1) How much of an effect does sport have on our hair?
The answer to this is varying degrees. It all depends on the intensity of the sport or physical activity you are taking part in. Something like yoga would have very little impact, whereas something like bush walking or long treks have elemental factors to consider. High temperatures and sun, as well as cold temperatures and wind all contribute to damaging hair.
2) What specifically causes the damage?
Frequent washing has proven to stop the natural oils of the scalp nourishing the cuticle. Pulling your hair up while it is wet (whether it be from sweat or water) is not ideal as it can break the cuticle by applying unnecessary tension and drag.
3) Can we prevent the damage?
Always make sure you are using a detoxifying shampoo and a good treatment once a week to cleanse away any impurities and restore vital nutrients. Also using a sunscreen for your hair before you go into the sun is another great tool to prevent damage and prolong the life of your colour services.
4) What about the sun?
The sun is damaging for hair. Hats are not just a great tool for protecting your hair but also to protect your skin.
5) What about towel-drying hair, does that damage it too?
Vigorous towel drying can indeed damage the cuticle. You should always just try and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Too rough with the towel action and you undo all the marvellous work your treatment or conditioner has done smoothing out your cuticle and making the hair shiny and healthy looking.
6) What about washing – how often should we really wash our hair, and is it ok not to wash it after a sweaty session so that natural oils can go into the hair?
I have always worked on the principle that every 2-3 days is ample washing, making sure that you are also doing at least 1 treatment a week for vitality. A good tool to use to help you post workout would be a dry shampoo to remove excess oil.
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