Why does hair need moisture?
Whether you have thick, coarse hair or thin, fine strands, moisturise balance is key to maintaining hair health. Just like the skin, our hair requires moisture conditioning and dehydration can be its worst enemy. If your hair doesn't have enough moisture, it can be brittle whereas too much moisture means it's too elastic – both these states can mean more breakage, it's about getting the balance right.
The Stretch Test.
In 1783 there was a new machine created called the Hair Hygrometer. The machine was used to measure humidity by recording changes in the stretch of a hair attached to two points in the machine. Hair is that sensitive to moisture! Humidity can cause curly hair to go frizzy or straight hair to go limp. Whether your hair is dark or light, straight or curly, the rate of stretch responds the same way. That’s why it can make relatively accurate measurements of air humidity using the human hair. It was so reliable that it only replaced in the 1960's by an electrical instrument.
How your hair reacts to being stretched will help determine if you need a moisture treatment. Take an inch of your hair and stretch it, if it doesn’t stretch or breaks, feels dry and rough, it is brittle or damaged, it needs a moisture treatment. If your hair feels smooth, stretches a little bit and then returns to its original state, then your moisture balance will be ok. Even so regular weekly moisturising treatment will help maintain that balance and you could use an ordinary conditioner in between.
Some ways to keep or add moisture to your hair.
If your hair has become dry, you will need to start a moisturising regimen. There are a number of options available;
- Use a sulphate free shampoo - Sulphates may clean your hair but they also extract moisture and an leave your hair dry...
- Don't wash your hair everyday - The more you wash your hair the drier your hair will become due to regular exposure to detergent...
- Use care with blow-driers and hair straighteners - styling your hair with heat, using flat irons or blow dryers on a regular basis will dry out your hair faster. If you have to style your hair with heat, use a heat protectant spray first and the lowest effective heat setting...
- Use a moisturising conditioner - This will help to maintain the moisture balance after you've washed your hair...
- Leave In Conditioner - Unlike a regular conditioner, leave-in conditioner stays on your hair until the next wash. Leave-in conditioners contain a high level of humectants that attract moisture into the hair.
- Deep Condition - The deep conditioning process penetrates deeper into the hair shaft and deposits ingredients that allow your hair to retain extra moisture for days.
- Our body naturally produces oil (sebum) from the scalp to lubricate and protect the hair. The oil travel from the root, along the hair shaft, leaving a folm that will protect against moisture loss. Hair is very sensitive to its environment, so humidity, UV pollution and rain can all have an effect on the hair moisture levels. Chemical damage can also leave hair dry, as can overusing heat tools like curling irons and straighteners. When overworked, your hair’s natural oils can’t sustain the right amount of moisture and that’s why you need to compensate and take action with the right moisturising products.