Cosmetic hair products for grooming and styling can help you improve your image and your life style. They can change your look, reshape your face and thereby make you look younger. If you are experiencing thinning hair, there are some products that can be used to make your hair look fuller and thicker. Styling and grooming products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair spray, gel, mousse and blow dryer can be used to manage the hair into the desired style. They can also add more body and make the hair look shinier, thicker and voluminous. Hair coloring agents make you look younger and are used to minimize the contrast between the hair color and the color of the skin, thus creating the illusion of more hair. Perming and curling can make the hair look thicker by camouflaging some of the thinning areas.
The hair shaft is made of keratinized cells, and subjected to various environmental aggressions and chemical products. Hair shaft is broken into three major layers which include:
- The cuticle (outside)
- The cortex
- The medulla (central layer)
The major characteristics of the shafts that affect its function and appearance are elasticity, texture, and porosity. Hair has three major chemical bonds which include disulfide bonds, hydrogen bonds and salt bonds. These characteristics will affect the permeability of the hair to the hair products, such as types of shampoos and conditioners, hair coloring agents, permanent waves and relaxers, styling aids, hot combs, etc. Hair is made of Sulfur, Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen and trace elements. Hair specialist will assist and educate his clients with understanding of these hair products for preserving healthy hair.
Shampoos are intended to remove excess oil from the hair and scalp, reduce the number of bacteria and other micro-organisms that live on the hair and scalp, and cleanse the hair from dirt and dead skin cells. Baby shampoos are mild, and generally leave the hair in good condition for styling. Shampoos sold for adult use may combine cleansing detergents with a number of conditioners to improve hair flexibility, for example, a strong cleansing detergent such as lauryl sulfate may remove so much oil that hair becomes unmanageable and subject to static electricity. It may be necessary to experiment with several shampoos before finding one that is suitable. Shampoos come with different chemicals and different detergent types for cleaning. Mild cleansing shampoos contain Nonionic detergent, polysorbate, nonoxynols and polyoxymers leaving the hair more manageable. Nonirritating shampoos contain Amphoterics, Glycinates, propionates, and betaines and have mild cleaning characteristics. Deep cleansing shampoos contain anionics, lauryl sulfates, laureth sulfates, sarcosines, and sulfasuccinates which may be harsh and irritating to the eyes.
Conditioners should be used after shampooing to facilitate more vibrant, more manageable hair ready for styling. There are a variety of conditioners available in the market including leave-in conditioners, which are applied after hair is dried following a shampoo and left in the hair. Newer leave-in conditioners cover the hair shaft with a thin coating of a polymer, which temporarily repairs hair shafts and eliminates static electricity as a styling problem. These hair thickeners and polymer coatings are not usually appropriate for use on fine-caliber hair, as the coating weighs the hair down making it difficult to style. Short-contact conditioners, which are applied during or immediately following shampooing are left on the hair for a few minutes before being rinsed off. They are good for treating chemically processed hair, and decreasing static. Finally, deep protein conditioners are also applied after shampooing, but are left on the hair for up to 30 minutes before removal. They contain hydrolyzed protein thickeners which give temporary strengthening to the hair shaft, repair split ends and damaged hair.
Permanent waving is the most challenging styling technique. The beauticians who perform this procedure should have clear knowledge about the products and artistic talent required for the process. There are several steps involved in perming in which the disulfide bonds are reformed to its new shape. This process can take about 2-3 hours and it is suggested that the client does not shampoo for a few days. If this process is done improperly, it can cause damage to the hair and the skin. The perming lasts four to five months.
Straightening is done in three ways, chemical, mechanical and by heat. Chemical straightening breaks down disulfide bonds. They are available in the form of pomade. They are water resistant, long lasting, and produce excellent results. If done improperly, it can cause chemical burn and permanent damage to the hair shaft and skin.
Mechanical straightening is in the form of pomade and contains oily substances such as olive oil, castor oil, safflower oil, mineral oil, lanolin, and petroleum. They are less effective and less damaging then the chemical straightening process.
A hot comb or hot iron can be heated up to 300 F. While pulling the hair, the heat breaks the hydrogen bonds to reshape the hair. The effect of this process can be improved if hair is treated with oil prior to using the heat. If this is not used properly, it could cause burn, scar, damaged hair and scalp.
If you are experiencing hair loss it is important to know that some products and procedures may be damaging your hair and may contribute to your hair loss.
Dr. Michael Meshkin