If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. The more you do to your hair, the better it may look, but the more trouble you will have with it over time. Okay, you’ve probably never heard it like that, but you know exactly what we mean. Styling products are a slippery slope, especially if you’ve noticed your hair thinning over time.
What Happens When You Use Hair Styling Products?
To understand the chaos that styling products cause, you need to come to grips with the way your hair grows.
The hair on your head grows for a couple of years (that phase you’re probably very comfortable with). Then, while that strand is still attached to your head, it falls into a sleep mode of sorts. This resting phase lasts about two months. Then, your hair falls out (you’ve probably become familiar with this stage as well). If you have healthy hair follicles and roots, they will gather strength before sprouting new hairs.
If you use styling products occasionally (like weddings and similarly happy occasions) and you wash out any chemicals within 24 hours, you shouldn’t experience too many problems.
But… when you regularly use styling products, whether it’s mousse and hairspray or that straight iron that you can’t get enough of, you can expect some hair damage. You might think it’s just build up from the product that you use, but it’s a lot more than that.
Next time you have a chance, take a look at the scalp of someone who is or who is going bald. You’re likely to notice that it’s rather shiny. This is a buildup of sebum – your natural scalp oil. Typically, this oil would travel from the roots to the ends of your hair – though it obviously cannot when there is nowhere for it to go.
Now, the problem with styling aids is that these products tend to trap sebum and natural oils at scalp level. This means that the ends don’t get the moisture they need. Your hair will become brittle before it breaks off at the scalp. If sebum settles at this level, it can become hardened like plaque on your teeth. It doesn’t sound like any fun – and it’s not.
The problem is compounded when you begin to shampoo out these products. As much as you think you should clean your hair – you’re not helping matters by doing it too much. Shampooing your hair breaks down the sebum and removes it as you rinse – instead of blocked sebum, you have no scalp oil at all. (Incidentally, if you have a buildup of sebum, you might try desperately to wash it off, but by the time it becomes thickened and hard, it may just be too late.)
And, if you think heat styling aids like straight irons, curling irons and even hair dryers are any better than the products themselves, you have another think coming. Heat, regardless of the form, strips the all important cuticle and exposes the cortex. In other words, this is hell on earth for your hair and as close as you can get to stripping your hair of its life.
What Does This Mean for You?
If your hair is constantly styled and you always have products in your hair, you should take advantage of any deep treatments you can get. It also means you shouldn’t wait too long to give us a call if you notice any thinning of your hair. It might be too late sooner before you know it. (Not to scare you or anything.)