Moisture Fundamentals for Color
For hair to receive and hold color, it must have the proper balance of protein and moisture and not be overly porous. Understanding how the porosity and moisture of hair is assessed and treated is an invaluable skill for the truly professional colorist. Preparing your canvas properly before performing your art will always result in a better outcome. Also, producing wonderful results with lasting healthy hair leads to constant repeat referral clients. Lasting healthy results is largely a function of preserving the hair’s natural moisture, protein, and pH stabilizers.
The natural moisture in hair is primarily made up of a fatty acid known as sebum and produced by the sebaceous glands. The sebaceous glands are located in the skin so natural moisture in hair starts in the scalp and travels down the hair shaft from the root to the tip. This is why some dry hair problems, that are not caused by poor product choices, are related to the health of the scalp. The sebum in the hair not only provides the hair with moisture and shine, but also assists the cuticle in protecting the hair shaft by coating and preventing the hair from absorbing environmental pollutants.
[two_columns height=”225″ border=”border”] The Sebaceous Glands are located in the skin and produce Sebum which serves as the natural moisturizer of the hair. Preserving their ability to produce sebum is critical to achieving the hair’s optimal protein and moisture balance.
Healthy hair is made up of 83% – 87% protein and 3% moisture. Although the 3% moisture seems relatively small, the moisture makes hair soft and flexible. The only difference between the protein to moisture balance of hair and finger nails is the small 3% moisture.[/two_columns] [two_columns_last height=”225″ border=”border”] [imageeffect type=”framelightbox” align=”aligncenter” width=”200″ height=”200″ alt=”hair moisture” url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/sebaceous-glands.jpeg”] [/two_columns_last]
Sebum, which is moderately acidic with a pH of between 5 and 6.8, contributes to the hairs natural pH level of between 4.5 and 5.5. Hair that is not often combed or brushed may present roots that seem greasy and tips that seem dry. This is most often easily solved by mechanically distributing the sebum evenly across the hair shaft by combing or brushing regularly. When the sebaceous glands are producing an excess amount of sebum, the hair may appear sticky, greasy, and somewhat darker in tone. When the sebaceous glands produce too little sebum, the hair may seem dry, brittle, dull and lack luster or shine. The proper amount of sebum will result in healthy, shiny, flowing hair.
Most shampoo contain compounds like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or ammonia that strip away sebum from your scalp and hair. However, these ingredients also severely damage the sebaceous gland’s ability to produce sebum in the future. Natural sebum contains trace amounts of ammonia and the presence of ammonia signals to the glands that an excessive amount of sebum is present. This essentially shuts the sebaceous glands down. Studies have shown that the scalps sebaceous glands produce little to no natural sebum after an ammoniated chemical treatment.
None of Organic Color Systems products, including the Organic Care Systems products, contains any sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or ammonia. This enables the Organic Color Systems range to always preserve the hair’s natural ability to moisturize the hair. Because chemicals and hair products are not the only cause of excessive or depleted moisture, Organic Care Systems also includes three complete ranges of care products including Aqua Boost, Power Build, and Status Quo. While all ranges will help in adding moisture to hair without damaging the sebaceous glands, Aqua Boost is particularly well suited for this purpose.
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Many hair products have a tendency to add unwanted weight to hair, especially those containing silicones or plastics. These silicones and plastics will contribute to “build up” over time as these ingredients have a tendency to coat the hair shaft rather than moisturize it. Build up causes the hair to have a sticky or gummy feel, the conditioner choice seems to work less effectively, or the hair may be more prone to tangling. Sebum, the hair’s natural moisturizer, is ineffective at penetrating this coating. This denies the hair of its natural moisturizer and results in dull, unhealthily weighted hair that seems to lack movement. While this coating can be easily stripped by a harsh shampoo, the risk of timing and damaging the cuticle or sebaceous glands exist. Silicones and plastics are in almost all conditioners and styling products. Neither Organic Care Systems (the shampoo, conditioner, reconstructor, and treatment range of products) or Organic Control Systems (the styling, hold, and control range) contains any silicones or plastics. This “Plastics Free” styling and care approach is essential for preserving the hair’s natural ability to moisturize while optimizing the level of moisture available to the hair.
A clarifying shampoo may be required to remove build up that has already occurred. However, clarifying shampoos removes all things on the surface of the hair shaft and leaves the hair without moisture. Further, failing to not continually use the proper conditioning product will lead to excessive drying of the hair. The Organic Care Systems Status Quo line is particularly effective at preserving the hair’s natural moisturizing capabilities while adjusting moisture to the hair’s optimal protein and moisture balance.
Adjusting the amount of moisture in hair will soften the cuticle and can easily be accomplished through the use of Aqua Boost shampoo. Aqua Boost shampoo also acts as a gentle clarifying shampoo without stripping the cuticle. If the cuticle is properly softened during the Organic Color Systems color process, the cuticle will open better and more gently. It is for this reason that pre-shampooing with Aqua Boost is a necessary part of the healthy organic hair color process. You should never use any conditioner on hair you are preparing to color as this will close down the cuticle tightly.
Porosity of hair refers to the hair’s ability to absorb and retain heat and moisture. The higher the level of porosity, the faster hair will absorb moisture but have more difficulty retaining moisture. The lower the level of porosity, the slower the hair will absorb moisture, but the better it will retain moisture. Average porosity hair will both retain and absorb moisture at normal rates. With any hair treatment, processing times are assuming average hair porosity. This is very important when preparing and planning the hair color process as it may effect processing time. For example, very low hair porosity will require a little longer processing time for any treatment.
[two_columns height=”225″ border=”border”] [imageeffect type=”framelightbox” align=”aligncenter” width=”250″ height=”188″ alt=”hair moisture” url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/porosity-test.jpg” ] [/two_columns] [two_columns_last height=”225″ border=”border”] Hair porosity is caused by either exposed areas of the cuticle or a stressed cuticle which has lost the ability to close properly. Because of this, moisture is able to pass easily and quickly into the hair shaft. Unfortunately, this also means the hair lacks the ability to retain moisture. The Revamp protein treatment, part of the Organic Care Systems range is specifically formulated to treat porous hair. [/two_columns_last]
Highly porous hair will have more difficulty retaining moisture but will absorb moisture and heat quickly. Consequently, it is more prone to damage that can result from over-processing. Because the cuticle is stressed or damaged, porous hair will absorb moisture quickly but retain little of it. Porous hair that is over processed will result in a dry, straw like texture.
Hair that is highly porous, on the other hand, has more difficulty absorbing moisture. Porous hair also absorbs chemicals and heat faster than hair that is less porous. Resultant, it is more susceptible to damage from over processing. Another problem with highly porous hair is how quickly it loses moisture. Because the cuticle is open and stressed, it readily absorbs and loses moisture, causing the hair to look and feel dry and straw-like.
Testing for Hair Porosity
To test hair for porosity, the hair’s buoyancy must be assessed. To do this, clip off a few strands of hair and then drop them into a glass of water. Hair that sinks quickly to the bottom is highly porous. That hair is absorbing water very quickly, but will not retain the water well. That hair have a difficult time retaining color, curl memory, straightening, or other chemical treatments. Hair that floats towards the top of the glass is not very porous. That hair will require additional processing time but still be able to yield optimal results.
Hair can become porous due to the use of chemicals, such as relaxers, ammoniated hair color and highlights, artificial heat from blow dryers and flat irons, chlorine, harsh sulfate-containing shampoos and natural factors such as the sun. To prevent developing porous hair, a reduction of hair’s exposure to these agents can prevent irreparably damaging the hair.
What to Do if You Have Highly Porous Hair
The best way to treat porosity is Revamp Treatment, part of the Organic Care Systems range. This product is specifically formulated to add rich protein to the hair, increasing it’s strength and lowering the hair’s porosity. The protein in Revamp will naturally bond to the hair, filling in overly exposed areas of the cuticle.
• Moisture in hair allows it to be soft and flexible. The hair is made up of between 83% – 87% protein and only 3% moisture. The only difference between soft flexible hair and hard, brittle finger nails is the 3% moisture.
• The natural moisturizer in the hair is the sebaceous glands which are found in the skin. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, which is a fatty acid that moisturizes the hair.
• Adding additional moisture to the hair prior to applying Organic Color Systems is strongly recommended as this will soften the cuticle and make it easier to open gently and naturally. Adding additional moisture to the hair can be easily accomplished by pre-shampooing with Aqua Boost Shampoo which is specially formulated to add moisture to the hair and soften the cuticle. Resistant hair should be treated with Aqua Boost treatment prior to coloring. Never use any kind of conditioner before coloring as this will close down the cuticle and make it difficult for the hair to absorb color.
• Hair porosity is an important variable to consider when planning the color process. Hair becomes more porous due to a fatigued, overly stressed, cuticle that has lost its ability to close or from exposed areas of the cuticle.
• Highly porous hair will absorb color quickly but will not be able to retain it. Highly porous hair should be treated with Revamp treatment after Acqua Boost and prior to color treatment.
• Hair with low porosity will absorb color slower but will retain it better. Colorists should plan for slightly higher processing times for less porous hair.