As a child of the 80's, my life has been influenced by a multitude of tragic (and hilarious) trial-by-error beauty regimens. Self-tanning lotions? Check. Blue eyeliner? Check.
Then comes possibly the most cringe-worthy of all: Hair gel/mousse/hairspray? CHECK!
You all know what I’m talking about – 80’s hair has become iconic for its badness – from the half-head perms to the hot-rolled waves to the gravity defying bigness, so crunchy with product that styles were practically hurricane proof.
Using a combination of curling irons, comb-teasing techniques, heavy gels and lots and lots of hairspray, my hair often achieved epic heights. When it came to my bangs, my motto was “the taller and stiffer, the better”.
When more natural styles became fashionable, I ditched my bevy of thick gels, sprays, serums and mousses (moussi?), only to realize that my hair was severely dry and damaged. All those years of too much heat and way too much product had left me with a frizzy, fuzzy mess. Ugh.
So what did I do? I overcorrected, swearing off all products and using only mild shampoos and conditioners. Over time, the damage grew out and my hair was healthy again, but it was also very unflattering. My hair had no volume or hold and the back was very frizzy especially during high humidity weather. I stuck with it because it was the alternative to using the harsh products that would inevitably damage my hair again.
My solution for years was to simply avoid the problem by wearing my hair back at all times, whether in a ponytail, bun or a clip. Finally, my stylist asked me why he never saw me with my hair down. When I explained to him that I didn’t want to damage my hair again by using products, he looked at me like I was insane.
“The right styling and finishing products will never damage your hair– they’re made to help protect your hair from damage.”
Maybe this is obvious to some people, but my mind was blown. I had been wrong for so long, and had suffered from self-induced flat hair as a result! Where did I go wrong?!?
To find out, I set out on a quest to learn more about styling and finishing products. I consulted with several stylists and here are the answers to some common issues:
Even if you use high-quality shampoo and conditioner, you should still use styling products.
Quality shampoos and conditioners are designed to gently cleanse without stripping hair, and condition without weighing hair down. The act of having properly cleansed and conditioned hair will automatically make it more manageable, because you won’t be fighting build-up or dryness. But these alone won’t give you the lasting hold, protection from heat and UV, or polished finish most people expect from their style. If you want your hair to do more than lay there, you will need to give it a little help!
If your hair was damaged by a styling product, you aren’t using the right one for your haircare routine.
There are many styling options out there – for control, hold, shine, softness, and much more. But choosing the wrong one for your desired result can cause negative side effects. For example, if you use heat on your hair from a blow dryer and/or heated tools but your styling product doesn’t contain a heat protectant, you will cause serious damage to your locks.
Choosing low-quality styling products can also dry out your hair and deposit ingredients that cause buildup on your hair, which can ultimately cause your hair to be more dry and frizzy. And who wants that?! It’s best to use a high-quality styling product and consult with your stylist about which one may be best for you. Be sure to check all labels and avoid those that include sulfates, parabens and certain silicones.
If you spend time in the sun, you need a UV protectant.
I personally had no idea that UV protection for your hair was a thing. For your skin? Yes, absolutely. But for your hair? Turns out, UV rays have a damaging effect on hair and over time, will cause it to become brittle and dry if you don’t take the proper precautions. So next time you head to the beach, make sure you incorporate a finishing product specially designed to protect your mane from sun damage into your UV protection routine.
Less is always best.
If you find yourself using more than a couple of styling and finishing product every time you fix your hair, you’re using too much. The more products you use every time, the harder it is to get your hair clean. All those layers of product can build-up over time, weighing down your hair and covering its natural shine and luster. Keep it simple by finding a really great all-in-one to suit your needs – there are plenty of options out there that combine heat protection, conditioning, hold, and more, all in one bottle. You can add a finishing serum to smooth or boost shine, but you should never need more than a couple of products to complete your look. BONUS: Making this change can also save you time and money!
Quality is key.
Many styling products contain harsh ingredients that can dry out hair, cause build-up, and even lead to breakage and thinning of hair. There are lots of brands out there that deliver results using quality ingredients that wash away easily, without leaving behind any residue.
I am proud to say that after a little trial and error, a lot of advice from my stylist and a little patience, I am now enjoying a fabulous hairstyle that is smooth, sleek and soft, and that lasts throughout my busy day. No more clips or ponytails, and definitely no more big 80’s hair! All thanks to a healthy haircare routine that now includes the right products to give me the best possible version of my hair.
This blog post was written by one of our fabulous Lubricity Labs team members