Hair Colouring

How I Treat My Damaged Hair After I Assault It With Chemicals

Redken’s Acid Bonding line has really impressed me as well. It was recommended by my stylist as an alternative to the at-home line from Olaplex, which in my opinion, didn’t do much for me in terms of damage repair. (The in-salon products do work for me, and if the stuff you can use at home works for you, great! But I have rather thick, coarse hair, so I need something a bit stronger). When I use the whole Redken she-bang — the Acid Bonding Concentrate shampoo and conditioner, followed by the Acidic Perfecting Leave-In Styling Treatment — my hair feels smooth and solid afterward (as opposed to rubbery and elastic, which is always a bad sign ).

Citric acid is the line’s main active ingredient to balance the pH of hair and keep the cuticle acidic, which is meant to be helpful. Since I’m not a scientific genius, I asked cosmetic chemist Ginger King to explain why that is. “When it comes to hair products, in general, as a treatment, you want to keep it between pH 4.0 – 5.5,” she says. “Because damaged hair is more porous, [bonding] closes the cuticles, [which can be done] via the use of Olaplex’s amino-based polymers or Redken’s low pH.”

Dry Your Hair Responsibly, Too

Wet hair must be babyed so air-drying is ideal, of course. But also the towel you use to dry with can help (never rub, always blot and squeeze hair gently when towel-drying). I love Aquis’s Rapid Dry Hair Wrap for its super absorbent material and easy-to-wrap-and-secure shape. I don’t know about you, but trying to keep my hair wrapped in a regular bath towel is like trying to keep cats in a bag — they always wriggle free. This towel is a total keeper: I can easily do my skin-care routine or just sit on my sofa in my towel as I dissociate to TikToks, my freshly-washed hair safely nested on my dome.

Sometimes air-drying is just not the move, though. I can’t always wait six-plus hours for my hair to fully air-dry before I leave the house. Very porous hair like mine hordes moisture so it takes me hours to air-dry. Hours! Because I’m an extremely fancy person with very unimpressive muscle tone in my arms, I use Dyson’s Supersonic Hair Dryer. That air is hot and fast, and the dryer is blessedly lightweight enough that my arms don’t feel like spaghetti by the end of my blowout. It has a temperature control feature that keeps the heat steady, so I don’t unintentionally fry my hair. I usually air-dry halfway and then blow-dry on a medium-to-low heat setting to finish the job. Because I believe in science, heat protectants are absolutely necessary when blow-drying or using curling or flat irons. King informed me that the best time to apply them is a few minutes just before heat-styling.

I do notice that when I blow-dry or heat-style my hair after using Redken’s Acid Bonding line, it looks and feels smoother than it does when I don’t use them. The leave-in treatment is technically also a heat protectant, but because I’m extra, I will absolutely double up on heat protectant pre-styling, with Joico’s Dream Blowout Thermal Protection Creme.