The science of hair care: part two

A little while ago I opened up the LBQ hair clinic (I’m not a specialist, so don’t think I’m actually qualified for anything!) and started to answer questions that I was getting through on a regular basis. I had loads more questions in response to that post, so this is round two… Hopefully it’s going to give you the answer to those burning questions.

Can a shampoo really help slow the fading of a colour?
Shampoos, conditioners and styling products that claim to slow or stop the fading of hair colour are (in a nutshell) talking porkie pies. Once you’ve dyed your hair the only thing that will stop the colour from fading is another round of hair dye. Most of these products claim to ‘help enhance colour’ which basically means they have ingredients to increase shine, which inevitably brings out the colour more by catching the light. With the normality of hair dye comes the need for a new market in hair care, so clever marketing peeps have just sat down and said they should come up with a new way of flogging their products. If you are concerned about protecting your hair colour (particularly if you’re blonde) then you should be looking out for products with sun protection in them – this is where it will actually do some good by protecting hair from the damaging sun rays, just as your skin needs SPF.

Should I be using heat protectant every time I use my hair straighteners?
Yes, absolutely. You should be using heat protectant every time you use an electrical appliance – that includes hair dryers, straighteners, curling wands and tongs. Every time you apply heat to your hair you’re doing damage so you need to create a barrier between the heat and your hair shaft. Even if you’re only using appliances once in a blue moon then you need to get the spray out. We’re all guilty of forgetting or not wanting to use yet another product, but it’s really important. A lot of products now contain heat protection within them, so if you do forget it’s not the end of the world, but I would really recommend investing in a spray you use on a daily basis. This is one area where you shouldn’t scrimp too – I’d recommend Paul Mitchell Heat Seal or Seal and Shine as products that protect without creating a heavy feel on hair.

What’s a normal amount of hair to lose a day?
Around 100 hairs per day is absolutely normal. It’s easy to panic when you see your brush full of hairs, but this is totally normal and keeps your head of hair healthy and strong. Every strand of hair (of which there are around 100,000 on your head) has a life cycle – once the life cycle ends the hair naturally falls out to make room for the new one to grow. If you rinse with high water pressure or brush your hair a lot, all it will do is aid the natural malting process rather than making it worse. I malt all over the place and I always have done; there’s nothing to worry about unless your hair doesn’t grow back and you end up with visibly thinning patches. Then it’s time to go to the doctor.

How should I be using hair conditioner?
Hair conditioner should be used every time you wash your hair. The shampoo will remove dirt and grease but that’s about it. Your conditioner will add essential nutrients and ingredients to help hair look and feel in better condition, as well as tackling any problems you may have, i.e. frizzy or unruly hair that’s hard to style. When you apply you should ensure you’re using no more than a 50p-sized amount of product, focusing on the ends of hair and avoiding the roots. If you overload hair, or put conditioner on the root, you’ll only cause it to look and feel weighed down. This is often when problems occur and you feel like you’re not getting on with a product – because it’s not being used properly. You have to remember that hair is dead and the conditioner is attempting to get it back to the condition it was in when it first popped through the top of your head; the new stuff up top doesn’t need the helping hand that the stuff a foot beneath does. (Oh, and if you’ve got short hair just bung the conditioner on… You probably don’t need it as much, but it will do you a little bit of good regardless.)

Hope that answers a few more questions! As always, if you have others then  just shoot them to me in the comments box below.



  1. Jenifer
    February 21, 2012 / 11:46 am

    Super interesting post! I'm guilty of not always conditioning my hair every wash! =/ Eeek! xxhttp:.//

  2. paula
    March 3, 2012 / 8:14 pm

    Really interesting read,I dye y hair bright colours and they fade super quick.I also have been using way too much conditioner !

  3. liloo
    April 9, 2012 / 9:56 pm

    just lapped it up like it was a latte with cream 🙂 🙂 thank you so much for doing this. i dont know if you had another round of haircare planned but i wanted to know your thoughts on 'is it better to colour your hair when your hair is clean or when it's dirty'. does it matter and what are the risks. you see, unless it's vital for your health (aka you will die) the blooming packet doesn't say why you need to do it like they say to do. xx

  4. Anonymous
    April 9, 2012 / 11:55 pm

    What's the best thing to eat or supplement to take for a healthy head of hair?

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