Hair Masks for Healthy Spring Hair

Hair Masks for Healthy Spring Hair

Posted by Sonia Bellini on

Protect Your Crown and Glory

Masks, they're not just for your face.

Have you noticed the Crocus sprouting up around town? These vibrantly purple flowers are a sure sign that spring is here. The weather is the obvious element changing this season, but have you thought about updating your haircare routine for spring as well? Now is the time to mix up your winter routine and get your hair in its best condition now and for the hot summer months ahead. 

What are some signs that it is time to switch up your hair care?

  • Hair breaks when brushing
  • Hair feels dry
  • Hair looks dull
  • Hair feels rough
  • Difficult to style

Spring-friendly versions of your routine include lightweight conditioners, serums, and weekly or bi-monthly deep conditioning masks. Once you are able to deduce what your hair needs, you won't have an issue picking out and curating your routine. 

Your perfect spring hair routine is not one-size-fits-all. The best products and formulas for you will depend on your hair type, length and texture. In general, winter is drying for your hair, which can leave it brittle and lacking moisture. This is why we suggest focusing on moisturizing first, with other hair goals being more accessible once your hair is moisturized. For example, it would be difficult to have voluminous hair without having moisturized hair, as you may end up with frizzy strands.

You may be wondering why we would suggest using more conditioner now, and that is because not only is your hair transitioning out of a drier winter climate, but it is also starting to consider humidity. Humidity encourages frizz, and roughs up the hair shaft. You can give your hair a boost this spring by introducing intense conditioning into your hair care this season.

How Porous Is Your Hair?

Let us imagine that your hair strands are similar in structure to a tree trunk. The outermost bark is like the hair cuticle, and the inner tree rings are the hair cortex / medulla (the medulla is only present in coarse hair). 

Highly porous hair that is damaged is very fragile and weak. Weaker hair will break easier than healthy hair. You can have highly porous hair that is not damaged, as it is simply a term to describe the ability for your hair to retain moisture. Highly porous hair is more susceptible to damage, and therefore should be given a little extra love during treatments.

Research has found that human hair strand can stretch up to 20% when it’s dry and up to 50% when it’s wet. There is a simple test you can do at home to check the porosity of your hair today:
  1. Collect a few clean strands of hair (without product residue)
  2. Drop them into a glass of water and let them sit for a few minutes
  3. If your hair floats, you have low porosity hair. If it sinks, you have high porosity hair. If it stays in the middle, you have medium porosity.

Can I Make My Hair Less Porous?

Hair that is overly processed from bleach, heat, perms, or other hair styling treatments can become difficult to maintain. I remember when I was a kid, I had my hair professionally bleached and dyed for three years. I was specifically bleaching my hair to prep it for bright blue, red, or purple hair, so my hair needed to be as close to white as possible. In other words, all the pigment had to be extracted out of my hair - and that means the cuticles were lifted in order to allow this process.

I bring this up because I know first-hand how difficult it can be to live with severely damaged hair. I used to not be able to brush my hair until it was completely dry, or else it would hurt my scalp. I would be angry if anyone tried to talk to me while I was brushing my hair. It also didn't help that my hair was down to my waist and would take two hours to dry. Honestly, I hated having to deal with my hair for years after this.

I personally have fine hair, and I spent a lot of time trying out different hair fads like the "No Poo" method of never using shampoo, or trying to use baking soda and apple cider vinegar as natural alternatives, or not using conditioner and only using a leave-in conditioner or serum (because I thought conditioner would weigh my hair down), or... Well, you get the point. I've tried a lot of methods to help my hair get back to how it was before I bleached it.

Side note: someone did tell me my hair felt like a wig at one point. So if there is any testament to how effective a good hair routine will make, it's this one.

The reason damaged, porous hair is difficult to work with is because the protein structure of your hair has been compromised. Hair loses elasticity, and thus lacks moisture. Thinking back to our tree example, imagine a fresh sapling versus an older branch of a tree. The younger growth is pliable and bends, whereas the older growth is prone to snapping. When you provide your hair moisture, it is supple like a sapling.

Porous Hair Healthy Hair
 

Something you can easily do at home is to begin massaging your scalp. Massage stimulates blood circulation and brings oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles. I have found that it is easiest to incorporate a massage while in the shower. Since you are already (probably) using shampoo, take this time to lean your head over while you scrub. Simply having your head lower than your heart will cause blood to flow towards your scalp, and the additional friction of a massage will compound this. This massage can encourage stronger hair growth and an increase in hair density, as well.

More Than Just Shampoo and Conditioner

If you have not spent time learning about the science behind hair products, you may think that shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are all equal. That's why they make 3-in-1 products, right? Wrong.

These two steps are fundamentally different, and when correctly taken into account can transform your hair to silky, bouncy, strands all year round.

Shampoo is not just to clean and conditioner is not just to soften. They perform different roles for treating your hair. Body wash is slightly different, as it focuses on treating your skin first and follicles second, whereas shampoo and conditioner focus on the follicle first and skin second.

Think of shampoo as a preparation step and conditioner as a bandage. You will want a shampoo that has a higher pH than your conditioner in order for the hair to be properly cleansed. A popular suggestion on the internet is to use conditioner before shampoo, because you would want to condition your hair and then thoroughly clean it. 

While this sounds like a good idea, the main process is to start with a higher pH and then move to a lower pH when cleaning your hair. If your shampoo has a lower pH than your conditioner, you are more than welcome to test it out for yourself. Otherwise, you won't be giving your hair the proper care it asks for.

Using low pH hair products closes your hair cuticles, resulting in less porous hair. Your hair and scalp are on average 5.5pH, meaning you will want products that are equal to or less than 5.5pH. You will want to use a conditioner that has a lower pH than your shampoo so that the cuticles are encouraged to seal close (check out ILES Formula's conditioner, which has a pH of 4).

Closing (or "shutting down" for an industry term) the cuticle means that moisture and nutrients are retained inside the hair strand, thus improving texture, elasticity, health, and appearance.

Your choice is shampoo and conditioner can always be boosted by incorporating a hair mask into your routine, either once a week or every other week depending on your hair. Remember that a mask is designed to provide nutrients to your hair, so you will always want to seal your mask nutrients by following your mask with a conditioner.

    For Fine to Medium Hair Types, or Low Porosity Hair

    Is your hair feeling frizzy or looking flat? One of the major characteristics of low porosity hair is that it takes a while for your hair to get fully wet, but it also takes a long time for it to dry after a shower. Low porosity hair looks shiny, bouncy, and healthy, but also means that products may have a tendency to build up on top of your hair instead of penetrating it. As stated earlier, you may want to look into the pH of your shampoo to ensure your hair is properly prepped for your next hair care product.

    Rahua's Omega 9 Hair Mask is formulated to strength and repair hair while leaving your hair with a lightweight finish. Give your hair a powerful punch of nourishment with restorative nutrients.  

    • Rejuvenates damaged, dull hair
    • Strengthens strands
    • Fortifies and hydrates
    • Creates shine
    • Lightweight finish

    Pro-Tip: use pre-shampoo for a deep moisturizing treatment

    For Thick and Coarse Hair Types, or Highly Porous Hair

    Thick and/or coarse hair is always in search of moisture. Using a hair mask rich in butters and oils will nourish your individual hair strands, thus making your hair less susceptible to split ends and breakage. 

    Hair porosity is the hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Highly porous hair can be the result of hair treatments, such as bleach and blow dryers, as well as genetics. The stretchier your hair strands are, the most porous they are. Porous hair needs moisture and protein in order to retain the hair strand integrity, and will benefit greatly from a deep conditioning treatment. 

    High porosity hair just means your cuticles are spaced farther apart. Because of this, hair absorbs oil and product easier—however, it also means the outer layer is easily damaged and can dry out faster with too much heat or too many hair salon treatments. In other words, moisture easily gets in but also effortlessly gets out.

    Rahua's Hydration Hair Mask is a rich, moisturizing mask formulated to give dry, dehydration hair instant hydration. This is the ultimate step for even the driest of hair.

    • Smooths and softens
    • Restores moisture
    • Blocks humidity and tames frizz
    • Enhances shine
    • Provides rich hydration
    Pro-Tip: use post-shampoo in place of conditioner

    Plus, it's scented with the tropical aromas of passion fruit and mango, which makes you feel like you're on vacation. Rahua's entire hydration line leaves the scalp hydrated and balanced and hair stronger, healthier, smoother, and shinier, so is also a great choice to look into for shampoo this season. Their hydration line is infused with plant-powered complex crafted from potent Amazonian oils and natural protein bonding-sugars, and this hair mask is designed to drive hydration deep into each strand of hair.

    For All Hair Types

    ILES Formula's Haute Performance Hair Mask is a luxurious treat for coarse hair, as well as a deeply intense mask for overly processed hair. ILES describes this mask as Neosporne for your hair, meaning it is a healing, protective ointment that is designed to provide nutrients. As with any hair mask, you will want to seal its goodness in by finishing with a conditioner, but it is especially true for this mask. You wouldn't use Neosporne without a bandaid, so don't use a hair mask without conditioner! 

    • Safe for use on all hair: including color treated, keratin treated, and extensions
    • Treats hair and scalp
    • Strengthens and nourishes
    • Adds suppleness
    Rahua's Color Full Hair Mask is formulated to protect and preserve color-treated hair. This mask is ideal for all hair types treated with color. Any hair treated with color is going to have increased hair porosity, simply because your hair stylist needed to open up the hair shaft to either remove or deposit color. The permanence of your hair dye will also affect how much porosity damage was done, with demi- or semi-permanent hair color result in less damage than permanent color or bleach.
    • Protects and preserves hair color and tonality
    • Extends the life of color treated hair
    • Nourishes and strengthens hair and repairs damage
    • Plant-based color protection

    Layering Hair Treatments

    Laying hair treatments before bedtime and rising out the next morning has become popular. This new trend has become known as hair slugging or hair oiling - and is inspired by ancient hair care techniques. In the Amazon Rainforest, women of the Achuar tribe have been making and massaging handmade rahua oil into their long lustrous strands for centuries. Applying hair treatments overnight allows for an extra dose of moisture, and results in shinier, softer hair.

    Make your selection of products to layer based on hair type and preference.

    Remember: High porosity hair types benefit more from oils, and low porosity or fine hair types benefit more from cream treatments and masks.

    Customize for your specific hair type by layering oils and creams. Follow these steps:

    1. Generously apply product from roots to tip
    2. Use a wide tooth comb, such as ILES Conditioner Distribution Comb, combined with massage to distribute throughout hair and maximize absorption
    3. A scalp massage will increase blood flow, which not only assists in new hair growth, but will also assist with providing oxygen and hair-healthy nutrients to the hair follicles. This can encourage stronger hair growth and an increase in hair density
    4. Leave in treatment overnight and rinse the next day 

    In Conclusion 

    Transition into a spring-friendly haircare routine by switching to a hydrating shampoo and lightweight conditioner. Since shampoo will be a higher pH than your conditioner, you will be able to quench thirsty strands with nutrients before sealing them in with a low pH conditioner. 

    Conditioner helps seal in the cuticle, the outer layer of your hair that protects the inner core. Because your cuticle is made of a layer of cells, it can split apart, tangling with other hairs and leaving your hair susceptible to damage. Seal it all in like a bandaid.

    Hair elasticity is the hair’s ability to stretch and then bounce back or return to its original shape. If your hair does that, then it has a balanced level of elasticity. But if your hair doesn’t stretch and breaks instead, then it may not have much protein and moisture. Restore your hair’s elasticity by using moisturizing and protein-rich products and avoiding harmful chemicals and styling tools.

    Picking the right products for your hair can be daunting, but we are here to help. If you have any questions please reach out to us via email at info@bellinispdx.com, or call us directly at 503.226.1526. Have a lovely spring!

    Resources

    Velasco, Maria Valéria, et al. “Hair Fiber Characteristics and Methods to Evaluate Hair Physical and Mechanical Properties.” Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol. 45, no. 1, 2009, pp. 153–162., https://doi.org/10.1590/s1984-82502009000100019.

    This article was written by Savannah Kaufman.

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