About Breakage and Damage

When you’re growing out your hair, breakage is counterproductive. So it pays to avoid doing anything to your hair that would tend to break it off.  Overuse of heat, chemicals, and other things can do this to your hair. I go into the subject of hair damage in more detail in a new report I'm preparing.

But in the meantime, if your hair is damaged or dry, ask your stylist for a deep conditioner once in a while, when you’re there for a trim anyway. In our salon, we only charge a few dollars extra for it. But if you can’t get to the salon or don’t want to spend the few extra dollars, you can do a hot oil treatment at home with warm olive oil. Add a little lavender for fragrance (essential oil, which I think you can get at Whole Foods Market or other health food stores), and massage or blow-dry it into your hair. 

The heat opens up the hair cuticle a bit, so the oil can penetrate the hair shaft and provide the necessary flexibility to the dry or damaged hair shaft. If you can’t get the oil to penetrate, it’ll just sit there on the surface and won’t do much except provide some temporary shine, so you’ll have to coax it a bit with the heat. Cover the oiled hair with a plastic cap, and leave it in overnight. Wash it out in the morning with a good shampoo.

You’ll want to use a conditioning shampoo, as opposed to a clarifying shampoo, so that you don’t wash away all the work you just did with the hot oil treatment. You can tell the difference between a conditioning and a clarifying shampoos — even if it doesn’t say so on the label — because the conditioning shampoo is creamy or opaque, while the clarifying shampoo is clear or transparent.