If you have ever bleached your hair, you know the damage it causes to your strands. Or worse, you might know the pain of when bleaching your strands goes too far - the chemical cut! In this month's newsletter, we tackle what happens when you bleach your hair and how to avoid significant damage so you can live your best blonde or rainbow coloured unicorn hair day.WHAT IS YOUR NATURAL HAIR COLOUR?
Hair gets its colour from melanin, a pigment found within the hair strands and is produced by melanocytes. Hair has two types of pigments: eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Eumelanin has two types: brown eumelanin and black eumelanin and like the names indicate, is largely responsible for brown and black pigments.
Pheomelanin, on the other hand, is most responsible for red and yellow pigments. The ratios of these types of melanin determine the wide range of hair colours.
The more brown eumelanin and black eumelanin present in the hair, the darker the hair strands will appear, and the less brown eumelanin and black eumelanin in the hair, the lighter the hair strands will appear. The absence of melanin causes hair to appear white/grey.HOW DOES BLEACH LIGHTEN HAIR COLOUR?
When you bleach your hair, the melanin in the hair shaft is broken down – or to put it scientifically, the bleach oxidizes the melanin, causing the melanin to lose its colour and makes the hair appear its natural colour – a pale yellow.
“… bleach oxidizes the melanin,causing the melanin to lose itscolour and makes the hair appearits natural colour – a pale yellow.”
FUN FACT: The bleach you use to lighten your hair IS NOT the same bleach used to disinfect your bathroom.
To bleach your hair, the bleach is added to hydrogen peroxide and mixed together. When applied to hair, this alkaline mixture changes the pH of the hair and causes the cuticle layers to lift up and open up, which allows the lightener to pass under the cuticle and into the cortex.
Once the bleach reaches inside the cortex, it oxidizes the hair’s melanin and the oxidized molecule is colourless. The brown and black pigments are first dissolved followed by the red and yellow pigments; the yellow pigments react the least with bleach. The pale yellow colour bleached hair has is due to this and also because the natural colour of keratin, the protein that comprises hair, has a yellow tint.
The bleach will continue to lighten hair until it is removed from hair. This is why a professional should bleach your hair, as they will know when the right shade has been reached. A professional will also take into account the texture of the hair and its health to know how long to process hair.
Bleach can also destroy the cuticles and cortex which can lead to dry, brittle, rough, straw-like hair. Dry, brittle hair due to over bleaching is referred to as “oxidative” or “bleaching” damage (Wolfram, 1970). Porosity and elasticity of the strands can also be affected if hair is over processed (Hesserfort, 2008). Hair that is overly porous will be hard to hold any style, which is why you may notice your hair is flat and limp and has no body. Overly porous hair will not be able to retain moisture.
OK, SO YOU BLEACHED YOUR HAIR AND IT’S DAMAGED. WHAT DO YOU DO? HOW CAN YOU REPAIR IT?
- BE GENTLE
Bleached hair is fragile and most of the bonds that were lost during the bleaching process are no longer remade. This leads to the deterioration of the cuticles and cortex, which is vital to the inner structure of the hair.
During the first week after bleaching, it is best not to shampoo. Use a conditioner to clean hair instead - as conditioners have some cleansing properties. You’re probably not adding a lot of product to your hair at this point so a deep shampoo is not necessary.
“Use a gentle low lathering sulfate-free shampoothe first week after bleaching.”
After the first week, you can introduce shampoo back into your life. Use a gentle low lathering, sulfate-free shampoo the first week after bleaching. Make sure your shampoo does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate; these are powerful degreasers and are just too harsh for over processed hair.
The shampoo we love is NIUCOCO’s Hydrating Shampoo. It’s free of sulfates, its low lathering, and it cleanses hair without stripping your natural sebum – needed for healthy scalp and strands.
Be gentle when you shampoo and don’t rough towel dry. The added strain on the hair can lead to further damage.
- NO HEAT STYLING
Sorry, but it’s just a must to stay away from heat styling tools. Heat styling can remove added moisture from the hair strands. At this point, your straw-like hair wants to keep all the moisture it can in the strands. Although not recommended, if you have to heat style, make sure to use a thermal protectant like NIUCOCO’s Renewing Serum.
- COCONUT OIL TREATMENTS ARE A MUST
Hair is associated with fatty acids and several integral hair proteins (Lee, 2011; Wertz, 1988). Bleaching doesn’t just break down melanin and the cuticle structure, but also the fatty acids within the hair and other integral hair proteins – causing that straw-like feeling.
To add fatty acids back into the strands, use coconut oil treatments. Coconut oil is one of the only oils that has been scientifically proven to penetrate strands, thereby nourishing parched, damaged hair. Only use extra virgin, cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil as it maximizes the coconut oil’s benefits and ensures that the naturally occurring phytonutrients are intact; it contains a superior lauric acid content, the main fatty acid that comprises coconut oil, than other types of coconut oil.
Directions: For an intense treatment, liberally coat strands with coconut oil. Wear a shower cap and let the goodness in the coconut oil penetrate strands overnight. The next morning, shampoo with a gentle shampoo and follow with a conditioner. Repeat oil treatments on a weekly basis until hair is back to healthy.
Implement the coconut oil treatment starting from the second week after bleaching. Start with 2 times per week for the first week and then 1 time per week afterward.
- ADD SOME OIL TO HAIR DURING THE DAY TO KEEP IT MOISTURIZED
During the day, add a pea-sized amount of coconut oil to your hair to give it some extra nutrients or apply a small amount of leave-in conditioner to hair.
- USE A DEEP CONDITIONER
We recommend this DIY deep conditioner that will give results that will amaze you.
- ½ cup coconut oil (extra virgin, cold pressed, unrefined)
- ¼ cup kaolin
- Optional: a few drops of essential oil for a spa-like experience!
Directions: Mix together to form a slurry. Slather onto hair strands liberally and cover with a shower cap. Let sit for 30-60 minutes. Shampoo with a gentle shampoo and follow with conditioner.
We know what the coconut oil in this recipe does for hair (see tip #3). The other main ingredient, kaolin, is a clay that is high in silica, which helps to strengthen hair and add moisture. It is the gentlest of clays so it won’t remove moisture from the hair.
Apply this mask to your hair twice a week for optimal results.
YOUR HAIR FEELS LIKE STRAW.
WE HAVE A 4-WEEK REPAIR REGIMEN THAT WILL HELP.
Author: Yasmine Ishmael
- Hessefort Y, Holland BT, Cloud RW. True porosity measurement of hair: a new way to study hair damage mechanisms. J Cosmet Sci. 2008 Jul-Aug;59(4):303-15.
- Lee WS. Integral hair lipid in human hair follicle. J Dermatol Sci. 2011 Dec;64(3):153-8.
- Wertz, PW & Downing, DT. Integral lipids of human hair. Lipids. 1988 Sep;23: 878.
- Wolfram LJ, Hall K, Hui I. The Mechanism of Hair Bleaching. J. Soc. Cosmet. Chem. 1970 Dec;21: 875-900.
More and more consumers today are living lifestyles focused on health and wellness. This should go beyond just food and diet and be incorporated into choices for beauty and hair care products. 1 out of every 3 Americans suffers from an allergy or intolerance that is in our everyday beauty routine. As a result, beauty brands have researched ingredients so that consumers can make healthier choices when choosing a cosmetic brand and its products.
With the growing demand for transparency regarding the ingredients in the hair care products we use every day, information is now readily accessible via digital technologies and social media. Consumers can research products and individual ingredients with a simple click.
Reputable groups, such as Think Dirty and EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, have emerged to help consumers define the toxicity of cosmetic products and highlight potential hazards and health concerns. Their scientists compare ingredients to published journal articles and government regulations to provide the consumer with an easy to understand toxicity rating for a cosmetic product.
We have done our homework and compiled the 9 most toxic ingredients you want to avoid that you can find in your everyday hair care.
1: Synthetic fragrances are a common addition to cosmetic products, including hair care and body care products, since they add a pleasant scent to the products.Synthetic fragrances are also cost effective and minimal amounts are required to give the product a strong and long-lasting scent.
Why should you avoid synthetic fragrances (even the ones that smell really good):
Government regulations require companies to provide an ingredient declaration for each product. However, since fragrances are considered trade-secret formulas they are not required to list each component of the fragrance on the ingredient label. So many cosmetic products containing synthetic fragrances also likely contain phthalates.
2: Phthalates are a common industrial chemical used in synthetic fragrances to stabilize the fragrance. They are also found in PVC plastics and are often referred to as plasticizers.
The science behind avoiding this ingredient:
Phthalates have several potential health effects and have been linked to asthma, allergies, and problems of the reproductive system, such as decreased sperm motility.
FUN FACT: There are alternatives to using fragrances containing phthalates that your hair and body will thank you for: natural fragrances! NIUCOCO’sfragrance is composed of natural, organic coconut aromatics and is phthalate free.
3: Parabens are a widely used inexpensive preservative and have been used in cosmetic products since the 1920s.They are primarily used to extend the shelf life of the products and protect the products from fungal and bacterial contamination.
The truth about parabens is scary:
Many studies have linked parabens to the disruption of reproductive hormones (since parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen). The push to remove parabens from cosmetic products came when a study showed the presence of parabens in 19 of 20 breast cancer tumors.
4: In the cosmetic world, sulfates are designated to anionic surfactants and specifically to sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium laureth sulfate.These four detergents are powerful degreasers and are typically used at very high concentrations in shampoos due to their cleansing and foaming capacity.
Why sulfates are to be avoided:
Sulfates can be too harsh on the hair and scalp and can strip away your hair’s natural oils causing dryness and skin irritation. As hair is stripped of its natural oils it becomes vulnerable to breakage. To avoid this, most people apply a heavier amount of conditioner to replace the natural oils they just stripped out. It’s a vicious and expensive wash, rinse, and repeat the cycle.
5: Formaldehyde and formaldehyde donors (urea and DMDM Hydantoin) are used as a preservative in cosmetic products such as hair straightening systems, hair serums, shampoos, and an endless list of other hair care products.
Here’s the dirty secret:
You may experience watery eyes, skin irritation, coughing, and nausea with this ingredient. It is also a known animal carcinogen. They are no studies linking cancer to humans, but it is best to avoid it all together.
6: PEG (Polyethylene glycol) is a petroleum compound typically used as a humectant or stabilizer in cosmetic products. PEGs have a penetration enhancing effect; this helps the other ingredients in the products to easily penetrate the skin.
Why is this bad, you ask?
PEG allows the ingredients in the products to easily penetrate the skin but also allows the potential impurities PEG carries from petroleum to also easily penetrate the skin.
7: Synthetic colours are typically derived from petroleum or coal tar and are suspected to be a human carcinogen. Yuck! The words “coal tar” requires no further need to explain why you should avoid this.
8: Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), and Triethanolamine (TEA) are known to form cancer-causing chemicals and are commonly used as foaming agents in shampoos, bubble baths, and body washes.
9: Mineral oil is a derivative of crude oil (petroleum). It is inexpensive, can be found in many hair care products, and is most popularly used in baby oil. (Yup! You read that correctly!)
Mineral Oil = Bad News:
This is not a sustainable oil in the long run. And, since it is derived from crude oil, it can be contaminated with carcinogenic materials.
NIUCOCO and our team of health conscience scientists avoided these dangerous ingredients that have been part of hair care for so long. Scientists in the industry have developed alternatives to phthalates, parabens, and sulfates due to the demand from consumers for safer, non-toxic ingredients. There are more health conscious choices on the market for cleansers, preservatives, and fragrances. Additionally, an increasing amount of ingredients derived from natural and sustainable sources have emerged.
NIUCOCO only produces non- toxic products that focus on performance but also have a low environmental impact. Everyone deserves great hair.
Beauty Independent asked NIUCOCO's founder, James La, about the difficulties of breaking into retail spaces.
You can read James' tips to getting your brand into retail stores here.
Beauty Independent asked NIUCOCO's founder, James La, about the difficulties of breaking into international markets as a North American beauty brand.
You can read James' 3 tips to keep in mind when branching out your brand here.
Coconut oil can help reduce hair damage (protein loss) by up to 39%, helping to stop your hair from falling out.
One particular study, performed by Rele and Mohile, highlights coconut oil’s ability to prevent protein loss in hair by reducing the amount of water absorbed during saturation.
This study utilized four hair types, three of which were of Indian origin (straight, wavy, and curly), and one of which was untreated and provided by a producer of human hair wigs (DeMeo).
Each hair type underwent eight separate treatments prior to testing, and all eight treatment types were performed with the help of twenty-five tresses of each hair type.
The treatments included (a) undamaged control; (b) undamaged/coconut oil; (c) bleached; (d) coconut oil/bleached; (e) bleached/coconut oil; (f) boiling water; (g) coconut oil/boiling water; and (h) boiling water/coconut oil.
After treatment, the tresses were washed with a 20% solution of sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and evaluated for a number of qualities, including protein loss caused by wet combing.
The results, both for undamaged and bleached or boiled hair were similar, in that every instance of coconut oil used as a prewash lessened the amount of protein loss experienced by the hair.
You can read more about the studies conducted and 3 big reasons to use coconut oil in your hair care routine, here.
Beauty Independent asked NIUCOCO's founder, James La, about the difficulties of navigating online traffic and driving real customers to your brand online.
You can read James' advice on search engine optimization (SEO) here.
Divine.ca has put together a list of their favorite hair oils that not only nourish, but also give you those holiday vibes.
"The serum of the brand is soft and silky, and leaves our hair shiny with barely a drop of serum. Heat it by rubbing your hands together, and apply on the lengths and the ends, on dry hair. You’ll be hooked too!"
Read more and see their complete list here.
Boca Life says your locks deserve some attention this year! They picked NIUCOCO for the job.
"Improve your hair by using a hydrating shampoo made with natural ingredients for a boost of volume and shine. Don’t forget to use a mask once a week to penetrate deep into the hair follicle for added moisture."
You can read all of Boca Life's reccomendations here.
Do you have curly hair that is dry, fine, and thin? This read is for you!
"I have weird hair: it’s curly and dry, but it’s also fine. This means that using products traditionally formulated for curly or dry hair can easily weigh my locks down, sucking the volume out of them. It’s been a struggle for me to find styling products that help me smooth out my tresses and fight frizz without being too heavy.
Although I loved the shampoo and conditioner, I am NEVER letting go of the Renewing Hair Serum."
Read more about this curly girl's take on NIUCOCO's products here.
Master hair stylist Andrianna Napoletano discusses her love for NIUCOCO's Renewing Hair Serum. Why does she recommend it to her clients? Because it’s a natural product that works wonders. She applies just a few drops before heat styling when using straightening irons, curling irons, blow dryers.
"After traveling extensively this past summer, I was horrified to see the current state of my tresses: dull, lackluster, and as dry as the Sahara, which I blame on all the hours stuck up in the dehydrating, stuffy cabin air. So when the entire line of NIUCOCO came across my desk in all its natural and toxin-free glory, I was eager to give it a go. Made from all natural, cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil, this Canadian haircare line is free from sulphates, gluten, parabens, and phthalates. A big bonus, the brand is also cruelty-free and supports fair trade- win-win for your hair and your heart!"
Read more about the Green Queen's review of NIUCOCO's Hair Care line here.
NIUCOCO's Trio made the top of the list! Check out their fabulous beauty selection that will help you get your glow on before kickoff.
See more of their beauty picks here.
"Their Hydrating Shampoo and Smoothing Conditioner are perfectly suited to the needs of color-treated, chemically treated, dry, damaged, coarse, curly, fine, fragile and naturally straight textures."
You can read more about their thoughts on NIUCOCO here.
Yasmine Ishmael, Chief Scientist of NIUCOCO, was asked by Reader's Digest how to solve common mistakes people make when washing their hair.
"Shampoo from the top down. Most people apply shampoo to the roots and lather, and then apply additional shampoo to the rest of the hair. Instead, apply shampoo to the scalp and massage into a lather. Work the product down the hair to the ends without applying additional shampoo. Hair tends to be dirtiest on the roots and drier on the ends, so this is a good way to treat dry ends."
You can read more on how to avoid common washing mistakes here.
Forget Everything You Know About Washing Your Hair!
"NIUCOCO is another up and coming line who focuses on the power of natural ingredients. The star in their products is a unique form of cold-pressed coconut oil so their products are super moisturizing and smell delicious."
See the full list here.
Suka and Spice
"I want to smell sexy, not sickly", I told my sister one night, as I mourned the fact that my Moroccan Oil had gone the way of so many other hair products--the trash. The issue however, is that many of the cleaner products I was picking up, didn't have the loveliest of scents. Enter @niucoco Renewing Hair Serum. The name first caught my eye, as Niu is quite literally "coconut", in Tongan. I love most things coconut, and when they sent this over, I was pleased to find that it included not only coconut oil, but guava extract and quinoa protein. It doesn't hurt that it smells fresh and light. Not overperfumed or synthetic in the least. Just a handful of drops, is perfect for applying in damp hair--but I also found that adding a generous amount to dry hair, an hour before washing, is also a conditioning treat. I have a lot of hair, though each individual strand is fine...I don't find that this weighs it down, and that's something to be grateful for. In fact, I'll show you a picture this week, as evidence. But for now, baby has a checkup, and this hair is in a permabun. Do you use a hair serum that smells as delicious as this? Tell me about it!
#niucoco #beautywithoutbunnies #leapingbunnies #hairserum #coconutoil #greenhairproducts #guava #coconut #quinoaprotein #greenbeauty #greenmama #greenmumma #greenbeautyblogger #beautyblogger #bblogger #haircare #nontoxichaircare #niu #sexyhair #hairtreatment #sukaandspice
To choose the best coconut oil for your hair, read the ingredients. You’re looking for something 100% natural and PURE—oil purity is the key to unlocking its full benefits. Keep in mind, companies will purposely decrease the size of font used for their product’s ingredient lists!
One of my favourite lines so far is by NIUCOCO because they only use cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil, an ingredient I’ve yet to find on any other label. Their products are also free of artificial fragrances and phthalates—they’re entirely chemical-free and they work well.
"I am very pleased with this product. First off, this product is created with extra virgin COCONUT oil to help achieve softer and shinier hair. After just a week of use, my hair seemed to be softer, less frizzy, and more hydrated. I use 5~6 drops on the bottom half of my hair, and that is more than enough. I start at the tip of my hair and work my way up so that the top is not as oily. Remember, a little goes a long way with this product. Also, the smell is amazing. If you like the smell of coconut and vanilla extract, you'll love this."
"This product costs $50 for a 50mL bottle. I know that sounds expensive, but this product is definitely worth getting. Your hair will thank you later. Furthermore, I've used this product everyday for 2~3 weeks and it barely budged from the top. The $50 you spend now is going to last you months -- maybe even a over a year or so. Seriously."
Photo: Helen Yang
Caroline Elie, Editor's pick:
Because everyone knows about the benefits of coconut oil, we couldn’t keep our new favourite product a secret any longer. NIUCOCO products are really big right now in the beauty isle, and for good reasons! Its extra virgin coconut oil based products are great for the hair -a mix of vitamins A,C and E an a boost of hydration and nutrients- and for the planet. In fact, the brand is vegan and does not use artificial fragrances and parabens. We are particularly loving the serum for hair that takes care of our split ends and hydrates our mane. And what to say about its fragrance… Coconut oil hasn’t ceased to impress us.
I used the three piece collection in the recommended sequence, Hydrating Shampoo, Smoothing Conditioner and the Renewing Hair Serum. I can’t even explain how amazing and luxurious my hair felt and looked after I used all three products…I wish you can touch & feel the softness. My hair felt like a horses mane, and was so easy to brush. I applied the renewing serum which is recommended to use after you have heat styled your hair..but..I also tried adding a few drops in my damp hair and my hair absolutely loved it!
After using Niucoco for about a week, I can see the shine and healthiness in my hair. I’m so due for a root touch up..and you know that feeling of limp and lifeless locks, but I didn’t even notice as my hair looked so voluminous and shiny! I can even go a day without shampooing as there’s no build up…and that never happens…like never! I’m in love..
Photo: Paula Khan
Comments from a blogger about NIUCOCO on Instagram
In case you English readers want a translation, it means:
I'm totally hooked on this new line of hair treatment!
Photo: Catherine from Pearls and Caramel