Every few months or so, I like to collect questions from the readers of my column and devote an article specifically to the questions I recieve through e-mail, SuiteTalk, or from the comment and discussion areas of the page. I welcome questions and comments from the readers and will try to respond to them personally, if time permits. So without further ado, I give you the answers to some of your most recent haircare questions.
Q: Why does my hair dye seem to wash out even if I wait three days after dyeing it to wash it?
A: Many factors contribute to the fading of haircolor. Environmental factors, such as pollution and air quality, will even affect your haircolor. Living in smog-filled cities or being surrounded by a cloud of cigarette smoke for a long time will make the color appear dull. Water quality will affect your haircolor as well. Water laden with minerals and metals will alter the vibrancy of the color. Shampoos that are too harsh will most certainly cause premature fading. But how well your color stays bright and vibrant is most influenced by hair porosity. Porosity refers to the hair’s ability to absorb water. Highly porous hair contains many microscopic holes, and it is through these holes that haircolor escapes. Temporary dyes, which do not penetrate through the hair’s cuticle (outermost layer of the hair comprised of overlapping scales), will always fade faster than semi-permanent and permanent dyes, which deposit color inside the hairstrand. Temporary colors are most affected by environmental factors, since the dye is coating only the outermost layer of the hairstrand. Conversely, hair that is not very porous is difficult to color due to the lack of holes in the cuticle. Ideally, medium-porosity hair will take color best. Unfortunately, porosity is something a person is usually stuck with for life. I don’t care what the commercials say, if you have naturally porous hair, all the conditioners and treatments in the world won’t make the hair change on the structural level. Conditioners improve the hair’s condition by temporarily filling the microscopic hole with proteins.
Q: What products will help prevent breakage?
A: Hair that is weak and prone to damage can benefit from a wide variety of products because there are numerous factors associated with breakage. Breakage is characteristic of the aging process; the older you get, the more brittle your hair will become. An excellent product is Y-Serum by Nexxus, which will restore hair over time to a more youthful state. If your breakage is caused by a bad perm or over-processed color, the hair has been severely damaged and should be cut off and allowed to grow back into a healthy state. Conditioners will temporarily help, but their effects aren’t permanent. Hair that has been destroyed by harsh chemicals cannot be rejuvenated. Any hairstylist who tries to peddle some miracle product promising to bring hair back from the dead is just using you to make retail commission. If the hair is naturally weak and fragile, avoid perms and bleach. Invest in a shampoo and conditioner that contain ceramides or keratin, these ingredients will help add strength by improving the structural integrity of the hair. Always remember that shampoos and conditioners are like salt and pepper; they can only improve the quality and taste of a meal so much. Salt and pepper and spices and seasonings won’t bring back a severely charred pork chop.