Is your hair feeling damaged and done? All is not lost, says Master Stylist Violet Volovik. She shares her no-nonsense advice on how you’re mistreating your hair, and how to show it the TLC it needs instead!
Culprit #1: You’re Colouring All Wrong
Let’s face it, colour can be hard on hair so it’s a good idea to be smart about how you do it. If you want to take your colour from really dark to really light (or vice versa), you’re better off doing it gradually with some tweaks, especially if you’re going to go dark again later, say in the fall. If you went dark after being blonde and you’re working with a new colourist, it’s vital to tell them that you’re blonde under the dark hair because it changes how your hair will lift and how much damage could happen.
The fix? Have your stylist change the tonalities in your hair instead. We do it in steps; for example, we take you from a white blonde to a creamy blonde with some cool or warm lowlights for depth. This will fade out by summertime and you’ll have less brassy tones. To get to a perfect blonde, remember to go gradually. It will take a few visits, but the more you do it, the better it becomes.
If you’re coming in for a touch-up (ex. covering grey), your stylist should be using different formulas: one product for regrowth at the roots, and another for your ends. We don’t just run the same product through your hair from root to ends! Actually, we use a gloss, semi, or demi-permanent hair colour on your ends to freshen them up.
*I love telling my clients what I’m using on their hair because I’m an educator – and I want them to be smarter if they go to someone else. If you’re not sure, ask what products your colourist is using. Colorance is a gloss we use at the ends (it’s the cold stuff we apply at the sink).
Culprit #2: You’re Using The Wrong Product
I always tell my clients this (and it’s cheesy but it makes sense): if you buy a brand new pair of black skinny jeans or a beautiful red dress, you won’t throw it in hot wash with Tide because it will lose its intensity. Your hair should be cared for in the same way. Even if you don’t feel your hair is dry, and especially if your tresses are long (because this is old hair!), it’s so important to use colour-safe shampoo and a weekly treatment.
A high quality cleansing conditioner has helped so many people fix their damaged hair! I had one client whose hair wasn’t growing properly because it was so broken and simply a disaster. She started using a cleansing conditioner and it transformed her hair. It’s like a shampoo except it doesn’t lather, and it cleanses your hair without stripping it dry. The result? Second-day hair that’s easier to style because it’s less fuzzy and slippery.
My favourite cleansing conditioner is the Goldwell Kerasilk, with the KMS Moistrepair at a close second. Oribe has a more expensive option which some of my clients are obsessed with called Cleansing Creme. R+Co also does a great one called Analog Cleansing Foam that’s really easy to apply, especially if you have a ton of hair. It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but it’s way less harsh or damaging on your hair. With a stellar cleansing conditioner, you’ll witness your hair come back to life.
Culprit #3: Water Is Damaging Your Hair
Water is neutral but it isn’t your hair’s best friend — actually, it can be very drying. If you’re just wetting your hair, you need to use something afterwards to seal the ends, such as a leave-in conditioner, spray-conditioner, or cleansing conditioner.
Also, most of us can’t resist a dip in the pool… but hair is like a sponge, so be sure to wet your hair first with clean water so salt and chlorine won’t damage your strands. Simply take a quick shower or spray yourself with a hose before you dive in. Or if your hair care game is truly on point, work in a leave-in conditioner and rock a swimming cap! Now you’re talking!
Culprit #4: You Need A Haircut
Sometimes, simply trimming a good inch or two off your ends can make a world of a difference in freshening up your hair (especially if you’re following all the other tips I’ve mentioned!). Some people think they need to chop a lot of hair off, but this is only true if you come into the salon only 1-2 times a year. Your hair will need a more drastic chop than if you were getting regular trims. A haircut is as much about maintaining the health of your hair as it is maintaining your style.
Culprit #5: You’re Using The Wrong Shampoo (Or Too Much!)
It’s all too common to discover my clients are using the wrong kind of shampoo for their hair type, or just a cheap one that’s truly not great quality. Sometimes a higher end product is genuinely worth the investment — ask your stylist to recommend one for you!
Did you know shampoo is for your scalp, not your ends and lengths? The scalp holds all the dirt and build-up that shampoo is meant to cleanse; there’s no need to apply shampoo to the length of your hair because a simple rinse washes away whatever dirt is in there. So if you’re using 2 bottles of shampoo to every 1 bottle of conditioner… then you’re using too much!
I tell people I can’t guarantee their colour if they don’t use what I recommend. Drugstore shampoos use stronger detergents, so you will see fading with a low-quality product (especially for redheads and brunettes). Use a shampoo for colour-treated hair. To maintain white blonde and prevent brassiness, use purple shampoo. For red hair, use colour-safe shampoo or cleansing conditioner, and wash as little as possible (similar to dark jeans).
My go-to for most people? GOLDWELL DualSenses Colour Safe smells good at a fair price point; the 1-litre size will last 6-12 months. For some, a $17 shampoo is expensive while others think that’s cheap — it’s not for us to judge what each client chooses to spend. Regardless, your stylist should be recommending and educating you, so ask questions whenever you’re unsure! We sell a variety of price points at our salon that are comparable to a drugstore.
Culprit #6: You’re Using Way Too Much Heat
You may be blow drying for too long, or at too high a heat setting. Try a soft diffuser for gentler results. With a round brush in one hand and your blow dryer in the other, maintain 1 centimetre of distance between the nozzle and your brush. Many people press the dryer directly on the brush which burns the hair (especially with the professional dryers many clients own at home these days). Hair will dry faster and smoother if you leave a little space. If you’re still learning, or haven’t quite nailed the technique yet, opt for a lower temperature.
People tend to over dry the ends – focus on the root and mid-shaft because ends will dry fairly quickly on their own! When you blow dry well, any time with a flat-iron afterward should be quick.
You know how trying to fry an egg on a pan without oil or butter causes it to stick and burn? It’s the same with your hair: please put something on to protect it! I recommend GOLDWELL Just Smooth Thermal Spray Serum on your ends before you iron — this has changed 50% of my clients’ hair for the better.
Most products have some heat protectant in them… but if you’re using a 350-degree flat iron (the same temperature that cooks a chicken in an oven), you’re already blonde and your hair is a little dry, then a high-quality heat protectant product should be a must in your routine. It gives the flat iron a smoother surface to glide over, maintains your straight strands, and most importantly protects your hair from the intense heat.
Culprit #7: Help! I’ve Tried Everything & My Hair Is Still A Mess!
Speak to your stylist about treatments like leave-in serums and masks we can do in the salon. Leave-in treatments take no time. Also, using a good spray-in conditioner on your ends after showering helps combat dehydration.
Don’t have time to stay in the shower for over 10 minutes? I discovered a pre-shampoo conditioner you can put in before you hop in the shower. Just work the product in, clip your hair up, and go watch a Netflix show. Once in the shower, simply rinse, shampoo, and then condition again with your regular conditioner.
R+Co Palm Springs Pre-Shampoo Treatment Mask is fabulous for thick long hair. I had one client whose ends were dehydrated to start, and her hair has grown an extra 2 inches thanks to using this product for a year! I love seeing these kinds of results when clients listen to me!
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