What does healthy natural hair look like to you? All of these factors play a role in the state of your curls and how to care for them.
Have the harsh winter months put wear and tear on your gorgeous hair? These are the 4 signs of healthy hair to help your curls bounce back.
Your spring factor means your curls have been getting the moisture they need.
Shrinkage tends to be the thorn in many a naturalista's side. Although it hides our hair's true length, shrinkage is one of the best indicators of textured hair health. Natural hair that is properly hydrated and moisturized will shrink.
Shrinkage is also a sign of your hair’s elasticity and its resistance to breakage. Also called the "spring factor", this means your curls' structure and integrity of your hair are still intact. Ensure your hair is healthy by proper hydration via steaming and deep conditioning and be sure to seal moisture into the hair.
Shiny hair tends to be low porosity and retains internal hydration better.
Your hair’s natural shine is also another factor of healthy hair. Test yours by taking a closer look on the next wash day. After cleansing and conditioning (and before applying any styling product or oils), take a curl or two and pat dry with an old t-shirt). Are they dull and drab, or on the shinier side? Shiny hair tends to have low porosity and retains internal hydration better. On the other hand, hair that is dry or damaged will appear dull and flat. Rethink your current regimen and determine if your hair is suffering from product buildup or could use a hot oil treatment. Incorporate ceramide-rich oils in your hair routine that will help boost your shine factor the right way.
Hair that stretches lifelessly or breaks when being tugged on is lacking keratin.
Healthy hair is like a brand new scrunchie; you can stretch it as far as it will go, and it will bounce back into its original form. Hair that is not completely healthy will struggle with the stretch and springback--either stretching lifelessly or breaking. According to this article, “elasticity is one of the primary indicators of the health of your hair. Your hair’s elasticity is responsible for your curls it body, bounce and curl formation and retention.”
Elasticity is related to the integrity of the keratin within the hair. Hair that lacks elasticity is more prone to breakage and has difficulty withstanding manipulation. Generally, hair with high level of elasticity should be able to be gently tugged and spring back into place without breaking.
If you find that your hair is suffering from lack of elasticity, consider treatments that focus on elasticizing the hair via balancing protein and moisture. Try treatments such as ApHogee Keratin 2-Minute Reconstructor, Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus Protein Deep Conditioning Treatment, and ApHogee Texture Treatment.
Determine fullness by evaluation your hair in its completely natural, unaltered state.
Fullness is another inductor of healthy hair. This is certainly the most difficult to measure due to the diversity in each strand's texture, curl diameter, density, and thickness. The amount of product you use also affects your hair’s illusion of fullness. A heavy-handed application or use of thicker products will add weight and give you the impression that your hair is thinner or finer.
The best way to determine your hair’s fullness is by evaluating it in its natural state (when it’s product-free and hasn't been manipulated on wash day). By seeing your hair in its natural state, you'll focus on areas that seem thinner, or that have suffered breakage/damage.
What does healthy hair look and feel like to you?
If you are suffering from lack luster hair, try thickening treatments, shampoos, and sprays will only provide a temporary boost to your hair that will go down the drain on your next wash day. Also, consider getting regular trims and shaping that can help your hair appear thicker and fuller.
photo courtesy of tunart (Getty Images)