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Melanin is a pigment that is naturally produced in the hair follicle and “injected” into the hair fibers as the protein is formed and pushed out of the head. It’s the same kind of melanin that gives your skin its color. There are two basic types of melanin (eumelanin and pheomelanin) that are responsible for every hair color from brown and black to blond and red.
No one knows why hair follicles stop producing melanin. Genetics mostly.
There just gets to be a point where the melanocytes (the melanin producing cells) just stop producing. Thus you get gray hair.
Slowing the process? No one has figured this one out just yet. And the truth is that only the pharmaceutical companies would be looking for the solution anyway. Cosmetic companies focus on things that do not react with your body.
I’m not sure if there will be a solution to this problem anytime soon. (By the way, there are products out there like Reminex that claim to restore melanin production but we’ve seen no data to indicate they really work.) There is no solid data to show that gray hair has a different physical structure that makes it feel more kinky and unruly. In fact, we’ve seen experiments that show if you have people close their eyes they can not feel a difference between gray hair and “normal” hair. Why do people think gray hair is so different? There are probably two reasons: First, we know that as you age, the follicles produce less of their natural lubricating oils. That can make hair feel dry and coarse. Second, gray hairs are just easier to notice because of the color difference. Think about all the hairs on your head that are unruly but they are the same color as the rest of your hair so you don’t notice them.
37 - Hair Myths Are Silicones Bad For Your Hair?
Diane’s Undaunted By Silicones For Silkier Hair:
The question of silicone’s usefulness has long being a subject of intense debate, speculation and confusion in Long Hair Community. As a consequence, a lot of members in Long Hair Community are wary of using silicone-heavy products, such as Pantene conditioner. Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone and whatnot are allegedly harder to rinse out, therefore build-up occurs faster than a silicone-free hair regimen.
As for me, I love how cones smooth and soften my hair big time - while in shower. Sadly, the miraculous silkiness vanishes as soon as my hair dries. So I use unrefined coconut oil to successfully add shine, softness and protection for my hair. My questions are these: Are ‘cones really harder to rinse out? How do they work on hair? Do they dry hair out? And why does that wonderful silkiness disappear when my hair dries? How do carrier oils like coconut oil, sweet almond oil compare to silicones?
The Right Brain Comments on ‘Cones for Conditioning:
Diane, you raise some very good questions. In general, silicones work by covering hair with a thin hydrophobic (water-proof ) coating. This coating serves several purposes, it helps reduce the porosity of the hair which makes it less likely to absorb humidity; it helps reduce moisture loss from the inside of the hair; and it lubricates the surface of the hair so it feel smoother and combs easier.
Properties of silicones The properties vary depending on which particular silicone is in the formula.
Some silicones do leave a heavy coating on the hair that can be hard to wash off. Others are very water soluble and don’t buildup at all. Dimethicone, (sometimes called simethicone) for example, is the heaviest of all silicones used for hair care. It provides the most smoothing effect but it is also the hardest to wash out. Cyclomethicone on the other hand, gives great slippery feeling while you’re rinsing your hair, but it quickly evaporates leaving
Hair Myths - 38nothing behind. This is probably what you`re experiencing.
What about carrier oils, as you describe them? Some oils are effective conditioners. Take coconut oil, for example. While it doesn’t provide the same surface smoothing as silicones, it has been shown to penetrate hair and plasticize the cortex, making hair stronger. (This isn’t true of all natural oils however.) So oils are useful ingredients but they’re not direct replacements for silicones.
The Beauty Brains bottom line It’s tough to tell simply from reading the label because there are so many types of silicones and they can be used in combination with each other. You can’t simply say all silicones are bad. Some women will find silicones too heavy for their hair, others will love the soft, conditioned feel they provide.
You’ll have to experiment to find what’s right for you. Good luck!
And The Left Brain responds:
By the tone of your question, a certain level of skepticism on your part is evident. We here at the Beauty Brains love that! And it’s a good thing because the idea of being able to slather on a hair restructuring treatment to actually re-form hair is ridiculous. True, hair is made of amino acids and putting them on hair may provide some minor benefit. But it won’t restructure, restore or rebuild the hair. This would be a bit like trying to repair a weatherHair Myths worn Kate Spade bag by pouring a basket of thread and fabric on it. Sure, the stylish sack is made of thread and fabric but you can’t just randomly put them on and expect to get a new purse.
It’s the same way with hair and amino acids. To really restructure the hair, the amino acids would have to be chemically arranged in a specific way. This arrangement can only be done in the hair follicle when the hair is growing.
After that, nothing can be done except coat the hair with a good conditioner that mitigates some of the signs of damage. So, what are these restructuring treatments? In essence, they are just glorified rinse-out conditioners. Just take
a look at the ingredients. Here is Tricomin Restructuring Conditioner:
Purified Water, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Triamino Copper Nutritional Complex (see product information for ingredients), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Panthenol, Aloe Vera Gel, Soydimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Citric Acid, Methylparaben, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Peppermint Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cholecalciferol, Retinyl Palmitate, Vegetable Oil, FD&C Blue 1, D&C Red 33 The rules of cosmetic labeling require that ingredients are listed in order of concentration above 1%. In general, the more of an ingredient in the formula, the more impact it has on the product. The ingredients near the end of the list are just put in there to make a nice marketing story or are color, fragrance or preservatives.
In the Tricomin formula, some of the main working ingredients are Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, and Dimethicone.
But then take a look at a regular rinse-out conditioner. Say Pantene Pro-V Conditioner, Smooth and Sleek Hair Myths - 40 Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glutamic Acid, Dimethicone, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, EDTA, Panthenol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone Notice any similarities?? The main working ingredients here are Stearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, and Dimethicone.
The Beauty Brains bottom line Both of these are good conditioners. But the Restructuring Conditioner will not rebuild your hair any better than a standard rinse-out formula. And it certainly won’t rebuild your hair better than thread and fabric would rebuild a worn out Kate Spade.
The Left Brain Responds:
Thanks for the kind words about the blog. We always try to provide helpful, unbiased information when answering your questions. And your question in particular is a good one because there is a lot of misinformation out there about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and shampoo.
BUT, some people do find that SLS can dry out their scalp. Those people should consider SLS’s milder cousin SLES (short for Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate) or they should consider using sulfate-free shampoos.
Are baby shampoos good cleansers?
Baby shampoos are good examples of sulfate-free formulas. Instead of SLS they contain materials known as amphoteric surfactants that are less drying to skin and milder to the eye. (Hence the “no more tears” claim of many baby shampoos.) The downside to these types of formulations is that they don’t clean as well as the stronger detergent systems. While SLS is a VERY good cleansing agent that can remove sweat, dirt, styling product residue and scalp oils, baby shampoo formulas are not so effective.
Why not baby yourself?
Is this a problem? It depends. If you’re using a ton of styling product you might have to shampoo your hair multiple times with baby shampoo to get it as clean as an SLS-based product. That’s not such a bad trade off if your scalp is really dried out. I recommend trying baby shampoo for a week or two to see if you like the effect. If not, you can always switch back.
And if you’ve got money to burn, you can also check out the adult version of baby shampoos EN Joy Hydrating Shampoo, Back To Basics Color Protecting Shampoo, or even Paves.
Hair Myths - 42 Want to learn more? You can visit the Beauty Brains and read more of our blog posts about Sulfates.
For Seriously Tangled Hair Don’t Rely On Homemade Moisturizers
Jim’s Got A Problem:
Here’s my problem. I’m an “older” male who has kept his long hair. Now that I’m left with only about 26,000 hairs!! it’s still long, curly … and once I spend 20 minutes in the shower with a ton of conditioner, looks great.
My hair is SO tangly that virtually every hair I have tangles with every other hair.
After gobs of conditioner and 20 minutes in the shower separating every hair from every other hair - 2 days later it’s a tangled mess again. I stopped using any shampoo or soap or anything (except conditioner) a long time ago. I’ve never coloured my hair or used any chemicals on it.
So - what’s the most powerful, de-tangler you know of? I’d be prepared to use some spray on Teflon cookware product it that meant not having to slowly, slowly (from the bottom up naturally) separate every hair with tons of conditioner! Please help this super tangled guy!
The Right Brain Responds:
Jim, as always it’s a pleasure to hear from our male readers. We just wish there was more we could do to help you.
What Makes Hair So Tangly?
It’s possible that you have a medical condition that can cause hair to become excessively tangled. It’s called Uncombable Hair Syndrome and it occurs when your hair shaft is more triangular than cylindrical. Without examining your hair, it’s difficult to determine what your condition really is.
43 - Hair Myths Would A Homemade Moisturizer Help?
Probably not, homemade products just aren’t that powerful. There are plenty of good conditioners that should be sufficient to detangle “normal” hair.
Fructis is a great product because it combines fatty alcohols and silicones in a very slippery formula. If you haven’t tried that product, you might give it a shot. You might also try using a wide tooth pick in the shower to work the conditioner through your wet hair. Finally, you might also consider using a leave in conditioner in your hair at night to reducing tangling while you toss and turn in your sleep.
You’ve probably heard some of this advice in the long hair forums, but we hope some of this info helps.
Do You Really Need To Put Protein On Your Hair?
I’ve been told that hair needs protein and moisturization to stay healthy. So, for protein I use Mane ‘n Tail and for moisturization I use hair cholesterol products (like Le Kair, Queen Helene) and coconut oil. Is this good for my hair or can I be causing any kind of long term damage?
The Left Brain Replies:
Relax, Dop. These conditioners won’t damage your hair. You might find that your hair is weighed down if you’re using them all at once, but other than that they won’t do anything bad to your hair. So if you like the way these conditioners make your hair feel, then keep using them anyway you like.
The real question here is, does hair really need protein and moisturization?
The answer is yes and no.
YES, hair needs moisturization That just means you need to keep your hair from drying out. That’s the whole idea behind conditioners. You can moisturize by adding water (which doesn’t Hair Myths - 44 really stay in your hair very long) or you can moisturize by fighting the effects of dryness. That’s what any good conditioner does. Conditioners, like Le Kair and Queen Helene, work by smoothing the outer layers of your hair, the part called the cuticle. Cuticles are like shingles on top of a roof. If you don’t keep them “glued down” they tend to come loose and fall off. When ever you’re doing anything to your hair (including washing, drying, styling, or coloring), your causing some degree of damage to those cuticles. What a good conditioner does is smooth the cuticles, forming a protective layer over them so they don’t become as damaged.
NO, hair doesn’t need protein Although, hair is made of protein, it’s dead. So putting protein on top f the protein in your hair doesn’t really make it “healthy.” But the right kind of proteins used at the right levels can act as a conditioning agent that can form a protective film on the hair. So it’s not that your hair needs protein, it’s that it needs SOMETHING to form that protective layer. Proteins will do it to some extent, but there are other ingredients like fatty quaternium compounds or silicones, that will work even better. So protein conditioners like Mane ‘n Tail are good for your hair, but not necessarily BECAUSE they contain protein. We’ve written other posts about protein if you’d like to read more.