Processing your feelings about processing your hair?

Damaged hair: common causes and treatments

Your favorite position is boss, everything you touch turns to thank you, and you don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Age ain’t nothin but a number.

Specifically #33, Dark Auburn—the color you use to cover those pesky grays. It’s either that or get mistaken for a natural foods shop keeper. We’re guessing you’re here because the latter is not your vibe. So let’s explore what you can do for the damage that comes with your monthly salon treatments.

First, let’s talk colorants.

Nora Ephron once claimed that “there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all.” If she was right, then those parts probably had a very high incidence of clogged showers because hair color, especially permanent dye, causes a lot of damage to the hair fiber.

But how, you ask? During the coloring process, the fiber is exposed to a very high pH (potential of Hydrogen, we know you’ve always wondered!), via the ammonia in hair dye. That exposure causes the cuticles, your hair’s natural protection, to open to allow the dyes to pass through. Next, the hair color developer—which contains hydrogen peroxide—oxidizes the hair color.  Unfortunately, hydrogen peroxide is not a smart molecule, so it also goes after other stuff like keratin, the dominant protein that makes up the hair fiber. And that, girlfriend, is how you get dull, lifeless hair. Even though during rinsing, the cuticles do attempt to close, a lot of cuticles will be lifted and de-cemented, much like the mechanical damage we see from pulling the comb through our hair.

Now, let’s move on to relaxers.

The chemical reactions that happen during the relaxing process are also not great news for your hair health. Breakage, surface roughness, and dry hair are common after a treatment. That’s because as the relaxer diffuses into the hair fibers, it disrupts the cuticle and the organization of major bonds, degrading the hair fiber in the process.

And finally, for all of you still wondering, “do perms damage your hair too”?

The answer is yes, but yes and yes (hopefully you see a pattern here). During chemical processing like perming, straightening, and your beloved keratin treatments, bonds in the hair fiber are opened with a reducing agent. Hair is then either put into curlers for perming or combed straight during processing and treated with an oxidizing agent that does a whole bunch of conversions we won’t bore you with. All you really need to know is that it causes a lot of damage, and you go home with rough, dry hair strands that have decreased strength and increased water permeability.

So what’s a card-carrying chemical treatment lover supposed to do?

Listen. We know you’re going to keep going to the salon. And we support that journey. But if there was a product that reduced the need to get treatments, the amount you spent on said treatments, and the damage those treatments cause, would you try it? Good thing there is. Gemmist has discovered how to repair hair damage from hair dye, relaxers, perms, and whatever other treatments the hair gods put in your way.

The first step? Take the quiz to find the best hair care products for damaged hair, brought to you by yours truly at Gemmist.

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