Bad Effects of Hair Product Overload

by Rebecca Cioffi

Prior to the 1980s, hair products for styling were limited to hairspray and a greasy styling cream men used to hold their hair in place. Then came gel and mousse and wax and fixative and spray on color ... and the list goes on. Having so much choice is great, but many times using too much or too many products can be the wrong thing for your hair. While the hair on your head, except for the root, is technically dead, there are still ways it can be made to look better, feel better or shine more. And ways it can seem grungy, dry or gummy. Many times the bad effects are from overuse or build-up of hair products.

Too Much Alcohol

Just like drinking too much can cause your system to feel awful, too much alcohol in your hair products can make your hair dehydrated and dry. Used in products to make them dry faster, alcohol can cause your hair to lose much of its shine and strip color from the hair. Your best solution is to deep condition your hair and stay away from products containing alcohol for a few weeks. If you read product ingredients, you can find many products that don't have alcohol, even ones that do exactly what the ones with alcohol do.

Protein Overload

Protein is one of the basic building blocks of hair, called Keratin. Many conditioning products and some styling products add keratin and it can be truly beneficial to your hair. Up to a point. Too much and your hair can suddenly fall limp and lose body and shine. It's just literally too much of a good thing. Discontinue use of these products and wash and condition your hair using non-protein products. Your hair might even end up looking better than ever after a few washes when just the right amount of keratin is left.

Gummy is for Bears, Not Hair

Gel, mousse and styling spray can contain a list of ingredients longer than the words of the U.S. Constitution, but what each one does, only the creating chemist truly knows. But what you know is that too much of styling products can leave your hair feeling gummy. It just feels like it's coated with something that you can't shampoo away. You only have one option, which is to stop the use of ALL hair product for at least two weeks. Let your hair rest and repair it with deep conditioners. And rinse hair after conditioning with cool water to help slough off the goo. And when you return to using product, use less of them together. Pick one and use just the amount you need.

About the Author

Rebecca Cioffi worked in the entertainment industry for almost 20 years and is currently living in Phoenix, Ariz., where she is working on a book. She is also a phlebotomist.