Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Caring For Your Hair Can Achieve Better Looking Hair Extensions

by Melissa L. White
Licensed Hair Stylist

Everyone knows that proper skin care is essential for maintaining youthful skin. We've learned over the years of the importance in proper cleansing, and the use of quality products that nourish and maintain healthy skin, and most women place great importance on keeping their face fresh and youthful. Many women, however, do not realize the importance of proper hair care, and that your scalp ages just like the rest of your body!

As the scalp ages, it loses tone and elasticity just like your face! Cell production steadily declines and your hair weakens. I learned a lot about hair in cosmetology school. We were all taught that the hair follicle is made up of the hair bulb, the sheath and the hair shaft. The hair shaft is made up of the medulla, cortex and cuticle. Blood vessels supply the follicle with much of its nutrients. Hair strands for most women grow about a half inch per month. At any given time, approximately 10-15% of your hair has reached a "resting" phase, after which the hair falls out and is replaced with new hair. The average person sheds 50-100 hairs each day. In usual circumstances, the cycle continually repeats itself. However, when stress, disease, hormones, nutritional deficiencies, medications or even aging itself occurs, the cycle can be disrupted.  When I worked for a plastic surgeon and became certified in Laser Hair Removal. I really learned a lot more about hair because we were trying to eliminate it! 

Without getting too technical and boring, there are three phases healthy hair continuously go through. Simply put, the first phase (anagen phase) is where the matrix cells in the root divide rapidly, forms the cells of the hair sheath, shaft and cuticle, and actively produces keratin - the "essential" of healthy hair. The hair grows about a half inch every month, and stays in this active phase between 2-6 years, depending upon your genetics. Your hair then goes into a short transition stage called catagen phase which signals the end of the active growth stage. It can last 2-3 weeks before going into the third and final stage (telogen phase), which is the resting phase. This lasts a few months for scalp hair, longer for body hair. It is the phase where you shed your hair, as it has completed it's entire growth cycle.

Because your hair has such a long first phase, and because of all the harsh treatments we tend to subject our hair to when styling it, it is essential that it receives proper nourishment. When hair does not, you may notice thinning, dryness, dandruff, acne and other scalp conditions. As stylist at Extensions of Yourself, a San Antonio Salon which specializes in hair extensions, I routinely work with women who have thinning or damaged hair, or who have medical conditions which subject them to loss of hair or thinning hair. While many women choose hair extensions simply because they want fuller hair, longer hair, or a better hair style,  I frequently use extensions as a way of instantly transforming thinning or damaged hair, and helping women feel better about themselves.

You don't need "perfect" hair to start with, as you can work toward improving your own hair as you wear your hair extensions. I consult with each of my client's about the health of their hair and the types of products they can begin using to improve their own natural hair. Each client has their own specific needs, but there are a wide range of quality products I use to help achieve healthy hair. Healthy, well-nourished hair only compliments beautiful hair extensions even more!

Melissa White is owner of Extensions of Yourself, a San Antonio based salon specializing in hair extensions. As hair extension artist, Melissa sees women of all ages for quality hair extensions.