This story was originally published January 13, 2017.
Last year I bleached my hair one too many times. Then I bleached it again.
No shock here: My normally very-resilient strands became more damaged than they'd been in years. It was own fault — and it's a common story in our era of icy and pastel hair color trends.
I called in the big guns for rehab — Olaplex, masks, pre-shampoo treatments — and they all made a major difference. But, as we all know very well, you can't really fix split or fried ends; you have to cut 'em off before they get worse. So, what's one to do when you need to lose the dead, fried, split weight, but aren't looking to go much shorter? Enter: Hair dusting.
L.A. hairstylist Sal Salcedo introducing me to the technique — and he literally saved my hair in one dust.
What Is Hair Dusting?
"Hair dusting is a technique in which you don’t get rid of any hair length, but only the damaged hair tips," Salcedo explains. "This can be done by snipping the very bottom of each hair strand."
So how does that work? "Think of it in terms of removing fuzz from clothes," he says. "You want to smooth the hair out the best you can first, because you need to allow the bad hair to pop up. That's what you will be getting rid of."
Here's the reason why many hairstylists don't do it: It's really time consuming. In fact, it's almost like a second haircut after your strands are shaped and trimmed. "It's more of a grooming technique, rather than an overall haircut," he says, noting that it's by no means new. "It's been done for ages, some cultures even use different techniques, like fire or razors."
Ready to see the technique in action?
And one more time in slow-motion...
Convinced? Here's What Your Stylist Needs To Know
"I hold smaller strands of hair in my hand, then slowly open and close my shears perpendicular to the hair strand, letting my shears catch the damaged hair," Salcedo says. "Then, I proceed to cutting the perimeter of the hair, if the ends are bad there, too."
Salcedo does this to most of his clients, which is why every look he shares on Instagram is so damn enviable. To achieve healthier hair, without going shorter, ask your hairstylist for a "dusting — not a trim!" Salcedo says. "Less than half an inch of a snip in most cases — and sometimes even less throughout the surface of the hair, the layers, and the ends. If it's dead, let it go."
Salcedo says the technique works on any hair type or texture — but you do need to smooth the hair out to see the damaged ends that should be removed. And no, it won't thin the hair — quite the opposite. It actually stops the damage by removing it, so you won't have split ends creeping up your strands. That said, make sure you go to a stylist that knows what they're doing — the dusting should be very minimal.
"The point is to get rid of hair that no longer serves you," Salcedo says. "Hair gets damaged because of weather, coloring, bad haircuts, hot tools, and most of time, just the age of the hair."
Want to see it a few more times in action? Keep on scrolling...
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