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Hair Bonds 101

Published date 18 March 2024

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Everything You Need To Know About Hair Bonds

As professional hairstylists, understanding the science behind hair bonds is crucial for providing effective treatments and ensuring optimal health of your client's hair. This is because hair bonds play a significant role in maintaining the strength, elasticity, and overall structure of our hair strands. We'll delve into what hair bonds are, how they break, the science behind them, and some practical tips for repairing and educating clients on this essential aspect of hair care. Let's dive in.

What are hair bonds?

Hair bonds are the molecular structures that hold together the proteins within the hair shaft. These bonds are primarily composed of three types:

  • Hydrogen Bonds

These bonds are relatively weak and temporary, forming between water molecules and the protein chains of the hair. They contribute to the hair's flexibility and elasticity.

  • Salt bonds

Salt bonds are formed between positively and negatively charged amino acid groups within the protein chains of the hair. They provide additional strength and stability to the hair shaft.

  • Disulphide Bonds 

These are the strongest type of bonds found in hair. Disulphide bonds form between sulphur atoms in cysteine amino acids, creating a cross-linkage between protein chains. They are responsible for the hair's overall structure and resilience.

Breaking of hair bonds

Various factors can lead to the breakage of hair bonds, compromising the integrity of the hair shaft. Some common causes include:

  • Chemical treatments: Hair colouring, bleaching, perming, and treatments that involve the use of chemicals that can break down the hair's bonds, leading to damage and breakage.
  • Heat styling: Excessive heat from styling tools like flat irons, curling wands, and blow dryers can weaken hair bonds, causing the hair to become brittle and prone to breakage.
  • Mechanical damage: Rough handling, vigorous brushing, and tight hairstyles can put stress on the hair fibres, leading to the breakage of bonds and overall hair damage.

The science behind hair bond repairment

Repairing damaged hair bonds requires a deep understanding of the molecular structure of the hair and the mechanisms involved in bond formation. Innovative treatments like bond-building products and salon services have been delved to address this issue effectively. These treatments typically work by:

  • Rebuilding Disulphide Bonds 

Products containing ingredients like cysteine or keratin derivatives can help replenish lost disulphide bonds, restoring strength and resilience to the hair shaft.

  • Strengthening Hydrogen and Salt Bonds

Protein-rich treatments and conditioning agents can help reinforce weaker bonds, improving the hair's overall elasticity and resistance to damage.

  • Protecting Against Further Damage

Heat protectants and leave-in treatments form a protective barrier around the hair shaft, shielding it from the harmful effects of heat styling and environmental stressors.

How you can educate your clients

As hairstylists, it's essential to educate your clients about the importance of maintaining healthy hair bonds and the role they play in the overall health and appearance of their hair. Here are some tips for effectively communicating this information:

  • Demonstrate results: Show clients the difference in the texture and strength of their hair before and after bond-repairing treatments to emphasise the effectiveness of these services.
  • Recommend home care: Suggest appropriate at-home maintenance products that can help prolong the effects of salon treatments and prevent further damage to hair bonds. This is a great way to up-sell any bond repairing products you have in-salon.
  • Provide maintenance tips: Advise clients on gentle hair care practices, such as using wide-tooth combs, micro-fibre towels, avoiding excessive heat styling, and incorporating regular deep conditioning treatments into their routine.

By informing your clients with knowledge about hair bonds and the importance of proper maintenance, you empower them to make informed decisions about their hair care routine and invest in treatments that will keep their hair looking and feeling healthy.

Our product recommendations

We've rounded up some of our favourite bond repairing and hair strengthening shampoos, conditioners, and treatments you can add to your salon services:

This protective shampoo & conditioner, along with treatments within the 'Defy Damage' range, helps protect and strengthen hair bonds for a healthy hair transformation.

Supercharge your strands with a bond repairing shampoo & conditioner, clinically shown to repair and strengthen damaged strands, an intense bond repairing mask and the wizard silicone-free detangling prime.

The [wa]shed Former Glory reconstructing damage repair shampoo and conditioner duo by Shed restores hair strength.

Fortifying shampoo & conditioner duo strengthens fragile, damaged hair with the signature microPROtec complex and inter-amino-bond-builder.



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