While the prospect of visiting a new destination is one of the most exciting feelings there is, the thought of having to pack for it can be extremely stressful. So many factors come into play when deciding what to take with you and what to leave behind.
Clothing is an absolute necessity and will take up significant space in your suitcase, but what about your makeup and your hair care? You still want to retain some of the luxuries of home while you’re away… And you also shouldn’t gamble on the fact that the place you are staying will provide hair care products, or that they will even work with your hair!
It’s all about being strategic when packing and deciding what products will be the most useful to you while on vacation.
Consider this your good hair vacation checklist.
Organize Your Suitcase
To make sure you have ample room for all of your beauty must-haves, invest in packing cubes for your clothing. They’ll not only help you keep your suitcase organized by like items, but they’ll also make it easier to see what you’ve already packed. You’ll be less likely to overpack!
Aim For Travel Sized Bottles or Use Up Those Samples
If you do not want to check a bag, pay close attention to TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule.
You may bring in your carry-on bag:
- Liquid containers of 3.4 ounces or less per item
- 1 clear, quart-sized zip bag
- 1 bag per passenger
You know all the tiny makeup and skincare freebies you often get as free gifts with purchase? These pack up super compact and leave more room in your suitcase for other things. Traveling is a fun time to try new products and experiment with your look. The best part is, at the end of the trip, you can toss the leftovers to free up space.
Shampoo & Conditioner
Choose a shampoo and conditioner duo that will help minimize the need to wash frequently while you are away. Try our gentle blowout line in travel size to keep your hair clean and voluminous.
Pack Multi-purpose Styling Products & Tools
First and foremost, if you are traveling overseas, make sure to bring a converter specific to the country you are headed to. This will ensure you can use your styling tools without any problems. And instead of taking multiple styling tools, try an iron that allows you to both straighten and curl your hair.
It’s a good idea to bring products that can be used in different ways to combat a multitude of hair concerns depending on where you are traveling to. You never know when you’ll need a little extra protection against frizz!
Heat Protectant Is Always A Must
If you bring styling tools with you, this is one product you’ll want to travel with! Not only does it protect against the heat of your tools, it also protects your hair and hair color against the sun’s damaging rays.
Add Some Accessories
Don’t forget the hair accessories when you pack for a trip. Make sure to have lots of bobby pins and clips to tackle frizz and fly-aways.
Some cute, colorful elastics will help you to tie up your hair in a snap (especially if you want to keep it out of the water).
Make sure to bring statement accessories like a hat and a lightweight scarf to help shield your hair from the sun and look cute at the same time!
Learn A Go-To Hairstyle
If you’re not too keen on heat-styling while on vacation, why not brush up on your braiding or bun techniques? A sleek, low or messy high bun makes for a classic, low maintenance hairstyle that is practically weatherproof.
Braids are also a great option because there are so many variations (think: Dutch, French, fishtail, double, etc.) They can give you two days’ worth of hairstyles because when you take the braids out on the second day, you are left with some gorgeous waves.
Going to a salon for professional highlights and hair coloring is expensive and time consuming. You can dye and highlight your hair with a $1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%) at home. Just make sure to go slowly and read all the tips below to be safe. While a salon is THE safest way to dye your hair, it is possible to dye your hair safely at home. Of course, you could also dump a whole bottle on your head and come out with a terrible, blotchy dye job. So read these tips first!
IS HYDROGEN PEROXIDE SAFE?
- Permanent and demi-permanent dyes at the salon and drugstore contain peroxide and often ammonia, so you are putting some of the same chemicals into your hair that you would pay a professional to. The difference is that a beautician is trained in how much to use, how long to leave it on, etc.
- Peroxide in large quantities should not have prolonged contact with skin. Small amounts, however, are not harmful.
- Dye your hair safely by using an old towel, donning an old tee shirt, and wearing gloves (more prep tips below).
- Make sure you are using 3% hydrogen peroxide. Check the “active ingredients” label for a 3% solution.
WHAT COLOR WILL PEROXIDE MAKE MY HAIR?
The way peroxide reacts to your hair is one of the biggest factors. If you go slowly and test strands to get the color you want, in most cases, the dye will make your hair one or two shades lighter.
BROWN HAIR RUNS THE RISK OF TURNING ORANGE. TEST A HIDDEN SAMPLE FIRST.
- Dark brown hair –> likely going to turn chestnut brown. Too much may lead to an orangey brown so stop before it’s too late.
- Medium brown hair –> likely going to turn to golden brown hair.
- Light brown hair –> likely going to turn dirty blond.
- Red hair –> likely going to turn an orange before moving onto strawberry blond.
- Dirty blond hair –> likely going to turn light blonde.
- Light blonde –> likely going to turn whitish blond (if your hair is already light blonde, why are you dyeing it????)
SHOULD I GO TO A PROFESSIONAL?
The answer is yes, if:
- You have damaged, permed, or color-treated hair
- You want to drastically change the color of your hair
- You hate the results of your DIY job
WHAT YOU NEED TO DYE YOUR HAIR WITH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
- An old tee shirt to wear
- Old towel to wrap around your neck
- Gloves to protect your hands
- Claw or butterfly clips to isolate sections of hair
- Toothbrush, cotton balls, sponge, or small brush to apply (for highlights)
- Clean spray bottle (for whole head)
- Aluminum foil (for highlights)
- Plastic shower cap (for whole head of hair)
- Bowl to pour small amount of peroxide into (for highlights)
- Hair dryer (optional – gentle heat speeds up the process)
- Cold water for a thorough rinsing after
- Deep conditioner
PREP YOUR HAIR
- Stop any hair treatments a few weeks before you plan to dye your hair.
- Avoid using extra chemicals in your hair, like hairspray, gel, mouse, and especially stronger treatments like color jobs, straightener, perms, etc.
- No heat. Avoid heating your hair, including using a hair dryer, heating iron, curlers, etc.
- Shampoo and condition your hair, then let it air dry. Start when your hair is damp as you’ll get better results.
- Test a small section of your hair underneath several layers and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and see if you like the color. Experiment with another discreet strand for more time in 15-minute increments until you get the color you like. Rinse each strand after you’re done.
- Get a buddy. If at all possible, get help from a friend. This will speed everything up (you don’t want one section of your hair to have peroxide in any longer than the rest). Plus, it’ll make applying the dye in the back of your head easier, and if you need a second opinion, voila!
HOW TO HIGHLIGHT YOUR HAIR WITH HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
- Start SLOWLY. I repeat, start very, very slowly. Everyone’s hair will react differently so it’s best to take it slowly at first. If you dive right in and don’t like the color, you’ll either be really pissed at your hair for several weeks or be forced to go to the salon for an expensive fix.
- You’ll need a new toothbrush, a small bowl for pouring the peroxide into, and a comb with a parting tool on one end to separate minute strands of hair. You’ll also want 5-10 butterfly clips to section off your hair. This is the best way to get an even, professional-looking dye job without paying big bucks! You can unclip each section, then reclip as your work through your head.
- Avoid skin. Large amounts of hydrogen peroxide that have prolonged contact with skin can irritate or burn the skin. A few drips here and there, however, should not have a harmful effect. (Hydrogen peroxide is used to disinfect wounds, after all.)
- First application. Grab a new toothbrush and dip it into a small bowl of hydrogen peroxide. With a comb that has a pointer parting tool at one end, grab a few strands of hair. Err on the side of fewer strands of hair. Think of taking only a very thing wedge amongst your head of hair. You don’t want your dye job to look clumpy. And you don’t want drastic color changes, which will make your highlights look very unnatural. On second thought, maybe that is the look you’re going for. (See below for dyeing your entire head of hair.)
- Apply heat (optional). Heating your hair with peroxide in it will speed the process. This is optional and if you are not sure how the peroxide is going to affect your hair, I’d hold off on using heat.
- Rinse with cold. Cold water will do the best job of getting the peroxide out and won’t further dry out your hair. Air dry as heat will further dry out your hair.
- Each day, follow the above steps to highlight your hair with peroxide. If you are doing your entire head (tips below) wait a week between dye jobs. Slow progress is better for your hair than an intense dye job, which can have disastrous effects on your hair color and quality.
- Enjoy the slow transformation of your hair color. You won’t get sandy blond hair overnight, which is a good thing. Depending on the starting color of your hair, past hair treatments including dye jobs or straightening jobs, and your hair texture, the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution will affect your hair uniquely. So, a slow transformation empowers you to stop at any time if you’re unhappy with the results. See below for what color peroxide will turn your hair.
HOW TO DYE ALL OF YOUR HAIR WITH PEROXIDE
- Read the steps in the section above “Before you dye your hair with hydrogen peroxide”
- Full head, slowly. Once you’ve experimented with very slow application to your hair and are happy with the way your hair reacts, dye your entire head of hair slowly with hydrogen peroxide Grab a small spray bottle and fill half with peroxide and half with water. Spritz your hair a few times every morning. You don’t want your hair to be wet or even damp. Just a few spritzes and that’s it. This is a quick and easy way to get an overall lightening effect but if you put too much in your hair, the peroxide will damage it. Since the peroxide spritz will cover your entire head, don’t expect highlights, but a lighter color everywhere. If you opt to put more than a few spritzes in your hair, see “Full head, fast.”
- Full head, fast. Grab an empty, clean bottle, mix a half cup of peroxide with a half cup of conditioner, then apply to your hair, taking care not to get any onto your face, hands, or skin. Use gloves. Watch this video (one of the better ones I’ve seen while researching this post) during which a girl mixes peroxide with baking soda, shampoo and conditioner, then rubs the gunk all over her hair to dye her entire head of hair a few shades lighter. The results are noticeable, and beautiful.
AFTER YOU DYE YOUR HAIR WITH PEROXIDE
- Massage rich conditioner into your hair. Don’t skimp! The dye will dry out your hair, and depending on how long you left it in, will really need special treatment. Leave on a bit longer than usual, then rinse.
- Skip washes. Shampooing your hair strips it of its natural oils, further drying your hair. Shampoo as infrequently as possible, and use dry powder shampoo when you need to clean it.
- Limit heat. Use a hair dryer, hot curlers, or a straightening iron no more than once a week. Your hair needs to stay as hydrated as possible during and after the dye process, so embrace air drying for now.
- Restore shine. Give your hair an olive oil treatment or a mayo treatment to get your shiny hair back.
- Olive oil treatment. Massage warm olive oil into your hair and scalp until your entire head of hair is moist with olive oil. Wrap your hair in a towel and let it sit for a couple of hours. Wash out with shampoo and conditioner, then enjoy your shiny hair!
- Mayo treatment. Like the olive oil treatment, you can make your hair shiny with a mayonnaise treatment. Massage 1/2 cups of mayonnaise into your hair (more if you have a LOT of hair). Wrap your mayo-y head in a plastic shower cap, then grab your hair dryer and apply heat until your head is warm (a few minutes). You can also pull on a wool cap to heat up your hair. Once warm, turn off your hair dryer and let it sit for at least one hour. The very warm mayonnaise makes your hair very shiny.
OTHER NATURAL HAIR DYES TO LIGHTEN YOUR HAIR COLOR
- If you’re unhappy with the way peroxide reacts to your hair, or you want a more natural method of highlighting your hair, try squeezing lemon juice into your hair and sitting in the sun. This is a slow, gradual process to lighten and maintain a lighter hair color. Squeeze in enough juice to make your hair very damp, then sit in the sun for one hour. Condition or use one of the restorative treatments below as the juice will really dry out your hair. Repeat regularly.
- Cinnamon and honey and olive oil really do work!
- Henna (no surprise there!)
- Chamomile or black tea
- Baking soda
- Apple cider vinegar
- Lots of sunshine!
We pulled together some Spring hair care tips to help you survive the weather change.
Prepare for April Showers
Put hair in a ponytail, braid, then twist around itself and pin. Don’t worry about perfection — the more tousled and textured it looks, the better. If your strands are shorter, use a bobby pin to pin the front section behind your ear; it adds polish to your look, keeps hair out of your face, and takes seconds.
During this record-breaking snowfall winter season, not only does the air become very dry, so does your hair! Snipping off the dead ends is the first step to freshening up for spring. Rule of thumb is to get a haircut to remove split ends every 8 to 12 weeks.
Fight the Frizz!
All that heat and humidity may be a welcome change, but it always comes with a little bit of frizz. Don’t settle for the crunchiness, though. When picking out your mousse, look for ones with polymers or copolymers. This type of ingredient coats your hair for protection and combats humidity. Read those labels and you’ll be one step ahead of the heat!
Condition Like Crazy
This sounds pretty obvious for avoiding dry ends but it is even more critical to condition your hair in the spring so it’s strong enough to survive the summer. Shove your current conditioner to the bottom shelf for now and invest in some extra-moisture conditioner for the season. If it starts to seem limp or oily, just cut back on your regimen a little.
The sun can damage your hair just as it can damage your skin. Slathering your skin with SPF 30 won’t do much for your hair, but UV protecting shampoo will aid in minimizing the sun’s effects, especially on color-treated hair. Say “No” to unwanted highlights and dryness!
Clean Out the Chlorine
It’s that time! Parties and lazy pool days are on the way, which means the harsh chemicals in chlorine pools are as well. Don’t miss out on a game of water volleyball; clean your hair afterward with clarifying shampoo and you’ll be good to go. As long as you clean it out, those chemicals won’t stand a chance.
For an extra protective step, coat your hair in conditioner before you hit the pool. The conditioner prevents your strands from absorbing as much water while deep conditioning. It’s a win both ways!
Buzzin’ for Balayage
The days are sunnier, so your hair color should be too! If you typically get highlights, ask your colorist for a technique called balayage. The Balayage is a French word meaning to sweep or to paint. It allows for a sun-kissed natural looking hair color with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines.
If you decide to go lighter with your hair color:
- Wash and condition your hair with cool water
- Ensure that you or your hair stylist sets your hair color using heat and then allow it to cool prior to rinsing the color from your hair
- Use color safe shampoos and conditioners
You don’t need us to tell you that your hair needs to be treated well if it is going to look and feel healthy. Following these easy tips will ensure that your hair is ready for all of the fun in the sun that spring and summer have to offer.
Here are some simple and unique options for lightening your hair naturally.
First, lemon juice, diluted half and half with distilled water, will lighten dark blond or light brown hair and won’t leave reddish tones unless your hair already has them. Indeed, this is the most widely used natural hair lightener for a reason.
So, vinegar, like raw apple cider vinegar, will leave reddish highlights in the same hair color. To start, mix apple cider vinegar 50/50 with distilled water. Next, spray it on all over to lighten all of your hair or apply with a cotton ball or brush for strands of highlights. Lastly, leave on for 30 minutes, rinse out, and dry as usual.
Begin by diluting the hydrogen peroxide half and half with water. Next, apply as directed above and test after 15-20 minutes. Note that peroxide will lighten quickly without the worry of drying out like commercial hair bleaches. Lastly, once you get to the shade you want, rinse your hair well. Indeed, for those wanting to know how to lighten hair, peroxide is another very popular method!
Chamomile is great to lighten darker hair. First, brew a really strong cup of chamomile tea and let it cool. Next, apply to individual strands of hair for highlights, or pour over entire head for all over color. Lastly, go out into the sun and let it dry, usually about 30 minutes. Finish by washing out and styling as usual.
On most hair, henna will only darken, but on very dark brown or black hair, henna can lighten and leave reddish highlights. Use about 3 tablespoons of henna powder to a ½ cup of boiling water. Let this sit for 12 hours or overnight. Then apply to your hair and let sit for 2-3 hours. Wash out well and style as you normally would.
Honey and Olive Oil
I’m not sure the exact mechanics of how this works, but it creates nice subtle highlights and softer hair. Warm ¼ cup of honey and add ¼ cup olive oil. Stir well to combine. Apply to your hair where you want the highlights and leave on for 30-60 minutes. About 5 minutes before you wash it out, work it into all of your hair, focusing on ends. Wash out well. If you are using the shower to wash it out, be very careful as oil can create a very slippery surface.
Take a half a cup of your normal conditioner and add enough cinnamon powder to make a thick paste. Apply this to your hair and leave on 3-4 hours or overnight. The longer you leave it, the richer the color. In the morning (or at the end of the 3-4 hours), wash it out well and style as you normally would. This will also soften your hair and leave it nice and silky. Bonus: cinnamon has antioxidants and natural sunscreen that will protect your hair from the damaging rays of the sun.
Honey and Vinegar
If you’re learning how to lighten hair, why not get both for the benefits of honey and vinegar at the same time? Use 2 cups of raw apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of honey. Add a tablespoon of warmed coconut oil and blend together well. Apply to your hair, wrap in an old towel, and leave on overnight. Shampoo out in the morning.
This is an old favorite. Use ¼ cup of chopped rhubarb to 2 cups of water. Boil these together and strain the juice. (You can add some sweetener and make a nice toast spread with what’s left!) Then after the juice has cooled, apply it to your hair and leave on for 10 minutes. Wash out well. Rhubarb contains pectin and will get sticky if left on your hair too long.
Simply make a paste with warm water and baking soda to lighten your hair. First, take about a ½ cup and add enough warm water to make a medium paste. We say this because if it’s too thin it won’t cover well and if it’s too thick it will dry out quickly and not work either. Now apply the paste and leave on 15-20 minutes. Check your hair to see what it looks like. If you are happy, wash it out. If you want it lighter, leave it on a bit longer.
You can crush 8-9 Vitamin C tablets and mix into the amount of shampoo you would normally use on your hair. Shampoo as usual and follow with conditioner.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon salt (any kind) with ½ cup of warm water. Leave on 15 minutes and rinse out. We all know how salt will highlight our hair after swimming in the ocean. Now you can do it at home. Be sure to follow up with our Sea Salt Spray to get those nice beach waves!
Notes on Results of Natural Hair Lightener
When talking about how to lighten hair naturally, we should point out that results can and will vary. Everyone’s hair is different and will absorb color or lose color at different rates. The ingredients and the type of water you use will all vary, resulting in slightly different outcomes.
Allow plenty of time and have fun experimenting with natural hair lightener.
The hardness or softness of your home’s water can impact your shower experience. That’s because the mineral buildup in hard water can make it difficult to create a sudsy lather when shampooing and conditioning your hair, so if you notice a lack of suds when you mix soap and water, you’re likely dealing with hard water.
Soft water is water that has a very low amount of dissolved minerals, either naturally or because the water has been treated to soften it. You have none of the buildup issues listed above, and your tap water tastes sort of salty.
Treating Hard Water Hair
If hard water is a problem in your home, you may notice your hair feels filmy and straw-like. This is because the excess minerals in the water combine with shampoo to for a curd-like substance that sticks to your hair, much like soap scum sticks to the walls of your shower. Your initial reaction may be to wash your hair more frequently to remove the soapy residue from your hair; however, the more often you shampoo your hair in hard water, the less moisture can effectively enter the hair strands. This results in dry, coarse, and frizzy hair, and also dries out your scalp, causing dandruff.
You also may notice your hair has a harder time retaining color. The minerals in hard water deposit on the hair shaft, often causing colored hair to turn a brassy tone. Frequent washing may also cause the color to fade quicker as well. If you struggle with hard water hair, the good news is there are solutions that can help you tame your mane.
- Use a Clarifying Shampoo
One way to keep your hair looking great and behaving well is to wash occasionally with a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoo is different than daily shampoo as it penetrates minerals in water and products left behind from styling, whereas ordinary shampoo works to solely remove excess oil from your hair and scalp.
It’s important to note that clarifying shampoos are designed to strip your hair of stubborn residue and mineral buildup and can be harsh on hair if used too frequently. To combat hard water hair, you should incorporate a clarifying shampoo into your shower routine one to two times per month.
- Create Your Own Vinegar Rinse
One do-it-yourself solution for protecting your hair against hard water is to use a vinegar rinse. Because vinegar is acidic, it works to remove the scaly buildup of minerals like magnesium and calcium from your hair.
Distilled white vinegar will work; however, the preferred type for this rinse is apple cider vinegar. To create a vinegar rinse, simply combine 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 3 cups of water. Apply this concoction close to the scalp after shampooing and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it. To retain the moisture in your hair, apply this rinse once a week.
- Rinse with Bottled or Filtered Water
Another option to protect your hair from hard water is to use bottled water or filtered water for the final rinse in your shower. While neither option offers a permanent solution to hard water in the home, this can temporarily resolve your hair’s unruliness from excessive mineral buildup.
Keeping bottles of water near your shower might seem inconvenient and can add up to be quite an expense over time. Another more sustainable alternative is to use filtered water from a pitcher or jug.
- Protect Your Hair for Good with a Water Softener
There are solutions to temporarily alleviate flat or oily hair caused by hard water, but for long-lasting, continual results, installing a water softener is the way to go.
Water softeners work to remove calcium and magnesium in your home’s water supply, leaving you with soft water and smooth, manageable hair. Soft water requires less soap and fewer rinses to achieve optimal results, meaning your hair will maintain its color and condition for much longer. Soft water also balances your hair’s pH level, so you’re left with silky smooth hair after every wash.
And, as an added bonus, soft water can help to reduce topical issues such as eczema flare-ups and dry skin.
Treating Soft Water Hair
Washing can be a challenge when water’s very soft. It takes longer to thoroughly cleanse hair of hairspray and other styling products, which results in product buildup on the scalp. This is especially an issue if you have naturally oily or fine hair—leftover products remaining on the scalp weigh hair down and make it feel greasier.
Wash your hair three times per week, doing at least two lathers and finishing with a very small amount of conditioner. It’s critical to use a good shampoo that is sulfate- and paraben-free. Always take the time to check the ingredient list. Volumizing/texturizing styling products will help offset limpness, but use them sparingly so there’s less to shampoo away.
Whether you have hard water or soft water might not even be a concern to you. And, if you don’t notice any adverse effects, there’s no reason to treat it. But if you have adjusted your beauty routine and don’t notice any improvement, it could be worth checking out.
As winter slowly draws to a close, many of us are ecstatic at the thought of warmer weather. The prospects of traveling to far-away places, music festival and wedding season—this balmy time of year gives us so much to look forward to!
But, while we’re mentally ready to transition from winter to spring, our hair may need a little help. As we enter the warmer seasons, you may start to notice an oilier scalp, hair that’s lacking volume or your color may be fading quicker than usual. Fear not, we’ve got you covered with some tips that will help you spring into a new routine that will keep your hair looking stunning!
START OFF WITH A SNIP
This is the perfect time to start with a clean slate. Head to your stylist and ask for a trim to get rid of dull, dry, damaged ends. You’ll automatically start off the season with a healthier, more voluminous head of hair!
DETANGLE BEFORE YOU WASH
Make a habit of gently brushing your hair before you hop in the shower to remove any tangles. Hair is more prone to breakage when it’s wet, so removing the knots while it’s dry will help save your strands.
Using a detangling brush like like our vented detangling brush will nix knots and tangles and are super gentle so as not to cause any damage to your hair.
LIGHTEN UP YOUR CLEANSING ROUTINE
Springtime is an excellent time to switch up your shampoo and conditioner. Now that the freezing cold has passed, your hair isn’t losing moisture the way it does mid-winter. Try a lightweight, hydrating shampoo and conditioner duo that cleanses the scalp and adds body.
SAFEGUARD STRANDS BEFORE AND AFTER YOU SWIM
Spring break is almost here, and that means pool parties and plenty of opportunities to take a dip in the ocean. If you already have your swimsuit picked out, it’s time you chose a few handy products to protect your hair from the chlorine and salt water.
Applying a hydrating hair masque before you swim is a good way to prevent the ocean or pool water from penetrating the hair shaft, and leaving your hair prone to dry-out or your worse, turning green.
ARM YOURSELF TO TAME FRIZZ ANYWHERE
Getting caught in an unexpected rainstorm can leave us with pesky, frizzy hair. Keeping a small kit of frizz necessities in your purse or your car can help eliminate the problem before it gets out of hand.
Some essentials include: bobby pins, rubber bands and a lightweight shine spray to help tackle frizz and fly-aways on-the-go.
KEEP IT LIGHT, KEEP IT BRIGHT
Springtime is also a great excuse to lighten our locks! With all the time spent alfresco, a little balayage or some highlights are a great compliment to this sun-kissed season.
Chemical peels for your scalp sound bananas but they make good sense. Dead skin cells linger on your scalp between washes, which can lead to breakouts at your hairline and flakiness at your roots. Plus, there’s the oil from hair follicles and buildup from the products you’ve used. If you don’t take all of that away, your scalp and your hair won’t be as healthy. Handily, there are peels and scrubs specifically for the scalp, and you can simply massage them from your hairline to the nape of your neck once or twice a week.
Weeks after coloring your hair blonde, you start to notice something strange: the shade you left the salon with is no more, and now your hair has taken on an undesired yellow, orange or red tone. What gives? Brassy hair, that’s what.
Brassiness refers to the unwanted warm tones that show up in colored hair. It typically happens in dark hair that gets dyed platinum or blonde, but it can also occur in hair that’s been highlighted or in hair that’s been lightened to brown.
Brassy hair color becomes a problem when bleaching or lifting doesn’t get rid of all the underlying pigment in your hair, giving the warm tones an opportunity to reveal themselves. For lightened blonde hair, the underlying pigment is yellow, and for lightened brown to black hair, the underlying pigments are orange to red. When the brassiness starts creeping up, think of it as your natural hair telling you, “Hey, remember us?”
When brassiness occurs, that also means that among the red, yellow and blue color molecules your hair dye contains, the blue ones have made a faster departure, leaving—you guessed it—just the warm tones. Since the blue color molecules are smaller, they’re broken down easily and fade quicker with every wash. Unfair.
Fortunately, you have several options when it comes dealing with brassy hair, in terms of both preventing it and fixing it after it happens.
START OFF BY CHOOSING THE RIGHT PERMANENT HAIRCOLOR
Select a cool hair color, like one with the word “ash” in the name, since it’s less likely to turn brassy than one that’s warm. If you gravitate toward warmer shades, don’t worry; there are plenty of lighter hair colors you can pull off that have a good balance of cool tones.
HEAD TO THE SALON AND GET A TONER FOR BRASSY HAIR
A hair mask can help to soften and moisturize your hair. Toner, a translucent deposit of hair color that fades in a few weeks, isn’t just great for altering your hair color without the commitment. It can be a great brassy hair fix, too. Also known as demi-permanent color, glaze or gloss, toning can correct the unwanted yellow, orange or even red tones lingering on your hair since it contains just enough pigment to improve your hair color. Plus, the service will enhance the shine levels of your strands in the process, so you’ll be doing your hair multiple favors in just one sitting.
GET A BOND-PROTECTING SERVICE
Since healthy hair is less likely to turn brassy, add in a bond-protecting service during the bleaching or haircoloring process, to protect your hair from damage and strengthen your strands.
WASH YOUR HAIR WITH A PURPLE SHAMPOO TO NEUTRALIZE UNWANTED WARM TONES
Need an at-home brassy hair fix? If you’re blonde, go for a purple shampoo and if you’re brunette, go for a blue-tinted one, since yellow is opposite to purple and orange is opposite to blue on the color wheel.
AVOID THE SUN AND THE POOL
We know, we know: how can you say no to the pool and soaking up some rays? But if you want your hair color to stay put, it’s best to stay away.
The chlorine commonly found in swimming pools can strip your hair dry, leaving your locks dull and damage-prone. And when hair becomes damaged, your hair color will have a harder time staying in place, meaning more opportunities for brassy hair color to show up.
Sun exposure can also do a number on your hair color by making it fade faster and making brassiness more visible. So, the next time you go outside, make sure you cover up or use a hair sunscreen.
USE A SHAMPOO FOR COLOR-TREATED HAIR THE REST OF THE TIME
Since overusing a color-depositing hair product may end up turning your hair blue or purple, only use it once a week. The rest of the time, apply color-protecting hair products since they’re gentler than regular shampoo and tend to not include sulfate, which can fade hair color.
INVEST IN A SHOWER FILTER
Washing your hair with water that leaves a large amount of mineral deposits, including chlorine and iron, is bad news for colored hair since the buildup is drying and the chemicals could end up fading your hair color, leading to another opportunity for brassy hair to reveal itself. A shower filter can help cut down on the mineral deposits, so your hair color stays around for longer.
What is scalp exfoliation?
Although the body naturally replaces dead skin cells with new skin cells, sometimes it can use a little help in the form of exfoliation. This is true even for the scalp.
Scalp exfoliation involves using physical or chemical exfoliants to remove excess skin cells, oil, and dandruff. Many hair experts maintain that regular scalp exfoliation is the key to healthier, shinier hair from the roots to the tips.
What are the benefits of scalp exfoliation?
Scalp exfoliation can be a soothing and stress-relieving way to invigorate the scalp. In this way, exfoliation can benefit almost anyone who wishes to do it.
However, scalp exfoliation may be especially beneficial for those with:
- dry skin
- oily hair
Although the hair itself is made of dead skin cells — which is why it doesn’t hurt when you get a haircut — the scalp is a living piece of your skin. It requires care and maintenance just like the rest of your body.
Like the skin on your face, your scalp can get oily, which can lead to irritation and dandruff.
Just like the skin on your face, your scalp contains sebaceous glands that produce oil (sebum). In the right amount, sebum helps make your hair soft and shiny. But an overproduction of sebum, or buildup of oil on the scalp, can feed the malassezia furfur yeast that leads to dandruff. An oily scalp can also lead to flare-ups of seborrheic dermatitis, a chronic skin condition marked by red, greasy patches, itching or burning, and dandruff flakes. Exfoliating with a brush or with a scalp scrub can help get rid of the flakes.
Excess oil can also cause hair thinning.
Over time, the buildup of dandruff and sebum can clog hair follicles, which can lead to hair loss and hair thinning. In most cases, the follicle has two or more hairs growing from it. When it’s clogged, the follicle shrinks and therefore the number of hairs growing from it are reduced. Exfoliating the scalp can clear these blockages, which will help hair grow in better and appear fuller.
Exfoliating can keep hairstyling products from building up on the scalp, which can make the hair look dull.
Hairstyling products can also pile up along the scalp and clog hair follicles, especially fan-favorite dry shampoo. The current trend for dry shampoos and only shampooing the hair once a week is also not a good thing for the scalp. Compare it to someone wearing makeup to bed and waking up and putting on more makeup, without ever washing it off. The same can be said about re-applying styling product and not shampooing the hair for a week. Even if you do shampoo multiple times a week, it doesn’t mean you’re getting everything removed from the scalp. There is a big difference between shampooing the hair and exfoliating the scalp.
How to exfoliate your scalp
Scalp exfoliation can be one-part scalp massage, another part skin treatment.
Although it’s safe to massage your scalp every day, you shouldn’t exfoliate your scalp more than once or twice a week. Exfoliation removes oil from the scalp, and more frequent exfoliation may cause the scalp to panic and over-produce oil.
Scalp exfoliation is usually performed on wet, just-shampooed hair. After you comb through and separate sections of your hair, you can apply the scrub with your fingertips. You can also use a brush or glove designed for exfoliation. If you’re using a physical exfoliant, rubbing in a gentle, circular motion can help.
In some cases, scalp exfoliation can make the scalp feel more sensitive. You may wish to apply a protective spray-on sunscreen formulated for hair to protect against sun damage and reduce sensitivity.
Natural exfoliants you can make at home
You can often make your own scalp exfoliant using household products.
Brown sugar and oatmeal scrub
To make a brown sugar and oatmeal scrub, mix:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons oatmeal, finely ground
2 tablespoons of a hair conditioner of your choice
The sugar-oatmeal combination creates a physical exfoliant that will help slough off dead skin cells. After you shampoo, apply the mixture to your wet hair. Use gentle, circular motions to reach the scalp, and rinse thoroughly when done.
To make an aspirin scrub, mix:
6 to 8 aspirin
4 tablespoons warm water
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant. You can take things up a notch by using a toothbrush to apply the mixture to your scalp. Light scrubbing will help physically remove the dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly when done and follow up with your favorite conditioner.
Hair dusting is a technique in which you don’t get rid of any hair length, but only the damaged hair tips. This can be done by snipping the very bottom of each hair strand. Think of it in terms of removing fuzz from clothes. The point is to get rid of hair that no longer serves you. Hair gets damaged because of weather, coloring, bad haircuts, hot tools, and most of time, just the age of the hair.
The technique works on any hair type or texture, but for ladies with very wavy or curly hair, the stylist will need to smooth it out to see the damaged ends that need to be dusted. It won’t thin out your hair either—in fact, in the long run, it does quite the opposite. By removing split ends regularly, you keep the damage from creeping up your strands. That’s incredibly important for those who color treat or style their hair with heat tools regularly.
These are cut off vertically, working along the entire length of the hair. For best results, first of all the hair is straightened (the technique can work on curly hair, too): when the hair’s smooth, split ends are more visible, as they stick out from the rest. In the struggle against split ends, hair dusting is actually more effective than simply chopping off a couple of centimeters because ends are often split much higher up the hair shaft, not just at the longest part. Hair dusting deals with the entire length of the hair so all the split ends can be removed.
Not all stylists are masters of hair dusting though, so make sure to verify that your hairdresser can do the job properly. It goes without saying, dusting needs to be up to snuff for the outcome to be hair that looks and feels enviably healthy.
Split ends are a result of the fraying or separating of the hair strand into two or more fragments. This is due to damage caused by excessive stress on the follicle. Even though the only way to completely get rid of split ends is by snipping them off, there are things you can do to prevent them from cropping up in the first place and to stop them from climbing further.
RETHINK THE WAY YOU TOWEL DRY YOUR HAIR
Your hair is actually most vulnerable during the drying process, so the way you treat it after a shower will make a huge difference to the number of split ends you have to deal with.
Rubbing your hair dry with a towel will only promote more breakage, and the last thing you want is for those splits to travel upwards. Instead, apply pressure by gently squeezing the excess water out of the hair using a towel.
RE-ASSESS YOUR BLOW-DRYING TECHNIQUE
We’re all guilty of blasting dripping wet hair with a hairdryer, but if you’re serious about preventing split ends, it really pays to allow your hair to air dry as much as possible before letting loose with the dryer. Anywhere from 60% – 90% dry is ideal. The longer you leave your hair exposed to heat, the more damage is likely to occur.
Even better? Miss the ends out completely.
Invest in a quality heat protectant and avoid placing heat directly on to the ends of the hair. Focus more on the roots and mid lengths – leave the ends to dry from the secondary heat and always keep the nozzle moving constantly for an even distribution of heat. Also try your best to dry on a cold air setting.
Never touch the nozzle to the hair directly. Even rough-drying hair means applying heat, so if you really want to protect it, just use your hairdryer to create shape and to smooth the cuticles. Position it just above the hair and brush.
BIN YOUR BRUSH
It might not feel like it, but hair is much more flexible and prone to damage when wet. Your trusty paddle brush? It could be doing more harm than good.
It’s always good to start with a wide tooth comb. You don’t need to add pressure or brush vigorously, especially if you start at the bottom of your hair and work your way up, otherwise, you’re just dragging the knots.
Makes sense, right? And you should really be taking your time at this stage to prevent causing any damage. There’s no harm in splitting your hair into sections to brush it.
BEEF UP YOUR HAIR CARE ROUTINE
You can’t repair split ends permanently, but there are some amazing products out there that have the ability to make them much less obvious. Smooth, sleek hair? Yes please. Damaged split ends crave moisture. Try using moisturizing hair masks and oils.
BOOK A KERATIN TREATMENT
Keratin treatments are totally worthy of their game-changer status and are especially amazing if you suffer with fuzzy, parched split ends – not a good look.
So, how do they work? Well, they harness a large dose of proteins (mainly keratin), which, when blow-dried into the hair, smooths and reinforces the fragile strands that would usually be prone to fraying. It also lends a mirror-like shine and cuts styling time in half.
SWITCH UP YOUR SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
While there are no magic shampoos or conditioners that will get rid of split ends, choosing something filled to the brim with moisturizing ingredients can help disguise them.
They also work to strengthen and protect strands against other factors that contribute to them, such as coloring.
THINK ABOUT GETTING A SILK PILLOWCASE
A silk pillowcase won’t cure split ends but it’s more of a luxury preventative measure, as is tying your hair in a loose ponytail while you sleep.
GET A TRIM
If you’re growing your hair, the last thing you probably want to do is book in for a trim, but the longer you leave it in between salon appointments, the more likely you are to cause further breakage – and really, a haircut is the only thing that will completely eradicate split ends. The hair follicle will just continue to break and snap along the hair shaft otherwise.
To be clear, the only way to truly banish this dreaded hair affliction is to snip the split ends off. However, you can treat them so they’re less noticeable between cuts.