Help WantedJanuary 1, 2009 By: Lori Morris American Salon
Answer the call from your clients' stressed tresses with products that repair and protect against environmental and chemical damage.
Despite our best intentions, sometimes even good hair can go bad. Whether it's from climate changes, chemical services or heat-styling, damage can come in many forms. Your clients' locks can turn dry and brittle or dull and frizzy, depending on the cause, and it's often left to you, as the expert, to come to the rescue.
"Damaged hair is generally either lacking protein or moisture," says Daniel Holzberger, creative director of Van Michael Salons in Atlanta. "Luckily, either situation can be taken care of with a little help from hairdressers, who must educate their clients on rebuilding and moisturizing."
One of hair's major foes can be the weather. We all know that humidity can send hair out of control, but the sun's powerful rays and cold winter weather can cause more than just styling frustration. "The sun is probably the most damaging factor," says Joico International Artistic Director Damien Carney. "Sun rays can burn the hair, creating tiny holes and causing color to fade and hair to dry out and become dull. The cuticle layer of the hair opens and becomes rough, which means that hair cannot retain color or the necessary moisturizing products because there is nothing to latch onto."
In cold, dry climates, hair can become moisture-depleted, a problem that is exacerbated by heating systems, which can suck any leftover moisture out of the air. "You can minimize the damage by using moisture-rich products," says Holzberger, who uses different, more intensive moisturizing shampoos, conditioners and styling products on his clients from November to March. Holzberger also recommends a deep conditioner for every second or third shampoo.
In some climates, temperatures can change from warm to cold on a daily basis, so it's important to help your clients figure out exactly what their hair needs. "No matter what the season is, listen to what your hair is telling you," says Angela Berk, a Redken global educator and the director of color at San Francisco's Mnkythmp salon. "A good rule of thumb for clients is that if their skin is dry and needs more moisture, than so does their hair. Likewise, if they're putting sunscreen on, they shouldn't forget about protecting their hair."
With the change in seasons, hairstyling routines can also shift. People who let their hair dry naturally in the summer may switch to blow-drying in the cold winter months. Static electricity from the dry air can also cause many people to overstyle their hair with dryers and irons. "We're constantly changing the appearance and general look and feel of hair by blow-drying, flat-ironing and using heated curling irons," Carney says. "We're putting heat on hair that is already dry, and doing this can cause damage." Carney stresses the importance of using heat protectants, such as Joico Silk result Thermal Smoother, to assuage styling woes. Berk suggests Redken's new Extreme Iron Repair, which actually uses heat to repair previous damage, while Holzberger recommends Aveda Brilliant Damage Control.
Chemical services, such as color, perms, relaxing and straightening, can also make hair look beautiful, but they play a big role in damaging the structure of the hair. "Chemical services always put hair into the 'special needs' category," Berk says. "Anytime we are using a product that is altering the internal bonds of the hair, we are causing some damage. The extent of that damage depends on how far we are taking hair from its natural state." She cites going from brunette to blonde and very curly to stick straight as particularly bad for the hair. Carney explains that chemicals cause the cuticle of the hair to open more, which is how damage occurs. "You can still have healthy hair, though, by respecting it and treating it with the correct regime and products," he says.
Perhaps the most important thing a stylist can do is to send clients home with a proper regime of products that will help them maintain healthy hair. Berk recommends having seasonal promotions in your retail area. "Let the promotion give clients a heads-up that they need to talk to their stylists about the proper recommendations," she explains. This also allows stylists to increase retail business without seeming too pushy. "Many hairdressers think that being a salesperson and pushing product is bad, but it's really about making sure your client can recreate what you've done at home," says Holzberger, who shows his clients the exact products he's using while doing their hair. "If your clients don't have good products to use at home, they won't be happy in the long run because they won't be able to keep their hair looking good." —LORI MORRIS