair; it just takes more agitation, a little more elbow grease if you will.  So, if you want to clean your hair without shampoo you need to scrub your scalp much longer in order to remove the dirt and grime from your hair. 

I have had clients that have quit using shampoo all together and the results have been 100% positive. (The only negative feedback I have received is from those who have not been able to stick it out through the initial adjustment period)

I believe in the Curly Girl Method 100%.  It sounds ridiculous, but the changes that I have seen in the overall look and feel of my client’s hair have been a pivotal in changing the focus of my career as a hairstylist, and has challenged what I believed to be the fundamentals of hairstyling.

As Americans we have an obsession with cleanliness.  Though sometimes, I’m not even sure that we understand what clean means.  Some clients tell me that without shampoo or without lather, they do not feel that their hair is clean.  But when you think about it, why is shampoo clean?  Do people think that it is antibacterial?  Also, what do we do to our hair that makes it so dirty?  Many of my clients use working out as an example of something that makes their hair very “dirty”.  But what is perspiration anyway- it’s just water and a little salt.  So, take the hair challenge, if you dare!  Try going 30+ days without using shampoo and see how awesome your hair looks.  Instead, use a conditioner to cleanse your hair.  This method is especially beneficial for curly hair.

  1. Start with very wet hair
  2. Scrub the scalp with a generous amount of conditioner for 2 to 3 minutes as if you were using shampoo BUT use a larger amount of conditioner than you would normally use if it were shampoo. If you add a little water to your hair at this point you can almost create lather.
  3. Rinse
  4. Ring out the excess water from your hair and apply the conditioner from scalp to ends.  Use your fingers to comb the conditioner throughout your hair.  Scrub/agitate your scalp again.  Leave the conditioner on for a minimum of two minutes
  5. Rinse. 

Note that the first application of conditioner is to be used to cleanse the scalp, just like you would cleanse with shampoo.  The second application of conditioner conditions and ensures that you have sufficiently removed all product from your hair. 

I know this sounds time consuming.  However quit using shampoo, I would predict that most hair and scalp issues that you may be experiencing (oily hair, dry scalp, even excessive hair loss) will dissipate or improve drastically during this trial period.  You will also spend less time styling your hair and it will behave better once it is adjusted to this regimen.

If you want to start weaning yourself from the bubbles, know that your hair will take 2-4 weeks to get used to your new regimen.  Find out how to cleanse your hair without shampoo.

Your hair will most likely look worse during these initial weeks, so it is a commitment but the results are totally worth it!

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