Does your hair need Hydrolyzed Protein…?

I’ve always struggled with hydrating my dry hair, because it always seems to be dry and stringy…and although it is long, it is often feeling weighed down by more than it’s own weight. I have always used my coconut oil hair salve daily and it has helped hydrate my hair to shine, de-tangling and smooth, but over use of a good thing can be bad too. Over moisturized hair from oils can leave hair feeling greasy, thin and rough. Hair color doesn’t shine as much, even if it is a fresh dye job when too much of an oil/silicone coating has taken over. But is there another way to add softness and hair vitality? I recently discovered that an ingredient called hydrolyzed protein (wheat, oat, silk, keratin) can do wonders for dull rough hair in ways that oil hydration alone can’t. Hydrolyzed protein fills in some of the gaps and roughness in your hair with an organic material that will feel kinda like new hair…when paired with a hydrating routine of conditioners/oils it’s a complete package of shine and softness.

Notice how stringy my ends are and how they seem to thin out near the bottom? They are moisturized, but not soft for some reason…it’s missing protein…
This is when I was lightening and coloring my hair a lot, and the chemical dyes saturated the shaft, but since it was missing protein, it’s not shiny, but rough in texture…

How did I find this out? While traveling during March Break and visiting Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, I stayed at a hotel there with spa quality toiletries. I tried their shampoo and instantly I felt a difference in my hair vitality; my hair was less wiry when damp, and the next day the strands felt plumper, reminding me of how it had been in my younger days. I knew it was not my conditioner that provoked the change since I had packed that from Toronto. It was the hotel’s shampoo. I then scoured the ingredient list on the hotel shampoo and found out the main ingredient that I didn’t have in my shampoo at home was hydrolyzed wheat protein. An ingredient that would prove to make the difference.

Havin’ a “good hair day” in this vacation photo from Halifax at the Nautical Museum. After using the hotel’s shampoo the night before, it felt softer, silkier than before. Can you see this in the photo?

Back in Toronto now and using a shampoo with a hydrolyzed wheat protein. And am really liking it. But I only have protein in my shampoo, since I hear that using too much protein can cause hair to be brittle! Everything in moderation it seems!  My main tip for true hair health though is to rely less on hair care products and just treat your hair well. Do you really need to have the unicorn hair color that requires bleaching it to white, or do you need your hair to be heat styled all the time? There is no ingredient, chemical or natural that can reverse hair damage. New fangled and expensive heal-all chemicals such as Olaplex have drawbacks too, as the beauty industry has discovered (although I won’t go into detail about it this time around). Bottom line: no product or oil can substitute minimizing hair damage in the first place, so treat your hair and body well.

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My current Hair Color: “Bronde” and how to get it…

(**Disclaimer! I’m not a hair professional, but have just done my research and worked with my own hair to get results I’m happy with. But whenever dying your own hair at home, please follow manufacturer’s directions and consult with a professional when possible or in doubt)

As you all know…I’ve been lightening and coloring my hair since late last year, in an attempt to get a lighter color that is neither brassy, or too harsh/dark for my complexion. Check out my articles on hair coloring and soap capping. And recently I’ve been rocking a hair color that I found out was called “bronde”; too light to be a solid brunette, and too dark to be a blonde. Kind of a caramel color in between two opposites. A nice neither region that I would like to reside in for the next little while. Why? It’s not as high maintenance as a light blonde, and it’s not as brassy as that rust color dark hairs get when they lift too little color. It’s just peachy. Check out this Vogue article about this hair color to get some inspiration. But for how, here are some famous “brondes”:

Jessica Alba: at the tonight show with just the perfect balance of light and dark caramels and soft, bouncy waves.
Amber Heard on GQ? As a darker blonde than she normally is, I think she’s got a lot more mystery and allure…
Beyonce is Bey-youtiful with a hair colour that compliments and warms her complexion. 

Okay, so you get the idea…how the color should look, but now how to achieve this neutral tone, middle level “bronde”color…Go to an expert hair stylist who does great hair color, or try it at home with these tips!**

For Brunettes want to go Bronde:

Step 1: Lighten enough: Believe it or not, us brunettes (black or brown hair) have to lift a level or two above middle lightness to achieve ‘bronde”. It’s not fair, but it’s just the way it is. For those doing this at home, you need to get to a level 7 lightness, at least. Check out swatches on how light a 7 level is.

Step 2. Tone/Glaze: This is so important as it adds the finishing shine and touches to a lighter hair color. Lightening dark hair always brings out warmth. And warmth is the enemy when trying to achieve a gentle tone in hair. Use a demi permanent hair dye with a low peroxide developer to add ash (blue/green) pigment to your strands. Use a lighter level than your hair is. So as a level 7, get a level 8/9 ash tone color. Toning with an dedicated hair “toner” only works for hair that has been lifted past a level 8.

A bit on the warm side, but I will be toning/glazing with a demi in the next week or so.

For blondes wanting to go darker to Bronde:

I’m not the most experienced in this matter, since I am a brunette, but here’s what I do know:

  • Use a demi-permanent hair color, since you are depositing only and not lifting levels. It’s gentler and from what I hear, shinier!
  • Stay away from ash tones. Ash upsets the darkening process by getting too dark/green too fast and then you’re stuck with it.
  • Always use a demi color one or two levels lighter than you want to achieve. So if I were a light blonde, I would do a 7 or 8 with warm/golden tones to get to caramel. Depending on the intensity of bronde you want, diluting the hair color formula with a clear gloss demi would be smart for avoiding over saturation and it looking flat and fake whenever dying darker.

Hope these tips help for all that want this hair color. I find it suits all skin tones and ages and just looks really healthy. Try it today.

**DISCLAIMER: all advice I give is based on my own personal experience with hair color. I’m not a professional hair stylist, so use my advice with a bit of caution and never hesitate to consult to a professional! Thanks!

 

Why the hesitation to use natural/food grade ingredients in cosmetics?

I never really thought of this before. It’s kind of logical to me. In a battle of best cosmetic ingredients between natural and chemical, natural is just better. If I can eat something, like coconut oil, and then also use it on my hair to moisturize, that’s a win win situation…I have always thought that if it is safe to go into our bodies, it is safe to put on our bodies…but I recently found out not everyone thinks this way…There is a point of view that cosmetics should remain a chemical science, and that putting food on ourselves is just well, kinda dirty. Where did I get this idea from? A man working at a hair supply shop told me this, when I mentioned I used a bit of coconut oil for my dry ends. He said the problem with food grade is that it mixes with microbes and such on our bodies and can easily become rancid and/dirty.

Hmm…Dirty? I never realized this point of view before, and while I think the shop guy might be right to some degree, I still think it’s an exaggeration at best. The outsides of our bodies can take a bit of dirt and microbes. Our own bodily oils are teaming with loads of bacteria and such, it’s all over us…adding food grade ingredients does not necessarily add to the microbial community…maybe it would if we never showered…but the average person in North America probably showers at least once a day; not enough time for coconut oil or any food grade oil to become rancid, and thus dangerous to our health. Advocating for chemicals and chemical preservatives to remain the standard for quality hair care, is a bit unfounded. Many of the chemicals in cosmetics are known to be drying, irritating to the skin, cause allergic reactions, and even have traces amounts of carcinogens. Yikes.

The trend to go natural is so strong actually, that many big cosmo companies now say they have squeezed natural ingredients into their formula. I’ve seen so many times the advertising and labeling of big brand products claiming to use honey, botanicals, fruits, natural oils and butters. The ironic thing is the natural inclusions are often very denatured/altered and it’s a very minute amount that’s used. Why moisturize with a vat of silicones and trace amounts of cocoa butter, if cocoa butter is the actual desirable ingredient? I have to toot my own horn when I say I make a solid lotion at Dream E that is a third made of cocoa butter and all natural other ingredients, except for a small amount of fragrances. But 95% natural is better than 1% natural any day in my opinion.

At my local Shoppers Drugmart: look at all these chemical and chemically preserved products! Don’t get me wrong, I still use them sometimes…but if I had a natural alternative, probably not.

I think as a society, the culture is moving away from chemical dependencies as a whole in general. I do feel that people prefer food that hasn’t touched pesticides, and are organically grown without fertilizers…Society seems to want more natural things in bodies, so why not reflect this view when it comes to cosmetics, if possible? Don’t get me wrong I like my chemical stuffs too, I use at least a dozen different chemical make-ups everyday; I wrote an article singing the praises for a superstay lipcolour formula that has the lasting power of car paint enamel! But when I can, I readily choose natural: I remove make-up with coconut oil. I use olive oil to amp up my hair conditioner…Vitamin E capsules used externally for my face at night, sugar face scrub, glycerin setting spray…anything that is food for internal can be also be food for skin or hair…

So here is the food isle at my local drugmart: I have been known to use many food grade items for cosmetic purposes: sugar, honey, yogurt, olive oil, coconut oil, cornstartch…etc. just to name a few…

In the end, I don’t think food grade ingredients at their purest, simplest form can ever be harmful. Think about in the past, before industrialization…people had to resort to what was around them to take care of their skin. Shea butter from the shea nut…is still used for cooking and moisturizing skin in many places of the world, with amazing healthy results…nut shells for exfoliation…cocoa butter, aloe vera…all of these plants derived food ingredients are still widely used on the body externally…and there is no scientific study or test needed to formulate and manufacture then truth that they work well. It just makes sense they do because sometimes Nature knows more about beauty, than chemical Science does.