Saturday, February 14, 2009

Taking Care of Dry Hair

I got a great haircut just before the new year in New York. It's layered, falls slightly below my shoulders and has little side-swept bangs to boot. It's basically just three inches shorter than how I last had my hair, but losing the extra weight really gave my curls new life -- even now, six weeks later.

But an ongoing problem is how dry my hair and scalp are. I don't know if it's the shower water, or the weather, or products, or my diet, or damage from coloring treatments (though I haven't done that in a year). I rarely heat treatments on my hair but I use mousse or gel several times a week. Since I'm not a morning person I usually shower at night and throw my hair into a ponytail for work.

Oh, and split ends drive me CRAZY!

So I've been trying two inexpensive, out-of-shower treatments for the past few weeks: Jojoba oil and styling cream. I can't definitively prove their effectiveness since I don't have a scientific study or something behind me, but personally, I've found them beneficial. I plan to keep using them, since they certainly haven't visibly hurt my hair.

Jojoba oil is the liquid wax produced from the seed of the jojoba plant, which is native to parts of Arizona, southern California and northwestern Mexico. I chose it after reading that it is similar to sebum, the oily matter naturally present on human skin. It's purported to moisturize the scalp and help restore moisture and shine to hair. It doesn't have a strong scent and can be combined with essential oils.

I've been rubbing a nickle-sized drop into my hair occasionally before showering, particularly concentrating on my scalp and the ends of my hair. The oil I have is a combination of jojoba oil, castor oil, sunflower oil, lanolin, olive oil, BHA and fragrance. A little bit goes a long way, mind you. I picked mine up at a local beauty supply store.

For my styling cream, I've been using this Sedal (spanish-language Sunsilk) product I bought last year in Mexico to use in place of styling products while on vacation. This crema para peinar is intended to protect against the effects of summer, like heat and sun.

It seems like somewhere between a leave-in conditioner and styling product to me. Frankly, I bought it because the bottle was so cute! The main ingredients include cetearyl alcohol, cetrimonium chloride, glycerin and dimethiconol -- as far as I can see, a combination of emulsifying waxes, which contribute to locking in moisture by keeping water and oil from separating, and silicones, which feel soft to the touch.

So there's my science for the day. And since I've got jojoba oil in my hair I think it's time for the shower! Happy Valentine's day everyone!

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