Like many other things related to grooming, it first helps to think of your hair magnified several bajillion times (to use scientific lingo) . What does each strand of hair really look like and what are we doing to it with our towels, hair dryers and tongs. Not necessarily damaging it, if you know what you are about. But what are the physical changes that we bring about by the products we add and the tools we use.
To start off,each hair is basically like a christmas tree- it has branches that point away from the shaft. All styling aims to smooth down the pointy branches of the christmas tree so that they lie flat aginst the trunk. Imagine that the beginning of each hair, that is attached to your scalp, is the top most point of the christmas tree. So sending air DOWN the shaft of hair will smooth down the branches, points, or scales. This will smooth out the cuticle- and we want this no matter what your hair type or hair personality type- that is basic hair care. What you want to do with the trunk is what differs in terms of styling, but we will get to that later!
This smoothing of the hair cuticle is achieved in many different ways:
Shampoos that make your hair feel soft, conditioner that make it even softer, anti frizz that gives it that shine and silky texture. All of these are sealing the cuticle, which is what makes your hair settle and feel smooth. (In other words the christmas tree branches are lying flat against the trunk!)
When you use unkind products, your hair feels rough... this is the branches standing up and grabbing at whatever touches, like sand paper... yuch!
Never dry your hair roughly with your towel. It will encourage the cuticle to become rough (or the branches to stand away.) Instead just wrap it for a while, and then squeeze gently in a downwards motion and let the towel absorb any excess moisture.
If you notice , all salon dryers have thin nozzles on them- this keeps the air super concentrated, blasting DOWN the shafts of hair, sealing those puppies real good! The faster the air ( i.e the more powerful the dryer), and the less it goes everywhere (nozzled in to do its job and not spreading all over the place, like those sad, weak light weight wide nozzled numbers) the more it will make your hair smooth and relaxed.
Do notice, if you even just finger dry your hair like a monkey with a proper hair dryer, it will look quite smooth. And notice that you tend to instinctively blow dry down the shaft- if you flip your head down, you will send air towards the floor, DOWN the shaft. If you are standing up you will send the air blasting at yourself going DOWN the shaft, or you will hold the dryer above your head and pint it downwards towards the floor sending air DOWN the shaft, sealing sealing sealing.
Oh ya! Now this is where you can damage your hair, but provided you use the right products, you should be golden. If each hair shaft is protected by product, when you heat it up the product will take the heat and evaporate- leaving your hair undamaged but restyled underneath.
Heat will change the structure of your hair (blow dryers, tongs etc), just as water will take it back to its original state. Its pretty fascinating when you come to think about it.
So these are basics- using proper products,drying gently and with a little heat. Now you are ready to style.
* Never style when your hair is very wet. Blow dry the hair till it is just slightly damp, and then style. This ensures that the cuticle is firmly shut and will join any pesky fly aways to the main body of your hair. This will also prevent breakage, hair is at its most vulnerable when very wet.
*For frizzy- wavy hair,finger blow dry after applying anti frizz(blast the little guys in to the rest of your hair-and remember, heat is your friend). Then follow the sectioning routine suggested in the "beachy wavy hair" post. You wont need any products other than the anti frizz and this is a style designed to work with your wave rather than constantly battling your hair.
* Velcro rollers are fun and easy to use. Do the basic blow dry as suggested, and add rollers while hair is still warm. Make thin sections in your hair, too much hair per roller will achieve very little. Big rollers for body and bounce, medium for body and gentle wave, small for texture and tighter wave.Add product according to your hair type. Spray for more staying power. Leave in for 20 minutes.Open up with love!
* For fine straight hair- volumisers, curl creators,styling sprays (refer to the post "A little on hair" in my facebook group for more on fine hair).
*For wavy frizzy hair- Anti frizz, curl boosters, leave in conditioners, serums. (You want to weigh your hair down)
* For curly hair- heavy conditioners, curl boosters, moisture injection- comb when you are in the shower with conditioner, and not at all after that.
*Almost all products (hairspray included) get activated by heat, and stickiness gets blasted away. Try it....