When a Man Admits to Damaged Hair
I started noticing signs of damaged hair as my hair length began to reach my lower chest. I’d been growing it out four and a half years, starting from a classic men’s high & tight fade.
To this point I’d gotten a few minor trims, never more than an inch, about once every six months. This time it had been over nine months, and I was clearly due for some hair care.
Today I can freely admit: I had damaged hair. Here I’ve documented my visit to the salon.
How Do You Recognize Damaged Hair?
There were several reasons for my visit to the salon—more symptoms really. Things had been pretty smooth over time, but I started having issues.
First off it was getting more and more tangled. Having super straight hair, I could usually remove the tangles without much trouble. A little argan oil hair serum, a few passes with a wide-tooth comb and I was dialed. With good moisture balance and a solid brushing regimen, I was living the golden life.
But over the previous few months it became increasingly difficult to get the tangles out. I had to spend more and more time with the comb, even using hair serum, even after conditioning, and sometimes it was such a rat’s nest I couldn’t untangle it.
On closer examination, I could see the hair below the last two or three inches was super kinked and roughed up, with split ends going off in every direction and all sorts of mess.
It felt rough and dry, like I couldn’t get enough moisture. My locks were tired, busted and frazzled...and I needed help.
Why Am I Suffering?
It was time to figure out what was going on, so I went to a salon I really trust with my hair, House of Imago. Building their brand as the most educated salon in San Diego, the owner and hair professionals are highly knowledgeable.
I learned some things about my hair.
While I do have straight hair on the outside, the hair underneath, surrounding the occipital bone, positioned around the back and lower part of the skull, tends to be more wavy, a little matted, even wooly.
Over time, as that hair gets longer and more wavy, it gets tangled up with the straight hair. It starts growing in different directions, creating opposing textures that tangle and mat, with the wavy texture almost acting like velcro.
More Hair, More Damage
Furthermore, as my hair got longer, there was more hair to get tangled. It started blowing in the wind, brushing against my back and became generally more exposed to the environment.
Combined with frequent exercise, getting my hair sweaty, salt water, chlorine and just lots of activity, my hair was taking damage...and it was showing.
Mitigating Damaged Hair With Keratin
After providing this analysis, my hair pro suggested a keratin treatment.
Keratin is a protein that makes up the structure of your hair. A keratin treatment is where a keratin-based formula is applied to your hair then sealed in with heat, restoring the protein while strengthening and smoothing your mane. It’s like putting a cast around your hair, training it to go straight again and eliminating frizz.
A Deep Cleansing Shampoo...Ahhh
She started with a clarifying or deep cleansing shampoo. This went far beyond a typical shampoo, both in terms of the product (designed to thoroughly cleanse), and the time spent (two rigorous applications).
The purpose here was to get my hair completely stripped of everything, so that when she applied the keratin it would bond to the hair without any other substances getting in the mix.
A Keratin Treatment for a Guy's Damaged Hair
After a quick towel try she applied the keratin. It looks like a dollop of white gel, which she used a small tint brush to apply, almost like a paint brush. Holding the hair at length she applied it one strip or subsection at a time.
In my case she focused keratin more on the area around the occipital bone, the tips, and the lower half of my hair lengths.
Toward the ends she applied more product but used less heat. That older, more exposed hair is highly porous and accepting of the keratin, while also more susceptible to heat damage. Closer to the skull she used less product but more heat, with that hair being less porous but more resilient.
With the keratin applied to my hair we had to let it fully set for about 30 minutes. Fortunately I was able to make good use of my time with a whisky drink next door.
The Flat Iron
After 30 minutes of letting it set, she used a flat iron to heat the keratin, bonding it with my hair.
Cutting The Damage
With the keratin treatment complete we moved on to the cut.
We’d been so busy shampooing and keratinizing and learning about hair, I must have forgotten this part was actually going to happen. Once the scissors came out shit got real. There was marked trepidation, but I trusted my hair pro.
She focused on the most damaged hair at the very ends, that when combed straight down appeared virtually translucent. Using a ‘carving’ technique, she cut at a diagonal, upward angle, creating a little texture and removing split ends while preserving a rugged finish.
After all was done, she took off about one inch of this guy’s damaged hair, no more, before the shears were safely tucked back into a drawer. And I could live with that.
...were profound. Like two feet of cascading luscious gold. The tangles were completely gone, my hair was super smooth, the split ends were systematically eliminated and my locks their entirety were shockingly soft. I was back in the golden era.
There were a few details to mind following the whole treatment. For one thing I was forbidden to get my hair wet for three days: no swimming, no sweating, no soaking. I was also to avoid tying it up, wearing hats or any rough treatment as much as possible.
Following this period I was instructed to take extra measures to moisturize. While keratin is great for your hair, it slows the absorption of moisture, allowing it to dry out faster. For extra moisture I use The Longhairs hair serum and condition in between washes.
Is keratin treatment right for you? If you have hair like mine and you’re having similar problems, it might be. It can also be a fantastic option for curly hair, you can see how TIA fared in his guest post Keratin Treatments for Men.
The trim and keratin treatment experience was excellent. As a man with long hair, having not been exposed to salons and professional hair care for most of life, the experience was comfortable, entertaining and educational, and the results were terrific.
This is why we suggest visiting a trusted salon for men’s damaged hair, and one that emphasizes hair education. If you’re in San Diego, we always recommend House of Imago and Style Lounge Salon. Tell them The Longhairs sent you, and to be kindly with your mane.
For more tips on what to say at the salon, visit Confidently Navigate Your Visit To The Salon.
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