Sunday 15 July 2012

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow - Tackling The Myths and Minefields Of Haircare

If you've been reading LouLouLand for sometime you'll know that I love my hair products. I've probably reviewed more hair products on my blog than anything else. I love trying out new ingredients, new products and new formulations. Like most of us I just want a good hair day, if our hair looks wrong we feel wrong -fact! In my quest for the hair of my dreams I've tried all sorts of cranky things, rinsing my hair in tea, in lemon juice to add depth and highlights, slapping on mayonnaise and squished up avocado to condition it and of course the obligatory ice cold rinse to add shine. That's not to mention all the dyes, perms, straightening, and chemical based products I've used. Yeah I've done it all I'm actually surprised I have any hair left the punishment I've given it over the years. Haircare is a real minefield though is it best to rely on old wives tales? or should we risk been bamboozled by a dozen chemical ingredients which we don't understand?

Well to help us through the minefield that is haircare, top online beauty site lookfantastic has attempted to find the truth about haircare by tackling 5 of the most common hair care myths.

1) "Switching shampoos can make hair look healthier."

TRUTH: Hair doesn't become resistant to your shampoo if you use it time and time again - it doesn't know what product you are using. That said, if you have an oily hair type or you style it with a product that contains wax, you should try to use a good cleansing shampoo to clarify your hair every few weeks and remove build up.

THE INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR: Limonene and other citric acids are added to shampoos to balance out the pH of alkaline detergents, which are used as solvents. Acetic acid is a mild compound known for its descaling abilities, so it will lift dead skin and dirt from the surface of the scalp, making it appear healthier.

MY EXPERIENCE: I have to be honest here and say I was always brought up to change my shampoos on a regular basis. Mummy Lou was and still is firmly of the belief that your hair gets used to a shampoo if you use it all the time. I don't know whether it's subconsciously but I've taken that theory into adulthood with me, and I'm lucky if I buy the same shampoo twice before moving on to something new. I've had a quick check of the shampoos in my bathroom (3 at the minute eek) and from the cheapest to the most expensive they all contain limonene or citric acid so it must be a pretty common ingredient in shampoo. Does this mean I'll stick to the one shampoo now? no it doesn't - I am still going to change to a more creamier moisturising shampoo when I feel my hair needs it.

2) "You can't make flat, fine hair look full of body."

TRUTH: A combination of products and tools such as rollers can do wonders for lifeless hair; just make sure styling doesn't result in frizz.

THE INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR: Polyquaternium-10 is well-absorbed by hair proteins so it is used in shampoos to increase body. It can also reduce static electricity as well as encouraging softness and shininess.

MY EXPERIENCE: Thankfully I've never had this problem although I have fine hair I have a lot of it and it always looks pretty thick. I have lost a bit of hair due to illness and medication but it's generally not too bad. My mum always says that you can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear (where do they get these phrases from?) which basically means you can't be something your not. You can use all the hair products and styling tools you like but it will never change what your hair is really like, yes they can give the appearance of volume and big hair but underneath your hair construction and texture will still be the same. Polyquaternium 10 isn't something I've heard of and I can't find it in any of the numerous hair products I have floating around, but it's supposedly quite a common ingredient in hair products which can help the hair remain smooth and sleek so it's definitely one I need to look out for.

3) "To get really clean hair, you must 'lather, rinse and repeat'."

TRUTH: One thorough rinse with a cleansing shampoo is usually best; using the same shampoo more than once will not achieve anything new with the second wash.

THE INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR: Surfactants - surface-acting agents - combine oil and water, attracting agents to draw oily dirt out of hair and wash it away. Ammonium lauryl sulphate is a high foam surfactant that disrupts hydrogen bonds in water, allowing it to penetrate into the hair for deeper cleaning.

MY EXPERIENCE: I have to be honest and say that I knew this one, I only ever double shampoo if my hair is really dirty or I've been using a lot of products on it, e.g hairspray, styling wax, or mousse.. To be honest I always thought it was a bit of a ruse by manufacturers to make us use more shampoo, but I've noticed an increasing number of bottles that now say "repeat if necessary" -how do we know if it's necessary and how many of us just do it again anyway? probably most of, I'm a bit iffy when if comes to surfactants or foamers, I know a lot of people can experience negative skin reactions to foamers such as sodium lauryl sulfate, so I always try to mention if when I review a product that contains them. I don't personally have a problem with them but I am tending to look towards products with more natural based foaming agents such as cocamide now. Mummy Lou isn't a fan of products that don't produce a head full of foam so more natural products aren't for her - old habits die hard I guess

4) "Rinsing with ice-cold water after a shampoo will give you shinier hair."

TRUTH: An icy cold shower may make you feel alert but it won't enhance the lustre of your locks. Look out for products that will add shine to your hair instead, and blow dry to a smooth finish.

THE INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR: Silicone-based chemical dimethicone can make hair look shinier by closing the hair cuticle; it can also prevent tangles. Behentrimonium chloride, a wax-like compound, is an antistatic used in conditioner. Cetrimonium chloride is a water-soluble quaternary compound used as a conditioning agent that adds shine to the hair.

MY EXPERIENCE: OK admit who hasn't done this? I have to admit I've done this on numerous occasions, and I've probably shocked or frozen myself half to death in the process. This is one of the biggest old wives tales surrounding hair out their, apparently it closes the hair cuticle allowing the hair to lie flatter and look shinier. I've no idea whether there is any truth in that but it's only something to be attempted say in 30 heat. I'm currently testing out a shampoo that promises shinier hair and that contains lots of thing ending in chloride so here's hoping it does what it promises. In the meantime though I'll keep on with the shine sprays and the serums, that help to add gloss and shine to your hair. I have about  6 (I know, I know I'm an addict!) of these products on the go at the moment and yes they all contain silicone based ingredients such as dimethicone. They do indeed add shine to your hair but in my experience they also mean that you hair gets dirtier quicker - a small price to pay methinks.

5) "Split ends can be mended if you just find the right product."

TRUTH: There's no point crying over split ends, but there's no use in trying to fix them either. Masking the issue or dealing with it by heading to the hairdressers are the only things that can be done.

THE INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR: Products that contain silicone and beeswax can help split ends to look temporarily fixed by sealing them together while you plan your visit to the hairdresser to get them snipped off.

MY EXPERIENCE: I can't believe that people still fall for this one. It isn't possible to glue your hair back together, it's dead, it's gone, chop it off. How do I know ? well I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't had my hair cut for over 5 months. As well as starting to look like a unshorn Shetland pony or even Cousin It, my ends shall we say aren't looking their best, and I've even attacked a few with the scissors.Yes some products will add gloss and minimise the dryness and appearance of the split ends but the only way to truly make them go away is to cut them and let them loose, something I will be getting done professionally on Wednesday :)

I don't know about you but I found the piece by lookfantastic pretty helpful. Whilst I don't agree with all of it, it's certainly given me some interesting pointers especially regarding ingredients and what they actually do, and of course it's made me realise that there is no need to pour freezing cold water over my head in the name of beauty hurrah.. You can read more on lookfantastic's beauty myths here x Let me know what you think of this article and let me know what you favourite beauty myths or old wives tales are x

(This Post Was Written In Conjunction With Look Fantastic

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I use pantene ice shine to clarify my hair when I get buildup. So many hair care products out there tho. I did a shiny hair blog recently.


I love hearing what you have to say so leave me a comment and let me know your thought x My comments are moderated at the moment but that means that I read every single one of them so don't be shy, have your say x