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7 Things That Destroy Your Hair Color

Obviously you wouldn’t purposely spend precious time and money to transform your hair color to a gorgeous shade of caramel or achieve perfect honey highlights only to ruin it the second you step out of the salon.

Unfortunately, many of the seemingly harmless aspects of your daily beauty routine — from showering to using your favorite hair products — may take a bigger toll on your dye job than you think. Here, all the things you should look out for to protect your hair color.

1. Water
While shampoo has long been deemed one of the main causes of premature fading, saturating strands with water alone can wreak havoc on dyed hair. Water swells the hair fiber and lifts the cuticle, allowing water-soluble dye molecules in the matrix of your hair to escape, And if your hair’s cuticle is compromised (which is most likely the case if you color it, heat-style it, and so on), it’s even more susceptible. If your hair is damaged, it swells more easily when wet, making dye even more likely to get out.

2. Heavy Styling Products
Although it seems counter-intuitive, some hair oils and shine serums that you often reach for to soften your over-processed strands could, over time, have the reverse effect. That’s because these types of formulas often contain ingredients like heavy silicones, that coat the outer cuticle layer of hair. Some types of silicones can build up on hair and when product builds up, it can also attract dirt and particulates from the air, all of which can cause color to look more dull even if it’s actually intact in the hair fiber.

3. Physical Aggression
Ripping through tangles with a brush or comb or constantly putting your hair up in tight ponytails and buns. Eventually, it damages the cuticle. Roughing up the hair is going to compromise the integrity of the structure itself, which means dye molecules will release out of strands and lead to your color fading much faster than it should. To help lessen the wear and tear, apply a light leave-in detangling or hydrating treatment daily on wet or dry strands to create better brush glide, and opt for softer, looser ponytails and buns.

4. Heat-Styling
Hot tools scorch strands — literally. And the more damaged the hair’s cuticle layer is, the more susceptible it is to allowing water absorption to increase the loss of color and make your hair’s hue appear dull. Even though the color molecules may be inside strands, when hair is damaged, the surface isn’t in great shape, so it’s not laying flat down to reflect light. The goal: to keep strands smooth and align the cuticle for a natural shine benefit.

5. Skipping Trims
Think about it — the ends of your strands are the oldest, which means they’ve had to withstand the most heat damage and chemical processing. Over time, the ends become more and more damaged. This is why the dye molecules take differently to this section of hair … not because of the split ends. The result: the bottom of your hair doesn’t have the same fresh color as the rest of your hair. Getting regular trims is recommended — every 10 to 12 weeks depending on the length and health of your hair — as well as using a treatment to help keep splits to a minimum.

6. Never Using Conditioner
Not only is using a daily rinse-out conditioner with hydrating styling products essential to keeping your color bright, using a hair mask, regardless of your texture, is crucial. Once you strengthen your hair and get it as close to its virgin state as you can, the easier it’s going to be to get the color that you want and the more choices you have in colors. When hair is extremely damaged from drastic color changes (like that time you went from blonde to black and back to brunette), it suddenly doesn’t hold onto dye as well and can end up looking ombré even thought it’s not.

7. UV Light
The sun’s rays can lead to the break down of hair’s matrix, which, as we now know, can exacerbate hair color fading along with a long list of other not-so-pretty side effects such as making hair dry, brittle, dull, and difficult to style. Unfortunately, hair products are yet to be laced with super effective sunscreen, so the best sun protection for hair is a wide-brimmed hat, says Mancuso. To help replenish lost moisture from over exposure to the sun’s UV rays, use a lightweight leave-in conditioner daily. We recommend applying a hydrating mask to damp hair before wrapping it up into a low bun or loose braid. This helps hide some strands from excessive UV exposure, especially the ends, which are the most prone to damage.

Can you pull off ombre or balayage hair? here’s how to know…

Ombre and balayage are some hair color terms that are getting tossed around a lot right now. While ombre hair coloring is generally concentrated on the lower half of your hair, balayage involves adding chunks of color into your hair vertically and is painted on. Both techniques are popular, but the question is, are they are for you? These are some signs you can pull them off.

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1. YOU’RE READY FOR A CHANGE

Both of these hair coloring methods are different to your basic color and highlight. It’s important to note that ombre is generally a more dramatic look than balayage, but both are unique styles in their own right. One sign that ombre or balayage is for you is that you’re ready for a change. You’ve had the same hairstyle forever and you’re done with it. You know that changing it up is exactly what you need.

Hair Coloring FAQ

1. Will coloring make my hair fall out?

The answer is an emphatic “NO.” There is no scientific evidence that hair coloring causes extra hair loss, and there is no physiological reason why it should do so.

During my many years of practice in my London and New York clinics, I have never been able to associate hair loss with coloring. I did an eight-month study involving 30 women and three men, who all underwent various types of hair coloring, and none showed signs of extra hair loss. A bad color job, however, can cause hair breakage, which may be confused with extra hair loss.

2. Will coloring make my hair thinner?

The answer again is “No.” So many women (and men for that matter) come to me with thinned hair and blame it on the color: “It’s only since I started coloring that I have noticed my hair is thinner,” they say. This is coincidental; many women start coloring when their hair is turning gray, or when the color is not as vibrant. They are often at the age, unfortunately, when the hair can begin to thin for other reasons, but they blame it on the coloring. Or, they start coloring their hair at a young age and notice the hair is thinner when they are in their 30s and 40s, again blaming coloring. But it would have thinned anyway.

3. Coloring my hair makes it dry; what can I do?

Coloring can dry the hair — permanent color and bleach in particular.

While semi-permanent color doesn’t dry it out as much as permanent, repeated use can cause dry ends. Always use a moisture-balancing or remoisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and a deep, remoisturizing hair mask once or twice a week depending on the dryness. Always apply a leave-in conditioning cream (non-greasy) before blow-drying. And remember not to over-dry or over-brush.

Daily shampooing and conditioning will not dry your hair providing you choose the correct products.

4. What should I look for in a hair color product?

Choose your color from the packet or swatch on display. Colors may change according to fashion, but the basic chemistry of coloring agents has not changed much over the years.

They all have similar ingredients, so there’s no point reading the label.

However, the best person to advise you is your hairdresser, and the best place to have hair color done is in a salon.

5. Should I choose permanent or semi-permanent color?

In the long term, permanent hair color is best, which may surprise you when you take into account the extra peroxide and ammonia it might contain. The reason is that permanent color should only be applied to the new hair growth at the roots, briefly overlapping with the previously dyed hair.

Semi-permanent color, on the other hand, is applied to the whole head each time, because of the more rapid fading.

This results in repeated full-head applications, so the ends finish up darker than the roots. If, for example, your hair is an average 10 inches long, the ends of your hair, at half an inch a month growth, would be 20 months old.

Therefore, a monthly, semi-permanent color treatment means that the ends of the hair would have suffered 20 applications!

6. Is it safe to have my hair colored during pregnancy? 

Yes. All women want to look their best when they’re pregnant, and whatbetter way to boost morale than to have your hair the way you want?

7. Can hair colorants cause cancer? 

There are recurring scares about hair colorings causing bladdercancer. The first was about 25 years ago and the latest in 2002. Therewere some studies that indicated a link, but none could besubstantiated on humans. Each study was similar: The hair of mice wasshaved daily and hair color was applied to their skin. After threemonths (100 applications), most of the mice had bladder cancer. I thinkit is unreasonable to base a link on this method of testing as dailyapplications on shaved skin would seriously affect absorption rates.Evidence that hair coloring is safe has been demonstrated in two majorstudies by the American Cancer Society and Harvard University.

The verdict? “The overall evidence excluded any appreciable andmeasurable risk of bladder cancer from personal use of hair dye.” So,would I let my family use it? Absolutely.

8. Is using a hair color likely to give me a rash? 

There is a possibility, but not if you go about it correctly.All hair dye packaging recommends carrying out a skin patch test beforeusing a colorant.

Apply the color to an area the size of a quarter, behind an earor inner elbow. If, after 24 hours, there is no irritation, discomfortor redness, it is safe to color without risk of a rash or reaction.When you read about people suffering severe allergic reactions, it ismost likely that the patch-test warnings have been ignored in thesecases. As it is estimated that only one in 250,000 people may besensitive to hair color, it is not surprising that the patch test isoften ignored. But, take heed, you may be that one in 250,000.

9. Can hair coloring give me a dry and itchy scalp? 

Many women have existing flaky and itchy scalp conditions and blame their hair color. In my answer to question one, I mentioned aneight-month study I conducted to establish that hair coloring does notcause thinning or hair loss. Many of the people I was going to pick forthe study already had scalp problems flaking, itching or tenderness, soI was reluctant to include them because of the possibility ofaggravating the condition. Of those I did include, though, all hadimproved scalps after coloring their hair! This was probably due to theantiseptic effect of the peroxide. While I am not suggesting that haircolor can be used to improve a scalp condition, these results certainlyindicate a good, rather than a bad, reaction if you have a flaky scalp.However, coloring should definitely be avoided on scratched or veryirritated skin conditions.

10. I don’t want to use peroxide or ammonia. What else can I use to color my hair? 

The obvious coloring agents to use in this case would bevegetable colors such as henna or camomile. These have manydisadvantages, though: The colors they produce are not natural-lookingand they fade very quickly, leading to more frequent applications,unnatural colors and, ultimately, drier, brittle hair. Also, in asimilar way to semi-permanent colors, there is a continual overlap inapplication, leading to an unnatural appearance — particularly on theends.

To obtain natural-looking hair color, peroxide and ammonia areneeded, as without these ingredients your color will not take as well,look as good, or last as long. There are specific reasons for theirinclusion that involve complicated hair and ingredient chemistry.

Provided you take sufficient care before, during and after thedying process, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have the best ofall worlds: beautiful, long-lasting color and well-conditioned hair.

Restore Bleached Hair

Bleaching can leave your hair with mild to severe damage due to acidic action of strong chemicals or wrong handling or extreme heat application during the procedure. The ruined hair might feel dry, spongy, porous, brittle or rough due to damaged hair cuticles which cover the cortex, carrying the hair’s natural color. While store-bought potion and products might help repair the condition, there are quite a few easy, natural ways to get your hair healthy after bleaching.

1. Shampoo your hair less often. In order to restore your bleached hair, you will have to discontinue washing your hair daily. When you shampoo your hair, you are not only cleaning the hair but you are also stripping the natural oils and sebum from your hair. The oils and sebum are natural moisturizers. If your hair is prone to looking and feeling oily, use a dry shampoo on the days that you don’t wash your hair.

2. Deep condition your hair one or more times per week. The amount that you condition your hair depends on how often your hair needs it. Apply deep conditioner to your hair after you have already washed it with shampoo and regular conditioner. Use a wide-toothed comb to distribute it through your hair. Warm a towel in the dryer or with a hair dryer. Wrap your hair with the warm towel. Leave the deep conditioner and towel on your hair for 30 minutes. Wash it completely out of your hair.

3. Always wash hair with lukewarm or cold water. Hot water promotes dryness in the hair. That is counterproductive to restoring bleached hair as your goal is to add moisture to your hair. If you wash hair with lukewarm water, always rinse your hair with cold water at the very end. That will seal the cuticle.

4. Use a leave-in conditioner after every time that you wash your hair. As bleached hair is often porous and prone to tangles, a leave-in conditioner adds moisture and makes hair easier to comb. That will prevent strands of hair from breaking off.

5. Do not use heat on your hair. Avoid using blow dryers, hot rollers, flat irons and curling irons. Heat is detrimental to restoring your bleached hair. If you are not willing to forego heat when styling your hair, it may be impossible to restore the hair.