The Science Behind Caring For Your Hair In Summer

When I end up spending a lot of time and money on my hair color and treatments I really want to squeeze every last value out of my hair. So I wanted to dig a little deeper and find out what I am actually putting on my hair, how my hair works and more importantly, how I can protect and preserve my hair during summer.

How does shampoo actually work?

The ability for a shampoo to cleanse both the hair and scalp is due to a group of molecules termed a MICELLE. There are 2 molecule sides, one the tail and the other being the head. The head is attracted to water named (hydrophilic) and the tail side is attracted to sebum/dirt named (lipophilic). When hair is shampooed the oil loving tail is attracted to the dirt/oil and as the hair is thoroughly rinsed the water loving head of the MICELLE pulls the whole micelle molecule away from the hair and scalp washing it down the drain. Shampoos are surfactants/ wetting agents and are able to break down the surface tension of water allowing the water to spread easily.
It is important to use a shampoo and conditioner best suited for your hair and scalp condition, here is why…

Which shampoos are best for my hair?

The hairs ideal pH is around 4.5 to 5.5 so it is more stable on the acidic side. Most chemical services like bleaches, tints and certain perms are performed between a pH of 7 to 10, which is more on the alkaline side, which leaves the hair weaker and causes it to swell.(Yes, our hair can swell)

The hairs salt bonds are attractions between positive and negative charges and are the bonds that become affected by incorrect pH balances that may leave hair in a weakened state. Most shampoos increase the hairs PH, when the increase in negative and the decrease in positive charges occur, the cuticle swells and starts to open. By using a conditioner that is cationic it will attract the negative charges of the cuticle and therefore smooth the cuticle bringing the PH to 5.5.

There are many different types of shampoos and conditioners on the market. The advantage of using synthetic shampoos is that the PH can be adjusted to best suit the needs of the hair without affecting the benefits of the shampoo. Synthetic shampoo is made in a laboratory and will not react with magnesium and calcium salts in hard water.

Go Pro :

Pro products may be more expensive but they certainly deliver what they manufactured for. A lot of research has gone into these products and they are manufactured for your hairs specific needs. Some mass produced products found in retail stores just don’t deliver what the hair needs. They may often be masked with non- water soluble silicones that slowly coat the hair leaving the hair with a raincoat and not allowing the hair to receive treatments. The hair may initially feel amazing but with continuous use the coated hair can become brittle and may snap. Professional products contain only the best ingredients and are manufactured with strict guidelines to ensure they deliver optimum results. People spend a small fortune on having a full colour service but they will walk out without purchasing the correct after care products. Sometimes finding out later that they are using products completely unsuited for the hairs condition. You cannot use a shampoo for dandruff if you have had a colour service done because you like the smell. You cannot use a shampoo for normal hair if you have had a full head of foils and your hair is compromised. Hair that has gone through a chemical process always needs nursing and that’s by using a shampoo and conditioner recommended by your stylist.

Sun Tanning for your hair:

Both UVA and UVB light can have a negative effect on hair. Think about a pair of new black denims that you love and wash 3× per week. You leave this black denim to dry in the sun 3x per week… Those denims will soon turn grey and the fabric will become very brittle. Your hairs reaction to direct sunlight causes both fading of natural pigmented hair and excessive damage to chemically treated hair. There are many Professional products that have added UVA protection to their brands. Wearing a hat helps heaps in protecting hair from the harsh sun.

What about the ocean and that gorgeous glistening pool?:

If you plan on swimming in the ocean consider rinsing out the salt water unless you want your hair to be like drying sardines. Salt draws moisture, add some sun and wind results in dry, brittle, bleached broken hair.

Chlorine is used in pools to keep the water free from bacteria. Copper is added to swimming pools to help prevent algae. When these two chemicals combine together the green particles of the copper stains the blonde hair a greenish cast. Wear a swimming cap or use a shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for the removal of swimmers green hair.
Chlorine affects hair by direct chemical reactions resulting in chemical changes to hair components. The direct chemical changes include reactions of chlorine with pigments giving hair their color, oils covering hair and proteins forming hair shafts. The reaction of melanin pigments with chlorine results in change of hair from natural color (blond to black) to straw color of keratin.
Chlorine removes natural oils covering hair resulting in loss of hair shine and flexibility, as well as making them more susceptible to mechanical damage. The cuticle is an outer layer of very hard, dead cells over the hair surface. If the chlorine gets between the scales it could push up the scales; therefore, making it rough and prone to damage or breakage. These flaked cuticles reflect light poorly and so the hair fibre looks dull, dry and may feel rough when touched.

If I want the best results for my hair then I definitely need to trust the professionals all the way here. If I trust them to style and color my hair then I definitely need to trust their advice on which products to use, so I can take care of my hair. I know it’s a little bit more cash to fork out, but if that means I know my hair is getting what it needs to stay healthy and happy then I am all for it.

Thank you to my wonderful hair stylist and colorist, Lizele Henson for all of her wonderful knowledge and input.

Go and check out some of her amazing work !

Leave a Reply