One way to determine how healthy your hair is—as you’re in the process of gaining length retention—is to check its elasticity. In a nutshell, elasticity is what makes it possible for you to take your hair into your hands and stretch it, then let it go and watch it return back to the length it was before you pulled it. If your hair is in a healthy state, it should be able to stretch about 40-50 percent when it’s dry and around 20 percent when it’s wet without breaking or shedding. You can check your hair’s elasticity by gently tugging on it while it’s wet. If it stretches and “bounces back”, it has high elasticity (good); if it breaks or doesn’t bounce back, it has low elasticity (not good).

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Image Source: @naturallycurly
Image of: @curlsfirst

If when you do this lil’ test, your hair sends the message to you that it could use some help in the elasticity department, we’ve got some tips that can get your curly tresses exactly to where they need to be.

Deep condition regularly. Between the environment, your styling tools and the day-to-day wear and tear that happens to your hair, it’s important to deep condition your locks no less than twice a month. It will give your tresses the moisture that they need, improve their texture, add shine and luster and increase your hair’s elasticity. Although there are plenty of good deep conditioners on the market, some all-natural ingredients that work very well include sunflower oil, argan oil and olive oil.

Apply a protein treatment. Sometimes our hair doesn’t have the kind of elasticity that it should because it doesn’t have enough protein in it. The way to remedy that is to apply a protein treatment to it. It will make your hair soft, strengthen its shaft and also make it possible for your hair to stretch without breaking (yes, improve its elasticity). Just make sure to avoid giving your hair a protein treatment more than every six weeks. Otherwise, it could become too hard and you could experience extreme breakage.

Use an apple cider rinse. If you are a self-professed product junkie, you definitely need some apple cider vinegar (preferably the kind that has “the mother” in it) in your life! Apple cider vinegar is one of the most powerful and potent kind of hair clarifiers. Not only that, but it also keeps your hair’s pH balance intact. A good pH balance will result in keeping your hair’s cuticles closed so that they can have more elasticity. It’s best to mix a half-water, half-cider solution and apply it to your hair after shampooing it in order to get the most effective results.

Air dry (or use a steam dryer). Heat is one of your hair’s elasticity’s greatest enemies. Keep heat at bay by allowing your hair to air dry as much as possible. Or, if you must use a dryer, try going with a steam dryer; it will dry your hair while still making sure that it retains moisture.

Massage with jojoba oil. Every once in a while, treat your hair to some jojoba oil. It regulates the amount of sebum that your scalp and hair produce, it promotes hair growth and it’s an oil that deeply conditions your hair. The really great thing is it’s kind of oil that makes your hair soft without it feeling too oily in the process.

Try some honey. Honey is a natural humectant. What that means is it has the ability to pull moisture out of the air so that it can absorb into your skin and hair. Honey also contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties to keep your scalp in good condition, along with properties that will keep your hair follicles healthy and antioxidants that will reduce the chances of your hair experiencing hair damage. Another great thing about honey is it’s an awesome hair conditioner. As we’ve already discussed, tresses that are well-conditioned are the kind that tend to have a good amount of elasticity to them.

Drink water. One more. If there’s a running theme throughout this article, it’s that dry hair ruins elasticity while (a good balance of) moisture helps to maintain it. Although all of the other tips that we offered will help you to care for your hair from the outside in, hands down, the best way to improve your hair’s elasticity is to moisturize yourself from the inside out. An effective way to do that is by drinking plenty of water. If you want to add some nutrients to your hair follicles, take things up a notch by drinking some homemade infused water. Your hair’s elasticity—and just about everything else tied to your system—will thank you in a mighty big way!

Know of any other tips for improving hair elasticity the natural way? Share with us in the comments!