Hot, polluted and humid: Bangkok is your hair’s worst nightmare. Add blowdryers, curling tongs and hot hair rollers to the equation and your hair’s going to need all the help it can get if it’s going to remain strong and healthy. Thankfully, an increasing range of protective products are now hitting the shelves – but you don’t necessarily have to spend up big to keep your hair looking beautiful.
Blowdryers, curling tongs and hot hair rollers are by far the most damaging to the hair. "The sun, after all, does not equal 220V of heat," says The Attitude’s hairstylist John Moy. "These items are directly damaging and ruining the hair at the technical level."
The way you use your heating implements can help minimise damage to an extent. For instance, when blow drying your hair, stop when it’s ninety per cent dry instead of fully drying it; and don’t hold curling tongs to your hair any longer than necessary.
But for complete protection, investing in a heat protection product is necessary – particularly for chemically treated hair, which is already damaged and easily susceptible to further damage. In general, such products work by coating the strands of your hair with a protective film, so the heat of your blow dryer or other heating implements won’t burn or dry out the hair shaft.
"Look for products that have a moisturiser, as these will be nourishing for your hair," said Mr Moy. "Really, they are all good. It comes down to what the client likes, and how much they want to spend. If you don’t want to spend anything at all, don’t colour or perm your hair in the first place, and don’t use heating tongs."
Hitting salon shelves worldwide this month is a new range of Sebastian haircare products called Laminates, which includes a Hair Spray Finishing Polish (Bt475, 250mL) with silicones to protect hair from heat damage. The Body Shop’s Palmshine range, launched earlier this year, includes a Conditioning Mask for normal hair (Bt470, 150mL), with contains shea butter, a jojoba oil derivative and conditioning agents to protect against heat damage.
Those with dry, damaged or colour-treated hair should instead try the Intense Conditioning Mask (Bt470, 150mL), with similar ingredients. Or, suitable for all hair types, there’s the Leave-In Conditioner (Bt320, 150mL) that features shea butter and a conditioning agent, again to protect against heat damage.
Many products now incorporate UV protective ingredients too. Tigi Protein Protective Spray (Bt390, 240mL), designed for hair that’s coarse or dull, protects it from UV rays plus heating products; The Body Shop’s No Hassle Detangling Spray (Bt320, 150mL) contains a heat-styling protection ingredient plus a sunscreen.
For those who don’t necessarily blowdry their hair, but spend plenty of time in the sun, there are specialised products too. Boots’ Tricologie haircare range includes a waterproof protective gel, Protect & Condition Swimming Gelle (Bt260, 150 ml), while L’Oreal’s Kerastase range includes a Solaire Huile Protective Spray (Bt450, 100mL).
But there’s good news for your wallet if it is just sun protection you’re after. "You can really use any moisturiser, or even Johnson’s Baby Oil – just a touch over the surface of your hair," said Mr Moy. "Specialised products are really just gimmicks."
Schai Coiffeur’s Schai adds that not everyone needs to use sun protection products. "It’s an extra. If your lifestyle means you face a lot of exposure to the sun, then these products will help keep your hair colour stable, and prevent your hair from drying out."
The condition of your hair should also help determine whether you use such products. "If your hair is not in good condition, or it’s coarse, protective sprays will be more effective. But if your hair’s in good condition, it doesn’t matter a lot."