Getting to grips with split ends

The best cure for split ends? A decent trim!

If there’s one thing that’s going to get in the way of a good hair day, it’s split ends. The bane of every luscious-locked fashionista’s life, split ends have the capacity to ruin even the neatest hairstyles.

What’s to be done? Where split ends are concerned, there are three options open to you:

1. Prevent split ends

As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Split ends are brought about from various reasons including illness, bad hairdressing and over-styling. The actual causes themselves vary greatly – from chemical-based treatments and heated appliances to extreme weather exposure and damaging washing routines.

Because we’re staunch advocates of healthy hair, it’s a subject we’ve written about lots, most recently in our ‘How to identify, prevent and cure hair damage’ blog.

To clarify, prevention doesn’t have to mean total avoidance of these things altogether as ‘real life’ must go on. Rather, approach them with slightly more-than-usual care. To give you a few ‘for instance’ scenarios…

If you’re using heating tools, such as curling tongs and straightening irons, choose the right products for the job. This applies to the heat tool itself (make sure it has adjustable settings) and to heat protector sprays (check the label refers to thermal heat, not just hairdryer heat).

If you’re styling your hair in an updo, be mindful about traction and snagging. Tight ponytails are the worst culprits. Limit how often you wear these hairstyles and use softer ties, like silk scrunchies and plastic spirals, which are easier on the hair.

If your hair washing routine is slightly amiss, introduce welcome changes, for example buy strengthening and softening shampoos packed full of fortifying ingredients. Something you may not have thought abut is your shower head. Is it angled correctly so as not to cause unnecessary harm? Apparently, the ideal position is directly above you for water to flow in the direction of hair growth. Your hairbrush and towelling techniques have a part to play too. Our ‘Wet hair mistakes: Why and how to avoid these 7 schoolgirl errors’ and ‘How to formulate your hair washing routine’ blogs contain all the essential tips.

If you’re undergoing treatment involving chemicals at the hair salon – be it dyeing, bleaching, perming or straightening – ensure you search for a reputable hairdresser whom you trust and familiarise yourself in what can go wrong. That way, you’ll notice if something’s not quite right during your appointment to draw your hairdresser’s attention to and stop any damage in its tracks. Check out our ‘Bad salon warning signs’ blog to help you out.

2. Get rid of split ends

You could say that hair damage in the form of split ends is inevitable. We all have special occasions to look our best for every now and then. Just going into the office demands a little extra hair styling than a chill-out day at home. And even those with the most diligent haircare routines will let split ends slip through the net at some point in time.

The solution? A haircut! You can either get a decent trim or have an ‘invisible cut’. The former – decent trim – might only be possible if there’s been a reasonable gap since your last hairdressing appointment, otherwise you’re likely to lose too much length. As a rule of thumb, aim for a haircut each six to eight weeks.

The latter – invisible cut – can be performed by your hairdresser or you could actually try it yourself. With proper hairdressing scissors, divide your hair into sections, twist these sections gently at the bottom one at a time, run your fingers up the hair shaft to expose split ends, and trim.

3. Hide split ends

If none of the aforementioned is viable, get crafty and hide your split ends from obvious view. This is all about products. Oils, serums and creams act like glue to make even the springiest split ends miraculously disappear.

Should you have a hair emergency in need of a temporary fix, seek out remedies, therapies, repairs and regenerating masks that include ingredients which deliver much-needed protecting, hydrating, strengthening, conditioning and sealing properties. As well as immediately seeming to go away – so you can feel great for your upcoming event – they promote healthier hair by doing more than simply a one-off cover up – for better hair in the longer term.

If you’ve been injured by your hairdresser, whether it’s scalp blisters or burns and hair loss or breakage, get in touch with our Hairdressing Claims team. To find out if you’re eligible for compensation and to pursue a legal claim, contact us today by emailing, calling 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phoning 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or completing our online enquiry form.

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Box hair dye dangers

Hair dye gone wrong?

The enforced restrictions of lockdown caused more people than ever to turn to DIY hairdos such as box dyes. (Remember our ‘Lockdown hair, anyone?’ blog?) Although lockdown is thankfully in the past, box dyes remain a popular choice for many of us for upkeep of colour in a more affordable way.

But, are you aware of the dangers of box dyes?

Considering the presence of chemicals – ammonia, peroxide and paraphenylenediamine amongst them – this fact shouldn’t be overly surprising. After all, they are known irritants which can cause serious hair and scalp injuries such as hair breakage and hair loss, and scalp blisters and burns.

Yet, the reactions to a now-viral video, posted by a hairdresser showing the impact on his client’s hair from box dye, reveal the extent of shock upon the discovery of damage. Reported on the Daily Record’s website, the video was viewed a staggering 8.9 million times and instigated a string of horrified comments. In this case, the hairdressing client actually decided to proceed with the treatment despite her hair reacting to the strand test by breaking.

Our ‘5 top tips for fool-proof hair dyeing’, ‘Top tips for home hair dyeing’ and ‘The how and why of patch testing’ blogs guide you through what to do before undergoing hair dye and other chemical-based treatments.

If you needed a reminder of exactly what can go wrong – failing to perform strand tests, overlapping bleach and incorrectly using chemicals on your hair can result in extreme hair and scalp damage, as revealed in warts-and-all terms in our ‘Scalp blisters and facial swelling caused by hair dye’, ‘Near-death experience following severe hair dye reaction’ and ‘What does over-processed hair look like?’ blogs as just three examples of hair dyeing gone wrong.

Experienced a hair disaster yourself? Contact us by emailing, calling 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phoning 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or completing our online enquiry form.

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Hair Botox is a thing

Sleek, straight hair is the epitome of great hair for many women

When you think about Botox, anti-ageing facial injections might instantly spring to mind. But, did you know about hair Botox? And, no needles are involved!

If you’ve ever undergone, or considered having, a Brazilian blow dry or similar semi-permanent hair straightening treatment, you could be keen to learn about this supposedly safer alternative which doesn’t involve keratin.

The problem with keratin is the potential presence of formaldehyde and methylene glycol, both of which are possible carcinogens which can cause cancer. Our ‘Everything you did (and didn’t!) want to know about keratin treatments’ blog is useful background reading on this contentious subject.

Recently arrived in the UK, rather than botulinum toxin (or Botox for short), the new hair Botox anti-frizz treatment’s main ingredient is actually hyaluronic acid. While deemed freer from danger than keratin for hairdressing clients, as it’s a substance that’s naturally produced in the body, it’s important to note at this stage that it’s not without controversy either.

As with any treatment using acidic elements, you must perform due diligence by researching and questioning before you book your hair appointment so that you’re aware of side effects. (More on this below.)

Some of the reasons for the growing popularity of hair Botox comprise:
(1) it promises to have a smoothing effect and youthify hair;
(2) it can be applied to hair that’s slightly damaged or super-fine (unlike keratin which may worsen existing signs of hair damage);
(3) it’s tailored according to how straight you want your hair (by adjusting the length of time it’s left on before being washed out);
(4) it doesn’t make hair flat and lifeless in the process (which keratin has a tendency to do);
(5) your hair requires less blow drying and straightening afterwards so it promotes healthier locks;
(6) it protects against the usual impacts of humidity; and
(7) it only takes around two hours in the salon to get the treatment.

Not yet widely available, if / when hair Botox comes to a salon near you, heed our earlier warnings regarding heat-and-chemical based hair treatments. Our ‘How to identify, prevent and cure hair damage’ and ‘Bad salon warning signs’ blogs are a good starting point. It’s not unusual to suffer hair breakage, hair loss, scalp burns and scalp blisters following a disaster at the hairdressing salon.

As always, should your hairdressing appointment go awry, contact us to discuss your options including suing your hairdresser. Email, call 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phone 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or complete our online enquiry form.

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How to identify, prevent and cure hair damage

Hair damage is unavoidable!

Daily wear and tear take their toll on your hair. It seems that no matter how careful you are – whether it’s taking a break from heat styling, extending the time between hair colouring appointments, applying deep conditioning treatments, spraying heat protector before hot products, wearing hats to shield from the elements, tying up hair using gentler accessories, whatever – damage of some sort is unavoidable, often by the most unlikely culprits.

Then there’s harm caused by your hairdresser. Damage is usually more extreme due to use of excessive heat and dangerous chemicals, amongst other causes. Our ‘6 reasons to sue your hairdresser’ blog explains what happens when hairdressing appointments go seriously wrong.

If you’ve noticed that your hair is looking far than perfect, it’s time to do something about it. That’s why today we bring you the lowdown on the common types of hair damage and how to solve them…

1: Split ends

Split ends are easy to spot. It’s where the end of a hair strand is split into two or more heads or if it micro-splits into numerous branches similar to a tree. Essentially, your hair’s in a weaker state and tangles a lot more. It happens due to excessive styling, heat exposure, friction from fabrics, and climate and environmental conditions.

Although the most common form of damage, it’s the worst in many ways as if it’s left untreated, it’ll only get worse with time. Cutting your hair is the best, if not only, option for banishing split ends. As a guide, get a trim every two months to keep on top of any straggly bits. This is especially important if you have fine hair as it’s more susceptible to damage and needs extra TLC.

A temporary solution until your next hair cut is split end-mending serums that contain polymers. Although no substitute for a trim, they do reduce splitting a little. And there are things you can do to prevent split ends from forming in the first place such as gentler handling of your hair, avoiding heat, towel drying and chemical products, and selecting satin or silk pillowcases.

2: Heat damage

The go-to modern hairstyles are either dead straight or curly hair, both of which are easy to create with hot styling tools. Used daily, though, these styling implements are a big cause of damage. Spraying heat protector is necessary every time as it protects styling up to 450 degrees. Another way to prevent heat damage is to use a setting appropriate for your hair texture. Also, try not to use heat every day in order to give your hair a break.

Ultimately, you cannot reverse the damage that’s been done but you can make it better. The tips of your hair are the oldest so a decent haircut will improve the health of your hair no end. Similarly, protein treatments replenish what’s missing from your hair.

3: Dye damage

Years of lifting and stripping away colour by bleaching, dyeing, highlighting and balayage ruin the condition of your hair. To fully appreciate what these colouring treatments do to your hair, check out our ‘What does over-processed hair look like?’ blog.

There’s no quick fix. You just have to wait for the colour or bleach to grow out and it takes months, if not years. But there’s a sure-fire way to make sure colouring causes as minimal damage as possible and that’s finding a professional who cares about you and the integrity of your hair. Our ‘Bad salon warning signs’ blog is a great steer. If your hairdresser chooses colour chemicals applicable to your hair type and avoids unnecessary overlap, that will help in a major way.

For a further hair boost, there’s always regular haircuts, less frequent styling, and leave-in treatments such as masks and conditioners which contain ingredients with reparative benefits to promote healthier, stronger hair in between salon visits.

4: Other chemical damage

Chemical treatments like relaxers and perms strip the hair, leading to breakage which cannot be solved by anything other than growing it out. Prevent further damage by adjusting your hairstyling habits, for example regular hot-oil deep treatment routines, protein-packed products, at-home bond-building treatments, water-based leave-in conditioning sprays and thinking about your diet. Drinking water and eating omega-3 rich foods are good for your hair as well as your body.

5: Thinning or hair loss

First a distinction: thinning is noticeably less hair, such as thinner ponytails, a visibly wider parting and more scalp showing than normal; whereas hair loss is increased shedding. Lots of different things cause thinning or hair loss – underlying hormone issues, stress, medication, nutritional deficiencies, allergic reactions and certain illnesses included. In these circumstances, take medical advice as supplements or herbal medicines may be prescribed.

What’s lesser known is that too-tight braids and ponytails are offenders too. These create traction which weakens the hair and follicle. Take a break from taut styles to reduce tension and preserve the roots.

6: Mechanical damage

Mechanical damage occurs because of the way you handle your hair. It’s basically anything that puts tension on your hair – if you’re too harsh while combing, brushing and detangling or, as hinted above, if you tie your hair tightly in a ponytail quite often.

Some additional care can go a long way towards ensuring you don’t suffer from mechanical damage. Brush your hair slowly and softly, avoid brushing wet hair, abstain from rubbing your hair with a towel, unbraid and remove ponytails carefully, and apply hair masks regularly.

7: Weather damage

Be it the sun in the spring and summer months, or wind and cold in autumn and winter, you can’t stay indoors forever so damage will come your hair’s way thanks to changing seasons. Relevant to the time of year, select items that limit your hair’s exposure to the elements – leave-in conditioners, hats, umbrellas etc along with less styling if you’re outdoors a lot. Again, soft pillowcases help retain the moisture that’s remaining in your hair at the end of the day.

To get in touch with our Hairdressing Claims legal team about suing your hairdresser, please email, call 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phone 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or complete our online enquiry form.

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Wet hair mistakes: why and how to avoid these 7 schoolgirl errors

Handle wet hair carefully

Did you know that your post-shower or bath routine could be silently damaging your hair? Without realising it, how we handle our wet hair can cause all manner of harm, not only to its health, but also to its length and longevity.

In an ideal world, we’d have sufficient time to dry and style our hair to perfection without impairment as part of our getting-ready routine. In the real world, though, time is limited, especially first thing in the morning when we’re preparing for the day ahead. That’s why bad hair care habits creep in.

Wet hair requires gentler care because its structure changes upon contact with water. The hair shaft soaks up the water and swells so it becomes vulnerable. To preserve the health of your hair, here are the wet hair mistakes you should avoid:

#1: Brushing wet hair

Brushing hair when it’s wet is one of the worst sins. It results in hair breakage and split ends. Wait until it’s almost or completely dry before brushing to keep your hair healthier for longer. If you’ve got excessive tangles, select a leave-in product and wet hairbrush as your hair will be more brushable and the bristles are much softer than regular brushes for a tenderer touch.

#2: Tying hair up while wet

We’ve already established that hair is at its weakest and most vulnerable when wet. If you style into a tight updo while it’s dripping wet, the tension will increase as your hair dries. The usual dents and snags from dry ponytails are more severe if your hair’s damp. Dry thoroughly before tying it up.

#3: Applying hairspray on wet hair

Coming after #2, it thus follows that hairspray should be used to lock down your style only when it’s fully dry. Your hair changes shape as it dries which means the style will too. Hairspray is for long-lasting hold on dry hair.

#4: Drying your hair the wrong way

Airdrying your hair is always a gamble as it often creates untameable frizz until your next hair wash. Similarly, rubbing a cloth towel harshly on wet hair causes breakage. Many of us are guilty of wrapping our hair in a towel after washing. The harsh fibres are rough on hair. Opt for a microfibre towel to squeeze out the water and then leave it to dry naturally.

#5: Blow drying dripping wet hair

Although our advice thus far is about drying your hair before doing anything else, you should never blow dry your hair while it’s still sopping wet. It might be tempting to use the highest setting of your hairdryer but you actually need to wait for the water to drain out then apply the dryer on medium heat and move gradually to a higher level of heat for styling purposes. Slower drying on a low temperature may take more time but it will safeguard your hair in the long run.

#6: Applying heated tools to wet hair

Heated tools already take their toll. Applying them on wet or damp hair worsens it further. When you use a straightening iron or curling tong on wet hair, the wetness maximises the heat to perilous proportions thereby literally frying your strands. Again, once your hair is completely dry, it’s safe to proceed with hairstyling tools after spraying heat protector.

#7: Going to sleep with wet hair

Heading to bed in the evening with slightly damp hair is kind of excusable. Dripping wet hair is a big no-no. Aside from forming a pillowcase puddle which is uncomfortable to sleep on, it damages the hair follicles and breakage or hair loss ensues. If you’ve washed your hair at bedtime, use a hairdryer to reduce the wetness by at least 70% before you go to the land of nod.

Hair damage is a topic that crops up time and time again on our blog, whether the damage stems from negligent hairdressing or at your own hands. For extra reading on this subject, check out our ‘6 reasons to sue your hairdresser’, ‘What does over-processed hair look like?’, ‘Recovery for ravaged hair’ and ‘How to care for damaged hair’ blogs as a starting point.

As experts in claims against hairdressers, we know what happens if your hairdresser is inattentive or careless. If you need to contact our Hairdressing Claims legal team about suing your hairdresser, please email, call 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phone 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or complete our enquiry form.

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The ‘why’ and ‘how’ of patch testing

Your questions on patch testing answered

Anyone who’s ever read our blog will know it’s important to undergo patch testing before you dye your hair. But just ‘why’ is it so important and ‘how’ do you go about it?

Beginning with the ‘why’ of patch testing…

Permanent and semi-permanent hair dye contains chemicals, namely paraphenylenediamine (PPD) or toluene-2, 5-diamine sulphate (PTD). These chemicals enable the colour process to take place. While hair dye manufacturers try to formulate products using ingredients that are kind to hair and limit damage, chemicals are still present and abnormal reactions can happen.

There’s no one single reaction to hair dye chemicals. The allergy response can range from the fairly minor – contact dermatitis – to the extremely major – anaphylactic shock. Mild symptoms require you to wash your hair thoroughly whereas severe symptoms demand a call to 999 for an ambulance.

To avoid a reaction to hair dye, always carry out a patch test 48 hours before your dyeing treatment. Post-Covid, the National Hair & Beauty Federation has altered its guidelines regarding patch testing every twelve months by reducing its recommendation to every six months, as individuals have been reporting a greater number of allergic reactions. Our ‘Adverse reaction to hair dye by Covid-19 survivors’ and ‘Tighter guidance insisting on more regular patch testing’ blogs cover this subject in depth.

The advice from Hairdressing Claims, as specialists in claims against hairdressers who see hair treatment injuries all the time, is to request patch testing before every dyeing appointment.

Moving on to the ‘how’ of patch testing…

Here’s how to go about performing a patch test:

  • If having your hair dyed by your hairdresser, enquire upfront about pre-appointment tests. You’ll need to visit your salon to have dye applied to a section of skin behind your ear.
  • If dyeing your own hair, use a cotton bud to apply a little amount of colour mixture to the same place, behind your ear.
  • In both instances, leave on for 48 hours before washing off. Should you experience any signs of an allergic reaction, wash off immediately and don’t proceed with the full dye job. All being well, you shouldn’t even notice the patch test sample is there, and this ‘normal’ reaction means you’re clear to go ahead.

For at-home box dyes, the instructions will provide further guidance about patch testing. For professional dyes, always choose a reputable hairdresser (not a bad salon!) who will ask for a patch test ahead of your appointment.

Having already clarified above what to do if things go wrong, we’ll end by adding that you may also need to instruct a legal hair damage compensation expert. Our team is on hand and happy to help.

To contact us, email, call 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phone 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or complete our online enquiry form.

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