Archive for April, 2016

Overcoming Hat Hair

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

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Warm weather’s here! And if you’ve been reading Hairline for a while now, you probably know the drill: enjoy the sunshine, but protect, protect, protect your hair extensions from it! Heat is bad for all kinds of hair, including your natural locks, but it’s especially bad for hair extensions as it can compromise extension color, dry extensions out, and even damage the bonds to the point of slippage! Not what we’d like for our spring and summer vacays. So throw on a hat when you plan to be outside for a while, and take advantage of these tips to prevent any icky hat hair scenarios, too.

Wear the right-sized hat. What? Hats come in different sizes? If this is a question you need to ask, then you’re definitely overdue for a shopping trip! Wear a hat with a touch of breathing room, meaning you can easily slip a finger or two in-between your hat and your head. For extra help, consult a hat sizing chart.

Wear a light hat. This is probably a given for hot weather, but you should be opting for lightweight hats in the spring and summer, not only to prevent your hair from being weighed down, but also to prevent sweatiness at your roots! Go for a simple straw hat, or a not-too-thick sun hat at most.

Make sure your roots are dry. Otherwise, your hair will dry flat against your head. Not ideal! You can take this drying opportunity to set your hair upside-down—that is, blow-dry it upside-down on a low heat-setting, maximizing your root volume before-hat-wearing time.

Brush your hair upside-down. While you’re at it, go ahead and brush your hair with your head down, too. Once your hat is off, you can repeat this step using your fingers.

Utilize a texturizing spray. Apply a texturizing spray to your roots while your head is down to maintain hair volume around your scalp. A dry-spray shampoo will work, too.

Grab some anti-frizz. Depending on your hat’s material, you may need to take extra measures to prevent frizz. If static electricity is a problem for you, try spritzing some anti-frizz into your hair, or rubbing a dryer sheet along the inside of your hat.

Don’t go overboard. With hair products, that is. If you do, you risk making your hair stiffen in hat hair pose. It’s not great for the extensions, either.

Change your part. This is a trick we’ve seen and used a million times. Pull your hair out of its usual part before donning your hat. Then, when you remove the hat, tousle your hair back into its usual part. For extra umph, swing your hair back and forth (head-banger style) before applying and after removing your hat.

Wear your hair up. This is by far the best way to prevent hat hair, and it’ll keep you from toying with your strands throughout the day. Our favorite is a low-ish crown braid, which will allow your hat to sit on the braid rather than your scalp. Bonus: it’ll also keep the lengths of your hair out of the sun, preventing dryness and split-ends.

We have plenty to say on the topic of spring/summer extension upkeep. Check out our related blogs, “Sun Exposure and Hair Extensions,” and “When in Maui…” for more!

Did you try any of these tips? Let us know how it went! And feel free to share your hat-wearing extension photos with us on Facebook and Instagram!

 

How To Balance Hair Care and Extension Care

Monday, April 18th, 2016

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Last week we set you up with some tips for parsing out your best hair care routine. This week, we’re going a step further, because hair extension care is a whole ‘nother beast. It can be difficult to juggle both your hair routine and your extension routine…unless you wear Clip-Ins and can just care for the extension hair separately. For the rest of you, though, keep reading for our advice.

Know the difference. Since your hair extensions literally came from another person’s head, you can’t expect them to behave in the same way as your hair. Keep in mind that Donna Bella hair extensions come from India, where naturally dark, straight, untreated hair is donated to temples as part of a religious practice. The hair is then subjected to gentle and effective coloring processes—and, if it’s wavy or curly hair, to additional perming procedures. So your hair extensions fall under the category of “color-treated” or “heat-treated,” and should be cared for with the appropriate products. That being said, your hair extensions are made from some of the most high-quality hair in the world, and they underwent first-rate moisturizing and protective treatments, too. So they’re likely to be less-frizzy, knotted, or generally unruly than your own hair.

Find a happy medium. Things can get tricky if your natural hair is oily and wavy while your extensions are relatively fast-drying and straight. Buying suitable products and achieving your hair care objectives becomes a lot more complicated when some of the hair on your head reacts differently, or needs totally different things, than the rest of your hair. Take a page from the cosmetics industry on this one, and see how combination-skinned women deal with their complexion issues. Oftentimes, you’ll have to look for “compromise” products: a cleanser that doesn’t over-dry your dry skin or under-clean your oily skin, or a shampoo that doesn’t over-dry your hair extensions or under-clean your natural roots. Products labeled as “gentle,” or those that target “sensitive” scalps may be a good fit.

Stay professional. While drugstore products can and will work for hair extension and natural hair maintenance, we recommend that you err on the side of professional products for top-notch, tailored solutions. Professional lines, such as our Remy Care™ Collection, are designed to deal with tough hair and hair extension situations. Get in touch with your stylist and ask for their expert recommendations.

Use insider tricks. The whole point of this blog is to help you guys reach your hair goals, with or without hair extensions. Logically, though, most of our advice is directed towards hair extension-wearers. So flip through some of our old posts and uncover some techniques for styling your natural locks and extensions together! It might seem like your hair has multiple-personality syndrome for a while, but it’s nothing that you can’t handle. We’re in this together!

What are your tips for reining in your hair and hair extension routines? Tell us in the comments below!

 

Composing the Perfect Hair Care Routine

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

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You’d think that something as commonplace as hair would be easier to maintain. But the reality is, despite generations of (sometimes questionable) hand-me-down beauty insights inherited from our ancestors—like liberally applying oil to your scalp or brushing your hair 100 strokes per day—it often takes years upon years of personal trial and error to master our own hair. And what’s more? The issue can get even more complex with hair extensions in place. So how should you be taking care of your precious mane? We’re here to help you figure it out.

Step 1: Parse out your hair type.
There are lots of things that go into the makeup of your particular strands: curl pattern, hair thickness, hair density, porosity, and even terminal length, to name a few. And you can bet that a lot of these things stem from the one hand-me-down your ancestors successfully transferred to you: your genes. Whether you believe it or not, you and your biological family probably share at least a few hair traits, which means that they should be the first stop on your journey to hair care-enlightenment. Exchange tips and strategies that have worked to tame your natural frizz, or to spruce up your mutually limp locks. Even if your strands are markedly different (like, one sister has curly hair, the other stick-straight hair), you can probably help each other figure out your respective hair profiles. NaturallyCurly.com has some great resources to aid in your evaluations (yes, even for you straight-haired ladies).

Step 2. Determine your haircare objectives.
Your haircare routine will have a lot to do with your natural hair type, but it will also have a lot to do with the way that you like to wear and style your hair. Ask yourself, “What am I aiming for with my hair care routine?” and “What products/ingredients will help me arrive at that goal?” If you like to routinely curl, straighten, or color your hair, one of your objectives should definitely be to minimize/repair damage to your strands, because who doesn’t want healthy-looking hair? If your hair was recently dyed, color-maintenance will likely be one of your objectives. Similarly, if you wear hair extensions, well-blended and well-moisturized hair is a MUST! But keep in mind: hair products aren’t superheroes. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a product that enhances your curls, adds volume, prevents frizz, prevents color bleed, solves all of your problems, and matches perfectly with your hair type. In addition to mixing-and-matching products with different emphases, you’re going to have to prioritize your haircare objectives.

Step 3. Match yourself with compatible products.
If you’re not going about your beauty shopping like you would online dating, then you’re doing it wrong. You should be reading all the descriptions, looking out for relevant keywords (especially the sexy ones like “sulfate-free”), and gauging the compatibility between the product’s intentions and your haircare needs. You should be prepared to try out a few different options with a degree of regularity before making final judgments. And you should be looking for the best possible fit (within reason—see above). Remember: while a one-size-fits-all product may do the trick, it’s basically the equivalent of settling for John from next door. You can probably do better.

Step 4. Fill in the gaps.
Like they always say, what over-the-counter products can’t do for you, do for yourself. And by that we mean, you’re inevitably going to need to do more with your hair than just washing and brushing it if you’re serious about shaping up your routine. We don’t care how amazing your products are—you’re still going to wake up with bed-head now and then. Prepare for it now with the proper tools and recipes to get the job done. Again, the tactics you use will have a lot to do with your haircare objectives—the way you want your hair to turn out. While we’d be more than happy to pry those heating tools out of your fingers for good, we know that many of you value your perfectly-tailored locks above all else (including hair integrity). That’s fine, and that’s your choice (just remember to stock up on heat protectant, too!). For those of you who are a little more squeamish about hair damage, consider playing around with some new styling methods. The internet is chock full of heatless styling tutorials and DIY recipes—all you have to do is test them out and see what works for you! (Pro tip: YouTube is a great place to start looking.)

What’s your haircare story? How long did it take you to arrive at a routine that works for you? Let us know in the comments below, and check in again next week for a complete hair extension care guide!

 

Everything You Need to Know About Split Ends

Friday, April 1st, 2016

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Let’s get a few things straight: split ends happen to everybody, regardless of their hair condition. It doesn’t matter how often you color, or brush, or even touch your hair, split ends will happen to you sooner or later (but probably sooner, if you do mess with your hair a lot). Your hair extensions aren’t immune, either. Donna Bella’s 100% Human Remy hair is—you guessed it—real human hair, which means that, over time, it’ll also develop split ends. So why does this happen, and what can you do to slow down/correct the problem? Keep reading.

Splits ends are a real hair condition. Trichoptilosis, the technical name for split ends, happens because hair naturally thins and weakens as it ages. Inevitable environmental stressors like friction and sun exposure (paired with brushing, hair treatments, and so on) gradually strip away the outer protective layer of the hair cuticle, leaving the hair raw and exposed. This makes the hair more susceptible than ever to dryness and breakage, and since the ends of your hair are the oldest, that’s where the breakage happens (a.k.a., split ends).

The main culprit is dryness. Of course, there’s more to the story than just aging hair. After all, not everyone with long hair is sporting inches and inches of split ends. The other thing to keep in mind is that the longer your hair gets, the farther away the ends will be from your scalp’s natural oils, which offer another layer of protection against environmental damage. If your hair is naturally dry or curly, it can be especially difficult for the oils from your scalp to reach the ends of your hair. And if you have hair extensions installed, you’ll need to look for another moisturizing solution altogether, seeing as they’re not even connected to your scalp (and the bonds are in the way).

The problem can be hard to spot. Again, this is particularly true for naturally coarse, curly, or dry hair, which is already more likely to fray at the ends due to frizz or curl pattern. So in addition to a visual examination of the individual strands, look out for general thinness and crunchiness at the ends. A natural taper and slight dryness is natural, but drastic thinning and/or brittle texture at the end is a sign of split ends. Another tell-tale sign is more-than-usual knotting towards the ends.

Your extensions might not be on the same page. In general, wearing extensions protects your natural hair from external damage, much like a shield, so your hair will split at a much slower pace than usual. That being said, it’s possible that your natural hair and your extension hair are splitting at a different pace, with your natural hair splitting a little bit faster than your extension hair. This is because Donna Bella extensions are made from the highest quality hair in the world, and are treated with ultra-moisturizing products during manufacturing. It can be hard to spot the splitting of your natural hair through the layers of extension hair, and even harder to trim your natural hair without needlessly losing extension length. That’s why it’s so important to keep up with your maintenance schedule.

The only real fix is a trim. While there are things you can do to minimize the appearance of split ends, the only way to cure them is to snip them off. We recommend a visit to a professional stylist for this job, especially if you are wearing extensions, as they’ll be able to spare as much length as possible. But, if that’s just not an option (or you are a professional stylist), do it yourself with real hair-trimming scissors, and cut off ¼-½ of an inch at the ends (or a full inch, if the splits are starting to travel up the hair shaft). Cut in a straight line if you have straight hair, or twist sections of hair and cut from there if your hair has some curl to it.

You should focus on prevention. The best way to deal with split ends is to adapt better hair care habits. Try some of the following updates:

  • Shower properly. Only use shampoo at the roots, and don’t do it too often, as shampoo strips the hair of its natural oils. 1-3 times per week (depending on your hair type) should be enough. Also, don’t skimp on conditioning treatments. You should apply conditioner or Argan Oil heartily to the ends of your hair (no higher than mid-shaft), and leave it in for several minutes before rinsing with cold water (to seal the cuticle).
  • Treat wet hair with extra care. You should always baby your hair, wet or dry. But wet hair is more likely to break, so it needs some extra love after washing. Don’t towel dry your hair, because it jostles the cuticle; do use a wide-tooth comb to brush through wet hair; and don’t ever apply heat to wet hair (that includes a blow dryer). Instead, wait until it’s at least 50% dry, treat it with heat-protectant, then wait about 3 minutes before blow drying. When possible, allow it to air dry.
  • Don’t yank your brush. Firstly, don’t brush your hair too often. Secondly, use best practices when brushing: use a boar hair bristle brush on dry hair (to minimize damage and distribute natural oils throughout the hair), always brush downwards, starting at the ends of your hair and working up. When you find a knot, use your fingers to tease it apart. You don’t ever want to tear it out with a brush. That snapping sound means your hair is breaking.
  • Scale back on the heating tools and chemical dyes. These products and procedures will dry out your hair like no other, and even sometimes damage the outer layer of cuticle. If you can’t live without your straightener or curler, use the lowest heat setting possible and always use a heat protectant. If you need to dye your hair, consider a henna dye (or different-colored hair extensions).
  • Use soft hair accessories. Putting rough metal in your hair can damage your strands. Soft scrunchies, ribbons, and soft metals (like copper) are much preferred.
  • Sleep smart. Pull your hair into a loose braid before going to bed, or even utilize a silk bonnet. For extra protection, switch out your cotton pillowcases for silk ones.
  • Get fancy. Indulge in hair masks, hair oils, deep conditioning treatments, serums, and even hair supplements like biotin for a total defense against split ends. This is recommended especially for those of your with naturally thin hair (as thin hair breaks more easily), and for those of you with extensions in place (to compensate for the lack of natural oil distribution to your extension ends).

What’s your split end story? Did you find this list helpful? Let us know in the comments below!