Ask the Experts - Pon Saradeth

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Trendsetter Pon Saradeth of Pon International in Anaheim Hills, California answers your must-know hair questions.

Q: I love wearing short hair but my natural texture is super-curly and looks like a Q-tip if left un-styled. Before I make a drastic change and cut it all off, do you have any styling suggestions that will help tame my tresses?
There are several things that you can do to tame the ‘do, starting with chemical straighteners. I have several clients who having straightening or relaxing services done for control purposes that way they look good all of the time. It’s like the reverse of a perm, but instead of curling the hair, we smooth it.

If you don’t want to deal with chemical treatments or the re-growth associated with it (much like color), there are styling products and tools that will help. A strong smoothing product applied on damp hair is a good place to start. Next, I suggest drying small sections of your hair at a time with a tight-bristled brush like a Denman or a smaller round brush.  Be sure to add gentle tension when drying each section as this will result in sleeker strands. Also, look for smoothing products that have a humidity guard to keep the frizz at bay.

Q: Are messy buns okay to wear to work?
It all depends on where you work and what their dress code is. The messy bun, when done well, can be super-chic but is not always best suited to all office environments. They may be better suited to the creative field, BOHO looks and casual Fridays. If you work in a conservative office environment, consider going with a classic smooth bun, French Roll or even a swingy pony, but with accessories to help tie it into your wardrobe. Nothing too fancy, as simple and understated is always best for work.

Q: Why is my hair so dry and what can I do about it? Nothing seems to work.
Hair needs moisture on a regular basis and can find relief from high-quality conditioning products. That’s why it’s usually a good idea to do a deep moisturizing treatment once a week or as needed and then follow up the rest of the week with lighter, daily conditioning and or moisturizing. However, sometimes, what feels like dryness is actually brittleness from a lack of protein. If you have been bleaching your hair or using any harsh chemicals, you may be stripping it of valuable nutrients and making it brittle. The best bet is to ask your hairdresser if you should do a deep conditioning treatment with moisture and protein, moisture only or protein only. You do have to be careful with protein because if you overuse it, it can actually cause your hair to feel drier and more brittle than it really is. If you overdo moisturizing, it just makes your hair limp and or flat, so no harm other than lifeless styling. The moral here is to always consult your hairdresser so that you can condition the best way for the health of your specific hair!

Q: I’ve tried several products to repair my split ends and none of them seem to work. Am I using them wrong?
: The only sure cure for split ends involves shears and taking enough length off to cut above the split. If you don’t, it will simply continue to split or will break off. The only thing that products can do is strengthening the hair so less splitting happens. Anything else is likely just hype. The best thing you can do for your hair is to keep your ends trimmed at all times, even when you are growing out the length. Allowing hair to just grow and not trimming is counterproductive in my book.

Q: Is it okay that I am in my 40’s and still have long hair?
There is no concrete age limit for longer hair, as long as you keep it in shape and look good in the length. At the same time, I do want to caution you about getting stuck in a style rut simply because you are comfortable with what you have. Your look should always be evolving, even with small and subtle changes, but changes nonetheless. And long, blunt hair, by the way, is not a style. At least have some layering added for a better shape and keep your color fresh, current and age appropriate.

Q: So, what’s new with color these days?
In simple terms, a lot!  There’s a transition happening away from the harsh Ombe looks where one end of the tonal spectrum moves very quickly to the opposite end. The new version is called Sombre, meaning subtle Ombre, which involves more subtle transitioning from one shade to another using less contrast and spanning in more directions than just from the top of the hair to the bottom. Look for the ends of face-framing layers to look tipped and dipped into various lighter tones with slightly darker tones as you move upward to the root. And the color range between the colors is more harmonious. Different levels of the same color family blend well from one to another without the harsh transition lines we used to see. Think sophistication and subtleness versus harsh and overdone.

Q: Is it true that brushing your hair with 100 strokes each day helps it grow?
Brushing your hair, when done gently with a high-quality brush, is good for your hair and scalp, which can result in a healthier environment for your hair to grow. It does not necessarily speed up growing. What it does do is distribute the natural oils at the root throughout the rest of your hair helping to moisturize it. It also stimulates your scalp, which increases blood flow. Increased circulation in that area may help stimulate dormant hairs to grow, so if your hair feels as if it’s thinning, think about scalp stimulation to get things flowing again.

About Pon
With over two decades of hairdressing skill under his belt, Pon Saradeth, owner of Pon International Salon in Anaheim Hills, California, is recognized as the top designer in many hair competitions receiving well over 100 awards internationally. Known as a trendsetter in the industry, his vast array of specialties includes haircutting, color, styling and photo session work. In addition, his editorial work is in high demand in both trade and consumer hair publications worldwide. 

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