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Good Hair Days: A Case of Good Chemistry

        Health | Straightening Treatments

Protecting Your Hair

Of course, it would be best to avoid damaging your hair in the first place. Experts have a few tips to offer on how to keep your hair from looking like the result of a failed chemistry experiment. First, they caution, do everything in moderation. Don't test the limits of your hair's ability to form and reform chemical bonds by subjecting it to repeated perming, coloring, or straightening over a short time.

Second, don't begin any treatment until you have thought it over and know for sure what look you want to achieve. If you impulsively decide to put a poodle perm in your stick-straight hair or bleach your raven locks to platinum blond, it will be weeks or months before you can change your look again without seriously damaging your hair.

Third, follow all instructions on hair-care products to the letter. And before starting any time-sensitive chemical process, such as coloring or a perm, do a dry run—go through the whole process in your mind and set out all the items you will need.

Lastly, if you end up creating a hair disaster, see a hair-care professional. Don't try to fix the problem yourself with home remedies or other chemical products. A professional may be able to salvage your hair, provide you with products to repair the damage, or at least cut your hair so that it looks reasonably attractive while you wait for your mangled tresses to grow out.

And here's one final tip: Consider being content with the hair you were born with, be it kinky or straight, dishwater blond or carrot red. You'll save a lot of energy—both chemical and personal—if you develop a sense of style that emphasizes your hair's natural beauty rather than an artificial look that requires you to constantly beat your hair into submission.