When you hear the word “steaming” you probably think of vegetables, laundry or, at a stretch, clearing out your blackheads with scorching vapour.
But it is actually an amazing way to keep your hair healthy and hydrated.
Hear me out. I’ve been dying my hair blonde since I was 16 and the bleach has not been kind to my tresses. Once a month, I douse my locks in serums and hair masks but nothing stops my hair from looking like a haystack – or like I have been dragged through one – after a night’s sleep.
So I decided to give steaming a go.
Ever wondered why Mediterraneans and have such lush locks? When you steam your hair, it is creating a humid environment, rather than the cold and dry one we have here in the UK, which is better for your hair. A steam replenishes the moisture lost through our cold climate.
The vapour also increases definition in the hair – transforming frizz and stray hairs to slick curls that can last for days without washing (FYI, washing your hair too frequently strips your scalp of its natural moisture – I wash mine every three days).
Steaming can also enhance growth as it promotes the flow of natural oils on the scalp with a healthy atmosphere (on your skin) for the hair to flourish.
Another problem I encounter is moulting. When I brush my hair, or hug somebody with a wool coat, I leave behind strings of blonde. Steaming can help to strengthen strands as it enhances the elasticity of your hair – and the more elastic your hair, the longer it can withstand different hair styles without snagging.
Most importantly (my hairdresser tells me), is that steaming opens the cuticles. No, not the ones on your nails. The cuticles on your head are opened by the vapour and then absorb deep conditioning treatments, sucking in all of the good stuff, before it is rinsed off, for a truly nourished noggin.
I booked in for my full head, cut, toner, condition, steam and dry (a mouthful) at Michael John Hairdressing in Manchester.
It’s a training school but my hairdresser (I think he was actually the manager) was really attentive and got my colour spot on (usually its quite hard to avoid a bright yellow shade, I like it ash blonde). Then, he put a toner on (again, to stop the brassiness) and a deep conditioner.
Everything was normal until I had a cotton wool headband wrapped around my skull and I was put under THE STEAMER. It felt like I was in a Doctor Who episode where they switch your brains with an alien but, after a while, it felt quite relaxing.
You do have to ignore the beads of sweat but, after 5 to 7 minutes, you’re done.
Here were the results:
And, when my hair was cut and dried, I could really note the difference. Four days on, I still haven’t washed my hair and it looks shiny – rather than greasy.
It’s not the kind of thing you will do every day, but I definitely recommend implementing it when your hair needs a bit of attention. If you’re a big fan, you can even buy home machines.