Madeleinmia wonders…I was the victim of a bad hair dye accident (apparently they used the wrong activator, not that I would know) resulting in my hair being dry, damaged and breaking off. It is now more than a year later and I am still trying to grow out the damage, however I have only partially trimmed the damage lengths because I want to keep the length of my hair. I’ve heard that hair damage can travel up your hair if you don’t cut off all the damage. Is this true? Will I actually cause more damage to my hair by trying to retain the length rather than taking the plunge and going short?
The Left Brain responds:
The technical literature shows that when hair absorbs water it swells which causes the upper layer of the cuticle to buckle and crack. Any type of damage that increases the amount of water that the hair absorbs can only make this worse. So, if chemical processing has left the ends of your hair more porous they will absorb more water and therefore the damage is more likely to increase. If you have actual split ends then it’s even worse. As the hair undergoes multiple cycles of wetting and drying, the split can propagate up the shaft. It’s the same principle as a crack in a sidewalk that spreads over time as water and ice split it even further.
What’s the solution for over-processed hair?
I suppose you could stay ahead of the damage by just trimming a little bit each time. You might be also be able to offset some of the increased damage by treating hair with a penetrating oil, like coconut oil, that will essentially water-proof your hair from the inside out.
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Reference: Cuticle decementation and cuticle buckling produced by Poisson contraction on the cuticular envelope of human hair, JSCC, 1998, Vol 49