In order to begin your hair care journey, there are key characteristics about your hair that you must know. You need to know your hair:
As you learn about each of these characteristics and begin to analyze your scalp and hair, you will know exactly what to do to care for your hair, and what problems your hair type may face.
To begin, Here is a quick graphic to explain the anatomy of hair:
The Medulla is the innermost part of the hair. It serves no real purpose other than holding DNA information.
The Cortex is the middle layer. Its protein structure allows for hair elasticity, strength and the natural pigments in your hair. When dying your hair, the chemical processes occur within the cortex.
The Cuticle is the outermost layer of transparent scale like cells. This is the hair's primary defence against damage. if you want healthy hair, you need a healthy cuticle layer.
Curly hair can have up to 18 layers or cuticles!
Hair Texture actually refers to the thickness or diameter of each hair strand. Hair can be classified as coarse, medium or fine. Coarse has the largest diameter and is typically stronger. Those with coarse hair may experience longer heat or colour processing times. Coarse hair may even be resistant to processing. Medium hair is the most common and does pose any special problems. Fine hair is the most fragile. This means that it is most susceptible to damage, especially when using heat or chemical treatments.
Density is the number of hairs per square inch of scalp. Density can be classified as high, medium or low or as thick, average and thin. The average amount of hairs per square inch (2.5cm) is 2200 strands.
You will base how much product you use and which products you use based on density. For example, those with high density will have require larger amounts of products. Someone with low density hair will normally steer towards voluminizing products.
Porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb moisture. Porosity relates to the condition of the cuticles. It can be classified as high, average or low.
What Does This Mean?
High porosity hair has raised cuticles. That means hair easily enters the shaft, but it leaves just as quick. With high porosity hair comes a lot of frizz. Low porosity hair means your cuticles are closed and tightly packed. Water cannot easily penetrate the shaft, using heat or steam will help to lift the cuticles and allow moisture to get in.
Elasticity is the hair’s ability to stretch and return to its original length without it breaking. Normal elasticity means your hair will stretch 50% and return back to its original length. If it breaks off or does not go back to the original length you have low elasticity hair
If your hair is elastic, it means the bonds are strong and your hair is healthy. If your hair breaks often and you experience a lot of shedding, your hair may have low elasticity. Protein overload will also reduce your hair's elasticity. Ensuring that you use protective equipment such as bonnets and satin scrunchies is essential for your hair health. Using a clarifying shampoo and avoiding protein heavy products will also restore your hair’s health.
If you have low elasticity hair, consider finger detangling instead of using a brush or comb. You will experience less shedding and breakage.
With this new acquired knowledge, analyze your hair and categorize it. Once you know where your hair stands, you can choose which products, treatments and hair care choices are best for you and your curls.
Make sure to follow us on social media + share this blog post to your story