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Dyson scientists delve into the damage caused by lockdown DIY hairdressing

With lockdown leading to a spike in DIY hairdressing, our Dyson scientists delve into the details of the damage caused to hair as a result of do-it-yourself cuts.

6 August 2020

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for home hairdressing. As salons closed their doors and nations took to their homes in lockdown, search trends for ‘haircut’ and ‘home hair dye’ skyrocketed, while others adopted a more relaxed stance, embracing natural looks and styling less frequently. But what impact has the new normal in haircare had on hair health? We asked one of our Dyson Senior Category Development Scientists to share their insights.

Box Dyes

To recolour the hair, dyes cause chemical damage. The chemicals used to colour the hair tend to be harsh and aggressive. They force the cuticle cells apart by disrupting or removing the lipids that hold them together, making the hair strands rougher and less hydrophobic (less able to repel water). The disulphide bonds in the cortex are often broken, weakening the hair and in turn amplifying the damage caused by styling.

Less Heat

Extreme heat changes the shape of keratin strands within hair. At over 150∘C the ⍺-keratin slowly converts to β-keratin which, over time, makes hair weaker, less elastic and easier to damage by other factors. By reducing the frequency of the hair’s exposure to extreme heat, the hair is not subjected to this regular source of extreme heat damage, in turn helping to improve overall hair health. This effect can also occur by improving the quality of your styling tools. Dyson Personal Care machines feature Intelligent Heat Control together with a range of heat settings. This ensures the temperature can be tailored for the user’s hair type and desired style, whilst the Intelligent Heat Control technology maintains consistent heat output.

Home Hair Cuts

Regular haircuts are an effective way to prevent split ends, which occur when the cortex layer is severely damaged. Splits form more readily if the cuticle is damaged as the cortex no longer has a protective sleeve holding it together. Cutting with the right scissors, steering clear of the kitchen scissors is important to ensure a clean cut. The wrong scissors could result in crushing, snapping and damaging the end of the hair, a form of mechanical damage, which may promote split ends, rather than prevent them.

Lockdown Life

Lockdown has seen people spend more time than ever indoors, often living in temperature-controlled space and exposing hair to damage sources such as air-conditioning or central heating. Air conditioning can draw moisture from the air, in turn removing moisture from items or subject in the vicinity. This is also true of centrally heated environments, where the heat can reduce the humidity in the air which in turn can draw moisture from the hair. Removing too much water from the hair will cause it to instantly start reabsorbing water to reach the correct level, impacting style retention and reducing style longevity. ​

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Yvette Yeo