A few years ago, the worst thing you could do to your hair was to submit it to the agony of a prolonged session with the blow-dryer turned on to 'very hot'. But hairstyling has evolved and you can now do so many things with your tresses. The most unruly mop can be made to look absolutely straight.
People with absolutely straight hair can not only sport curls, they can choose the size of the curls. And you can colour your hair any shade your heart desires. But the chemicals used in such treatments can stress your hair or even damage it completely And though most of us would - and do cheerfully sacrifice our hair health on the altar of style, the fact remains that it is a huge risk. Fortunately though, there are ways to minimise that risk. We spoke to experts who told us how to do our hair right.
So, what are the precautions you can take to minimise damage to hair while going in for hair treatments like straightening, perming, colouring or rebonding? "There are no precautions, the only way to avoid damage to hair is to avoid such treatments completely," says Dr Rajesh Rajput, hair restoration expert at the L H Hiranandani Hospital in Powai, Mumbai.
Ouch. That is an extreme view and that is not going to stop many of us from mistreating our hair, so what is the next best thing to do? "Before going in for such treatment, ensure that your hair is healthy in the first place," Rajput concedes. Hairstylist Dilshad of Dilshad's Salon agrees.
"I ensure my clients have 'virgin' hair before carrying out any treatment." By 'virgin' hair Dilshad means the hair should not already be overcoloured or treated. That is because such hair is already weak and may not be able to take the treatment. "I always tell my clients to get their hair in good health before colouring or straightening it," she says.
"We check our clients' hair for elasticity and porosity and also test it for any allergic reactions before performing any chemical process," says hairstylist Savio. Dilshad also discourages her clients from undergoing one treat- ment soon after another This would include someone who has permed her hair but doesn't like it and wants it straightened within a week of the previous treatment.
"When you have already gone in for one or two chemica1treatments, it is not a good idea to go in for another as it really kills the hair," she says, suggesting that people give time for hair to recover between treatments.
Both Dr Rajput and Dilshad caution against carrying out such treatments more than twice a year If you are putting something as valuable as your hair in someone else's hands, you'd better be sure that they are hands that can be trusted. This is where salons come in. The first thing you ought to do before you go in for any hair treatment is to ensure the salon is reliable and the stylists know the techniques.
"Rebonding is a very precise technique. The chemical needs to be washed off in time, otherwise it burns the hair If it is done the right way, you will never have a problem," says hairstylist Winston Lee of Redz Salon, Mumbai.
Savio agrees: "Nowadays chemicals used for such treatments are quite safe and not very harsh so they TOP TIPS a Chemically treated hair needs to be treated with care. Make sure you use a good conditioner at home and don't expose your hair to too much sun. a You can go in for deep moisturising or spa treatmonts offered at most salons twice a month. This helps maintain the health of the hair and prevents it from getting brittle and dull.
TYPES OF TREATMENT
Perming: This is a good way to add body to straight hair. But it needs to be handled with care. A bad job can ruin your hair. Also, you will need to spend some time and effort to maintain it.
Colouring: Coloured hair shows no signs of going out of fashion and is relatively simple to do. You can buy hair colour off the shelf and do it at home or go to a salon, which will be much more exponsive. Though a lot of us would kill for a blue mop, experts say brown and rod shades are best for wheatish skin tones.
Rebonding: This is a treatment where naturally curly hair is chemically treated to got straight hair. The process can take up to 3-4 hours. First check if your hair is healthy enough to take this treatment. Second, choose your salon very carefully. A bad job can cost you your hair.