Before we roll out of bed each morning, we can pretty much tell whether we're going to have a bad hair day. We've blamed the humidity, bad dye jobs or genetics (sorry, Mom and Dad!) for our frizzy strands and lackluster locks, but scientists are now trying to convince us that the fault may lie within our water pipes.
A study led by Proctor and Gamble published in the June 2013 issue of International Journal of Cosmetic Science concluded that copper in the water we use to shower and shampoo may be causing damage to our hair. Lead investigator Dr. Jennifer Marsh and her colleagues investigated the hair of over 300 individuals from nine countries, and they found that they had varying levels of copper in their strands. Some participants exhibited 500 atoms of copper for every million molecules in their hair, but the average was between 20 and 200 atoms per million, reports The Telegraph.
"Copper is not present in large amounts but it is important as it is catalytically active," explained Dr. Marsh. "The copper comes in from the tap water and the hair acts like a sponge picking it up over time." As a result, our hair cuticles weaken and this can lead to split ends, flyaways and dullness. The study also claims that these issues are more harmful for those with colored-treated hair.
While we're sure beauty giant P&G will use their research to create a collection of Pantene haircare products that will reverse the effects of copper, there are five things you can do now to prevent and fix the problem.
- Shampoo less frequently. Not only is this better for the environment and reducing your chances of fading hair color, but you can easily freshen up your locks in between washes with dry shampoo.
- Invest in a water filter. Many bathroom pipes are made of copper or trickle in the harsh mineral via hot water tanks. A filter helps to keep it from passing through your water system.
- Seal your strands with oil. Using olive or coconut oils as a pre-wash treatment is an effective way to restore hydration to dry, damaged hair.
- Suds up with a clarifying shampoo. When the damage is already done, you can restore your locks to a healthier state by using a clarifying shampoo like Suave Naturals Daily Clarifying Shampoo to remove copper build-up.
- Whip up a DIY rinse. An apple cider vinegar rinse is a homemade option to treat hair that's been exposed to copper. We also recommend doing a deep conditioning treatment once a week for added moisture.
Do you think this study on the effects of copper is all hype or helpful?
Well, at least we're not the only ones with bad hair days:
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