It seems so basic — washing our hair.
We follow our standard shampoo-conditioner protocol without giving it a second thought. Then, when we notice issues with the health and appearance of our hair, we search for styling/smoothing products to temporarily “treat” the issue we see (dryness, breakage, dullness).
But, what if the root of the problem was how we were washing our hair in the first place? Intrigued? Keep reading!
Water Fatigue and Hair Damage:
I’ve been reviewing science and studies about a theory called “water fatigue.” The concept is that wet hair is weak hair. This is how it works – when your hair absorbs water, the inside core of the hair strand swells, pushing open the protective hair cuticle. This weakens your hair strands, leaving them vulnerable to breakage (from combing, wet brushing, hair towels, blow drying). The result? You see frizz, damage, tangles and dullness.
So, if wetting our hair in the first place is causing damage, what is the solution?
Innovation in Hair Care: Pre-Treat Your Hair Before it Gets Wet!
When I first heard about a new, disruptive product to pre-treat your hair before you even step foot into the shower, I was really excited to try it. I love the concept of protecting and strengthening your hair from the inside out.
The brand that took the lead on this innovation in hair care is AQUIS, which has long been one of my favorite hair care brands. (I have used their protective hair towels and turbans for years and years. More on that later). They created a pre-wash spray with coconut oil (which helps to lessen your hair’s water intake by up to 44%), strengthening amino acids like cysteine and keratin, and avocado oil (to hydrate and protect). You spray this product on your dry hair before you get into the bath or shower, in order to prime and protect your hair before you wash. To learn more about the AQUIS PRIME Water Defense PreWash and my experience as an early tester of this product, click here.
Why Juicy Bubbles and Lathering Aren’t Helping Your Hair
There’s more to this innovation in hair washing strategy. Now that we have addressed water fatigue, the next issue is our love for lathering. We all love to lather our hair. We feel like when we are really lathering our hair with all those juicy bubbles, we are thoroughly cleansing it. In fact, the more suds and bubbles, the more damage the shampoo is doing to your hair. The detergents that give you those foamy bubbles are the same detergents that are damaging the hair shaft. Detergent is actually an overachiever when it comes to cleansing your hair, stripping your hair and scalp of the healthy oils and natural protective barrier while irritating your scalp and prompting your skin to produce even more oil to compensate for its loss.
I always explain to my patients that we are obsessed with over-cleansing and over-exfoliating our skin to our detriment. We need gentle products that protect our skin’s natural barrier. The same concept applies when it comes to hair care. We want replace our harsh cleansers with gentle, clean products formulated to cleanse our hair without damaging the fragile cuticle — the outermost layer of the hair. When your hair cuticle is smooth and uniform, your hair looks shiny. When light reflects off of the smooth surface, your eye registers that reflection as shiny and healthy hair!
One product I’m loving in this space is the AQUIS Prime Rebalancing Hair Wash. This breakthrough four piece system doesn’t have any of those harsh detergents. Instead, it is extremely gentle and helps to balance your hair and scalp’s healthy pH. If that pH is off, you can experience hair breakage and damage. This wash is specifically formulated to help to maintain your hair’s healthy moisture (including natural oils) and to maintain the strength and integrity of your hair’s cuticle. I especially love that the AQUIS Prime hair care system is one of only 10 haircare brands to be certified clean by Sephora.
I also love the AQUIS PRIME Restorative Leave-In Conditioner. Made with avocado oil, aloe extract, strengthening amino acids and even a UV light absorbing agent to protect your hair from UV damage, this lightweight mist is hydrating and nourishing without any hint of grease. It’s especially key to note that you no longer need traditional conditioners which trap in water and only increase the risk of damage and breakage.
I featured this whole line of products on my Dr. Whitney’s Picks page because I love it and I use it myself. Everyone compliments my hair – it’s shiny, healthy, strong – and as a media expert, my hair is styled SO MUCH (think blow dryers, teasing, and curling irons!). I need to use only the best and most effective products to protect my hair’s health.
My Beloved Lightweight Hair Towels:
I am always talking about these AQUIS hair towels. I have used them for years. My daughter uses them – my entire family uses them. I have thick, heavy hair. I have very little personal time in between working as a dermatologist, appearing on national television as a media expert, and snuggling my 7 year old as much as she will let me (in addition to the other things we do as a family!).
From reading this post, you already know wet hair is fragile hair. So, it stands to reason that rubbing/friction with a regular towel frays your hair cuticle, which is already in a vulnerable state due to water fatigue. When you use a hair towel or turban like the ones by AQUIS, you are using a towel that’s specifically designed to dry your hair quickly and gently. You will see less frizz and damage. These towels use exclusive technology made from a proprietary fabric that wicks away water with zero friction. You can see the difference in the visual below!
AQUIS towels cut drying time by 50% and quickly bring hair from wet to damp (at the most critical point to protect your hair) so there’s less blow drying and less breakage. This allows you to preserve your heat adding tools just for styling purposes, which also helps to protect the health of your hair.
I know you will want to know more about this whole hair care system, so click right here to read my Dr. Whitney’s Picks page post about it. Your healthy, shiny, strong hair will thank you!