What does your hair need?
Let’s talk about protein versus moisture for a minute. There can be a lot of confusion around this topic and around what your hair actually needs. Given this beautiful Albertan climate we live in, it can be hard to determine whether your hair is dry or damaged. First things first… let's talk about the difference between the two, shall we?
Your hair is made up of 70 to 80 percent protein! Also known as keratin and amino acids, this is what gives your hair strength and resilience. When the hair is exposed to harsh chemicals and high temperatures, the keratin bonds are broken down, thus leaving you with sad, wimpy ends (and we can’t have that).
This is something that we’ve heard far too often so let me clear the air. Most professional products on the market today contain plant proteins which can’t actually over-proteinize the hair; only animal proteins can do this. With that being said, when the hair is all filled up with protein it may start to feel a little stiff, but that's not a bad thing! You're just not used to it (especially if you're bringing your ends back from the dead). When the hair has enough protein it will be stronger and shinier. It’s important to balance your hair’s protein with it's moisture to maintain softness.
Your hair is made up of 10 to 15 percent moisture. This is what gives hair flexibility and softness, alongside with lipids (fats) which keep the hair soft and supple. These are two very important ingredients to a shiny, soft, and healthy mane.
A good way to tell if your hair is lacking in the moisture department is by looking at its elasticity (your hair’s ability to stretch and return to its original state). You don’t want it to over-stretch and return frayed and bent. On the other end of the spectrum, your hair will be difficult to style if it is lacking movement (too soft and too limp), so the balance between protein and moisture is very important.
So how can you tell if your locks are thirsty and dying of dehydration, or if you overdid it with your hot tools and lightener this summer? Don't worry, we’re here to help you and your hair! Let’s do an experiment that’s so easy you can do it while you’re reading this blog…
The Strand Test
Wet a single strand of your hair and gently stretch it. When wet, healthy hair should be able to stretch up to 50 percent of its normal length. If it returns to its normal state then it’s healthy and has an even balance of protein and moisture. Hair that doesn’t return to its normal state is lacking something. If it’s straw-like and frayed, you are probably lacking moisture.
Protein and moisture treatments are very different, and giving your hair too much of one can actually end up hurting it, so don't assume that all hair masks/products are created equally. But don’t worry, we have just the products for you to save your hair with once you figure out what it needs!
If you’re still unsure of what’s going on with your hair you can always come in for a consultation (or a blowout) and get a professional prescription from one of our stylists!
Elixir’s Go-To Products
Redken All Soft Mega Mask
A dual chamber mask intended to provide deep, intense conditioning, and a care extender that provides 15 times more conditioning. Restores softness, shine, and suppleness. Hot Tip: Mega Masks will last in the hair for up to three shampoos.
Redken One United Treatment
Leave-in spray treatment that has 25 benefits including conditioning and manageability. Prevents heat damage and encourages even porosity of hair. Apply to damp hair and style as usual. Can be used daily.
evo The Great Hydrator Mask
Hydrating treatment to moisturize and smooth hair. Conditions, adds shine, and reduces frizz. Apply to damp hair after shampooing, leave in for five minutes, and rinse then condition if desired. Use weekly for silky smooth locks.
evo Head Mistress
Multi purpose cream to make blow drying easier whilst binding split ends. Adds softness, shine, and reduces frizz. Apply to damp hair, work through mid lengths and ends. Style as usual. Can be used in dry hair too.
Redken Extreme CAT
Cysteic Acid Treatment - replaces Amino Bonds in the hair to strengthen and fill in gaps in the cuticle. Use once a week in the shower; Squeeze out excess water from hair, spray all throughout, leave in for five minutes and shampoo out. Also boosts the shine and softness of hair.
Redken Extreme Anti-Snap
Leave in treatment for damaged hair and split ends. Repairs, strengthens, and protects hair. Reduces breakage up to 75 percent. Apply to damp hair, do not rinse, style as usual. Also provides heat protection.
evo Mane Attention Mask
Protein re-constructor to repair and strengthen your hair. Prevents breakage and colour fading, and encourages hair health. Apply to wet hair, leave in for five minutes and rinse. Use once a week.
evo Happy Campers
Lightweight, daily styling treatment that moisturizes, strengthens, and protects. Reduces breakage and improves manageability while giving UV protection. Apply to damp or dry hair, comb through and style as normal.