Why You Don't Have the Hair You Want

Airdate: 12/6/13

In this broadcast, Paula and Bryan discuss bad hair habits, the best way to towel dry hair and how to minimize damage from heat-styling tools. Each salon-tested, research-proven tip will help you stop fighting with your hair and start getting the results you want! Bonus: Learn why salon hair-care products aren't any better than what you find at the drugstore.

Paula Begoun: Hello. I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, here with my Co-Writer and Research Director, Bryan Barron. Actually, he’s Content Director. He’s Everything Director. We are the best-selling authors of “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me,” which is now in its ninth edition. We’re here to keep you beautifully informed so you can make the best decisions about everything from skincare, to makeup, hair care, Botox, cosmetic surgery. You name it, we’ll discuss it, and we’ll tell you the truth. We’ll tell you what the research says, not what the marketing hype says.
00:00:32 And you can keep up with all of the latest information on and, of course, visit us on Facebook. Today is about hair care, speaking about keeping information straight –a little play on words there. I love that.
Bryan Barron: So, we have to say the title of this show, because when I was talking about our upcoming radio shows with the team everyone that that was a great title.
Paula Begoun: Why you don’t have the hair you want!
Bryan Barron: Exactly.
Paula Begoun: That is a great title. And, actually, we, Bryan, you and I, did you write the first hair care book with me, or did I do that on my own?
Bryan Barron: You did that on your own.
Paula Begoun: And then we wrote the next two together?
Bryan Barron: Oh, you did the first two on your own. I helped with Hair 3.
Paula Begoun: Ooh!
00:01:16 Oh, god, I am a crazy woman. I am way too much of a workaholic. What was life like without – I don’t even remember what life was like without you. Those books were 400 and 500 pages. Oh my gosh.
Bryan Barron: Your husband would forget what you looked like!
Paula Begoun: Well, he didn’t care what I looked like so much, which is why he’s an ex-husband now.
Bryan Barron: Ha!
Paula Begoun: Yes, it’s true, I was behind that computer all the time. So, we did do three books on “Don’t Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me.” Bryan and I – I wrote two of them, Bryan and I wrote one together of those three. We know a lot about hair. Of course, we’ll never know about cutting it and styling it. The one thing we can say without question you should splurge on is the best hair stylist you can find, without question.
Bryan Barron: And even for haircuts.
00:02:07 Not just for, you know, those times when you want an up-do, or those times when you might want to have your hair highlighted.
Paula Begoun: No, no, no. For the whole thing.
Bryan Barron: A good haircut can turn your whole world around.
Paula Begoun: Absolutely. There’s no question about it.
Bryan Barron: And when you find that stylist who knows how to cut your hair, who can figure out the way it lays best and the way it needs to be layered, you will go back to them again and again. And when they move onto someplace else--
Paula Begoun: You will follow them if you can find them.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, if you can find them. And when you can it’s almost like, I mean, women take their relationship with their hairstylist very seriously.
Paula Begoun: When a stylist knows what they’re doing and can give you that incredible cut, it does, it gives you a look that is similar to what you see in the fashion magazines.
00:02:51 What you don’t have to splurge on, what I can say unequivocally, a thousand percent true, is there is nothing about expensive hair care products that is going to do anything to help you have better hair. In fact, my favorite thing to tell women to do is when the hairstylist or the person shampooing your hair or coloring your hair says, “Oh, what hair care products are you using,” lie. Lie. Simply point to the most expensive products they have on their shelf and say, “Oh, I use that expensive line you sell right there. I use those products.
00:03:28 Because if you tell the truth and say I use the cheap ones at the drugstore, they’re going to give you a whole song and dance about how awful and dry and terrible and those products just are evil and you can clean the floor with them. And they’re going to try and sell you because they make a lot of money selling you their expensive hair care products. But when you tell them you’re using the expensive stuff on their shelf then you have, “Ooh, your hair is so..”
Bryan Barron: “I thought so. That’s why your hair is so easy to manage.”
Paula Begoun: “I think you just need more of that stuff. Oh, I have plenty of it.”
Bryan Barron: I got an email just earlier this week from a woman who said, “I need you to help me find hair care products that don’t have any silicones or any panthenol. My hairstylist told me that that’s why my hair is dry and frizzy.”
Paula Begoun: I’m sorry, I’m being silent because I have no words for how stupid that is.
Bryan Barron: And my response to this woman, I told her what we know to be true about silicones and panthenol, particularly in the case of silicones how ubiquitous, how common they are in hair care products.
00:04:37 And I said I will bet you my paycheck that if you were to check the ingredient list on the products that they sell at that salon there are silicones in there.
Paula Begoun: Most likely 80 percent of them, at least 80 percent of them if not more will contain silicone. Often what happens is, because I’ve heard this, too. I mean, stylists love saying that silicone is bad for hair.
00:05:00 And then I look at the product and sure enough there is silicone. It’s just you wouldn’t recognize the name of the ingredient because Phenyl trimethicone doesn’t look like silicone. Cyclomethicone doesn’t look like silicone. You wouldn’t necessarily, penta-something--?
Bryan Barron: Cyclopentasiloxane.
Paula Begoun: Oh, you are so good.
Bryan Barron: Or Dimethiconol.
Paula Begoun: Doesn’t look like the word silicone. You wouldn’t even know that silicone is actually in the product they’re selling to you that they swear doesn’t contain any silicone.
00:05:28 Silicone makes hair look like silk. That’s why it shows up in about 80 percent of the products in hair care. There is no question that it’s beneficial. In fact, one of the reasons, you know, one of the reasons we stopped doing the hair care book is because it’s actually hard to find a bad hair care product. It’s actually difficult.
Bryan Barron: It is.
Paula Begoun: The technology, particularly because of silicones, and the way silicones allow other polymers, like hairspray ingredients to bend and not be flakey and stiff, and to actually be able to brush through is because of what you can do with silicones and these other ingredients that dramatically changed the world of hair care the way shampoo ingredients are made, the way conditioning ingredients, particularly conditioners because of silicone just made a world of difference.
00:06:18 There is no question that hair care products have improved dramatically since I first – back, I think it was in the early nineties when I wrote the first edition.
Bryan Barron: Yeah, ’95 maybe?
Paula Begoun: It was almost impossible to find mousses or styling products or hairsprays that didn’t go white and flake off. That’s rare nowadays. It’s rare.
Bryan Barron: Really rare.
Paula Begoun: And even Aqua Net, although I don’t even know if Aqua Net is still around.
Bryan Barron: It’s still around, yeah.
Paula Begoun: But they reformulated it, finally, sometime in the late 1990s, and it was finally you could brush through it, because the technology improved so much. Expensive doesn’t mean better in the world of hair care, more so than actually any part of the beauty industry.
00:07:03 You want the best stylist. You want the cheapest hair care products. I don’t care if it’s L’Oreal, Garnier. In fact, most of those companies, well, L’Oreal owns Garnier. But L’Oreal owns some of the expensive stuff on the shelves.
Bryan Barron: Kerastase.
Paula Begoun: Kerastase.
Bryan Barron: If you are using Kerastase you are using L’Oreal. I promise you. They will deny it up and down.
Paula Begoun: They deny it when you say--?
Bryan Barron: Oh, I’m sure they – well, they won’t deny that L’Oreal owns Kerastase, but you’ll get a song and dance about how the Kerastase products are exclusively formulated and specialty, and this, that, and the other thing.
Paula Begoun: Because we trust a company that sells you crap at the drugstore but sells you the good stuff at the spa?
Bryan Barron: Right.
00:07:37 Almost like the expectation is, well of course you’re going to get crap, you’re shopping at the drugstore. What did you expect?
Paula Begoun: So, what I can tell you to expect is that that’s a lie. That there are great – well, it’s not that there aren’t great salon products, it’s just that the salon products don’t contain anything that bests what’s at the drugstore.
Bryan Barron: And we’re not knocking, Kerastase has some great products.
Paula Begoun: Has mostly great products.
Bryan Barron: They feel luxurious.
00:08:01 They make the hair shiny, and soft, and smooth.
Paula Begoun: Beautiful.
Bryan Barron: But so does L’Oreal!
Paula Begoun: Virtually identical. And not to mention cheaper.
Bryan Barron: You don’t have to spend $45. I think I told you that story about being in line at the local salon here, the big chain that sells Kerastase. You go there.
Paula Begoun: Yes, I do.
Bryan Barron: And I was in line to purchase a different product and inquire about a massage and I see these women with armloads of Kerastase products.
Paula Begoun: Ooh!
Bryan Barron: They just had their hair done, they’re feeling good, they’re looking good.
00:08:29 And I so want to tap them on the shoulder and say, “You don’t need to buy those products. You really, really don’t. It just pains me that they’re going to be spending--
Paula Begoun: I was just going to say, even as you’re saying it, I feel like I just - no pun intended – makes the hair on the back of my neck just stand up straight. It’s sad. It’s sad. Especially in the world of hair care you are just – it’s not that you’re getting... – Actually, unlike skincare, with skincare money doesn’t have anything to do, expensive doesn’t mean better.
00:09:00 But in the world of skincare, expensive can mean terrible. You can be getting a bad product. You can be getting a product in a jar. You can be getting a product that doesn’t contain any beneficial ingredients. You can be, you know, that contains bad ingredients that aren’t going to be helpful to skin, or will irritate skin. In hair care what’s hard about hair care is that expensive rarely means bad. I mean, cheap definitely doesn’t mean bad, but expensive doesn’t get you something bad. Like skincare you could get products.
00:09:31 It’s hard to find bad hair care products in any price category. So, what’s sad is that you can use an expensive product and it won’t hurt your hair, but it so hurts your pocketbook and it is so offensive to me that it is virtually identical to the inexpensive stuff. It’s just maddening. But the good news is you won’t be hurting your hair. So, it’s not going to be giving you a bad hair day. And that’s what we’re going to talk about is why you don’t have the hair you want.
00:10:02 And I’m going to go a little bit out of, Bryan actually did a brilliant list so we didn’t do what we just did which is go down a road and go away from the topic at hand. But, I’m going to go a little bit out of order because the major thing that is so terrible for hair, and the reason women have hair often like straw, is because of over-dyeing and over-processing their hair, or perming.
00:10:30 The chemical treatments on hair are probably the most difficult, terrible thing – now, believe me, far be it from me to say you shouldn’t dye your hair as somebody dyes their hair and has for years. It is the over-processing of hair, taking it from very dark to very light, that is so incredibly damaging. I don’t care if they tell you to put a treatment on your hair, that that’s going to fix hair.
00:11:00 Let’s say very clearly from the top that there are no conditioners or hair care treatments at the salon that repair hair. Hair is dead. You can’t put it back together. That is a lie. You can make hair feel soft and feel healthy and feel like it’s not damaged. You can’t take away the damage. Hair is dead. But you also can prevent the damage by putting a treatment on.
00:11:25 If you over-process your hair, if you go from very dark to blonde and you constantly restrip your hair you will have damaged hair. You will have hair like straw. There is no way around it. Over-processing hair, over-dyeing hair is a problem. And then, when you dye your hair, when you do extreme color changes, and you don’t keep cutting away the damage because the older is older hair. It can’t get younger. And if you don’t cut it away you will just have dried out, frizzed out, ends of your hair. It’s just the way it is. I can’t do anything about it. It is a physiological thing. It’s a reality thing.
00:12:09 So, when you try to be, I call it the suburban blonde, when you get to be in your 40s and everybody wants to look like Heather Locklear or Jennifer Aniston or whoever and you frizz out your hair with that extremely constantly doing the highlights because you want to have that overly blonde look, and you don’t keep cutting your hair, you want it long.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: You will have frizzed out, dried hair.
00:12:33 And it will not look like the cover of a fashion magazine. And if there is something we want it is lovely, soft locks, and over-dyeing hair is not going to do it. So, I had to get that one over with.
Bryan Barron: Okay.
Paula Begoun: The first one on Bryan’s list, which is actually kind of funny because he says no teasing or back combing of hair to get height, unless it’s one and awhile for a special occasion. But if you it on a regular basis which is rat tail or back comb your hair, that roughs up the cuticle, literally chips away the very protective layer that helps make hair feel soft. And constantly chips it away.
00:13:14 And because you’re doing it at the root of the hair, you damage the hair, the young new hair that is at the root--
Bryan Barron: Just trying to be healthy. It’s trying to give you the hair that you want and you keep sabotaging it.
Paula Begoun: You might as well give your hair a cigarette. It is terrible. It is just terrible for hair.
Bryan Barron: I often see women who have fine or thin hair, and I’m not seeing them styling their hair, but the way their hair ends up looking I have to imagine that they’re resorting to that method to make it look like they have more hair than they really do.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: And oftentimes you can see their scalp through the hair. You can tell that they’re thinning. And I get it.
00:13:49 I get the wanting to build some height and some body but--
Paula Begoun: You’re sacrificing one problem for another, which is you’re damaging your hair. You’re thinning out your hair. So, we’re not going to problem solve right now. Right now what we’re doing is we’re talking about what you’re doing that is damaging your hair, that is thinning it out or frizzing it out that is going to keep you from having the hair you want.
00:14:15 The second thing on Bryan’s list, which, you know, this one is a rough one. I’ve got to tell you, as somebody who uses flatirons because I don’t like my curly, frizzy hair. I do like having it straight, is using the highest heat setting on my flatiron or on my blow dryer. Actually, interesting, I actually was at a hair salon in Johannesburg when I was there earlier in Summer of 2013, and I actually for the first time got burned. She put the blow dryer so close to my scalp that I actually jumped back. And she had to go get ice to calm down the redness. It was hurting that bad.
Bryan Barron: Oh my gosh.
Paula Begoun: What women don’t realize is that your flatiron and blow dryer heat up to over 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
00:15:15 The boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s twice as hot as boiling water. Not ignition, combustion. When something bursts into flames it bursts into flames when it heats up to 512 degrees Fahrenheit. So, just a little bit less than combustion is what we’re using on our hair. And remember, hair is dead, so it’s not going to get repaired when you use your flatiron and your blow dryer. So, you absolutely are literally burning your hair.
00:15:57 So, I am going to do a little problem solving now. The trick is with flatirons and blow dryers is to keep the heat moving over the hair.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: To not hold it in one place.
Bryan Barron: And as a corollary to this point, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a leave-in product of some sort, whether it’s a styling cream, a straightening balm, a silicone serum for some amount of heat protection.
Paula Begoun: And also to help the flatiron, the blow dryer, and the brush to move, to not get stuck, to slip over the hair. Exactly.
Bryan Barron: You will see products for heat styling that claim that they’re going to strengthen the hair as you heat style, that they work with the heat, or that they provide complete protection from flatiron, blow dryers, you name it.
00:16:39 Not true. Those products are fibbing, fibbing, fibbing.
Paula Begoun: Like you could put it on your neck and not get burned from your flat iron. It doesn’t protect your skin anymore than it protects your hair.
Bryan Barron: You are getting some protection with those. We don’t know exactly how much, but it’s absolutely--
Paula Begoun: You absolutely are getting some. And, again, probably one of the major things you’re getting from it is the ability for the brush, the blow dryer, and the flatiron to move easily so that it glides and you’re not leaving the heat on in one place for too long.
00:17:10 The other thing, actually, which is the second thing, the third thing you have listed, also when you use a flatiron, not a blow dryer, but when you use a flatiron your hair must be…?
Bryan Barron: Dry.
Paula Begoun: Not just dry. A thousand percent dry. Not a drop of moisture.
00:17:31 That flatiron will actually boil the hair and that will break it at that juncture where the water actually boils. But then to the next thing you’re saying, which actually this drives me crazy. I know people think I’m very assertive, because often I am, but I am not always. I am not always.
Bryan Barron: No one appreciates what you don’t say.
Paula Begoun: Nobody appreciates what I don’t say! Because it seems I say everything. But, at the hair salon when somebody new is doing my hair, when you brush through wet hair and you brush through it and you pull and tug and pull and tug, as opposed to separated out, life up the upper hair so you just have strands of hair that you go through, slowly.
00:18:16 The more you tug and pull at wet hair, wet hair is more vulnerable to damage than dry hair. It is a problem when that stylist, you know, just takes your whole hair. Now, obviously, you have short hair so you don’t know this, but when you have any length and any thickness, and you’re just tugging through that mess, you’re damaging hair. There’s no way around it. You’re damaging hair. Wet hair is more vulnerable so on top of that, and this is another thing that happens at the salon that I kind of let go because I don’t want to say, “Give me that towel and stop rubbing my hair,” is that over-drying your hair by rubbing it back and forth in a terrycloth towel is damaging.
00:19:04 And they do that, they rub that, they take your hair and they rub it. You dab it. You dab it. You squeeze. You don’t rub it. The terrycloth actually catches onto the hair cuticle.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: Actually breaks it off. It’s bad for hair. Maybe I should just say give me that towel, because every time they do it it drives me nuts.
Bryan Barron: But it’s also important to keep in mind for day-to-day hair maintenance, if you’re shampooing your hair, whether it’s once daily or a few times per week, don’t rough it up at home either.
Paula Begoun: Right. Right.
00:19:36 Exactly. Obviously I don’t do that to my own hair at home. But, right, if you don’t know that you think that that gets the extra moisture out, which it does. It’s a little bit more drying, but it damages the hair so you want to dab. You never want to rough up hair by rubbing it back and forth in a terrycloth towel.
Bryan Barron: Definitely not when it’s wet.
Paula Begoun: It’s so damaging to hair. And, I know people might be listening and thinking that we’re nitpicking, and to some extent we are nitpicking, but when you think about all the things you do to your hair over a day, a week, a month, a year, adds up. It’s kind of like sun damage that the first minute that you don’t see the damage beginning, but the damage is beginning.
00:20:25 And the day, after day, after day, it builds up to looking older before you need to. It’s the same thing with hair. It is the little things you do every day, and sometimes the big things when you over-dye your hair that add up to making your hair so that you don’t have the hair you want. You want to do the next one, Bryan?
Bryan Barron: No protecting hair from sun exposure. A lot of people who dye their hair are on the lookout for that shampoo that is not going to fade or strip color. Stop shopping for those products and start protecting your hair from the sun. The two biggest culprits for fading dye in hair, whether you do it home or get it done in the salon, is sunlight and water.
Paula Begoun: Sunlight and water.
00:21:06 Just shampooing your hair and going out without a hat. There is no hair care product that will protect your hair from the sun.
Bryan Barron: I’m seeing more leave-in treatments and styling products that do contain sunscreen ingredients, like Avobenzone, Octinoxate, I see, sometimes Benzophenone-3 which is also Oxybenzone. There’s no SPF ratings on the products, but you have to figure that you’re getting some – they have to be doing something. Maybe not a lot.
Paula Begoun: Well the question is--
Bryan Barron: How are they holding up in the hair? How do they hold up to heat styling?
Paula Begoun: It’s nice that they’re there. Exactly what you’re saying, It obviously doesn’t hurt hair for a hair care product, a styling product to have sun protecting ingredients in it. Hair care products are never rated with SPF because there’s no way to know that you’re getting each strand of hair protected.
00:22:00 There are actually no studies for SPF related to protocol for hair care. But the problem is because we don’t know how much you’re putting on, we don’t know how much gets broken down by your styling process, at what point are you putting that product on, it’s a problem to even – it’s better than nothing, I guess, I could say. But mostly it’s about keeping your hair out of the sun.
Bryan Barron: Covered.
Paula Begoun: Particularly if you’re going from dark to light and you’ve over-processed your hair.
00:22:31 You’ll just fry the heck out of your hair. Yes, it will look beach blonde, but the other thing about beach blonde is beach fried blonde, which they never really told you.
Bryan Barron: I don’t know, this certainly doesn’t get mentioned enough in fashion magazines, but repeatedly exposing already damaged hair to sunlight destroys it.
Paula Begoun: Destroys it.
Bryan Barron: It literally--
Paula Begoun: Eats it up.
Bryan Barron: It literally breaks down the hair.
Paula Begoun: You know, it was funny, when I was in, well, I’m neurotic about the sun, in a good way, because I look younger than a lot of people because of it. I bought a hat – it’s a sun that also can go in the water.
00:23:16 Has a nice brim. Protects the back of the neck. And covers the hair. And I also wear, I’m a Coolibar girl, which is a brand of clothing that has a built in SPF. And you can wear it in water. It keeps you cool. It lets the air in and out. And I do admit that when I’m walking down the beach or playing in the water in Hawaii, I’ve got to admit I do, even I think I look a little strange. But then I get out of the water and I get back in the house and my hair isn’t friend. It isn’t all tangled up from over sun exposure.
00:23:59 And I don’t have brown spots because I know way too well that when you’re exposed to the sun, whether it’s your skin or your hair, you’re going to get problems. And if you’re over the age of 40 you are going to have brown spots pop up almost immediately because what might not be there in the winter will be there the second your skin is in the sun. Sorry, that was just a bit of a departure, but I am a little neurotic about protecting.
00:24:28 I’ve got to stop saying neurotic like it’s a bad thing. I don’t like having frizzed out hair. I do protect my hair from the sun. I do wear hats. And I do protect my skin.
Bryan Barron: You know, I’ve gotten much better about that over the years, both for my hair and for my skin, including like the sun protective clothing. Like, for me when I’m going to be out on the lake or going swimming, it’s much easier for me to put on one of those sun protective long sleeve shirts, like a wet suit type shirt that you can get wet and it has the UPF which is the ultra violet protection factor.
Paula Begoun: Right.
00:25:01 It isn’t an SPF factor. You’re right.
Bryan Barron: I’d much rather do that than slather sunscreen on my entire chest and back and hope--
Paula Begoun: And have to redo it in an hour and a half.
Bryan Barron: Yes, you know.
Paula Begoun: It’s easier.
Bryan Barron: It’s easier.
Paula Begoun: And cheaper.
Bryan Barron: Yeah!
Paula Begoun: And cheaper. 100 percent. So, back to hair, so this is actually an interesting one, particularly for women who wear braids or extensions in their hair, wearing tight hairstyles is terrible for hair, particularly if you have thin hair, particularly African – African-American hair or African hair, where the hair follicle itself is very thin.
Bryan Barron: And the hair is just so fragile.
Paula Begoun: And literally you can see women with these braids and extensions and they’ve made themselves bald. The hair literally pulls out. It can’t take the tension on the follicle. That follicle can be pretty strong, but for some hair types it isn’t.
00:26:01 And even when it’s strong it can only take so much. The tighter the pressure on the hair, the more likely you are to lose hair. If you’re worrying about thinning at all, hair extensions and braiding, or tight ponytails will start pulling out the hair. You will get hair thinning. There is no way around it.
Bryan Barron: Traction alopecia. That’s what it’s called.
Paula Begoun: Ah! You are so good. You remember that from the book.
Bryan Barron: Yes, I did remember that from the book.
Paula Begoun: Traction alopecia. That’s exactly what it’s called.
00:26:29 We already talked about, oh right, using rubber bands instead of the – do people still use rubber bands to pull their hair back? You don’t see that so much.
Bryan Barron: Not like out in public, but maybe around the house or while camping or in a pinch.
Paula Begoun: So, the problem with rubber bands that aren’t protected with a cloth wrapping around it is it grabs hair too well and breaks it off. That grab point, and when you pull it out you see the hair coming out with it.
Bryan Barron: You do.
Paula Begoun: It’s a problem.
Bryan Barron: And you get that weird little crimpy thing where it was secured.
Paula Begoun: Right.
00:27:01 So, it damages the hair. It definitely doesn’t help the hair style. And it pulls out hair. Waiting too long to get a trim. We talked about that. Bryan, you want to talk about that, you with your cute short hair?
Bryan Barron: Yeah, particularly for men and women with longer hair. Waiting too long to get the – the longer the hair is around the more damaged it gets. Think of what you do to your hair on a daily basis. So, those ends, and I see women all the time in restaurants or bars and they’re looking at the ends of their hair and I know that they’re looking for split ends. And they’re plucking them out.
00:27:34 It’s almost like a preoccupation. And it kind of drives me nuts because I want to go up to them and say, “Just go get a trim.” Have a stylist – it’s not about changing your hairstyle. It’s not about getting a whole new look. Go into your stylist in between your haircuts and a lot of them will do it for free depending on the salon you go to, ask, it’s always worth asking. Get an eighth of an inch trimmed off. You will feel like you have a new head of hair.
Paula Begoun: So true.
00:27:59 So true.
Bryan Barron: It’ll have more swing, more bounce, it will be easier to style. You won’t be sitting in a bar pulling at the ends of your hair and dropping it on the floor and grossing out everyone around you.
Paula Begoun: Women really do. I think that’s a little bit of a--
Bryan Barron: Nathan, am I right? Have you seen this?
Paula Begoun: You know, what is that? It is a strange little habit. Women do have this thing about twirling their hair when they’re out to dinner or their out at a bar. And I’m thinking get your hair off of the table.
00:28:28 That’s really true. But definitely the pulling out of the split ends is just bizarre. And you know something?
Bryan Barron: It’s sort of like a guy sitting there and picking his nose and just kind of--
Paula Begoun: Oh, Bryan! Bryan! It’s not that bad. Well, maybe it is that bad. But the thing about it that--
Bryan Barron: Women are neater. It’s the female equivalent.
Paula Begoun: Oh maybe. That’s true. We are. We’re not as gross. But having said that, the thing about – the irony is that when you do try to break off and pull off the split end the way you do it without a scissor, and you’re just pulling at it, you actually further –
00:29:04 The next point where you’re pulling it because you haven’t cut straight across it, actually just creates a new split end. You actually haven’t repaired anything. And, Bryan, I’m never going to get over this little comparison you made. Over using styling products, so that’s actually an interesting one because when you over-mousse your hair, or over-pomade your hair, or over-spray your hair, that stiffness it creates.
00:29:33 That lacquer, thick, greasy look, it doesn’t necessarily damage hair, but it depends on the product you’re using, but it’s really just that it doesn’t help hair. And it’s hard to get it out of hair.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: You have to over-wash your hair to get that much product out. And we’ll get to why over-shampooing your hair is bad.
00:30:01 But too much shampooing is a problem. So, one is it can look bad in the short term.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: And then especially if you have longer hair, trying to get that out, the process of getting all those styling products out are very hard on hair because you have to over-wash it. And that will just do as the next one, is washing your hair too much. Over-washing your hair is a problem.
Bryan Barron: Believing you really have to lather, rinse, and repeat.
Paula Begoun: Twice. You don’t.
00:30:29 Now, you do if you have too much hair care stuff--
Bryan Barron: Too much hair care products. So, if you’re thinking, you know, I need at least three, maybe four styling products to get my hair to look the way I want it to, chances are you’re either using the wrong products, because you could likely pare that down to maybe two. Or, you don’t have a good haircut. I mean, really, I’ve found this is now that I’m seeing someone who just does a great haircut, my hair practically styles itself. I don’t have to do a lot to it.
00:31:00 I have to do some heat-taming because I’ve got cowlicks, which isn’t the stylists fault.
Paula Begoun: You have cowlicks up there?
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: Then you’ve got a great haircut. Well, maybe you did have cowlicks before.
Bryan Barron: More so as a kid, but you know, I use a styling cream type product with heat, maybe a volumizing spray, and then I’ll finish with a pomade and that’s it.
Paula Begoun: But the way, I love your new color.
Bryan Barron: Thank you.
Paula Begoun: The blond.
00:31:28 Because you were red for awhile.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: But I do like you red, too. I mean, red – he wasn’t red like magenta. You gave yourself auburn hair for awhile and now you went back to a little bit more balayage/blond kind of thing. You’re adorable. You’re adorable.
Bryan Barron: Oh thank you.
Paula Begoun: So, let’s go back to the over-shampooing. So, what happens is when – no matter what they call the shampoo, whether it’s organic, or natural, not natural, synthetic, whatever they call it, the ingredients that clean hair, that get the oil and grease off of hair and the styling products off of hair are drying and damaging to hair. There’s just no way around it. And hair doesn’t replenish itself again.
00:32:13 Hair is dead. So, when you shampoo it, every time you shampoo it you’re removing a little bit more of the hair’s natural protection off of it. So, the more often you do that, the more damaging it is to hair, especially when you have long hair because the length of the hair has been washed more than the new part of the hair.
Bryan Barron: And it’s part of the reason why almost every shampoo on the market has a companion conditioner.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: Part of the reason you use a conditioner isn’t just so you can get a comb through your hair, it’s so that you can replace what shampoo took away.
Paula Begoun: Right.
00:32:48 That grease, that oil buildup on the hair, that hopefully comes own the hair shaft from the scalp – of course, the longer your hair the harder it is to get down to the length. When you have long hair, if you don’t put a conditioner on you won’t get that healthy protection back on the hair.
00:33:05 So, yes, a conditioner doesn’t fix hair. It just puts back what you’ve just washed off. So, for somebody like me with I have--
Bryan Barron: Past shoulder length hair.
Paula Begoun: Yeah, past shoulder length hair, sometimes way too long of hair when I go a long time without getting it cut.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. It does look shorter now.
Paula Begoun: I just got a haircut. That’s why.
Bryan Barron: There you go.
Paula Begoun: I got a good cut, too. Do you like it?
Bryan Barron: Mm-hmm.
Paula Begoun: It’s a little different.
00:33:29 Oh, thank you. Well, of course, what are you going to say, it looks terrible?
Bryan Barron: Well, it looks quite fetching with headphones, too.
Paula Begoun: I know. I like the style. I should walk outside--
Bryan Barron: It’s sort of Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia.
Paula Begoun: Ha!
Bryan Barron: Especially because the headphones are dark and so is your hair. So it almost looks like you’ve got--
Paula Begoun: Right. It does look like Carrie Fisher in Star Wars doesn’t it? Oh my gosh. Let me see what I – oh, it does. And with the glasses on no less! This is a beautiful look. One of these days we will have to get this on videotape.
Bryan Barron: I think that’s already been taken care of.
Paula Begoun: Are we doing this on videotape?
00:34:04 Are we going to be videotaping this?
Bryan Barron: I think Nathan was filming us earlier.
Paula Begoun: Were you taking pictures?
Bryan Barron: Oh, no, he’s denying it.
Paula Begoun: You are so lying. I know it. Excuse me, I lost – what we were we just – oh, washing the hair too much.
Bryan Barron: Washing the hair, using conditioner, what conditioner does.
Paula Begoun: So, I am fessing up in saying that because I know so well that washing your hair too much, and styling your hair too much, if I washed my hair every day and I had to go through the process of putting on products and then using high heat to get it smoothed out again, that if I had to do that every day or even every other day, the more often you do it the more damaging it is, especially for long hair because you’re keeping the hair around.
00:34:44 The hair down on my shoulders has been around for, what, maybe two years versus the young, newer hair closer to the root. The more you manipulate your hair, the more damaging it is. So, I actually, my hair is less oily now than it was when I was younger. But I actually try to go as absolutely long as humanly possible before somebody would be grossed out before I wash my hair. So, I do go somewhere between three and five days. And like today, because I’m in the studio with these Leia headsets on, it’s almost been a week. It look okay, though.
Bryan Barron: You’re still struggling with oily skin, or at least oily areas?
Paula Begoun: Oh, I definitely still have oily skin.
Bryan Barron: So, is your scalp oily too?
Paula Begoun: It was when I was much younger.
00:35:32 I had very oily scalp.
Bryan Barron: It seems so strange to me that somebody could have just an oily forehead, and then you’ve got that hair line, and then the scalp starts, but the scalp isn’t oily.
Paula Begoun: It’s dry, I know.
Bryan Barron: It may be dry and flakey.
Paula Begoun: But when you think about your face you can have areas of your face that are dry. Your cheeks can be dry. Your nose can be oily. It has to do with where the oil glands are, the amount of androgens in your body. Hair is a male trait. Is a secondary male trait.
00:36:04 So, it also has to do with just hair follicles in general and what they do and don’t do for a woman or a man. So, it just varies person to person and their own body chemistry. But, yeah, for me it was maddening. I had oily skin and oily hair, but now later in life for whatever reason my hair is far less oily, thank goodness, because given how long I went without washing it, than it used to be.
00:36:34 But my face is still – my face isn’t as oily as it was. But, yeah, I still have skin. And I still struggle--
Bryan Barron: Is this because you have mature skin?
Paula Begoun: I have no estrogen left is pretty much what it is. So, you know, but that’s interesting is that I definitely, obviously I am an older woman and I definitely am menopausal. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t have androgens, male hormones, running around my body.
00:37:01 And that’s what triggers oil production. Estrogen actually has very little to do with oil production. It’s all about male hormones. And so that, just because I went over 50 many, many, many years ago.
Bryan Barron: Those androgens…
Paula Begoun: And I still have oily skin. Dang. Dang.
Bryan Barron: I’m convinced that androgens also do two other things to men. They make us forget where we put the remote. And they somehow make it impossible for us to close a cupboard or drawer that we’ve opened.
Paula Begoun: What is that?
Bryan Barron: I don’t know.
Paula Begoun: What is that?
00:37:30 I tell you, it is, it’s testosterone. So, we already talked about when you use a blow dryer or flat iron you keep it moving over the hair.
Bryan Barron: What do you think about point number 12. I was curious if you would agree with that or if you’d challenge me on that. But I thought that was an interesting one.
Paula Begoun: So, you’re saying because you would be roughing up – so, in essence what you’re saying is you don’t want to blow dry the hair against the hair shaft if you’re lifting up the cuticle and damaging it?
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: So, what Bryan is suggesting is that when you throw your hair over and you dry it with your head hanging down, if you were using a brush and stroking across the length of the hair in the opposite direction, I think that would be a problem.
00:38:29 But if what you’re--
Bryan Barron: That’s what I was getting at. You know, trying to get that maximum volume. Because you see that tip in fashion magazines a lot. “Need more volume, bend over while blow drying.”
Paula Begoun: As long as you’re not smoothing the hair. So, in other words, what I do because bending over doesn’t make sense to me because it just frizzes out my hair because of exactly what you’re saying, but you can do a similar technique without damaging the cuticle by just blowing against the grain of the hair.
00:39:03 In other words you take your fingers, you lift up the hair, same way a hairstylist would do it. And you blow against the grain of the hair without moving the brush over it. So, you lift it up, put the heat there at the root.
Bryan Barron: Keep the heat moving.
Paula Begoun: Keep the heat moving. Yeah, don’t hold it there. Lift it up. Put the heat there. And then smooth it down.
00:39:25 Anything that goes against the cuticle is what’s going to be a problem. But, if you put the heat near the root as you’re lifting it, that doesn’t damage the cuticle. But, you’re right, anything that would move the cuticle in the opposite direction and that actually is going to be a problem. So, when you want that lift you do it at the root with your fingers and you don’t move the brush against the hair. I kind of thought that’s what you meant there.
Bryan Barron: So, we just talked about using the blow dryer, we just talked about keeping the blow dryer moving because you don’t want to concentrate heat on any one area for more than a few seconds.
00:40:01 The other don’t is to don’t blow dry your hair by moving the blow dryer ever which way. I see people doing this in the salon and I think that the reason they do it, especially on men, is to try to get the hair dry as fast as possible. It is much better to take your time and use a blow dryer with the air directed down the hair, to the roots, to increase shine and keep hair smooth. That will help really keep frizzies down.
Paula Begoun: Right.
Bryan Barron: If you’re not just kind holding the blow dryer and your hair is--
Paula Begoun: Not controlling your hair.
00:40:32 You’re not controlling your hair.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. If when you blow dry your hair you look like you’re outside on a windy day during the process, you’re doing it wrong.
Paula Begoun: Right. You’re not getting the control and smoothing it as you go, in the direction the hair grows, not against the hair growth, exactly. So, Bryan, have we gotten some questions on Facebook? Anybody wants to talk to us?
Bryan Barron: There are some people that want to talk to us. We’ve had a few people ask, now of course I lost the name.
00:41:00 We can get that in a second. But the keratin straightening treatments. That continues to be a question we get on the Paula’s Choice Facebook page. What do you think of it, Paula? Have you had it done? Is it worth the money?
Paula Begoun: I have had it done. That’s a good question. So, I have had it done. And I--
Bryan Barron: And just as a reminder, Paula has naturally curly hair.
Paula Begoun: I have very naturally curly hair that I personally would call frizzy hair. I’m not nuts about my curly hair.
00:41:30 I like it when it’s smooth and straight. I think it’s easier for me to deal with, because I happen to have a lot of hair. I think that there’s no question it works. However, Kate in our office had it done and her stylist literally fried off sections of her hair when they went over it with the flatiron. That was terrible.
Bryan Barron: I felt so bad for her.
Paula Begoun: That was terrible.
00:41:58 I did have it done before they made the ones without the formaldehyde. It did burn – there’s no question, while I was having it done it did burn my eyes and I did feel the irritation in my nose. Now, obviously I just had it done for that one time and I feel bad for the woman, the stylist, who was doing it because she – actually those formaldehyde based ones are actually a bigger issue for the stylist doing it because she’s exposed to it, or he’s exposed to it all the time.
00:42:29 The answer is that it works. There’s no question it works. They do them in different strengths these days where they last shorter periods of time versus longer periods of times. So, you can go to salons that give you the treatment that last for about two months, or you can go that last through the grow out phase. One is just less straightening than the other where you’re getting just some of the hair through, not all of it.
00:42:56 But it works. There’s no question it works. There are some downsides to it. When it works really well you don’t get any movement to your hair. It will be straight. It will not hold a curl. I think that it’s lost some of its popularity because it made hair, for the most part makes hair too straight. But when you have really thick curly hair, straightening treatments work. I mean, there’s no question about it. It’s just generally that it’s expensive, it does have to be redone.
00:43:30 The redoing process is difficult because it’s the length of hair – it’s the short part of the hair that’s grown out that needs to be redone, not the length, and not everybody knows how to do that. So, the short answer is it works. The longer answer is you really want to go to somebody who knows what they’re doing. I don’t think it hurts to give it a try, especially if you have thick, frizzy, long hair.
Bryan Barron: Okay. So, you’re doing all that, you’re going to someone who has experience. You feel like you’re in good capable hands. And you get the procedure done and you love the results.
00:44:02 And then the stylist says, “Oh wait, you can’t leave without buying all of these products.”
Paula Begoun: Leave. Leave. Do not buy the – oh, actually, you know what we didn’t touch on? So, products that say they keep, you had mentioned this, products that say they keep your color in your hair longer, they’re lying! Lying. Lying. Lying. You had touched upon it earlier. Sun damage.
Bryan Barron: In relation to the eternal search for a shampoo that won’t fade your color, and not realizing--
Paula Begoun: It doesn’t exist.
00:44:33 There isn’t any hair care ingredient that will keep hair color in longer. It mostly depends on the amount of sun damage you get, how often you wash your hair, high heat from styling tools like flatirons and blow dryers help remove hair color. And it depends what hair color you get. Red hair fades faster. Blonde hair fades faster. Black dye doesn’t fade – you can’t get that stuff to fade.
00:45:03 Most women who make mistakes with it wish it did fade, but it doesn’t, so it’s also the hair dye itself, the color itself that matters. There aren’t any hair care ingredients that have been shown to reliably or even vaguely keep hair color in. In terms of keeping your straightened hair straight after you do one of those thermal, or keratin, or brazilin, whatever country they want to call it, used to be from Japan, whatever the current--
Bryan Barron: Yes, yeah, the thermal hair straightening from.
Paula Begoun: Right.
00:45:30 Whatever it is that gets your hair straight, there are no hair care products that will keep it longer. Something physiologically has been changed in the hair. That process of breaking bonds in hair and reforming them, no hair care product, shampoo, or conditioner is going to get in the hair and improve it, keep it, or do anything with it. It’s not possible. Hair doesn’t work that way. It is a waste of your money. Please do not be seduced into wasting money. Wasting money isn’t pretty.
Bryan Barron: So, we continue to get questions on Facebook and otherwise about sulfates.
00:46:06 Can you give us your 30--
Paula Begoun: So many evil ingredients out there; how is it that anybody looks good? So, there is no research showing that sulfates are a problem for There are other options you can use if you still want to believe that sulfates are bad.
Bryan Barron: Some of them can be drying.
Paula Begoun: Some of them can be drying, but so can the natural ones. I mean, lard and lye, lye is natural for gosh sake.
Bryan Barron: Sure is.
Paula Begoun: It makes great soap.
00:46:34 It’s also try washing your hair with lard and lye. It will look like – you want to talk about a bad hair day. So, just because something is natural doesn’t make it good and healthy. There are ways you can formulate hair care products with both natural and synthetic ingredients that make it good or make it bad. But there is nothing inherently bad. The research just isn’t there for this hysteria over sulfates.
00:47:01 It is, I mean, there really is no other words for it. It is hysteria. It isn’t based on fact. It’s based on fear mongering and natural hair care companies getting a hold of a woman’s fear factor and playing on it to say, “My product will make you look beautiful and you won’t kill yourself.” Nobody is dying, or sick, or anything from using a sulfate, a shampoo with sulfates. Ridiculous.
Bryan Barron: One last question before we wrap up.
00:47:29 You have curly to very curly hair.
Paula Begoun: I do.
Bryan Barron: If you were to wear your hair curly on a regular basis, this is a constant question we get, what are the good products for very curly hair? What would you use? What should women look for?
Paula Begoun: You know what it is is it depends on the kind of curly hair you have. For me, I don’t wear my hair curly because nothing I use makes it –what we’re all looking for is the tendril look. And we’re looking for the smooth look. And mostly that comes from a good – you just can’t get it. What women want from their curly hair is to put a product on and the product then makes their hair with those tendrils and the soft tendrils.
00:48:12 And it is the rare woman who has that kind of natural hair that with a hairstyling product goes softly into cascading curls or tendrils. So, it still takes a curling iron--
Bryan Barron: Like the fairy tale princess look.
Paula Begoun: It just doesn’t happen.
00:48:29 It’s the rare styling product – not that it’s the styling product. It’s really the kind of hair you have on your head whether or not a styling product will get you what you want. And any of us who have gone to the hair salon with our curly hair and the stylist has put it into a look of styling curled, she uses – she doesn’t just use her fingers and a styling product. She uses a blow dryer and a curling iron, or a flatiron, and then manipulates the hair.
00:48:58 The problem is that it depends on your hair types whether or not a styling product will actually get you that kind of smooth tendril look that you’re going for.
Bryan Barron: So, it isn’t necessarily for women with naturally curly hair to look for hair care products just for curly hair?
Paula Begoun: No, because the problem is that it depends – one is it depends on the kind of curly hair you have and the kind of hold you want and the kind of smoothness you want, so there isn’t one universal.
00:49:29 For example, with my hair I use a silicone serum. And a straightening balm. And sometimes it’s a balm that says it’s for curly hair, or styling lotion for curly hair. It really just depends what you’re going to style it with as opposed to what the name says on the label. By the way, before we go because I know we’re going to wrap up, I wanted to get to this about, we’re talking about hair, can I talk about the No No?
Bryan Barron: Yes, yes, yes.
Paula Begoun: Nathan, can I talk about the No No? Do people ask us about the No No?
00:49:59 People ask us about the No No. So, we’ve written about this before and we have often said the No No is a no-no. So, the No No, if you’ve seen it on television, on infomercials, the No No, or ads, the No No is supposed to be a kind of shaving product that says it heats up the hair follicle and burns away at the base of the root to destroy the root. And you won’t get hair growth. I mean, it will go away and it won’t come back.
00:50:33 A study published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine this past July, July 2013, did a comparison study between laser hair removal, shaving, and using the No No. And what the study – and it was a pretty good study. The No No didn’t work any differently after three months than shaving.
00:51:02 That when you use the No No as directed, and you shaved one leg and you put the No No on the other, you had the exact same results.
Bryan Barron: Uh-oh for the No No.
Paula Begoun: Ha! Uh-oh for the No No. I had to say that. I love when studies--
Bryan Barron: Confirm what we suspect. Because sometimes we’ll talk about devices or products, and we always consult the research.
00:51:32 But sometimes the research doesn’t exist or--
Paula Begoun: Right. And we’re just going on physiology, what we know about physiology and we’re saying based on physiology this is what we think is – can or can’t happen.
Bryan Barron: So, you’re getting an educated guess and then something like that comes along that proves we were on the right track.
Paula Begoun: Thank you Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.
00:51:56 So, thank you all for listening. I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, with Bryan Barron, the other Cosmetics Cop. Actually we have a whole research team, including Nathan who we’ve been yelling at sitting in the other room. We are talking about, as we always do, about being beautifully informed because wasting money isn’t pretty. You can find us, and probably have if you’re listening to us on and also on our Facebook page at Paula’s Choice.
00:51:25 We love doing this. Our favorite thing is to make sure you don’t make decisions on your hair, skincare, or makeup based on hype and marketing, but rather on fact, because fiction doesn’t help. So, again, listen to us, keep getting updated by coming to And stay tuned and check out what our new shows are, or listen to our archived shows on Thank you.
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