The Science Behind All Your Hair Problems

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The Science Behind All Your Hair Problems

Your hair isn’t going to grow, get over it.

Scrolling Pinterest almost daily, I see scam after scam of pills, products and DIY treatments promising results for faster hair growth. I click on every single pin that offers this in hopes that I will stumble upon at least one honest and educated post, but alas, I had to write my own…

So here’s the deal: The average person will grow ¼” to ½” of hair every month. This is the average growth per month, which means that out of the hundreds of people scientists studied in a controlled environment, this is what the middle number was. So once again, to all women out there who are obsessed with growing out their hair and are desperate to try anything, it’s possible that your genetics are the reason your hair only grows 1/8” a month, and an easy fix isn’t available on Pinterest.

Let’s start with the very basics: You have skin on your scalp that harbors tiny little pockets called hair follicles. The inside of each follicle contains a papilla, or hair matrix, which is where excess cells collect from your body to produce the start of a hair strand. The papilla is fed by surrounding capillaries and blood vessels, and if the blood vessel is active (see below), it will stimulate growth, with the help of a connected sebaceous (or oil) gland. This oil gland is what produces a welcoming (oily) environment for your hair to grow, and it is also what will make your hair look like a grease ball after so long without washing it.

So where are these cells coming from that magically turn into hair? Our hair is made up of 51% carbon, in the amino acid form of keratin, a hardened protein product, 21% oxygen, 17% nitrogen, 6% halogen and 5% sulfur (this is why burning hair stinks so much). Your hair is essentially a bi-product of excess proteins from your body. So logically, if you are lacking sufficient protein in your diet, your hair will slow in growth rate, but we will get in to that a little later.

 The average person has about 100,000 hair follicles on their scalp, with normal shedding of 50-100 hairs per day. Once again, this is average. Some people have can have 50,000 hair follicles, and if your half middle eastern like I am, you could have 500,000 hair follicles on your scalp and still be perfectly normal according to science.

There are three phases in a hair follicles life, and all of your hair follicles are on different time zones when it comes to what stage they are at and when. There is the ANAGEN phase, which is when your hair follicle is getting good blood supply through the blood vessels at the base of the follicle (this is why your follicle can bleed if you wax, tweeze or pull out hair anywhere on your body) so the actual mass of your hair is being produced, which is when your hair is “growing”. The ANAGEN phase lasts and average of 2-3 years, but can last as long as possible until the blood supply diminishes (this is why some people can grow hair down to their feet and others can’t). About 90% of the hairs on your scalp will be in the ANAGEN phase, although once again this is average. The ANAGEN phase also decreases duration as hormones increase or decrease, so puberty can make your hair grow like crazy, while menopause will reduce the length you are able grow your hair to at all.

So let’s put this together so far; if your hair grows about ½” a month, and it has a 3 year growing cycle, how long will your hair grow before it caps out?

.5*12*3=18   that’s it! 18” This being said, the average person won’t grow hair below their shoulder blades, and it has nothing to do with anything but genetics.

The second phase is the CATAGEN phase. In beauty school they nicknamed this the “cat-nap” phase, because your hair is essentially resting, and your blood supply is dormant. 10-14% of your hair is in this phase at any given time, although on average it only lasts 1-3 weeks. 

The last phase is the TELOGEN phase, which is when your hair follicle ejects the strand as blood supply rates increase within the follicle, and a new hair starts to grow. This phase can last an average of 3 months while your cat-napping strand inches its way out of the follicle until there isn’t anything skin wall holding it in. This is when your hair sheds, and it accounts for 1-2% of all the hair on your scalp at once.
People who suffer from hair loss typically are dealing with a dead blood vessel, and once it’s dead, it usually won’t come back without seeking professional treatment or solving the underlying condition that is causing it.

On top of all this science-y mumbo jumbo, there are 3 different hair types on the human body:
1. Lanugo, which is the super-fine hair that covers all the places on your body that aren’t covered in visible hair, with the exception of your palms and soles of your feet
2. Vellus hair, which is similar to lanugo, but darker, as the follicles are just big enough to produce melanocytes, which is what gives your hair color. This is also the type of hair that babies have until they reach the average age of 2-4.
3. Terminal hair, which is what is on your head, eyebrows, eyelashes and nether regions.

So that being said, there is some truths to what I see on Pinterest, but only to some degree:

PIN: Coconut oil treatments on your scalp will make it grow faster
Reality: Coconut oil’s molecule is much bigger than the oil molecule produced in your follicle, so it’s incredibly hard for your scalp (or hair) to absorb it entirely. If you rub it on your scalp and hair, you will only get the same effect that you could get rubbing a really moisturizing lotion on your hair and scalp; it will be greasy, but theoretically it can help your ANAGEN hairs have a more welcoming environment while they are producing. However, you could get the same effect that would be much more natural to your body if you stopped washing your hair so much and let the natural oils do what they’re supposed to do.

PIN: Prenatal vitamins will make your hair grow faster/thicker/longer
Reality: Like explained briefly above, your hair is essentially an amino acid bi-product of your body, so a balanced diet will send excess amino acids that your body isn’t using to your papilla to be digested. If your body isn’t getting enough nutrients through your diet, your body will retain as much of those amino acids as it can, causing your hair growth to slow (similar to how your body retains water when you are dehydrated, but when you’re hydrated enough your body has to expel the excess). If you have a complete diet, and you are taking vitamins on top of it, it is possible that the excess nutrients will become digested, and if you’re taking the right ones (amino acids are in the b-vitamin category, proteins, as well as some minerals), they could speed up hair growth; but they won’t increase the length of your hair, or amount of follicles (thickness) you have- this is purely dependent upon your genetics and your hormone levels. I often see people with poor diets taking prenatal vitamins without seeing any results in their hair growth, and this is because the nutrient gaps in their regular diets are being filled by the prenatal vitamins, so there is ultimately no excess to be digested.

PIN: Putting homemade concoctions on your scalp will make hair grow faster/thicker/longer
Reality: Like I just spent an hour typing out to explain to you, your hair grows from the INSIDE OUT, so putting something topical on your scalp (with the exception of doctor-prescribed treatments) won’t do anything, besides potentially benefiting the skin around your hair follicles (but not washing your hair so much will yield much better results than this). You have to eat the avocado mask, not saturate your scalp with it! 

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You're Doing it Wrong: Hair Edition

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You're Doing it Wrong: Hair Edition

Putting anything topical on your hair (non-medical), will not make your hair grow any faster, longer or thicker than it would if you didn’t. There are some realities and some possible advantages of D.I.Y. treatments though, and I’m here to tell you what’s what.

To understand how these treatments work, we first need to take a look at our scalp:
Your scalp is covered in hundreds of thousands of hair follicles, and surrounding these hair follicles are sebaceous (oil) glands that help protect the follicles, as well as the skin around it from things like infection, parasites, etc. Your hair and scalp are their own eco system, providing the best conditions for your hair to grow. Both the skin on your scalp and your hair have a potential hydrogen (or PH) level of 4.5-5.5, which means that hair is a bit more acidic in nature than neutral (7.0). When you wash your hair, you are putting a cleansing agent (shampoo) on your hair and scalp with either a higher or lower PH than 4.5-5.5, which makes it able to strip away the natural oils from your scalp, and also loosen any sort of dirt or debris from your strands. Have you ever noticed that while you’re rinsing the shampoo out of your hair your hair feels squeaky-clean? This is because the PH balance has been altered. Conditioner, contrary to what most people believe, is actually not used for moisture purposes, but to correct the PH back to the normal 4.5-5.5. This is why you should use a corresponding conditioner to your shampoo’s PH level to ensure proper balance.
Every time you wash your hair, it resets your scalp’s eco system, causing your body to over compensate for the lost natural oils with excess production. This is why the more you wash your hair, the greasier it gets between washes- your scalp is anticipating that cleansing, and preparing to compensate.

All that being said, here is a simple answer for all of the D.I.Y. hair treatments out there:

1. Apple cider vinegar, onion juice, banana, yogurt, avocado, beer (and many more) hair masks/rinses
Have you ever heard your grandmother use the term “Acid Rinse”? Back in the day, this is what they referred to conditioner as, which as I explained above, is kind of a more accurate name anyways. Your hair has a PH of 4.5-5.5, so if you rinse it with apple cider vinegar or beer (both are acidic, scoring around 4-6 on the PH scale), it can help your hair and scalp return to a normal PH after doing something that caused an alkaline swing, like swimming or over washing. But conditioner does the same thing- and your hair won’t smell like India Pale Ale when you’re done. The same can be said for onion juice and yogurt- they’re simply acidic in nature.

2. Avocado/banana/oil-type moisture masks may be acidic in nature, but they aren’t providing your hair with any sort of vitamins or minerals… Hair grows from the inside out! However, avocado oil, which can be found in the mashed-up pulp that you are putting on your hair, may have some benefits to your strands; the molecular size of avocado oil is similar to the natural sebaceous oil secreted on to your scalp, which is small enough to penetrate into your hair strand, and can provide a fatty acid layer that essentially moisturizes your hair like putting absorbent lotion on your skin will. The same can NOT be said for any large-molecule oil, like olive, coconut, grapeseed, etc. Those oils will sit on top of your hair strand, coating your strand instead of absorbing into it, and attracting dirt and other debris that stick to it*. Small molecule oils are found in most professional hair care products- Argan and almond oils good for moisturizing your strands and won’t cause a greasy build up, so realistically, there is no reason for you to put that fruit mask on your head.

*Large molecule oils can be good for people with ethnic hair, and here’s why:
Large molecule oils can act like an anti-humectant, which means the prevent water from penetrating past them, much like how if you pour water into a glass of oil, the oil will rise to the top (also because it’s less dense than water), and form a layer that is keeping the water underneath it. Anti-humectants can be beneficial for people with ethnic hair, as ethnic hair expands nearly twice as much as non-ethnic hair when exposed to humidity. Ethnic hair is coarser, and often more textured than non-ethnic hair, so adding a coating of slick oil can also make it more manageable to style. That being said, it shouldn’t be applied to wet hair, as it will probably never dry all the way for the same reason- it traps water inside the hair strand. Many professional ethnic hair styling products contain large molecule oils like olive, and if they work, they work… However, other types of anti-humectants are added into ethnic hair (as well as non-ethnic hair) products to do the same thing (think anti-humidity hairspray), and won’t be as oily. The bottom line is that if you have ethnic hair, (not you folks with the Latin/Middle Eastern/Asian/Islander hair, I mean black hair- a fro, or some really spongy, nappy hair) choosing products with large molecule oils can be your friend.

Please don’t put food on your scalp; use a good shampoo and conditioner, wash sparingly, and exercise the blood vessels on your scalp and keep your strands clean by brushing twice a day. If your hair feels dry, use a small molecule oil on the mid-strands/ends of your hair to provide a little help, but if your scalp is dry, check the P.H. level of your shampoo and conditioner, and be patient young padawan.

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Excitement is in the Air!

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Excitement is in the Air!

We're back and more excited than ever about all of the good things happening within the salon!

 

You may have noticed that we've been under the radar for a little while. Well, not anymore! We will be posting to our blog regularly for all of those who want to follow along. We have so much good information to share, it is time to take our place in the spotlight! For starters, we had our very own certified Deva stylist, Ryan McCormick, and our salon manager and stylist, Kristin Dunlop, share information and give some curly hair tips on Fox13 The Place! (Video Link Below) We are also putting together an exquisite photoshoot so that all of you can see where our stylists truly shine! A lot of people think that we only do curly hair, but in fact we are a FULL SERVICE salon! Each member of our team here at Curl Co does fantastic work that we feel like has not been depicted in the past. Our stylists specialize in blowouts, special occasion styles, and even makeup application and education! In addition, if you have been to the salon before, you may have noticed the cafe next door. We have now opened up the divider between our salon and Café Niche so that our clients can enjoy their delicious appetizers and drinks throughout their visit with us! 

 

Stay tuned for pictures of the photo shoot, and more exciting news from Curl Co! 

 

http://fox13now.com/2017/02/16/finally-a-salon-that-specializes-in-curly-hair/

 

If you have any blog suggestions/questions/topics that you would like to see posted, please comment and let us know! 

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To Shampoo or Not to Shampoo: Shakespeare Never Asked

William Shakespeare's Hamlet has long been one of the most popular plays written by the celebrated bard. In one particular scene, Prince Hamlet opens with a soliloquy in which he utters the famous words, “to be or not to be, that is the question”. As a very popular hair salon in Salt Lake City, we want to offer a similar phrase: to shampoo or not to shampoo, that is our question.

It has long been known that shampoos and conditioners can have a devastating effect on hair when used too frequently. This is especially true with synthetic products that do not tend to treat hair very nicely. But even products marketed as being 'all natural' can still be harmful to hair. One of the questions we frequently hear from clients is one of how often they should shampoo.

In the generation of our mothers and grandmothers, women were more likely to shampoo only once a week or even once a month. They would wear a bathing cap in the shower to protect their hair from the daily cleaning ritual. They would also visit the salon once a week for a little bit of touch-up. Though we may view going so long without shampooing as a bit eccentric or even unhealthy, it turns out that the hair worn by our mothers and grandmothers was actually quite healthy.

Your Hair Needs Oil

It is amazing when you stop and consider how well the human body naturally cares for itself if we just leave it alone. Hair is no exception. Every person's hair requires an ample supply of natural oils to keep it healthy and looking good. And guess what? The body produces those oils by itself. The problem with shampoo and conditioner is that they interrupt the balance of oils that nature has already worked out to perfection.

Shampoo washes out the oil every time it is applied. We then use conditioner to try to make up for it, but conditioner inhibits the natural oils we have washed out from being replaced. Daily shampooing and conditioning creates an unnatural cycle that can result in weak, brittle hair with no shine and significantly less color.

So the question becomes, “how often should I shampoo and condition?” There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the dilemma. However, we can say that going several weeks between washes is not going to hurt anything. It may not help your particular style, but failing to wash your hair every single day will certainly not harm it.

In 2012, Huffington Post contributor and multimedia editor Amber Genuske wrote an article detailing her experience of going five weeks without a shampoo while visiting Kosovo. Much to her surprise, Genuske noticed upon her return to the U.S. that her hair was healthier and more shiny. She repeated the experience in subsequent travels and discovered that not washing her hair every single day improved its appearance and feel. She now shampoos only once a week under normal conditions, sometimes twice a week if necessary.

Genuske's experience is not unique. There are still some ladies today who will only shampoo on a monthly basis. We see them from time. It has been our experience that the weekly shampoo is more normal among those ladies who choose not to wash hair every day. In either case, we can see the results ourselves.

Curl Co. is a well-known and leading hair salon in Salt Lake City. One of our stylists would be more than happy to consult with you about shampooing and conditioning when you come in to see us. Do not be afraid to ask.

Sources:

1.      Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amber-genuske/hair-without-shampoo-not-shampooing_b_1569273.html

 

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Amazing Facts about Hair You Might Not Know

Curl Co. is one of the more popular hair salons in Salt Lake City. As such, we know a lot about hair thanks to all of the customers we see on a regular basis. However, even our experts do not know everything there is to know about the flowing manes we have the privilege of making beautiful. Suffice it to say there is a lot to learn if the goal is to make your hair always look as beautiful as possible.

We did some research and put together a few amazing facts about hair you might not know. It turns out that hair is pretty amazing. It just goes to show that the average head of hair is a lot more complex than many of us understand. With that said, let us get to those facts.

Hair Is the Second Fastest Growing Tissue

Your body is made up of dozens of different kinds of tissue recognized by medical experts. As it turns out, the only type of tissue that grows faster than hair is bone marrow. So, just how fast does your hair grow? The average head of hair grows at a rate of between 4 and 6 inches per year. How quickly your hair grows depends on a number of factors, including:

  • hair density
  • hair thickness
  • ethnicity
  • diet and environmental conditions.

Interestingly enough, the speed at which hair grows does not differ substantially between men and women when the characteristics listed above are similar. Simply put, sex has very little to do with how fast hair grows.

You Could Lose Half Your Hair before Anyone Notices

The average human scalp has over 100,000 individual follicles, each one producing a strand of hair. That is a lot of follicles. Moreover, because there are so many, you have to lose more than half of your hair before anyone else really notices. People with thinning hair and bald patches are already on the downward slope of hair growth with more than half their hair already gone.

If you are curious about this fact, you can see it in action by going online and watching a video explaining how wigs are made. You will see that the wig maker who does things by hand inserts the strands of hair one at a time by using a needle to sew them into the artificial scalp. But you'll notice that the individual strands are not placed that closely together. The wig maker does not need to occupy every square millimeter of space on the scalp to create a full head of hair. The same applies to you. You could lose as much as 45% to 50% of your hair and no one would likely notice.

Both Men and Women Can Suffer from Pattern Hair Loss

We are all familiar with male pattern baldness. It can begin to affect men as early as their 20s; most men who will suffer from this sort of hair loss will do so before the completion of middle age. But guess what? Women can suffer from their own form of pattern baldness brought on by menopause. Changes in body chemicals can prevent follicles from growing new strands of hair in women, just as they do in men.

There is a lot more to learn about hair. We may publish a few more facts in the future, but for now, we want to invite you to visit us at Curl Co. If you have tried other hair salons in Salt Lake City with unfavorable results, try us instead. We believe you will be more than pleased.

Sources:

1.      Dermatology.org – http://www.dermatology.org/skincare/hair/hairfact.html

2.      Live Science – http://www.livescience.com/42868-how-fast-does-hair-grow.html

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Why Naturally Curly Hair Is Curly

You make an appointment at your favorite hair salon in Salt Lake City. Hopefully it is Curl Co. because we do great hair, but it could be any salon for the purposes of this discussion. In the days leading up to your appointment, you begin to think about doing something different. You want a new look; you want something fresh that speaks to your personality and helps to maintain your youthful appearance. In all this pondering and questioning, you ask yourself, “why is my naturally curly hair curly?” That is actually a very good question.

We can do many great things to make your hair look fantastic. We can take curly hair and make it straight; we can take straight hair and make it curly. Nevertheless, at the root of it all, literally, is nature. Naturally curly hair is curly because of biology. It really boils down to two things: DNA and follicle shape.

Beautiful curly cut by Kara Peterson!

DNA's Effect on Hair

The most powerful influence on nearly every part of the human body is DNA. As you probably learned in 10th-grade biology class, DNA contains all of the coded information that tells the body how to build new cells for various types of tissue. DNA not only determines what kinds of cells will be built but also how those cells will be used.

Where your hair is concerned, science has discovered that DNA accounts for about 90% of what your hair looks like. It covers everything from color to thickness to the texture of each strand. DNA exerts its greatest influence in creating curly hair at the follicle level. How DNA forms the actual follicle structure determines how your hair grows.

Follicle Structure and Curly Hair

The hair follicle is where growth begins. Every hair follicle has a different shape, whether it is symmetrical or asymmetrical. Scientific research has determined that symmetrical follicles tend to produce straight hair while asymmetrical follicles tend to produce curly hair. Why? Because a symmetrical hair follicle will produce a symmetrical strand of hair that grows out with a relatively uniform shape. An asymmetrical follicle produces an asymmetrical hair strand. That hair strand does not grow with a uniform shape. Thus, it is prone to curling as it gets longer.

Interestingly enough, this explains why some cancer patients with straight hair find that their hair grows back curly after chemotherapy is finished. What they do not know is that the chemo drugs have temporarily altered the shape of their follicles, causing them to produce curly hair. Once the effects of the chemo wear off, many of these patients find their hair returns to its former straightness.

The Physics of Curly Hair

Science does play a role in whether or not your hair is naturally curly or straight. However, any hair salon in Salt Lake City, including Curl Co., can also use science to help you make the best of what nature has given you. We rely a lot on physics to do just that.

For example, physics dictates that even extremely curly hair is prone to straightening somewhat with length. As hair gets longer, it straightens under its own weight and the forces of gravity pulling down on it. The experienced hairdresser knows how to use physics to his or her advantage, making it possible to do just about anything with your hair.

Now that you know more about the nature of hair, we hope you will choose us for your next cut and styling. Curl Co. wants to be your one and only hair salon in Salt Lake City.

Sources:

1.      Popular Science – http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-11/fyi-what-maks-hair-curly

2.      TIME – http://time.com/7593/curly-hair-physics-explained/

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The Basics of Salon Booth Rental

At Curl Co., we are thrilled to have the opportunity to offer competitive hair salon booth rental in Salt Lake City. We believe booth rental is one of the best ways to offer independent hairstylists awesome opportunities in an environment that is fun, relaxing, and conducive to creativity. Booth rental is also a great way to manage your own hairstyling business without the overhead that comes with owning a salon.

If you are new to hairstyling and are considering exploring employment independence through booth rental, there are some basic things you should know. If you have any questions after reading this post, do not hesitate to contact us.

Renters Are Independent Business Owners

The most important thing to know about salon booth rental in Salt Lake City, or anywhere for that matter, is the fact that the renter is considered by law to be a business owner. If you were to rent a booth from Curl Co., we would not be your employer. That means we would not pay you directly, we would not withhold taxes, we would not provide medical insurance, and so on. This is critically important. Booth renters are small business owners responsible for handling their own financials.

Renters Set Their Own Hours

Booth rental is appealing to many stylists because it offers a high degree of freedom and flexibility. As a renter and small business owner, you are free to set your hours as you see fit. Work only when you want to, during the hours that are most suited to your lifestyle. Work in the evenings if you prefer to sleep in every day; if you are more of a morning person, schedule your appointments to begin as soon as our salon opens.

Renters Are Their Own Marketers

Booth rental at Curl Co. provides a few extra benefits including a receptionist to greet your clients, online booking with a bio on our website, and in-person booking through reception. However, as far as marketing goes, the rest is up to you. We do not specifically advertise on behalf of any of our renters, nor do we recommend one over another to any given client. Each of our self-employed stylists handles their marketing in whatever way they see fit. Remember this, though: the better you market yourself, the more business you will have.

Renters Need Insurance

Because Booth renters are self-employed business owners, they need to protect themselves by purchasing business liability insurance. A good liability insurance policy will protect you against any claims made by dissatisfied customers or other renters. You might also consider health insurance the same way any other business would. If you can afford it, disability insurance can offer you an extra measure of protection should you ever find yourself out of work after an injury or illness.

The Choice of Salon Is Important

There is an old adage in the retail world that says 'location is everything'. That is why you will see businesses competing heavily for prime space in a local shopping district. The same goes for salon booth rental in Salt Lake City. Some salons simply have a better reputation than others do. At Curl Co., we believe our reputation speaks for itself. We are one of the most popular salons in the city due to the incredible hairstylists serving our customers. Our reputation as a quality hair salon instantly adds to your reputation as a stylist.

Salon booth rental in Salt Lake City is highly competitive because we have many great options. We hope you will consider Curl Co. as your place to call home.

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Things are coming together

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Things are coming together

Things are getting really exciting as we get closer to our grand opening on February 6th! Signs are going up, partitions are getting installed, and things are really coming together.

We want to thank you all for your patience as we're working around the clock to create an amazing salon that we can all enjoy and be proud of. See you all soon!

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