When you think of it, you usually pay attention to the obvious signs that you can see straight away like split ends, dryness, and thinning. However, there are also types of damage that aren't so obvious.
Below are some of the things you can look out for to know if your hair is damaged--and what needs to be done to fix them.
Your curls aren't bouncing back
Elasticity in hair is the measure of how much your curls will stretch and then return to normal. A length check is something most curlies do at one point to check how much our hair has grown. When stretching your curls you will notice that they either pop right back into place--or hardly move at all. If your hair does not shrink back to its original length or if a strand breaks when stretched, you have a problem!
Bad elasticity is caused by a breakdown in your hair's cortex, located at the center of the hair strand and makes up most of your hair's shaft, which makes it one of most important and physical properties of the hair to look after. You probably have caused this damage by using chemicals, heat, too much manipulation, or simply not giving your curls enough moisture.
How to fix it
First, determine what damage you have; if it is chemical damage, you will need to change your hair products and incorporate deeper moisture into your routine. Deep condition and protect your ends at night and using products that only contain naturally hydrating ingredients like coconut oil, avocado oil, and shea butter. (Try SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Infused With Frankincense & Myrrh.)
If your hair has no elasticity due to high manipulation and is dull or weak, start using products that contain protein to strengthen the hair. For example start using a protein treatment monthly and using conditioners that contain moisture and protein for a daily fix.
Your scalp is drier than usual
For some curly girls, it's hard to completely see and feel your scalp, especially for those of us with high density. This is why a dry, damaged scalp may be overlooked and not treated--sometimes, for weeks at a time. To maintain your hair's health, give yourself a weekly scalp massage weekly to softly examine your entire scalp. If you do feel patches of dryness or dandruff it’s time to take action as this may cause blocked pores that will lead to hair loss. Scalp problems can be caused by the weather, bad diet, harsh shampoos as well as a lack of natural oils being produced by the sebaceous glands.
How to fix it
Luckily there are a number of ways you can begin to combat scalp damage at home before seeking a professional, starting with regular moisturizing using an oil that mimics your scalp's natural sebum like jojoba oil. (Try Difeel Premium Jojoba Oil--it's only $3!)
You can also begin to drink more water and change the products you use, harsh shampoos that contain sulphates strip your poor scalp of its moisture and you need this moisture for it to survive! Incorporate moisturising shampoos and cleansers instead. If you still see no improvement try seeking help from a Dr or a trichologist (scalp expert).
Your texture changes in some areas
Have you examined your hair's crown and back lately? If so, you may realize that certain parts of your hair do not become as moisturized as the rest, or perhaps, you are lacking the results you usually get from your wash and go’s. I often notice this when my hair produces more frizz than usual or does not absorb as much moisture. This can be caused by a health issue, over-styling manipulation or it could be time to switch up your go-to products. Weirdly I find that when I change conditioners for a while I get better results. Our curls can sometimes be fussy and just want a change.
How to fix it
You may also be having this problem due to the water you use to wash your hair. Many highly-populated cities produce hard water in our home taps, which is high in minerals (unlike soft water). Hard water can create a film on your hair which prevents moisture from entering the hair, hence the frizz. To rid the hard water, purchase a water filter for your shower to make it softer for your skin and hair.
Double check that your products are in date, many of us overlook this and will keep products around the house for years which you should be aware of when using as certain ingredients can expire resulting in them not working for the hair or even creating nasty bacteria!
To sum it up
Healthy haircare is a lifestyle and just because you cannot see any obvious damage by looking in the mirror, still make sure you take the time to listen to and examine your hair often for any changes you may have missed.
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