It is summer and many of us are enjoying an easier laid-back approach to our beauty regime as we head back to work. Especially those of us working from home, are getting to enjoy the lack of stress every morning presented by our previous battles with our hair and indulge in the precious extra time to embrace the finer things in life.
Reneé Potgieter, hair health activist and colour alchemist, is on a mission to change the way beauty is perceived. She knows as an expert for over 25 years, that a less is more approach to our hair is what leads to healthy, beautiful locks and that the summer season gives us the perfect opportunity to bring out our natural hair’s beauty.
Here are Reneé’s top tips to enhance your beautiful locks this summer, with no extra work…
Embrace no heat styling
No heat styling is specifically the absence of artificial direct heat on the hair. For anybody that wants to restore health, vitality, and strength to their hair it is an absolute must. The no-heat method works because your hair consists in part of hydrogen bonds and artificial heat manipulates the hair thereby controlling its shape.
These temporary hydrogen bonds are radically responsive to moisture. So, while your hair may look fabulous just after styling, the moment steam, water or sweat hits, your killer styling disappears in seconds. These temporary bonds are responsible for controlling the temporary texture of your hair. However, if you manipulate them consistently with styling, long-term damage occurs to these bonds and your hair suffers a sort of “memory loss”.
Constantly manipulating hair texture, like making your curls straight with frequent blow-drying and straightening, means that these bonds will eventually “forget” their true natural form and essentially, your hair goes into crisis turning into a mess. The only way to prevent this is to work with your hair structure instead of against it. Enhancement and nourishment, in place of relentless manipulation, will bring out the best in your hair structure.
Of course, this does not mean that you’ll magically wake up with perfect hair. Some mornings will be a little rougher than others, but with water no longer being the enemy, just a drop of it with a chemically light styling aid and a kiss from a hairdryer here and there, and your hair will begin to work with you instead of against you. Although no intense styling can happen while sleeping, it’s a great time to leave a nourishing treatment in your hair because nourished and healthy hair is cooperative.
Use natural styling products
Have you ever noticed how great your hair looks after a day at the beach? There are two reasons for this. One is that there are no mirrors for you to consistently critique yourself in, so you are forced to embrace your hair and its reaction to the elements.
Two, the salt in seawater acts as a filler to help smooth out the microscopic ridges on the cuticle layer of your hair shaft that creates hair irritation, thereby acting as a styling aid. Broadly, a Styling Aid is a product that helps control irritation by smoothing the cuticle layer when we leave our hair to dry naturally.
Despite popular belief, damage is the main contributor when it comes to creating unmanageable hair structure. Any hair that is in bad condition will suffer from fizziness and in our attempt to help it, we often use styling aids that do more damage than good. When it comes to the gazillion styling aid products out there, remember that less is more and all of them will become redundant once your hair is in a healthy condition.
Quality styling aids are important in the beginning as they are formulated to not coat the hair with silicones or other heavy ingredients that do more damage than good. With any natural products, such as salt sprays, it is important to read the ingredients to ensure that they are of high quality and truly cleaner. Reneé says that some of the worst build-ups on hair she has seen have come from traditional cosmetic companies that have ventured into hair products. To avoid this, ensure your products are free from parabens, alcohol, and any other nasty chemicals you can’t pronounce.
Reduce and naturalize your colour
Every time you colour your hair, you expose it to harsh pigments and chemicals no matter how gentle the product. The more chemical exposure to the entire length of your hair shaft, the more compromised the entire cuticle layer will become and the worse the state of your hair will be.
A less is more approach to colouring means being open to blending techniques such as balayage which is a technique for highlighting hair, that creates a graduated effect for asymmetrical, natural-looking results. The regrowth from this technique is far less stark and will allow you to extend the period between your colouring sessions.
Being smart about your colour choices also goes a long way. The variance between your natural colour and the chosen colour should be as minimal as possible. For the softest regrowth, the gap between your colour and the altered colour shouldn’t be more than two shades. The bigger the gap the more obvious your regrowth will be, ultimately forcing you into colouring more often and therefore compromising condition.
Feed your hair
Elasticity and porosity are the building blocks of naturally good hair structure, so it is important to care for these building blocks by nourishing your hair. Natural nourishing treatments, with botanical oils, come in all sorts of forms such as masks and conditioners. This process doesn’t need to be another laborious thing to add to your day and can be applied overnight with your hair loosely tied up.
Thankfully, natural oils are making a comeback, taking a note of inspiration from numerous ancient traditions. Once again, make sure you use top-grade pure oils such as jojoba, for moisture, and almond, for a strengthening protein boost. These natural oils are so pure they become solid when you put them in the fridge which is a great indicator of quality.
The summer season is a time where we become more mindful of all the things we are blessed with, so sit back, relax and let your natural beauty shine through. You already have the hair of your dreams, you simply need to let it down.