Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Secret To Shiny Hair

Pssst ... Not Everyone Can Have It

Did you know Stone Bridge does personal Hair Health Consultations? We can look in depth into the state of your hair and spend at least an hour with you one-on-one answering your questions specifically about your hair. We're not just about pretty hair accessories .

One of the questions we ask during the consultation is about what would you like to reasonably achieve with your hair. And a lot of women want hair with more shine.

Why does hair shine?

The concept behind shiny hair is simple. Your cuticle needs to be as smooth and reflective as possible. Women with naturally straight hair that is in good healthy condition are going to have the shiniest hair. Why is this? Naturally straight hair has a cuticle that lies perfectly flat and straight along the length of the hair. If the hair has been cared for, with no chemical salon treatments or rough handling, it will reflect light brilliantly.

Can curly hair be shiny?

Hair with any natural texture, from wavy to curly, has a cuticle that grows to protect hair that is not straight. Therefore the cuticle layers are curved and shaped to conform to a more uneven shape. If you have been caring for your textured hair and not damaged the cuticle, you will have some shine. But the curlier your hair, the less it will reflect the light. This is just a fact. You can fake it by oiling the surface, but there is always a knock-on effect such as weighing your hair down.

Can't you just straighten your hair to improve shine? No. When you straighten your hair, you are only straightening the inner structure of your hair. You are basically realigning the chemical bonds inside your hair so that it doesn't pinch up into its natural curl. You can't straighten your cuticle.

Can styling products make my hair more shiny?

Yes, but there are trade-offs. Silicone based products coat the surface of your hair, and this will give you better shine for about one day. The downside is that silicone doesn't wash out easily, but it does attract dirt easily. So these types of products are best used rarely, for special occasions.

Acidic rinses that supposedly "correct" the pH balance of your hair work by helping your cuticle to dry harder and they do help your hair to shine more. They aren't correcting your hair's pH balance, though. Only wet things have a pH. And hopefully we are more interested in what your hair is like when it's dry.

Homemade recipes using lemon juice or vinegar really should not be used. This level of acidity can eat into your cuticle, corrode the edges and cause irreversible damage to your hair. Most main brand shampoos and conditioners have an appropriate pH balance that will support your cuticle, so chances are you don't need to change this aspect of your hair care routine. So called "special" shine-boosting shampoos don't really differ significantly in their formula from boring Normal shampoos. (To learn lots more about styling products and what they really do, sign up for my FREE series of articles about Healthy Hair .)

The surprise benefits of heat styling

Interestingly, heat styling your hair from damp can help your cuticle dry harder and flatter. To avoid damaging your hair and to get the full benefit of using heat, set your straighteners or blow dryer to a warm setting only. Style your hair using your fingers rather than a brush to make sure the temperature is at a level that will help and not harm your hair. Basically, if it's too hot for your fingers, its certainly too hot for your hair.

Not everyone can have luminous shiny hair like they have on the television commercials, but doing what you can to maintain the integrity of your cuticle will mean your hair will be as shiny as it naturally can.

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