Over styling, blow drying, excessive washing, we all know the common dangers to our hair and how to protect our locks, but could you unwittingly be putting your hair at risk? We investigate the top 5 hidden dangers you’re exposing your hair to…
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a fantastic winter immune-booster, encouraging your body to ward off seasonal ailments and supplying your body with vital anti-oxidants. However, hair stylist Philip Kingsley believes you can have too much of a good thing: ‘Often people take much more vitamin C than they need; although the body is said to flush out excess vitamin C, there are side effects. Overdosing on vitamin C affects reproduction of skin cells on the scalp, and increases the levels of pityrosporum ovale yeasts that cause flaky, inflamed scalps.’ But don’t veto the OJ just yet, Philip suggests simply moderating your intake. ‘Limit your intake of vitamin C to a glass of orange juice a day or one pill a day. You don’t have to stop taking it altogether, but don’t assume that if one is good for keeping you healthy, two will be twice as good.’
2. The Wind
The thought of walking to work on a blistery, winter morning is enough to have anyone reaching for the snooze button, and it may also be the cause of your dry, unmanageable hair: ‘In a similar way to wind burn on our face, wind speeds up the oxidation and ageing of hair whilst also causing extremely dehydration’ says hair stylist Paul Edmonds. Protecting and nourishing your hair with an intensive weekly treatment is the key to healthy winter hair. ‘Kerastase Masque Force Architecte, £26.20 from lookfantastic.co.uk, is great during the winter months or after a windy day,’ says Paul.
3. Wearing a Scarf
The cold, dark and dreary days of winter are hurriedly drawing in and have us reaching for the winter woollies, but could there be a hair-damaging culprit in our winter wardrobe? A simple item we all adopt into our winter get up – our trusty scarf – could be the source of damaging hair breakage but, can be easily rectified. Lessen the friction your scarf causes by spraying hair liberally with a leave-in conditioner – we like UNITE 7 Seconds, £17.25, urbanretreat.com, to close cuticles and prevent damage. Tie hair into an updo out of the way of your scarf to prevent damage even further. See some of the best winter updos here.
Woken up with a headache this morning? You should think twice about taking that aspirin if you’re worried about your hair. ‘A low dose of aspirin (anything from half to two a day) can lower haemoglobin levels, which results in a mild anaemia and iron deficiency. Iron is essential for the normal growth and maintenance of hair and a deficiency can cause thinning and shedding hair,’ warns Kingsley. Don’t panic though, ‘a blood test will confirm iron levels and a doctor can advise on taking iron supplements.’ Boost iron levels even further by eating iron rich foods like leafy veg and red meat to nourish hair and boost body to supermodel proportions!
5. Your Metal Hair Brush
For many, choosing the right hairbrush seems to be a life long challenge, but a challenge worth taking as using the wrong brush can have damaging consequences. ‘The wrong brush type can do progressive damage to the cuticle layer,’ says Paul Edmonds. You can narrow your search, however, by avoiding metal hairbrushes. ‘Metal hairbrushes and combs are a complete no, under a microscope you can closely see jagged shards which, when brushed through the hair, will tear and slash the hair shaft.’ Paul suggests choosing a wooden brush with boar or nylon bristles, alternatively, try a personal favourite on the Marie Claire beauty desk, the Tangle Teezer, £10.20, which detangles wet, vulnerable and colour treated hair without pulling or damaging your locks.
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