If you’ve been coloring, perming, or straightening your hair, you probably have some signs of damage. Chemical treatments can compromise the protective outer layer of the hair, leaving it porous and prone to further damage and breakage. Unfortunately, that damage also affects the appearance of your hair—it may turn into a tangled, frizzy mess and be difficult to style.
Over the past decade, some innovative technologies have been developed to prevent damage and rebuild the structure of your hair, keeping your tresses in good condition despite frequent chemical exposure.
1. Hair Bond Builders
Lightening and color processing can weaken or even break the disulfide bonds that are responsible for your hair’s strength and integrity. This leads to weakened hair fibers and potential breakage. The bond breakdown is the main risk associated with hair coloring, and it can happen even if you have your dying job done by an experienced colorist.
You will be happy to know that there are products on the market that will forever change the way you can color your hair!
Hair bond builders were developed to reinforce the bonds in your hair to prevent the damage from happening and relink some of the broken bonds leaving your hair in better condition than it was before coloring. These products make the coloring process much safer and allow you to experiment with different shades without the worry of ruining your hair. Bond multipliers also help improve the color vibrancy and prolong color retention.
Nowadays, bond multipliers are a very important part of every color service. Hair bonders don’t work to mask hair damage like most other hair repair products. Instead, they are the first type of product that can restore damaged hair and bring it to a healthier state.
Bond builders can be added to your bleach or color mixture to prevent and minimize damage or can be used as a separate repair treatment.
In addition to safer coloring, bond multipliers also provide protection from other types of chemical processes, such as perms, relaxing, and straightening.
Most of the bond building products are meant for professional use. However, each product line includes some type of at-home treatment that is supposed to be applied periodically to maintain the integrity of the hair between salon sessions.
Products: Olaplex is the most popular and most commonly used bond multiplier. Alternative products include SMARTBOND from L’Oréal Professionnel, BOND TREATMENT from Uberliss, NEO BOND from FHI Brands, VITALSHOT from Keratin Complex, Matrix BOND ULTIM8 Bond Protecting System, Schwarzkopf Fibreplex Bond Enforcing System, and ColorpHlex Reparative System.
2. Protein Fillers
Coloring and other chemical treatments can damage the natural keratin in your hair. Damaged cuticles make the hair more porous and leave weak spots on the hair shaft. Such hair tends to tangle and break easily, making it almost impossible to grow long. Overly-porous hair also doesn’t absorb color well in some places, or the color washes out too fast.
To reinforce the internal structure of your hair, you need to rebuild lost and damaged keratin. That’s when protein fillers come in. These products are intended to treat damaged, bleached, overly-porous, and weak hair and to help you achieve the perfect color results.
A protein filler fills the gaps and weak spots in the hair shaft, making hair look smoother and healthier. It replaces keratin that has been lost due to chemical processing and heat styling and revitalizes weakened hair. This helps prevent the weak spots from breakage and protects the remaining keratin in your hair from further damage. When used with color, it helps seal the color within the cortex so it won’t fade as fast as normal.
You can use a protein filler before coloring to equalize the porosity in your hair and help the color take more evenly. It will also prevent chemical damage and leave your hair in good condition.
A protein filler can be mixed into bleach, color solutions, perms, straighteners, or relaxers to protect hair from chemical damage and used after highlighting to rebuild lost protein and strength.
When used as a reconstructor, this product needs to be diluted with water or added to your conditioner. Using it along with other protein-rich hair products can lead to protein overloaded hair.
There are two main types of protein fillers; clear protein fillers and tinted protein filers. Clear protein fillers contain no color/pigment and have conditioning and protective function while color protein fillers add warm tones back into the hair in addition to fixing the damage.
The most popular products are Colorful Neutral Protein Filler, Babyface’s Pure Protein treatment (contains parabens!), SignatureBlonde™ Restorative Filler (leave-in treatment), and Aminotouch Natural Hair Protein Treatment.
3. Hydrolyzed Keratin Infused Hair Products
Healthy hair consists of about 80% keratin. The loss of keratin leaves hair weak, dull, and unmanageable. Using products infused with hydrolyzed keratin (amino acids) can temporarily repair hair structure and improve the appearance of damaged hair, making it smoother, shinier, and more manageable. Amino acids are small building blocks of keratin which are able to penetrate the hair shaft to rebuild damaged hair and create a thicker and silkier look.
Amino acids also help maintain the moisture level of your hair, so you don’t have to worry about potential protein overload.
Hydrolyzed proteins can be included in the formula of hair shampoos, conditioners, leave-in treatments, hair masks, and other hair care and hair styling products to make your hair strong and healthy-looking again.
The results are not permanent as the keratin particles wash away from your hair over time, so you need to use keratin replenishing products regularly to keep the damage under control.
Keratin-Infused Hair Care Products: L’Oreal Keratin Professional Power Kera-Recharge Expert Serie Hair Treatment, Biotera PRO Series Damage Care Intense Recovery 5-Minute Strengthening Treatment, Bonacure Repair Total Repair Treatment by Schwarzkopf, Research in Beauty Nano-Complex Dynamic Hair Repair Treatment, Enjoy Instant Reconstructor, Joico K-Pak Reconstructor, and Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment (deep conditioner).
4. Placenta Hair Treatments
Placenta-based hair treatments contain animal-derived placenta extract. A placenta is a rich source of protein and bioactive components that can work wonders for hair that has been damaged by excessive bleaching, coloring, or other chemical procedures. Those proteins and components can rebuild your hair and make it thicker, shinier, and more manageable. Placenta-based products come in two main forms – rinse off and leave-in treatments.
- Repairs damage and restores the life and luster to fried, over-processed hair. The protein fills in the gaps in the hair shaft to keep the hair looking and feeling healthy.
- Strengthens hair and increases the elasticity to prevent breakage and split ends.
- Reduces frizz and increases shine due to smoothened hair cuticles.
- Leaves hair conditioned, soft to the touch, silky, and more manageable.
- Gives more volume to fine hair.
- Increases blood flow to the hair follicles and decrease hair shedding.
Placenta based products come in two main forms – rinse off and leave-in treatments.
How to use rinse off placenta treatment: Apply the treatment to freshly washed and towel-dried hair. Cover your hair with a cap and leave the product on for about 10 minutes. After the time is over the hair can be rinsed with water.
How to use leave-in placenta treatment: Once the hair has been washed and towel-dried apply the treatment evenly to damp hair. Don’t rinse. Style your hair as usual.
Products: Hask Placenta Instant Hair Repair Treatment, Hask Placenta Original Leave-In Instant Hair Repair, Hask Vials Placenta Super Strength Leave-In (for extremely damaged hair), Cosmofarma Royal Placenta Hair Lotion (with herb extracts and vitamins to stimulate hair growth), Queen Helene Placenta Hot Oil Treatment, Bio Complex Purified Placenta Sheep Leave-in Hair Conditioner, Mirta De Perales Placenta Hair Dressing Cream, and Hi-Pro-Pac Pks Henna Placenta Vitamin-E Intense.