Thursday, April 21, 2011

Can You Really Nourish and Repair Hair?

Love My Hair

We all love our hair and it can make us feel good about ourselves along with giving us a look of whatever we desire...but like many of us, we also have bad hair days and don't love our hair quite so much. Which of course spurs us to find the next remedy for curing our unruly locks. It has been said, repeated, claimed, advertised, and sold that shampoos and conditioners can nourish and repair our hair. This is just another little tidbit I wanted to address as a followup to my Wen article.

nour·ish /ˈnəriSH/ verb

  1. Provide with substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.
re·pair /riˈpe(ə)r/ verb
  1. Fix or mend (a thing suffering from damage or a fault)

  2. Make good (such damage) by fixing or repairing it

Now by the very definitions above these advertising embellishments sound logical to some degree, but for instance, nourish is another form of "feed" for nourishment as in the context to help us "grow" with good health and keeping us in good condition.

The only problem with this word for proclaiming a product will do something like nourish our hair....well it is literally impossible. Our hair is not a living is dead, it cannot and will not take up nourishment to make it grow. Now one could nourish the scalp to a degree because these of course are living cells and houses the hair follicle, but just like our skin, the scalp will only take up what it is provided in nutrients to a varying degree dependent on penetration it makes sense to keep our scalp in good condition.

Dryness, itchiness and oily conditions can all be temporarily improved with a good shampoo or conditioner, but anything that goes to the level of treatment, then becomes and OTC product, such as Head and Shoulders for dandruff.

Repair is also another great descriptive, and is not really being used incorrectly. By it's very definition, a good conditioner will repair hair, least until the next shampoo, hair color treatment or hot tool one may use on their hair after it is dried.

Conditioners do not actually repair hair completely, but are designed with the conditioning agents such as silicone to smooth and coat the hair shaft to mend frizzies and split ends to a degree, depending on the level of treatment. Hair serums are excellent for temporarily mending split ends as are conditioning agents which leave hair feeling soft and silken.

The Real Nourishment To Hair

If we all want beautiful hair, then treating it gently is the ideal way to accomplish this, along with the occasional haircut for keeping it looking gorgeous and smooth. It is important to note that a split end will continue to travel up the hair shaft, so this is why a trim every so often is crucial for growing beautiful hair.

Also proper diet filled with protein (eggs, meat, poultry, etc), along with the intake of Omega 3's and other nutrients found in fish, fruits, nuts and vegetables will provide all the nutrients the scalp will need for growing a healthier head of hair. Remember, hair is keratinized protein as are our finger and toenails. If we want long, lustrous hair, we need to be vigilant by checking our diet and health.

Poor quality with our hair such as severe dryness or it falling out, especially if there is no chemical hair treatments being used, may be linked to a medical condition such as hyperthyroidism. Alopecia is female pattern baldness which can be caused by hormones, family genetics and some medications. Repeated stressors such as always tying hair back with a rubber band or excessively tight braiding practices like cornrows, and the use of hair extensions, can also contribute to what is called "traction alopecia," and can be avoided.....just stop abusing the scalp through these repeated practices.

Our hair is excellent for signaling something is amiss with our bodies, so be sure to see your doctor if hair problems go beyond the usual that can accompany hair stressors such as those listed above but to also include dying, perming or use of heat setting tools.

Don't panic however, if you are seeing hairs coming out of your head each day. To know what is abnormal hair loss you should first know what is normal. People lose up to 100 hairs a day. You will see it on your comb, brush, in the shower drain or on your pillow. Your hair has its own cycle of growth and generally it grows for a few years then rests for a few months, sheds and grows again.

Keeping It Lovely

Hair is what I consider our mane of pride. It gives us confidence, accents our facial features and can make us look younger or older depending on the style. When hair is dry and frizzy, it detracts from our appearance and can make us look unkempt.

A beautiful head of hair is easily managed, and when soft and touchable, it is a pleasure to have on our heads. Personally, I know my hair is in good condition when it shines and I can run my fingers through it with little problem. When it begins to snag and pull, time for a trim.

So enjoy your hair and know that shampoos and conditioners are only aids in keeping hair looking smooth and feeling soft. The real results come from inside our bodies, so take care of you and your hair will naturally follow, reflecting outwardly the care you give yourself.

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