Is your hair blah and non-responsive to hydrating hair products?
Does it seem like conditioner just sits there without doing much for the dryness?
As a result does it ruin your day while leaving you totally disgusted with your mane?
Maybe it’s time you learned how chelate your locks at home to get the softness back.
Of course you likely have questions.
Like maybe you’re wondering what is chelating hair exactly?
Yeah what does it mean when you say you going to chelate (pronounced KEY late)?
Chelating hair is a way to demineralize your hair and remove product buildup. It’s especially important if your blonde strands have gone brassy and you want to tone them with purple shampoo or conditioner. In that case you’ll want to do this first. To get rid of product, oils or minerals that have glomed onto your strands. Since such deposits will keep the purple pigment from penetrating your strands like it should. Which can keep you from getting the results you were hoping for.
So that’s basically what it means when you say you’re going to chelate your hair.
When used with purple conditioners, you might think of it as a deep cleanse for your hair that then lets you get rid of the brass without using an actual toner.
Okay so now that you better understand chelating hair treatment basics maybe you want to know what it actually does?
Or why does work?
Is there a home remedy?
What process should you follow for best results?
All good questions. Let’s see if we can’t answer them.
Why Chelate Hair
You might think of this mineral buildup as a plastic-like barrier to toning that’s hiding in plain sight. So you want to remove it pronto.
Before we get into more of the why – a quick refresher on the science behind this might be helpful. Since the benefits of using lemon juice may not be immediately obvious.
Because to me the use of lemon didn’t make sense until I understood the chemistry.
Now as you know your hair is typically going to fall between 4.5 and 5.5 on the pH scale. (Doesn’t matter. It’s just a good to know fact.)
And you can see from this graphic lemon juice comes in with a pH at a solid 2. Or almost as acidic as battery acid!
Yet we use lemon juice because it is loaded with both citric and ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C).
Both are powerful chelators.
Which means they will chemically bond with (think: trap) the minerals.
So they work to dissolve all the jazz clinging to your hair making removal possible.
Think of it like the lemon juice is vaporizing the mineral deposits away.
It’s interesting to note that this is something clarifiers can’t do. Product build up removal yes. Mineral buildup removal, not so much. Which is why for most of us it’s a good idea to chelate from time to time.
TIP: Given the very low pH of lemon juice it may be smart to do a strand test first to make sure this treatment is not too drying for your locks.
How To Chelate Hair
The following is not the only way to chelate your hair. For instance some rely on shampoo.
But this video shows how to use Dawn and lemon juice that has just tons of rave reviews for the results it produces.
So if you’re looking for how to chelate hair at home using a method that’s proven keep watching.
What you’ll need for your chelating hair treatment
- Dawn dish soap
- One lemon
- Deep conditioner or super hydrating mask
- (OPTIONAL) Purple shampoo or conditioner
Step 1 Wet your hair
Step 2 Lather up with DAWN (for our UK readers Fairy Liquid) after emulsifying it in your hands.
Use it just like you would any shampoo. Start at the scalp and work your way towards the ends giving your scalp a good massage with your fingertips. You’ll likely find you need less Dawn than ordinary shampoo.
Step 3 Rinse with warm water
Step 4 Spritz half a lemon on the hair on the top of your head
If spritzing isn’t for you some squeeze the juice out, removing the pulp naturally, into a bowl or bottle for easy application. They then pour a little into their palms at a time and work it through their strands.
Step 5 Gather the lower section of your hair and spritz the second half on the ends – midstrand down.
Give the juice a minute or two to do its thing.
And don’t be alarmed if your hair feels as smooth as steel wool at this point. Many mention this as it can be kinda scary. But it’s to be expected.
Rinse out using tepid water.
Step 6 Apply the most hydrating hair mask or deep conditioner you’ve got on hand.
Just in case you were wondering the product she used was It’s a 10 Miracle Silk conditioner left on for 3-5 minutes. She flashes the tube around in the video like Zorro and it’s hard to pick up which one it is exactly.
Obviously if you were toning with a purple conditioner you’d use that instead at this point. Oh and you might also appreciate this hack for using purple shampoo on dry hair.
Step 7 Rinse with warm water
Step 8 Hit with water as cold as you can stand to close the cuticle
Okay so what this all does is strip away everything gross and unwanted off your hair.
Then you fill it back up moisture to hydrate it to the max.
Best of all by removing minerals and product build up your hair mask or conditioner of choice can penetrate and do their job.
Letting you get your hair back to the softness you remember.
You can also get back to a level of cleanliness you haven’t seen for a while due to the buildup.
Now some stylists may suggest you should never use dish soap on your hair. I understand. But Dawn is super gentle. It’s the one advertised as used to clean ducklings who tangled with an oil spill and lost.
Once rinsed out your hair should literally feel squeaky clean and silky smooth.
But I have to tell you. This is not ideal for hair dyed red as it can strip the color away.
Yet it is great for those with natural hair color, or highlights, or salon blondes in need of brightening.
If you dye your hair red, you may discover the vibrancy of the hue if dulled down following a chelating session. Red hair is a delicate color anyway as we explore in this article covering red hair fading.
Here’s a workaround if you have concerns about what chelating might do to your color. Simply do it close to the date of your next appointment with your colorist.
That way any further shade fade won’t matter as much.
Plus detoxing your hair might just help your fresh red to be that much more ravishing.
Anyway that’s one stylist’s approach that has rave review after rave review in the comments.
How Often Should You Chelate Your Hair?
One common question asked about chelating is how often should you do such a hair detox. Especially if you’re loving how soft and silky your hair feels afterwards and want to keep that feeling going.
Good question. But first a couple of questions to ask yourself.
Are you a product addict? Yeah, how much product do you use? How many have non water soluble silicones like dimethicone? Parabens? Other heavy waxy stuff?
Obviously the more product you use the more often chelated (or clarifying) will be called for.
Do you have hard or soft water? If hard to you use a shower filter?
Again the harder the water, or if you have no shower filter, the faster the mineral buildup will be. The faster the mineral buildup the more often you’ll want to chelate.
Plus if you pay attention your hair may give you clues it’s time. Like …
Does your hair feel weighed down?
Is it not as shiny as you remember it to be?
Or maybe it feels more straw like and not as soft as is used to.
Maybe you’re getting the sense your hair isn’t absorbing the hydrating goodness of your styling products like it used to.
Any or all might suggest it’s time to chelate.
So for you the right timeframe could be every other week, once a month, every other month, whatev. Just depends on what your particular hair regimen is and what your water hardness situation is.
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