Ideal temperature for rinsing chemically-treated hair

Q. Permit me to ask your professional opinion about a situation I have encountered while attending a class on Double Process Blonding.  As I have always rinsed the hair with cool water, I was surprised to learn from this instructor that the opinion had changed and that the water recommendation was now “as warm as the client can tolerate.”  The theory being warm water was more effective in releasing “Quats” from the hair.

I have a double process blonde client that I have had for many years.  Her hair is fine and fragile, but I have always had good success, as I am meticulous about proper application and timing.  After attending this class, I began using much warmer water on her hair.  I also have tried some new bleaches, but always with 20 volume peroxide.  She is experiencing  significant breakage and I am very concerned about this situation.  I would love to know your recommendation on water temperature and if you think this could be the cause of the damage.  I have used many different bleaches on her over the years and have NEVER seen this reaction before. The only thing of significant difference is using very warm, as opposed to cool/cold water.  I have questioned her about nutrition and medication and the only change is she began taking Vitorin about a year ago. I would appreciate your opinion in this matter as I am very concerned about the possible cause.  Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Jan, Centennial, CO.

A. Double processing is a very delicate technique which should always be applied with care and expertise. I can judge from your letter Jan, that you are both careful and knowledgeable. I find it surprising that somebody would recommend very warm or hot water to rinse the hair after a chemical service. Very warm water tends to loosen the hair and increase its elasticity, something you would want to avoid when the hair is stressed.

I am also puzzled by the reasoning offered by the instructor to justify the elevated temperature. “Quats” are desirable chemical ingredients that are incorporated into hair care products to condition, detangle and enhance the look of the hair. These are what you add to the hair after a chemical service and I do not understand why you want to rinse them out. Besides, double process blonding does not generate quats in the hair to start with (it would be great if it did). That’s why I think the instructor you mentioned may have had his/her facts mixed up.

My recommendation is that you go back to the rinse technique that you were doing, especially when color is being involved. Please keep in mind however that several factors can contribute to hair breakage. Some of these factors are obvious, such as weathering, combing and curling irons. One unobvious and very important cause is metallic contamination of the hair which can build up over time. Metals such as copper and iron (which can build up on the hair from metallic pipes, well water, and swimming pools) generate free radicals in combination with peroxide and alkalinity. These free radicals can cause severe damage to hair structure and its integrity. It is of utmost importance to make sure the hair is free from metals before you proceed with any chemical service.