By Diana Dudas
It seems like such an enigma. Of the hundred or so emails I receive daily, the same question pops up endlessly. “Why is my hair so, frizzy and dry, coarse or brittle?” I intend to try and solve this mystery. And my first clue has to do with moisture deficiency!
Oil and Water
90% of us suffer with dry brittle or frizzy hair because our hair is deficient of (moisture) WATER! There is a certain preconceived notion that has been passed on from generation to generation. That is the idea that our hair is dry, because we are lacking in natural oils. We are told that if we nurture our hair by brushing vigorously 100 times a day, or if we nurture our hair with hot oil treatments and cholesterols. If we do all of these things, then we are sure to be blessed with beautiful, shiny and healthy locks. This might be the case, if you have young virgin (hair that is not chemically treated) hair. But this is certainly not the case, once you have impaled your tresses, with harsh chemicals such as bleaches and alkaline permanents. Or if you have naturally curly hair,
Naturally Curly Hair
Those of you who have curly hair, have these curls, because of a curvature of the hair follicles .A normal hair follicle under a microscope would be seen as perfectly straight. However yours would have a definite bend in it. This causes the hair to curl. Where the hair curves it compels the cuticle (the outer layer of the hair) to lift.
Under a microscope, A cuticle is similar in appearance to shingles on a roof. When the hair is in good condition, and is straight and has good porosity the tiles or cuticle layers are tight together and in perfect in shape, giving the hair a smooth appearance. This makes light reflect off the hair enhancing shine! When hair is in bad conditioner, is curly or has poor porosity, the cuticle layers are lifted and sometimes damaged and broken. This makes the hair feel coarse and brittle. It also causes the hair to absorb light, giving the appearance of dull lifeless hair.
To sum up this scenario. Because curly haired cuticle layer is permanently lifted, it feels, coarse, and brittle and has no brilliance. Hence the dull, lifeless look. It also means that our hair has poor porosity.
Is the ability for hair to be able to absorb and retain moisture. The best way for me to explain this is to would be for you to imagine a sponge. First of all imagine a brand new sponge. It will have tiny holes in it, and when you immerse it in water, it will soak up a large quantity, and be able to hold that liquid for a long period of time. This is because it has good porosity. Now imagine an old sponge. Its holes have become damaged and distorted. It might even be torn in some areas. When you immerse this sponge in the same amount of liquid, it will absorb far less and will certainly not be able to retain the moisture so readily.
It is the same with hair. Hair that has poor porosity will not be able to absorb or retain moisture as well as hair that has good porosity. making hair permanently dry.
Hot oil treatments
Traditions have taught many of us that lavishly applying oil to our hair will give us the soft, shiny hair that we all desire. However more often than not, the opposite takes place. Most oils if they are not essential oils do not have the ability to penetrate into the hair shaft. Nor do heavy cholesterols. What they will do, is to lay on top of the cuticle, and coat the cuticle. This may give the hair some Brilliance. However, it will also coat the hair. And causes product build up.
Product build up
Once the hair is coated, your problems will commence. First of all, the moisture that our hair so desperately needs will not be able to permeate through the wall of product build. The moisture is then not able to find it’s way underneath the cuticle layer. The hair cannot then be conditioned. Also the oils will not diffuse, but sit on top of the cuticle layer. If you use any kind of hot styling tools such as blow dryers or hot irons, what will happen to your hair, is exactly what happens when you put an egg into a hot pan. It will fry!
If you live in a sunny climate, the oil will do the same thing. The sun will heat the oil and fry your hair. You must have heard the term, my hair feels fried.
For hair to be in tiptop conditioner is has to have a moisture (water) content of at least 8%, and the right balance of protein and natural oil. Most of us produce enough natural oil (sebum), to keep our hair healthy, but lack the moisture. After having a chemical service your moisture level will drop as low as 2%, causing, drying of the hair, followed by split ends. The same will happen with constant use of blow-dryers and hot styling tools, such as curling or flat irons. If the moisture level is not restored to it’s optimum 8%; by the use of good moisturizing products your hair will ultimately become brittle and possibly break.
What to do
You need to give your hair lots of TLC, with shampoos that are designed to restore your hair’s moisture level to its optimum 8%. Along with intense conditioners that will help to repair damaged cuticles, improve porosity, elasticity and general health and appearance of your hair. Avoid product build by using products that contain natural ingredients. Also avoid hot oil treatments, heavy cholesterol type conditioners, and petroleum-based and silicone-based products. Also hairsprays, mousses and gels that have a high alcohol or butane content.
Those of you with naturally curly, wavy or frizzy hair, those of you who use hot styling tools or who chemically treat your hair, will need to give your hair extra nurturing by supplying it with the necessary nutrition and moisture that it needs. Sun worshippers need to make sure that your hair care products have sunscreen properties to protect your hair from the damaging affects of the UV rays.
Our hair needs moisture, moisture, and moisture! Who needs to add moisture more than most? People with naturally curly hair, chemically treated, hot styling tool users or people who live in hot sunny and arid climates.
Author Diana Dudas G.C.H.S.R.H. is an expert with more than 28 years experience in the beauty industry. She has answered over 2000 questions for allexperts.com and has had her work published in many well-respected beauty magazines both online and off.