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Don’t Get Overheated continued...

He advises people to have chemical processing applied by a trained professional who takes appropriate care to avoid injury to the scalp or excessive hair damage. Alexis suggests protecting the scalp with a petrolatum-based ointment, like petroleum jelly, that is applied before the relaxer, a step called “basing the scalp.”

Chemically treating hair and then exposing it to high heat -- such as with a curling iron -- inflicts a double whammy, Alexis says. “The hair is already weakened by the relaxer and then damaged further by the intense heat exposure. This can cause hair to break very easily. With this in mind, I advise my patients to minimize the intensity and frequency of thermal hair styling techniques and to use conditioning shampoos to protect and strengthen the hair.” Alexis says that hair loss from traction alopecia and scalp burns due to chemical relaxers would usually be temporary. But if the damage is long-standing or severe enough, it can be permanent.

Be Realistic

Know what your hair can and can’t do. If you have very curly hair, it will need some layers -- but not too much, says Scott Buchanan, owner of Scott J Salon Spa in New York. "If you layer the heck out of it, it will become too round," he says. "On the other hand, you do need to have some graduation or layers to let the curl form. If you leave it all one length, it just becomes a big pyramid frizz ball."

Think about the maintenance. If you get your hair heavily colored, you’ll need to be back in the salon every few weeks. If you don’t have time for that, are you OK with your roots showing? "You’ll look good for the first 3 weeks, and the next 9 you’ll look awful," Buchanan says.

 

Don’t Overcolor

You got your hair lightened for summer, and you really liked it. You liked it so much that you thought you’d go a little lighter. And then a little lighter still. "Every time you take a permanent color that’s lighter and pull it through somebody’s ends, you’re removing a lot of the natural oils and condition that are already there," says Rowena Yeager, owner of Studio Wish in Streetsboro, OH. "Over time, the hair will get drier and drier, and lose its luster." As with heat-damaged hair, you may be able to fix some of the problem with oils and conditioners, but the only real remedy is to cut and grow out the straw-like strands.