Archive for the ‘Hair Care’ Category

Becoming a Hair Whisperer

Saturday, September 24th, 2016

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Last week we talked about learning how to speak your hair’s language, because knowing how to decode its messages is critical to ongoing hair health. This week, we’re going to take it a step further by unraveling the trickiest of hair riddles, so you can become the hair whisperer you were always meant to be.

What to look for:

Unwanted color change
What it means:
Take a close look at the water you’re using to clean your hair, and consider investing in a filter. Tap water—including shower water—is often loaded with various minerals that can build up on your scalp over time, causing color-changing chemical reactions. This is of particular concern for blondes, since blonde hair exhibits more obvious color change compared to darker hair types. If color change has already happened, invest in a color-correcting shampoo, or schedule a damage-control coloring appointment with your stylist.

Matted hair
What it means:
You’re not drying and/or brushing your extensions properly, or you may be overdue for a move-up. Matted hair is a gnarly problem, and it’s best if you can avoid it altogether. Fortunately, it’s easy to do so if you’re taking good care of your hair extensions. But if you’re a bit lax with your grooming, unbrushed hair can knot together, and low-hanging extension bonds can twist and turn around surrounding strands of hair. Unfortunately—depending on the extent of the damage—there’s not a lot that can be done to correct the problem short of chopping the hair off above the knot. But if you’re in the early stages of matting, try a good conditioning treatment and book an appointment with your stylist ASAP.

Uneven texture
What it means:
Apart from run-of-the-mill differences in curl pattern that may exist between natural hair and extensions, uneven texture is usually caused by one of two things: either you’re not treating your extensions to enough moisture, or your natural hair is pretty damaged. Hair extensions often need more hydration than your natural hair does, mainly because—unlike your own hair—it’s not attached directly to your scalp and the oils that go with it. If they don’t receive regular conditioning treatments, hair extensions can eventually feel more brittle or parched than your natural hair, which can translate to less volume and more frizz. On the other hand, if your natural locks are damaged due to sun exposure, color treatments, or general wear and tear, it may be your hair that feels brittle and parched. If that’s the case, consider taking a break from semi-permanent hair extensions to get your hair in better shape. You can always use Ready-to-Wear extensions in the meantime!

Hair loss
What it means:
Hair loss is tricky, because it can be tied to any number of things. But if you’re relatively young and healthy, not expecting a baby, not a recent mother, and not undergoing majorly stressful life changes, you can probably rule out many of the standard causes of hair loss. In that case, the culprit is either too-tight or too-heavy extensions (resulting from a poor installation job), aggressive hair care practices, or a bad reaction to hair care products. Aggressive hair care practices may include over-processing hair with bleaches or dyes, overusing heating tools, yanking at the hair while brushing, etc. The best course of action for addressing hair loss is to visit your stylist and/or doctor to discuss all of your symptoms and develop a personalized treatment plan. This may involve removing your hair extensions, or exchanging them for a different type. Either way, it’s ultimately for the best, and Ready-to-Wear extensions are always there to ease you through the process.

Has your hair ever spoken out in any of these ways? What did you do about it? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Listen Up! What is Your Hair Trying to Tell You?

Monday, September 19th, 2016

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Your hair has a language all its own, and it’s your job to learn how to speak it. Here, we’ve taken the liberty of translating some common cries for hair-help, and offered up some tips for how to respond.

What to look for:

Dry and/or split ends
What it means:
You’re in need of a trim. To prevent this in the future, get seasonal trims, condition your hair regularly, and avoid rough hair care practices that could cause breakage (heat styling, improper brushing, vigorous towel-drying, etc.).

Short and/or scraggly strands poking out all over the hair
What it means:
Lighten up on your hair care methods. The way you’re doing things now is causing a lot of breakage. Make sure you’re brushing with the correct brush, in the correct way, and avoid overuse of heating tools. To address the problem, visit your stylist and request a blend, keep your hair hydrated, and style your hair so that it lays in a uniform way (preferably with the ends sloping inward towards your neck).

Oily scalp
What it means:
Take a shower, invest in some dry shampoo, and/or lay off the conditioning products around the roots of your hair. If your hair is naturally oily and you wear extensions, try a regimen of 2 hair-washings per week, using dry shampoo in-between.

Flaky scalp
What it means:
Make sure your shampoo regimen is up to par. Too little shampoo can cause dirt buildup on the scalp, which can clog pores and exacerbate dandruff. Too much shampoo (or too strong shampoo) can dry the scalp out too much. You may have to experiment slightly to arrive at the right balance for your hair type. Also, read this.

Lack of body or volume
What it means:
Make sure your conditioning regimen is up to par. When your hair is lacking moisture, it’ll do one of two things: frizz out in search of environmental moisture (curly hair types), or fall flat in the most drab way possible (straight and fine hair types). Address the problem by adding a good conditioner to your haircare routine—and maybe a hair mask for good measure!

Flat roots
What it means:
Your hair is too heavy, whether it’s because there’s too much oil, too much product, or too much bulk at the ends of your hair. In the first case, a shower should do the trick. In the second, a little moderation is your best bet. In the third, a visit to your stylist may be in order. Ask for a layering job, and maybe a texturizing spray for some extra umph!

What has your hair been trying to tell you lately? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Easy-to-Make Hair Care Mistakes

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

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Hair care is a multifaceted and extensive process, which means that there are lots and lots of opportunities to mess something up. From your product collection, to your tools, to your various techniques, unhappy surprises can be waiting in the most innocent-looking of places. So let us help you parse out the good from the bad. Here are some common, easy-to-make hair care mistakes, and tips to help you fix them:

Using products with sulfates in them.
There are a lot of promising-looking products out there with sulfates on their ingredients labels, and it can be almost heart-breaking to part with a product based off of that alone. But it’s got to be done, because sulfates spell only damage for hair extensions, and for your own hair, too. Beware the sudsy, too-clean feeling, and always read the label!

Tying hair into a topknot while conditioner sets.
Most of you probably know by now that conditioning the roots of your hair is an extension crime. It compromises the extension bonds, causes slippage, and (best-case scenario) leaves your hair looking greasy. That being said, conditioner is great and so, so necessary for the lengths of your hair, and you’ll get the most benefit from it if you let the formula set for 5-15 minutes before rinsing. While you do this, your instinct might be to pull your hair up and away from your shoulders to prevent the conditioner from coating your skin. Good thinking! But opt for a low ballerina bun. A topknot—though appealing—will ultimately drip conditioner down into the root area of your hair. No thank you!

Blow-drying dripping wet hair.
While we recommend that you blow-dry the root area of your hair after showering, we don’t mean blow-dry the hair while it’s still sopping wet. Shooting wet hair with heat can be super damaging to your locks, since the liquid coating around each hair will just funnel the heat and multiply its effects. Instead, gently wring your hair of water, towel dry with a microfiber cloth, spritz some heat protectant to the areas of your hair that you intend to blow-dry, let it set for a couple of minutes*, then blow-dry on a low heat setting (using the cool shot afterwards).
*Heat protectant forms a barrier around the hair, but only after it’s dried slightly on the hair shaft.

Brushing with the wrong comb or brush.
While we’d love to tell you that you can continue using your standard brush/comb on your hair extensions, that’s most likely not true. Unless your brush is a 100% boar hair bristle brush, like ours is, it’s not going to mesh well with your hair extensions. That’s because ordinary brushes have bristles that are too rough for hair extension bonds, and many brushes and combs don’t effectively distribute oil from the scalp to the ends of the hair. So invest in one that does what you need it to do!

Using the wrong brushing technique.
Your hair-brushing woes may go one step further; you could be brushing your hair in the wrong way. This can happen even if you have the right kind of brush for your hair, and it can wreak havoc on your locks! The correct way to brush your hair involves starting at the ends, coaxing the knots out in a downward motion, and then slowly working your way up. Don’t start at your roots and yank through the knots! That is immediately damaging to both your extensions and your natural hair. To minimize the tugging at the roots and bonds, always grasp the roots of your hair with one hand while you brush.

Slathering hair in oil.
Hot oil treatments are bomb for hair extensions, because they provide a fix of much-needed moisture. That being said, you should not douse your hair in the stuff, and you should not apply any around the bonds or roots of your hair. As with the conditioning thing, it’ll quickly lead to slippage and/or greasy, flat-laying hair (since oil is notoriously difficult to wash out). And, again, tie the hair in a low ballerina bun to set.

Sleeping with your hair loose.
This one seems so natural, right? Most of us don’t even think twice about falling into bed with our hair down, because it’s what we’ve been doing for most of our lives! But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact, all the tossing and turning you do during the night can mess up the cuticle layer of your hair, draining it of moisture and leaving it frizzy come morning time. And that’s just not a great way to start the day. Instead, sleep with your hair in a braid, invest in a silk or satin pillowcase (to minimize friction), and consider getting a silk or satin bonnet, too. A head wrap could also work. Anything that’ll keep the hair laying smooth and undisturbed.

Skipping UV protectant.
It can come as a surprise to hear that hair needs sun protection, too. But, if you care about maintaining a healthy-looking mane, it most certainly does. UV rays are disaster for color-treated hair (think your hair extensions), and can cause premature color fade. Even on natural, uncolored hair, sunlight will have a lightening and drying effect. Over time, this can compromise the integrity of your strands. So reach for a UV protectant, give it a couple of spritzes into your hair, and work it through with your hands. It’s not a lot of extra time or energy, and the results are well worth it.

Got questions? Comments? Suggestions? Leave them down below!

 

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How To Get the Most Out of Your Shower

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

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Showers are a balancing act, especially when you wear extensions. You need to shower frequently enough to keep your hair clean and in good condition, but not so frequently as to strip your hair of its natural oils. But that’s not even the half of it—once you’re there, it only gets more complicated. So how can you conquer your showers so that your hair ends up looking as fabulous as possible? Here, we offer you some tips for getting the most out of your wash time.

Plan ahead.
Step one of mastering your shower routine is establishing a rough schedule. This schedule will take the guesswork out of your hair care process, making it easier to manage your hair in the long run. It doesn’t need to be strict, but it should be personalized, depending on a number of things including your hair texture, scalp oiliness, extension method, exercise schedule, and general preferences. We recommend that hair extension wearers shower no more than twice a week, especially if you’re using I-Link or Tape-In extensions. But if your hair is particularly oily, naturally fine and straight, and/or you have a grueling exercise regimen, you might need an extra shower here and there. It helps to know how you like your hair to feel—ideally clean, hydrated, and bouncy with a hint of shine—and to maintain your hair so that it feels and looks its best on your second or third day post-wash. A little trial and error may be necessary to arrive at the perfect routine, but the time and energy will be worth it when your “good hair day” hair is your everyday hair.

Try a pre-treatment.
Pre-shower treatments, or pre-shampoo treatments, are designed to give you a head start on the hair maintenance process by prepping your hair with the equivalent of a moisture-filled appetizer. This enables your go-to shampoo to do its job better, while preventing it from stripping the hair dry of moisture. We also recommend brushing your hair with the Hair Extension Brush pre-shower to untangle any existing knots. This will allow the products that you use in the shower to move easily down the hair shaft for total distribution.

Set the right temperature.
Warm showers feel oh-so-nice, but they can wreak havoc on your hair. That’s because hot water lifts the cuticle of your hair, making it vulnerable to tangling and breakage. Cold water seals the cuticle of your hair, keeping the nutrients and conditioning agents you add to it safe inside the shaft. It also makes for a beautiful, shiny mane once your shower is complete. If you absolutely can’t stand cold showers (which, by the way, boast a number of other benefits), wash just your body with warm water, and reserve cold or lukewarm water for your hair, rinsing with a shot of cold water at the end.

Use the right products.
Picking the right products for your hair type and condition is so vital for healthy locks. We’ve talked about this curation process in other posts, so here we’ll just reiterate the basics: professional quality products are almost always the best bet for hair extensions, and sulfates in hair care products should be avoided at all costs. Here’s the breakdown: professional hair products reap professional results. That’s why your post-salon day hair is inexplicably smoother and more modelesque than your hair on any other day. Boutique products can also be good, particularly if they come from companies with a commitment to natural ingredients. Remember, always read the label on your products! And if you find the terms “sodium lauryl sulfate,” “ammonium laureth sulfate,” “myreth sulfate,” or any other kind of sulfate, don’t use it. While sulfates are certainly good at removing buildup from the scalp, they are generally too aggressive for hair extensions, stripping the hair of its natural oils to the point of impaired hydration and even breakage. Not great for a sustainably healthy look.

Clean and condition the right places.
The rule here is pretty simple: shampoo only at the roots, condition only from the midshaft down (focusing on the ends). Applying shampoo to the lengths of your hair will dry them out, and applying conditioner to the roots of your hair will make them appear greasy, and potentially cause hair extension slippage. If you are used to using a co-wash or cleansing conditioner, we recommend that you pre-wash your roots with a water and apple cider vinegar mix and save the cleansing conditioner for the areas south of the extension bonds. Just in case!

Employ best practices.
Best practices include: washing your hair in only one direction, not scrunching your hair or rubbing it between your hands as you wash it, treating your hair gently at all times, letting conditioner sit and absorb into your hair for 5-10 minutes before rinsing, combing through wet hair with just your fingers, etc. Best practices may vary slightly depending on your products, so consult the label and familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s recommended process.

Don’t linger.
Nobody needs a 30-minute long shower, not even if they’re washing their hair and shaving their legs in the same session. Using up too much water is bad for the environment and bad for your hair extensions, which need to return to dry ASAP to avoid matting, mold, or slippage. We get that showers can be relaxing, but if you really need a dose of watery relaxation, please opt for a bath, and wear your hair up in a protective style to keep it dry. When it comes to washing your hair, as soon as you’ve finished the shower (a.k.a. rinsed with cold water), gently wring out the water so your hair isn’t dripping wet, step out of the tub, and wrap the hair in a microfiber towel or cotton shirt to expedite the drying process.

Follow up.
Once most of the excess water has been removed from your hair, apply a heat protectant to your roots and shoot a hair dryer at it until it’s fully dry (a modest heat setting will do). For extra smooth hair, add a leave-in conditioner from the midshaft down, combing through any tangles with your fingers or a wide-tooth comb. The lengths of your hair should be left to air dry. Pro tip: once your hair is 2/3rds dry, tie it into a braid, bun, or twist to curl it overnight—or throughout the day, as the case may be. Heatless styling is the best kind of styling for any hair type, and post-shower is the best time to do it.

Troubleshoot.
In-between washes, correct any damage as it springs up with a good dry shampoo, leave-in conditioner, or scalp treatment, depending on your needs. Troubleshooting spot treatments are a great way to cut down on showers while keeping your hair looking and feeling great. They’ll also extend the life of your hair extensions in the long run!

What is your shower routine, and how does it leave your hair and hair extensions feeling? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Summer Clip-In Care

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

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Every season has its own quirks and distinctions, and the same thing goes for seasonal hair care. In the winter you try to lock-in moisture. In the summer you try to fight frizz and sweat. But did you know that there are even differences between seasonal hair care regimens for permanent vs. removable hair extensions? While all hair extension wearers should protect their hair from heat, sun, sweat, dry or dusty air, and swimming water, the ways in which you accomplish these things may differ between permanent vs. removable methods. So here’s our advice for you Clip-In wearers out there, so you can enjoy long, beautiful, newly-out-of-the-box quality hair all summer long.

Know how to wear your Clip-Ins summer-style.
Summer Clip-In use involves paying extra attention to the clips and ends of your extensions; clips because they’re more prone to slipping in sweaty hair, and ends because they’re more prone to drying in summer weather. For some extra grip, consider spraying the roots of your natural hair with dry shampoo or texturizing spray, then twisting the hair before clipping the extension to it. For smooth, well-moisturized ends, apply leave-in conditioner and a heat protectant from the midshaft down, then wear your hair up in a protective style. For bonus points, add a hat!

Know how to store.
We always recommend hanging your (dry!) extensions when storing them. It keeps the hair smooth and organized, and just generally more presentable than when stuffing them into a box. But, if you are hanging your extensions in the summer, make sure you cover them with a case or static-free fabric to avoid friction and frizz. Otherwise, stack the extensions on top of each other, twist or braid the length of the hair, and tuck it back into the original packaging in a loop. Store the hair in a cool, dry place for maximum defense.

Know when to wear and when to store.
The beauty of Clip-In hair extensions is that you can install them and remove them whenever and wherever you like. That means that, instead of having to take several precautions to defend your extensions from chlorine discoloration or sun-related bond damage, you can just remove the extensions before you find yourself in a hair-compromising situation. We routinely recommend that you avoid tanning, swimming, exercising, or sleeping with Clip-In hair extensions in place. During the summer, we also recommend that you avoid sunbathing with them on, as colored hair is more susceptible to heat damage. When you’re not wearing your hair extensions, take advantage of the opportunity to give them some revitalizing treatments. Deep-conditioning masks, leave-in conditioners, and hot-oil treatments can all work their magic without getting in the way of your summer exploits. But remember the rule of thumb: no sulfate products, and no products near the clips of the extensions.

Do you wear Donna Bella Clip-In hair extensions? We’d love to see your summer hair photos! Submit yours to our Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter social media pages for a change to be featured. And, if you have any stories or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

 

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Your Guide to Beach Hair

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

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The beach is our favorite place to be during the summer, but it’s also a place filled with hair extension perils. Between the intense sunlight, accompanying heat, dry air, and harsh seawater, your extensions can leave a day at the beach looking ragged–or worse–showing actual signs of damage. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize beach hair damage that won’t get in the way of your summer fun. Here are a couple of our favorite tips to get your started:

Use UV protection. We’ve mentioned this tip before, and for good reason. Protecting your hair from the sun’s UV rays is the bare minimum for long-lasting, healthy locks. Make it your haircare starting point, regardless of the season, or find products that multi-task, like serum with UV protection included.

Pack in the leave-in conditioner. You hair needs extra moisture during the summer months to counteract sun and heat-related drying, and it needs even more to counteract salty ocean water. The key is to saturate your hair before getting into the water–especially at the ends–so that your hair has a barrier that prevents it from losing moisture or absorbing ocean water.

Wear your hair up. Once you’ve applied your leave-in conditioner, we recommend that you tie your hair up in a protective style, so the ends of your hair are not exposed to the elements. This helps to minimize the amount of hair that you’re exposing to sun, sand, surf, etc., and keeps the most vulnerable parts of your hair from excessive drying.

Cover your head. Whether it’s with a swim cap, a sunhat, or a pretty scarf, covering your hair ensures that your hair is protected to-the-max. This is especially important for hair extension-wearers, as the heat from the sun can compromise the integrity of extension bonds. It’s also important for preventing heat stroke and fatigue, as the shade over your head will keep your beautiful brain as cool as possible. Bring at least one head cover in addition to your umbrella for versatility.

Correct damage in the shower. We recommend that you shower immediately after spending time in ocean or pool water to clean your hair of the mineral buildup that accompanies it. Left unchecked, these minerals can damage the hair’s protective layer, cause hair breakage, and even alter the color of your strands. Use a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo to get the job done, then follow up with more conditioning around your midshaft and ends. If you’d like, you can even pre-emptively color correct with lavender or gold-tinted products.

Dry your roots. As an extension-wearer, you know that wet bonds are no good for hair extensions. That’s why it’s important that you dry your hair after getting it wet. Apply some heat protectant to your roots before hitting it with a blowdryer, and make sure you get your entire root and bond area sufficiently dry.

Re-condition your ends. Once again, you want to make sure your hair stays hydrated after a long day in the sun, so coat the ends in another round of leave-in conditioner so they can soak up as much moisture as possible!

If you follow these tips, we guarantee that your next-day beach hair will be as beautiful as your glowing beach-trip skin!

For more summer hair extension reading, check out the following posts:
Donna Bella’s Summer Favorites!
Overcoming Hat Hair
When in Maui…

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below!

 

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Donna Bella’s Summer Favorites!

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

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Ready to hit the sun, sand, and surf? Not without your hair-protective products, you’re not! Summer is just a month away, so now’s the time to get preparing. Here are our top picks for beautiful and healthy hair and hair extensions–all season long!

UV Protection. Always, always, always a must. We’re liking the feel of Aveda’s Sun Care Protective Hair Veil, which boasts 16 hours of water-resistant sun protection. No need to reapply throughout the day (like your sunscreen!), and no need to worry about your silky strands frizzing up. Just keep swimming without a care in the world.

Texturizing Spray. For those hat-wearing days, spritz some Living Proof Instant Texture Mist to your roots, then enjoy up to 48 hours of non-stop volume. This stuff is also great for recreating that classic beachy wave, whether you heat the beach or not.

Anti-Frizz. For you curly-types who need a little flyaway maintenance, try something like Bumble and bumble Defrizz–a frizz-fighting hair softener with a refreshingly short ingredients list. We especially love that whole “works in any weather” thing.

Leave-In Conditioner. Your summer hair can never get enough moisture, so help yourself to this super gentle and nice-smelling Citrus & Neroli Detangler by John Masters, made of certified organic ingredients. It’s also a great regular conditioner safe for color-treated hair!

Conditioning Mask. Kick the deep-conditioning up a notch with a luxurious conditioning mask like Kérastase’s Masque Nutri-Thermique. Designed to add moisture back to sun-dried locks, it’s kind of like hitting the reset button after a long day outdoors. For a DIY remedy, try one of StyleCaster’s assorted summer hair masks. Our favorite is the avocado honey one.

What are your summer hair care picks? Have you stumbled upon any noteworthy hair mask recipes lately? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Getting to Know the Ingredients Label – Part 2!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

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Now that we’re all caught up on the chemicals we should be avoiding in our hair care products, let’s talk about ingredients that your hair will love! Some of these will depend on your hair type, but more than a few of them are universal favorites. So without further ado, here’s the bright side of the ingredients label.

Panthenol. Looking for moisture in the form of a good conditioning agent? This is the ingredient for you. According to EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, this little number is a variety of vitamin B5 that comes from animals or plants. Talk about keeping it natural.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein. Here’s an ingredient that will condition your hair and form a protective film around the follicle to retain moisture, without all the garbage side-effects and hardcore buildup.

Lauryl Glucoside. This gentle surfactant will clear the dirt off your scalp without stripping your hair bare of its natural oils, since it also has some conditioning properties. Plant-based and biodegradable, the stuff is even sold directly from naturallythinking.com.

Cetearyl Alcohol. Still want to get that lathery foam from your cleansing products? Try cetearyl alcohol, the Lush-approved emulsifier free of the allergic side-effects of propylene glycol and the cancerous associations of ethanolamines.

Hydrolyzed Keratin. Keratin, the protein that makes up your hair and skin, is great for reinforcing the strength of your natural locks and mending breakage. Hydrolyzed Keratin is even moisture-binding, so you can strengthen and hydrate your hair at once.

Polyquaternium-55. Instead of relying on isopropyl alcohol for hold, try this ingredient. It scores a healthy 1 in EWG’s database.

p-Anisic Acid. Don’t like the sound of parabens? Opt for products with this preservative, instead. It’s a naturally-occurring germ killer that also promotes a pleasant smell.

Potassium Sorbate. Speaking of naturally-occurring preservatives, have you ever heard of potassium sorbate? Also repels microbes; also adds a nice scent.

Natural oils and butters. We think it’s safe to say that if it’s okay to eat, it’s okay to put in your hair. Natural ingredients are all the rage right now (as they should be), and there are lots of homemade recipes and boutique blends out there to choose from. Some good picks include: shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera juice, jojoba oil, castor seed oil, tea tree oil, avocado oil, and vegetable glycerin. Check out this slideshow from Refinery29 to find the best picks for your hair type.

What are your favorite hair care products? What ingredients do they use? And what ingredients work best for you? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Getting to Know the Ingredients Label

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

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There’s a big wide world of beauty products out there, and not all of them are your friends. In the last few weeks, we’ve talked about how to find products that complement your hair type. This week, we’re telling you about some ingredients in products that don’t complement anyone, least of all extension-wearers. So here are those chemical names, decoded, so you can start getting to know those ingredients labels a bit better.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate. You’ve definitely heard of this one before. Sulfates are the number one ingredient you should be avoiding if you’re wearing hair extensions because they dry out your hair like crazy. Ideally, though, everyone should avoid the stuff if they can help it. They strip the natural oils off of your head, preventing the healthy distribution of said oils to the lengths of your hair. NOT recommended if you want well-hydrated hair.

Isopropyl Alcohol. We’re looking at you, hairspray. Isopropyl alcohol (otherwise known as rubbing alcohol) is another ingredient that can seriously dry out hair, and it’s found in a disheartening number of products designed to keep your hair in place. In large quantities or concentrations, this ingredient can even dry hair out to the point of breaking off.

Propylene Glycol. Products that come out of the bottle as a foam or emulsion more likely than not contain this chemical. It’s an anti-freeze that contributes to the liquid state of a product, and opinion is divided on the relative toxicity of the chemical. In general, concentrations of propylene glycol used in cosmetics are considered safe, but we recommend that those of you with sensitive or damaged skin, eczema, or other skin conditions refrain from using products with this ingredient, as it can cause allergic reactions.

Petrolatum/Mineral Oil. These ingredients form a plastic-y film around your hair strands in order to seal in moisture, but the barrier is so effective that your hair basically can’t breathe through it. This can ultimately impair hair growth.

Ethanolamines (DEA/MEA/TEA). These guys are supposed to emulsify your products (make them foam) and help maintain a healthy pH level in your hair and scalp, but they have the unfortunate side-effect of drying your hair and skin out. More importantly, they’ve also been linked to cancer!

Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde-donors, and Parabens. We’re lumping all of these ingredients together, even though they definitely have some differences. Formaldehyde is supposed to temper the carcinogenic properties of other ingredients, formaldehyde-donors are chemicals like ureas and DMDM Hydantoin that act as preservatives in beauty products, and parabens are antimicrobial preservatives. What these guys all have in common is a potential link to cancer and immune-system problems. As much as we love beautiful hair, it’s not worth compromising your overall health to achieve it.

Fragrance. If you see “fragrance” or “perfume”/”parfum” on the label of a product, that’s basically code for “and many other chemicals we won’t list here.” Skip the ambiguity in favor of an unscented blend. If you really can’t deal without your signature hair scent, try to recreate it with essential oils.

Need help sorting out which hair (and skin) products are safe to use on your body? EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database has proven invaluable for us, and we think it can help you out, too. Try it out, and let us know what you think!

 

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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!

 

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