Ceramides In Hair: Cuticle Cement For Damaged Hair From Chemical Treatments
With the myriad of hair treatment options ranging from color, highlights, low lights, perms, relaxers, chemical straighteners, thermal reconditioning and Brazilian treatments it's hard to find a head of hair that hasn't sustained some form of damage.
Naturally Wavy, Curly, Kinky and Coiled Tresses More Susceptible To Damage
Some hair types, textures and lengths are more prone to sustaining damage than other hair types. Those more prone to damage including naturally wavy, curly, kinky and coiled tresses which genetically do not have a cuticle that ever completely closes.
These texture types are also even more prone to damage when subjected to hair coloring, relaxing, straightening or similar types of treatments.
Long hair can also be more damage prone by the nature of its length and how old the ends of super long hair are.
Damage To My Own Hair
My own hair, which I treat like antique lace, sustained damage more than five years ago when my then hairdresser was running late for my highlight appointment and slapped some color on top of my twenty years of highlights.
Yes, my scalp burned for three days while I waited for my hairstylist to return my frantic phone and email messages (she never called back). My healthy and beautiful gold strands turned red, orange and had purple stripes.
Thanks to the emergency help from hair color guru Barbara Lhotan and celeb hairstylist Robert Hallowell, they were able to talk me through an at-home emergency hair color recovery. After getting the red, orange and purple removed my hair returned to it's original golden blonde but with some sections that had been slightly damaged.
Although a lot of the damage has been cut off from the ends, there are still microscopic spots near the ends where the damage still exists after all this time.
Even though I was paying close attention to what my hairstylist was doing, she still managed to apply a product I was not aware she was using and it was the culprit of my resulting hair damage. If someone like me who lives, breathes, sleep, dreams and thinks about hair non-stop, imagine the risks the average hair consumer faces?
Enter commercial hair products with ceramides designed to help hair recover from a wide range of damages.
What Are Ceramides?
The short answer is that ceramides are hair cuticle cement. These lipids play a key role in keeping the hair's scales in place.
The long answer is that ceramides, are intercellular lipids which make up a portion of the hair cuticle (approximately 3% of the hair's total composition), along with sterols (lipid, fatty composition).
Wheat germ is a naturally occuring form of ceramide, which is why some hair consumers with chemically treated strands utilize wheat germ oil for deep and leave-in treatments.
Damaged Hair Contains No Ceramides
Hair which has been damaged from chemical treatments (color, relaxing, straightening, Brazilians) or at-home excessive heat styling (hot irons, blow dryers, hot rollers, etc.,) generally contain little if any ceramides.
Studies have shown that hair, even before it is altered with hair coloring has lost ceramides as a result of the environment (sun, wind, environmental toxins) or other stress triggers.
Ceramide deprived hair will have poor elasticity, high porosity and be prone to brittleness, excessive dryness, breakage, snagging and ripping. Damaged hair without cermides will also not hold curl or waves easily.
Generally speaking damaged hair examined under a microscope in a laboratory setting will generally show a complete absence of ceramides.
Discovering the link between damaged hair and absence of ceramides, hair care companies like L'Oreal researched the advantages of embedding off of their hair care products with ceramides to repair damage and restore hair to its pre-damage condition.
L'Oreal Was Pioneer In Working With Ceramides
L'Oreal discovered when studying hair before and after chemical hair coloring services that all the ceramides were lost during the hair coloring process.
As a result, L'Oreal started added ceramides to their fabulous professional hair color lines as far back as 2007. Majirel, Majilift, Majicontrast, Majiblonde, Richesse, HiRichesse and Richesse HiChroma all contained ceramides.
Ten Years Of Dedicated Research
Once L'Oreal scientists discovered the importance of ceramides for reversing hair damage they spent many years developing and producing (biomimetics) a synthetic ceramide which was identical to natural ceramides. The L'Oreal ceramide product was named Ceramide R with the R meaning Research.
Ceramide R Attaches Between Damaged Cuticles
The synthetic Ceramide R developed by L'Oreal works by providing reinforcements to the damaged cuticles.
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Regardless of the chemical or other heat styling you subject your tresses to, ceramides is your hair's best friend for repairing damage. Unlike protein treatments which repair the top layer of the cuticle, ceramide infused products will repair deep into the cuticle.
Although L'Oreal has embedded ceramides into many of their professional and consumer products, other hair and beauty companies have delivered ceramide or similar damage busting products to the market.
While professional hair color products like L'Oreal's color lines often contain ceramides, some consumers color lines are following L'Oreal's path.
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