Portrait of a happy woman at the hair salon

When we see television commercials and print ads with hair that appears to be magically restored from a wild, frizzy, damaged mess to a luxurious, gorgeous, healthy mane, we can’t help but be tempted in hopes the same thing will happen to our hair by using the product advertised. The fact is, it’s not possible with one use. Technology has come a long way and the right product can help heal the hair, to a point, but it takes time and the right regimen. It is also very important to keep your hair trimmed, at the very least. When hair is over-processed, the ends are usually the worst. When the ends are split, frayed and damaged, they will continue to split and fray on up the strand. By trimming those away, odds are much better the damage will not affect the rest of the strand.

Before and After- Trimmed, Professionally Deep Conditioned And Styled.

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In this article, we will talk about how to tell if your hair is indeed over-processed, and different products and styling methods that can help repair your hair and salvage it from distress.

Causes Of Over Processing

First, let’s talk about what causes over processing or distress to the hair. There is the obvious, over-processing due to color, perm or other chemical services performed on the hair either at home or at the salon. The chemicals used to highlight, color, perm and relax the hair are very strong and are recommended for salon professional use only for several reasons, including burns to the scalp, neck, and face, melting of the hair, breakage, and baldness due to chemical over-exposure, or reaction with another product already in the hair. Professional hairdressers are trained to safely and correctly use these products on hair. When these products are used incorrectly or too aggressively we wind up damaging the cuticle layer of the hair strands as well as doing permanent damage to the amino acid and protein bonds in the hair shaft, giving the hair a distressed or over-processed appearance. What will this over-processed appearance look and feel like? Your hair will often feel dry or straw-like, it will break easily while being brushed or styled, it will look frizzy or have a lot of ‘fly-aways’, and it may also not retain color or other chemical services. Heat styling, overexposure to the elements, such as sun or wind, and exposure to chlorine in pool water can also damage the hair strands and leave them looking and feeling dry, brittle and lifeless. The use, timing, and application of chemicals on the hair is something that must be done correctly to preserve the integrity of the hair. Reckless use of chemicals on the hair is a risky proposition. The VERY best way to avoid over-processed, damaged hair is to use caution in the first place. This means finding a reputable professional who takes preserving the hair condition seriously. A reputable professional will also advise on the best product for the hair and the safest styling tools. All products and tools are not created equal. It truly does matter what is used on your hair and how it’s used. Professional products are more concentrated and effective, not to mention last longer due to higher quality ingredients and concentration of those ingredients. Higher quality tools are more calibrated so they are safer and they will also last longer.

Correcting Over Processing

Going for a change of style. Young beautiful woman discussing hairstyling with her hairdresser holding a comb and scissors while sitting in the hairdressing salonSo how do we correct over processing? While there is no complete cure, there are several recommended products and treatments that will help repair and minimize the look and feel of damaged over-processed hair. Using salon-quality products all the way from your shampoo and conditioner to your finishing spray will make a huge difference. Using a shampoo and conditioner with high-quality Keratin will help to replace and rebuild some of the protein and amino acids that your hair is lacking. The use of a leave-in conditioner and a thermal protectant are also imperative. Since we wear our hair every day, it’s worth the investment to make it it’s very best. When the hair is already at its weakest and most fragile point and heat styling is desired, these items will minimize continued damage. Putting yourself on a regimen of conditioning treatments will also help immensely! There are several types of conditioning treatments, be sure to ask your stylist which one will fit your needs best, and see your stylist for deep treatments. Sometimes over conditioning the hair with the wrong thing can actually have an adverse effect and create more breakage or dryness instead of smoothing and repairing the hair. The hair needs a balance of protein and moisture. Too much protein can make the hair brittle and too much moisture can weigh down the hair with a potentially greasy look. Avoid unnecessary heat styling, try letting your hair air dry, or blow-drying with low heat or cool air. Also, try washing your hair in cooler water, this helps close down the hairs cuticle which adds shine and will help hair look smoother.

Avoid Over Processing

As we said before, use salon-quality products and sprays, these contain low or no alcohol additives and will reduce dryness and product build-up in the hair. Washing your hair less frequently will also help reduce the look of over-processing. The natural oils from your scalp are good for your hair, and when we wash every day we are actually not allowing them to do their job on our hair because we are constantly washing them away. Using a styling treatment oil at the ends of your hair may also help. There are a variety of treatment oils ranging from Argon oil to Marula oil. Asking your stylist which oils may work best for your hair texture and type will help you purchase the proper products to help remedy your over-processed hair.

It is always the goal of a stylist to get you as close to the look you are wanting, in the safest and most gentle way possible. If you feel your stylist may be doing something too aggressive to you hair, or you notice any change to your hair or scalp condition, be sure to talk to your stylist right away! There is no magic cure for correcting over-processed hair, but there are great products and services that can help reduce and repair your weary hair. Let us show your hair the loving-kindness it truly deserves!

About SoZo HAIR:

SoZo Salon Tips is a blog about beauty salon tips, tricks, and hints.  SoZo HAIR by Bajon Salon & Spa serves the greater Cincinnati area. We are located in Olde West Chester at the corner of Cincinnati-Dayton and West Chester Rds. We’re just a short drive from Mason Oh and Fairfield Oh….a big city hair salon without the big drive and big traffic.

Karen Welch

Karen Welch has 35 years of experience in the Hair Fashion Industry and is considered an expert in hair design, hair color, and beauty makeovers.