It’s not often that we come across an haircare salon which seamlessly combines a modern, aspirational aesthetic (the space based in East London, is a minimalist’s dream) with ‘green’ cred. This salon is behind some of the coolest hair looks we’ve spotted lately and manages to do this with products that aren’t tested on animals and which avoid some of the most harmful ingredients in haircare. So when we discovered Glasshouse Salon’s work, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask its founder Olivia Crighton to share her top haircare tips.
Read on for Olivia’s top five natural haircare commandments below…
Upkeep your style
Looking after you hair is one of the best things you can do to maintain longevity and manageability.
- Trimming: Unfortunately the saying ‘your hair will grow faster if you cut it more’ is a bit of a myth. Unlike skin, our hair is dead and cannot regenerate and repair itself, so we can only grow more new hair, or work on repairing the hair we have. Hair that grows in good condition comes from what’s going on with the scalp, our internal health, and how well we take care of our existing locks. However, to keep the hair looking long and full, it’s good to trim off split ends regularly ideally before they begin to split. We recommend doing so every six to eight weeks.
- Repair: When the hair is in it best condition, not only is it much more manageable, but the hair has a better resistance to further damage. This is because chemically and environmentally damaged hair is much more porous. The cuticle scales on the outside of the hair are often open and susceptible to water absorption when damaged, so moisture and pollution can get into the cortex and lead to swelling of hair-shaft and further damage and depletion of protein and moisture in the hair. Hair in good condition is more resistant to moisture, therefore more resistant to further damage. Get yourself a good protein and moisture treatment and look after it by following our hair protection rules.
Steer Clear of Harmful Dyes
It can be really tempting to colour the hair without thinking about what chemicals go into the process, so here are a couple ingredients we recommend you steer clear from.
- Ammonia: It’s no big secret that ammonia is bad for our hair, as well as potentially harmful to our bodies, but most hair colours still contain it. Ammonia-based colours tend to be more aggressive and have a very high pH. Ammonia swells the hair shaft, as well as taking valuable protein and moisture from the hair (ammonia has been proven to take up to a third of the natural protein from the hair in one colour application). This can lead to all sorts of long term problems as a result of damaged hair: premature colour fade, tangles, rough/dry texture and even breakage. There are plenty of great hair colour brands out there now that don’t contain ammonia and may not compromise the hair’s condition in the same way.
- Resorcinol: A commonly used colour pigment in hair colour; usually number two on the inky list after ammonia. It’s one of the most harmful and toxic ingredients used, and is not always necessary for good results.
Avoid Unnecessary Chemicals and Damaging Ingredients
As with hair dye, hair care products can be deceiving and actually damage our hair and scalp rather than care for it.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES): These ingredients are commonly used in shampoo’s, detergents and body washes for a bubbly soapy lather. As well as being known irritants, SLS and SLES can deplete moisture levels in the hair, as well as pulling artificial colour from it prematurely and aggravating for the scalp. Despite these factors, the majority of products still contain it. Luckily for us there are plenty of brands using alternative ingredients that can still clean the hair without the use of these sulphates.
- Sodium Chloride: Ever felt dry and itchy after too much time at the beach? Sodium Chloride, otherwise known as table salt, is commonly used in shampoos, detergents, and body washes to thicken the product. Though this ingredient is natural (and delicious), over time salt used in your hair care products can begin to degrade the moisture levels in the hair, as well as pulling artificial colour from it prematurely and dehydrating the scalp.
Be Kind When Styling
Its important to be mindful of what tools we use when styling our hair as we can end up causing long-term damage.
- Heat: It’s no secret that the use of hot tools for styling such as flat irons and tongs will damage the hair. Feel like your hair won’t grow any longer? It’s common to have breakage from too much use of heat on the hair. A good heat protector will help, but the only real way to prevent damage is to avoid using heat at all. Opt for a hair dryer instead or turn down the heat on your irons if it’s adjustable. Hair with a heat-damaged cuticle (the scales on the outside of the hair) can be very difficult to get back into shape once ‘burnt’.
Protect Your Locks
We know the environment can have a negative effect on our health, but it can also have an effect on your hair.
- Swimming: Chlorinated water can be dehydrating to the hair and will build up in the hair over time causing problems with condition, premature colour fade, and even brassy or green tones on blonde hair. It’s a myth that wetting the hair before swimming will help minimise damage and build up: wet hair is actually more susceptible to chlorine absorption as the cuticle layer is open and more likely to take in more moisture. Use a good product for protection and wear a swimming cap. Do regular reconstructive treatments, as hair in good condition will have more resilience to water damage, and if you already have chlorine build up ask your stylist to try and remove it with a some clarifying shampoo and good reconstructive treatments.
- Pollution: Particularly if the hair is already porous, dirt and pollution from the atmosphere can sit in the hair and causing it to be lank and greasy as well as being prone to dull and brassy tones. Using good protein treatment can help to clean it out as well as looking after the hair in the first place will help the hair to have it’s own natural resilience to damage from the atmosphere. Good protein treatments and leave in protectors and conditioners, can help prevent environmental damage in the first place.
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