There’s a good possibility that your hair is damaged beyond repair.
Daily heat styling, changing the color of your hair, and even the elements of everyday life can wreck your hair before you even realize it hit you. In other words, your hair probably doesn’t stand a chance.
The worst part is that once your hair is at that stage, there’s not a lot you can do to fix it (although Olaplex has been scientifically proven to repair hair damage).
So now the question is whether your hair is healthy or not. But do you even know how to check it?
Learn how to tell if your hair is healthy or not in just a few minutes’ time.
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Hair Structure Basics
Before I show you how to tell if your hair is healthy or not, it’s essential to first, have a basic understanding of how hair works.
Hair is made up of three sections: the medulla, cortex, and cuticle.
The medulla is the innermost part of the hair and its function is unknown (some people don’t even have a medulla). The cortex makes up the bulk of your hair and houses keratin and hair pigment.
The cuticle is the outermost scaley layer of the hair shaft and serves as a protective shield for the inner workings. This is what we see when we look at hair.
When hair is healthy, the cuticle will lay smooth and flat to protect everything inside. On the contrary, the cuticle of damaged hair has been blown open, chipped, and has missing scales, which can lead to further damage of the hair.
Now with all that knowledge, you’re ready for the rest. One of the first and most basic ways to tell if your hair is healthy is to…
1. Examine The Overall Appearance
It’s pretty obvious to tell if hair is healthy or not by giving it a quick look-through. The best place to start is by checking for the specific attributes of healthy hair.
What is the overall texture of the hair? Is it gummy and straw-like? If so, that’s not a good sign.
Since the cuticle of healthy hair is flat, the hair should appear to be smooth and shiny. It should be bouncy with ample movement. Hair that has been damaged will be dull, lifeless, and with a rough texture.
2. Check for Split Ends
Another quick and easy thing you can do is to check your hair for split ends. It might seem obvious, but it’s still one of the best ways to tell if you have healthy hair or not.
To check for split ends, look closely at the ends of the hair. Some splits are inevitable, but if several hair strands branch off into multiple pieces, the hair has been compromised.
There are different types of split ends, and they all mean something unique. MarieClaire.com has a fabulous article that further explains this concept.
3. Perform an Elasticity Test
Healthy hair will stretch up to 30% its natural length without breaking, while damaged hair will snap under tension.
To check the elasticity of your hair, first, detach a piece from your head. With the strand between your fingers, attempt to stretch the hair. Ideally, the hair should stretch and then, bounce back.
If the hair is lacking elasticity, a reconstructor is needed to rebuild the hair. My absolute favorite is the Joico Kpak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor– you can find it in my shower at any given time.
4. Monitor Hair Loss
While it’s completely normal to shed some hair every day, excessive shedding can be a sign of breakage.
Pay attention to what’s normal for your hair. If you suddenly start losing more hair, especially after a new chemical service, it’s likely because of damaged tresses.
Another way to keep track of your hair loss is to monitor how thick your ponytails are. If you were able to wrap a hair-tie twice around your hair, but now you have to do a third loop, you’re likely losing hair.
It’s also important to note that there are several other causes of hair loss, including certain medical conditions. If there’s any question of what’s causing it, please consult with your doctor.
5. Do a Porosity Check
When the cuticle has been blown open, hair becomes very porous like a sponge. When it’s porous, water, color molecules, and hair products can move in an out of the hair shaft without a problem.
The Water Test
One of the easiest ways to check the porosity of your hair is to remove a strand from your head and place it in a cup of plain water.
If the hair is porous, it will absorb water and become heavier, sinking to the bottom. This indicates that the hair is damaged.
Healthy hair with lower porosity will float at the top.
Similarly, you can hold a strand of hair tightly between your fingers and place a drop of water on it. If the hair absorbs the drop within ten seconds, you’ll know that the hair is porous.
With that same concept, porous hair will become extremely frizzy in humid weather, as the hair absorbs the moisture in the air. In not humid weather, it tends to get dull, brittle and lifeless.
According to NaturallyCurly.com, “curly girls with high porosity hair should use products with lots of moisturizers and emollients and also use anti-humectants in high heat and humidity climates in order to seal their cuticle against excessive absorption of moisture from the air.”
Did your hair not make the cut? Here’s what to do next
Fortunately, hair damage isn’t a permanent condition and can be undone with a little TLC. But be prepared to put in some work.
Get The Right Products
Some products have been specifically designed to help reconstruct your hair and add in the missing nutrients. Utilize these products.
As I mentioned before, Joico Kpak Reconstructor is a fabulous reconstructing treatment to use once or twice a week. Additionally, Redken Extreme has a line of products that adds in protein, helps rebuild the hair structure and revitalizes the ends.
If you want to get serious about making your hair healthy again, I really suggest giving Olaplex a try. It’s the only product on the market that has been proven to rebuild your hair. Even after just a few treatments, people will tell me how much healthier my hair looks.
Let it Grow
I’m gonna tell you a secret… I haven’t colored my hair in over a year.
I love my blonde hair, but when I became pregnant last year, I decided to hold off color until after the baby was born. Even though my baby is six-months-old now, I can see a huge difference between the condition of the colored hair and the virgin hair.
The good thing is that with balayage hair being trendy, nobody really notices that my hair is so grown out.
In another six months or so, I’ll probably cut it to my shoulders, which should rid me of the damage. At that point, I’m sure I’ll color it again.
Swear Off Heat Styling
Daily heat styling is so bad for your hair. It strips your hair of moisture, rips through your hair and damages the cuticle.
While it’s nearly impossible to give up heat styling altogether, maybe just save it for special occasions. Or maybe just do it every other day… and always use a heat protectant.
Either way, the less you do it, the healthier your hair will be.
Last but not least, just remember that your hair isn’t immortal. It’s incredibly vulnerable and needs to be cared for.
Treat it with love and respect when styling, combing, brushing, washing or handling it.
How to tell if your hair is healthy:
- Examine The Overall Appearance
- Check For Split Ends
- Perform an Elasticity Test
- Monitor Hair Loss
- Do a Porosity Check
Since it’s not easy to repair damaged hair, it’s important to keep it healthy from the get-go. The first step in planning a healthy hair regimen is to determine the state your hair is in.
By using a few proven tricks and easy-to-do tests, you can easily find out how healthy your hair is right now.
Until next time,
YOUR TURN: Do you know of any other ways to tell if your hair is healthy or not? Drop them in the comments section below! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼