Hair

Hair Assessment: Hair Types and Health

Hair types

Category Criteria Be aware
Hair texture / pattern Appearance of your hair pattern: Straight; Wavy-Curly, Curly – Kinky; Kinky – Coily

 

You can follow Andre Walker’s system to determine your hair pattern type

 

This will help you to understand your natural hair’ needs and tendencies as well as make appropriate hair-care choices. That said many people change their hair pattern by doing perm, straightening or relaxing their hair. As such, you have to make adjustment for your hair care product selection

 

Thickness / width of a single hair strand Fine; Medium or Coarse

 

Pull a single strand of hair and hold it to the light to access its width

 

How thick your hair strands are will determine the consistency and amount of hair products it can absorb and handle

For example, if your hair is fine, it will stick all together and lie flat on your head in case you use thick oils. Fine hair do better with lighter consistency and amount of the product

 

Overall hair density

 

Thin, Medium, Thick

 

You can part your dry hair and visually access how tight the hair strands are packed / how easy it is to see your scalp through the hair

 

Hair density will help you to decide on the consistency of the products as well as the amount needed

 

For example, low density hair will need small amount of product as well as products with light consistency.  High density hair will need relatively more product to notice the benefits / effects

 

Porosity

 

 

Low; Normal; High

 

Take an empty clear glass and fill it with lukewarm water. Pull out a strand of your clean, dry hair and gently put it on top of the water. If the hair strand sinks to the bottom of the glass fast, it means you have high porosity hair. If the hair stays on top of the water, you have light porosity hair. If your hair strand sinks to the middle of the glass, you have normal porosity hair

 

Porosity is hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. Porosity determines how oils and   creams move in and out of your hair

 

Hair with low porosity repels moisture since hair cuticles are closed. Low porosity hair are prone to protein build – up and needs deep moisturizing

 

Hair with normal porosity can be damaged by chemicals in the products and chemical treatments

 

High with high porosity are prone to damage, swelling, frizz and tangling. Since hair   cuticles are open, the moisture gets in and out of the hair easily. High porosity hair need protein and moisture

 

 

Elasticity as an indicator of hair health

One of the primary indicators of the health of your hair is its elasticity. Healthy hair, when wet, can stretch up to 50% of its original length and return to its original shape without breaking. Healthy hair, when dry, will only stretch about 20%. Essentially, healthy hair has high elasticity which gives bounce and body to your hair and makes it possible/ easy to style.

What contributes to hair elasticity?

The interior of the hair shaft, the cortex, is the portion of the hair structure that carries the load of applied products and contributes significantly to hair elasticity. Although the cortex is very important, it is the hair cuticle that has the most significance to hair elasticity due to its role of guarding the integrity of the inner shaft of the hair. As such, the best approach to ensure excellent hair elasticity is to maintain an intact protein structure inside the cortex and an adequate level of hydration. This cannot be achieved without maintaining a pristine cuticle layer which is easily damaged by temperature treatments, chemical processes, UV light exposure, hygral fatigue and mechanical forces. What I am trying to say is that hair porosity and elasticity are closely related.

Hair elasticity test

Take an inch of your hair and stretch it. How your hair strand reacts to being stretched will help you determine elasticity of your hair as well as its needs.

Low elasticity Normal elasticity High elasticity
Hair strand does not stretch or breaks instead Hair strand can stretch a bit and quickly revert back to its original size Hair strand can stretch out easily. However, it does not revert back but instead stays longer than the original length and grows weak and limp
Dry, brittle, rough hair   Weak, limp and mushy hair
Moisture! Deep moisturizing masks or conditioners that are water based are all amazing for replenishing moisture in the hair. Please be aware that it is possible to over moisturize your hair which will weaken hair’s protein binding structure and in turn will increase hair porosity

 

Protein and moisture balanced hair!

 

Soft and moisturized hair need strong protein infrastructure to offer support / strength to the softness

 

 

Protein! Protein treatments are beneficial to restore hair elasticity and address issues of high porosity hair. Protein treatments are temporary in nature; however,

they can potentially contribute to hard and brittle hair (breakage) if used in excess or if your hair already has sufficient protein content

 

The key to balanced hair care regimen is to:

 

1)      Ensure protein and water balance! Use proteins as well as moisture, varying the ratios to keep hair balanced

2)      pH balancing your products

 

 

 

Thank for reading,

 

 

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