Was lockdown a bliss to my hair, my “Frizzy hair”
Banana Cake, Dalgona coffee, exercise & work from home - for sure this was the talk of the town, during the lockdown.
But what really was the talk of my BFF WhatsApp group chat was how suddenly without any conscious effort my hair started looking & feeling good. And do you know I said this line in a sad tone? Why? Because my hair is in its perfect form, like a dream I always dreamt of, now it's a reality but I have nowhere to go, Just can't flaunt it at all.
But looking for the armor in the dark, the only good thing was how my hair was behaving and all the complaints that I had with my hair, were just disappearing on its own.
What caused this sudden change? Why did my hair behave like a good girl, without any conscious effort? I was curious to find out the answers!
So, I dialed the number on my speed dial and called Joseph! Joseph - my shine in the armor - my hairdresser.
When I addressed my confusion to him, he laughed and asked “do you really wanna know what caused the difference?'' To which I instantly stated - YES!
And he started, Let's start with the basics then. Why what happened, happened.
Firstly, let's get your basics right! Only then will you understand your hair better.
Curly, wavy, straight, and coily are the four broad kind hair categories of natural hair. And whatever category you fit in, one most common hair problem that bonds them all is - HAIR FRIZZ.
So, What is Frizz hair?
Joseph began, "Whenever I tell my clients "you have frizzy hair”, the mere sound of the word ‘frizz’ is enough to cause alarm in them and get them to panic+defensive zone. As, apart from the undesirable appearance of frizz itself, effects range from simple annoyance and inconvenience to anxiety and low self-esteem - impacting millions of women everywhere, every day because of frizz.
But what they don't understand is that at the heart of the problem of frizz is hair that is dry. Remember, frizz is a symptom! But its cause is dryness of hair, for which the reasons can be anything from excessive color treatments to sun damage. Therefore, remember it's okay to have frizzy hair, there is nothing to panic or feel ashamed about. But the only thing to consider and work upon is to address the root cause rather than just the symptom.
Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom
And now is the million-dollar piece of advice that Joseph shared with me. Read on to find out.
A lot of hair issues can be solved and sorted if we treat the root cause - which includes - your lifestyle; wearing protective hairstyles for natural hair; reduction in heat and chemical treatments applied to hair; staying hydrated; managing stress levels; frequency of washing hair; and similar factors. This is true regardless of your hair type.
And currently, during lockdown, you have been working on these root causes (obviously unconsciously) but this is what has made the difference. And this is the reason behind the visible positive change in your hair.
To start off with, lets get into the most significant factors & changes that has created the impactful difference -
1. External Factors or Environmental Aggressors:
The Cause : From UV rays, and harsh heat from the sun, to air pollution, there are loads of environmental aggressors that can turn hair frizzy. In some ways, they are much harder to deal with as they are all external factors over which we have no control.
The Effect : All this particulate matter found in air penetrates the hair cuticle and lessens the quality and texture of hair. Exposure to the sun draws out moisture from your hair. High temperatures of the sun also damage the keratin protein found in hair, and turn hair dry.
Being at home has reduced your exposure to direct sunlight and pollution and the harmful dust and gas particles.
After Lockdown Remember to : Let's work on our environment, though we don't have any direct control over our environment and these factors, but we can still make a difference.
Try avoiding places where there is dust, a lot of pollution, etc.
While travelling on road, cover your head & hair with scarf or satin cloth
Avoid standing directly under the sun for a long period of time, wear hats if possible.
All the above tactics mentioned above helps maintain the quality & texture of the hair.
2. Damaged Hair Cuticles:
The Cause : Application of excessive chemical treatments requires penetration through the hair cuticle. Strong hair coloring treatments like hair-dyes and bleach also act harshly on hair. Also, using heat to style your hair can have a ‘cooking’ effect on it.
The Effect : The cuticle plays a protective role in hair as it forms the outermost layer of the hair shaft and it protects the inner part of hair from heat, extreme temperature, & also by keeping natural oils and moisture sealed inside the hair shaft while also keeping external moisture or humidity from penetrating it and causing frizz. Now, hair cuticles are considered damaged when this cuticle layer or its outer scales become cracked and raised, without properly overlapping each other.
Being at home has reduced your use of frequent heat styling tools and its exposure to high temperatures will cause damage to your hair cuticles.
After Lockdown Remember to : focus on your hair cuticles. And no excuses here, as we have all control over these factors (it's just the temptation that we have to resist). You can make a difference by -
Do not overdo chemical treatments. If not required, please avoid.
Hair treatments should be avoided as much as possible, unless you feel it is the only option or a necessity.
Avoid using heating appliances on your hair regularly. Let your hair breathe.
Use a diffuser when blow drying your hair.
All the above tactics mentioned above will prevent your hair cuticle from damage and prevent hair thinning.
3. Stress, hormonal changes, diet, medicine, etc:
The Cause : As opposed to other external causes we listed as frizz promoters, this is equally important, the chemistry of our body has a large role in the relative health or ill health of hair. Factors like excessive Stress brought on by stressful environments. Hormonal changes and massive fluxes in hormone levels during events in life such as puberty and pregnancy. Consumption of a poor diet and depriving the body of protein, fats and other essential nutrients can lead to poor overall hair health.
The Effect : The damage works its way inside-out. The very internal structure of our body and chemical composition is shifted due to extreme changes in stress levels, our hormones, diet, etc. resulting in change of hair texture and hair type and gradually leading to compromised hair health and thereby frizz. Stress can stunt hair growth by causing hair to move from what is called a growth phase to a rest phase. Particularly after the events in life the hair follicles move into a period of rest and hair growth is stunted, leading to shedding and hair fall. Poor diet doesn't provide the required nutrients stunning the hair reproduction, and leading to poor hair health.
Being at home has improved our lifestyle, eating habits and sleep timings.
After Lockdown Remember to: focus on your lifestyle. Only you have the power to make the right changes - make it or break it. You can make a difference by -
Avoid taking unnecessary, excessive stress. Instead meditate and practice yoga.
On events like pregnancy, puberty, etc. be patient and don't be too harsh on yourself.
Have a rich diet on a daily basis, full of proteins, omega-3, fatty fish, etc.
All the above tactics mentioned above will facilitate hair growth, prevent hair loss and help maintain your hair health.
“Remember, the above mentioned points are related to factors and changes we noticed because of the lockdown”, Joseph said. Breaking your bond with frizz is more of a continuous process and effort rather than a one time thing.
I cut in and said, “ So, Joseph you mean that achieving is easier than maintaining. And the real question is what about after lockdown? What when we get back to our old lifestyle, the exposure to heat? The use of heat appliances? Etc. How can I break the bond with the frizz and also maintain it till the end of time?
Joseph laughed and said “Ohh so you thought so far, good! You got my point.
I will share with you things you can continue to do as part of your lifestyle that will help you maintain the hair you re-discovered during the lockdown.
Are you ready to know? But let me tell you this may take some effort in the beginning but as time goes by, it will be just like any other habit/ routine of yours.
But there are factors which one can work on. It's a good time to make these important decisions and shifts in our habits & everyday care routine.
In the end - For a bonus, Joseph shared with me the other key important factor - that we can work upon on a daily basis to improve & maintain hair health.
Here it goes!
First - The Dry Hair
This happens when the hair is ripped off its moisture. Below are some of the common (avoidable) mistakes that we make on daily basis that causes dryness -
The Cause :
Not taking enough water in your system.
Over-cleansing or washing your mane daily.
Using regular shampoos that contain sulfates.
Not moisturizing adequately or applying conditioners in the right way.
Washing your hair with extremely hot water.
Wrapping a rough towel turban-style around your wet hair.
Sleeping on a rough plus absorbent cotton pillowcase.
The Effect :
All these above mentioned habits strip the hair of its protective layer which locks moisture. Sulfates work on hair like detergents, they remove your hair’s natural oils. And also removes natural oils and moisture out of your hair.
Second - The Damaged Cuticle
when the cuticle layer or its outer scales become cracked, without properly overlapping each other causing them to lift up and become damaged.
The Cause :
Towel-drying can disturb the hair cuticles, causing them to lift up and become damaged.
Rough washing and rubbing your hair when it's wet and weakened, can damage the cuticle heavily.
Shampoos with high pH levels (above 5.5) can lead to a change in balance of hair and cause ‘roughing up’ of hair cuticles, thereby damaging them.
Harsh brushing or combing with an abrasive brush or comb causes friction and can damage the cuticle layer by lifting it up.
The Effect :
All these activities can damage the cuticle heavily and lead to a change in balance of hair and cause ‘roughing up’ of hair cuticles, thereby damaging them.
Being at home has given you ample time to rethink your choices and bring in a positive change in your habits & product use.
During Lockdown Remember to: consciously build in “good hair habits” and be gentle with your hair. You can make a difference by -
Improve your water drinking habit. Have enough water throughout the day, at least 10 glasses.
Never over wash your hair, the basic rule is, once if your hair is dry, twice if oily.
Shift to sulfate free shampoos & conditioners.
Always remember to condition your hair after the shampoo, also once in a while you can provide your hair with a royal spa treatment.
Use cold to mild warm water to wash your hair.
Shift to a microfiber towel (or an old cotton t-shirt) to wrap your hair instead of a harsh cotton towel.
You can also try switching your cotton pillowcase with a silk pillowcase.
Do not rub your hair when wet or while washing it or applying products.
Remember to choose shampoos having less than 5.5 pH level.
Choose a good quality hair brush to comb your hair and avoid combing wet hair.
All the above tactics mentioned above will prevent your hair from drying up and help lock moisture in your hair and improve the health of the hair cuticle.
And now before I cut the call, I would suggest you to start now, even if it's by just a small change, but start.
Working towards haircare doesn't mean that you have to follow all tips at once. No! The main point is to start with what you feel you can do and achieve & then keep incorporating one and then another positive changes as per your convenience.
And ill call you back after a month to ask that “Is lockdown still a bliss to your hair? Or has your recent ex appeared back in your life?
I laughed loud, and said thanked Joseph and told him "So you are challenging me? Okay! I'll take up your one month challenge. See you after a month.
Let's see what happens after a month. I’m excited, are you?
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