Why didn’t anyone ever tell us that hair care is so much more than the lather, rinse, repeat on all the shampoo bottles? The truth is, you’re probably making a whole bunch of mistakes that are making your journey to sleek and shiny locks oh so much harder. 

We decided it was time to go to the experts for a bit of advice. We spoke to Cam Craig (aka ColourxCam), independent Brisbane hair stylist and colourist extraordinaire (seriously, he’s magic) on all the little things that might be tripping us up on the way to our hair goals. 

A man with blond tipped curly hair and tattoos stands in front of a wall of hair dye products
Hair legend aka Cam aka ColourxCam.

1. You’re overusing heat tools 

Cam says that one of the biggest mistakes he sees is people overdoing it when it comes to heat styling tools. “I can always tell when someone has heat damaged hair, instantly!” he says. Damaged hair tends to be more split, not just at the ends but all the way up the shaft of the hair. “It’s also concentrated around the front,” he says, “Because that’s what people see in the mirror so that’s the part they focus on when styling.”

Cam suggests that if you want to take better care of your hair, you should limit how often they full-on style their hair—and always use a heat protectant spray. “Most people do it almost daily, so I would try to limit heat styling to once or twice a week. Plus using a key protection product.

A brunette woman holds a hairdryer pointing at her head, with her hair being blown in front of her face
Back away from the heat tools… without a protecting spray.

Heat protectant sprays are not just a gimmick, they really work. I love the Milkshake Thermal Protection Spray because it’s an aerosol so you can let you hair dry naturally OR you can use this and blow dry it and either way it’s saving your hair. It doesn’t make your hair all wet, just a light mist and you’re protected.”

2. You’re not protecting your hair from UV damage

If your hair doesn’t fare well during summer, it’s probably being affected by UV rays. “Skin and hair are made from the same thing,” Cam says. “They’re both keratin so if the sun is damaging your skin it could also be damaging your hair.” He says there are products out there that have UV protection built into them, and can also help your hair stay hydrated and protected from chlorine or saltwater too. “Just putting a little mask in your hair to create a barrier between your hair and those elements makes all the difference,” he says. Find a mask you can pop on over dry hair, use a tiny bit and pop it on your ponytail lengths to create that barrier between your hair and the elements.”

3. You’re washing your hair too soon after colouring

“The number one thing I see in post-colour mistakes is people washing their hair too soon,” Cam says. “We always say try to wait 48 hours between your salon visit and washing your hair for the first time, 24 hours if you must!”

Apparently it takes time for the cuticle of the hair to settle back down so the colour is truly sealed in, and if you wash that hair too soon, you’re going to lose 50 to 70 per cent of your colour right away. 

4. You’re using poor quality hair care products

A white woman's hand is outstretched to the camera, and is filled with shampoo bubbles.
No it’s not a marketing gimmick: ingredients in hair care products matter.

Salon-quality haircare or bust, according to Cam. “Salon haircare has so much research and development put into it. You’ll find much nicer quality ingredients than in the supermarket brands.” Salon-quality cleansers, for example, contain much gentler surfactants (cleaners) and a much higher concentration of active ingredients.

And while supermarket brands sometimes do have these ingredients, they have them at a much lower concentration than the salon-quality products so they’ll likely be less effective. Mix that with some of the harsher chemicals found in the supercheap brands and you’re getting nasty products that can damage the hair and cause build up. 

5. You’re getting your hair trimmed frequently to “help it grow”

“I have always said if you want to grow it, don’t cut it!” Cam says. “Gone are the days when you need to trim your hair every six weeks to get it to grow. We know better now,” He says a trim every few months is more than enough to keep hair healthy while you’re growing it out. “That way, you can stay on top of trimming split ends, staying on top of dryness and keeping some shape in your hair.” Each time you go in, you don’t need to go overboard either—if you want to grow your hair you just need what Cam calls “a little dust off”: not losing any weight from the hair, ditching the split ends, making sure the hair is still nicely shaped. 

6. You’re putting conditioner on wrong

Did you know that you’re not meant to put conditioner on from root to tip? “Putting conditioner on your roots will just cause a lot of heaviness,” Cam explains. “You’ll feel really oily really quickly.” you want to go from your mid lengths to your ends—or basically your ponytail part. The length of time you leave in your hair depends on the product but three to five minutes as a general rule. 

7. Blondies—you’re overdoing it with the purple shampoo

A blonde woman with wavy hair is seen putting her hands in her hair from behind as she stands on a beach.
Sure purple shampoo can tone down brassiness but too much can make your hair dull.

“People often think these ‘blonde shampoos’ will brighten blonde hair, which isn’t the case,” Cam explains. “The violet pigment in purple shampoo is designed to neutralise yellow tones that can occur in the hair, but using them too often can result in staining of the hair and actually make your blonde look dull and darker than it actually is!”

8. You’re washing your hair in water that is too hot 

Now we’re not saying have ice cold showers here at all, but when washing your hair turn the temperature down a little. “Hot water can completely strip the hair and scalp of beneficial natural oils resulting in dry hair and dry scalp,” Cam says. It will also cause accelerated colour fading, so if you colour your hair, be extra wary of piping hot water! 

9. You’re ignoring your scalp

Repeat after me: Don’t forget your scalp! Hairdressers everywhere are begging you! “It is commonly said in our industry that a healthy scalp equals healthy hair. If you have any scalp issues such as dandruff or excessive oil production, don’t be embarrassed; address it with your hair stylist (we’ve seen everything). We can prescribe you with the necessary hair care that will solve the problem and restore the balance to the scalp.”

ColourxCam, Studio 11, 2 Habour Road, Hamilton, Brisbane, Queensland. p. 0406 705 606.

Elizabeth Best

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