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How To Know Your Natural Hair Is Healthy

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Ever wondered if your hair is as healthy as it looks? For many people, the signs of healthy hair include volume amongst other indicators. However, thick hair can still have split ends. You can see in the picture my hair is thick but split ends do sometimes arise.

So, if you’re asking yourself ‘how do I know my 4C hair is healthy,’ it helps to know that there are various signs. As someone with 4C hair, I gauge my hair’s health by its elasticity, moisture retention, and overall appearance. Healthy hair bounces back when stretched, feels soft and hydrated, and boasts a natural sheen. A healthy scalp, minimal breakage, and manageable styling also indicate thriving hair. Regular trims, deep conditioning, and protective styles keep my 4C locks in top shape. Remember, each strand is unique, so tune into your hair’s signals and tailor your care routine accordingly for the healthiest, happiest curls!

In this article, we’re diving deep into the signs that indicate your locks are thriving. From bounce and shine to moisture levels and scalp health, we’ll explore the key indicators of vibrant, nourished hair. As someone who’s navigated the ups and downs of 4C hair care, I’m excited to share my insights and help you unlock the secrets to a healthy mane.

Signs To Know Your Natural Hair Is Healthy

Here are some traits of healthy hair that you can look out for. Let’s check them out below.

Shiny And Smooth

Your hair is healthy and in good condition. Shiny hair may look well-oiled and moisturized. It’s also very easy to brush or comb, detangle, and not get knotted up and handle; it does not take much effort to put it into a nice style because it is evenly moisturized and oiled from the scalp to the hair tip. Hair appears shiny because of the spreading of natural oils from the scalp throughout the hair.

Maintaining shiny hair throughout the day is not easy because the oils in the hair may dry up and make it frizzy and damp, and it can also get knotted very easily, especially when the weather is warm. So, having your hair maintain that shiny look and glisten throughout the day is a good sign of healthy hair.

Good Elasticity

Healthy hair stretches between 40 and 50% in its dry form but stretches at 20% in its wet form. Elasticity measures the strength of your hair; if you have low hair elasticity, it weakens the strands and causes hair breakages. To check your hair’s elasticity, pull out a strand of hair and, holding the length of it, stretch it lightly without exerting pressure on it so that it does not break. If the hair breaks even without putting pressure on it or does not fall back into its original shape with a bounce, then you have low elasticity, which in turn means that your hair is most likely unhealthy. But if it goes back to its original length and shape without breaking, your hair is in good condition and very healthy.

Shed A Few Strands Daily.

Our hair follows a cycle; some old strands must fall off to make room for new ones. It’s inevitable to have a few strands of hair escaping your scalp now and then. That’s because some strands are at the end of their life cycle and need to fall off. Most people with healthy hair are expected to lose about 125 hairs per day. But if you’re hair is shedding too much, you may have to seek professional help. It could be a medical problem that you may need treatment for.

Detangles Easily

Another easiest way to know if your hair is healthy is by how easily it detangles. Hairs tend to be rough and mesh-like, so it’s easier for them to stick over one another when not being taken care of well or when it’s unhealthy. So, having your tresses fall in place and not stick over and detangle easily is a sure sign that you’ve got healthy hair. Healthy hair generally does not take much effort to detangle and most definitely does not need any hair detanglers or chemicals to help smoothen the tresses. You can easily use your fingers to detangle your natural hair or run a brush through it and have all the knots gone.

A Little Moisture Doesn’t Make Your Hair Frizzy

Controlling frizz on natural hair can be tricky. According to Wikipedia, frizz is hair that does not align with the surrounding hair but stands up or curls independently, creating a fuzzy or irregular texture. The three main causes of frizz hair are genetics, hair damage, and humidity. Our hair has a sponge-like feel beneath the scalp, making it difficult for water to penetrate easily. Our cuticles lie down flatly against this scalp to prevent too much moisture from seeping in. Therefore, when water easily seeps through our hair to the bottom, it is a sign that these cuticles are not lying flat on the scalp as they should or have been damaged.

Minimum Breakage

Breakages are unhealthy when they happen excessively. Extreme breakage can happen when your hair is overworked and overexposed to various conditions. Overworked and over-exposed tresses become brittle and easily break off, leaving rough, raw ends all over. However, it is a sign that your hair is healthy whenever you manipulate it and it doesn’t break. The key is find out why the breakage is happening to understand how to stop breakage on your natural hair.

Tests To Identify Healthy Hair

How do we know if our hair is healthy without relying on the abovementioned traits? Well, here are some tests that will help.

Follicle Test

Pluck a few strands of hair from your scalp. Make sure that the strands removed are close to the scalp so that the end of the hair or hair root is taken out. Check the root of the hair. A magnifying glass will give you a more accurate finding. If the root of the hair is shaped like a bulb and looks rounded like an onion, then your hair is healthy.If the root end of the hair looks skinny or slender, your hair is not healthy. A normal hair root should have a bulb shape. Any other shape may suggest that your hair is weak and at risk of damage.

Porosity Test

This test is also known as a sink or swim test, where a few strands of hair are put into different glasses of water to check its health. Healthy hair will stay afloat on the surface of the water, relatively healthy hair will sink a little bit. On the other hand, hair that is unhealthy will sink very low to the bottom of the glass. In discussing the six signs of healthy hair, we stated above that hair should not be easily permeable by water. Hair should be able to stay the same despite being wet. If your hair retains too much water that easily penetrates the scalp of hair, then the hair is most likely to get damaged and should be treated.

Elasticity Test

This test checks the elasticity of your hair and can also be done to check how serious your hair loss is. This test carefully pulls a few strands out of the hair and stretches gently at both ends. If, after stretching, the hair strand bounces back to its original curly state when let go, it is healthy and has good strength. If it breaks in the middle, the hair is weak and unhealthy, if not damaged.

Cuticle Test

The cuticle test will check if your hair is healthy by testing the roots of the hair, that is, the cuticles. To do this, you need to pluck a strand of hair and ensure it’s close to your scalp so that you pluck out the hair with its root end. Grip your hair strands, swipe your fingers from the root to the tip of the hair, and then back down from the tip to the root. If It feels smooth, your hair is healthy. Hair is also unhealthy and likely to be damaged if it is unsmooth or feels rough.

Some Common Causes of Hair Damage

There are a lot of things that contribute to hair loss and hair damage. If you can identify the things that cause your hair to be unhealthy, then you are one step to finding ways to repair or fix the condition of your hair. Let’s check out some of these causes below.

Diet

What you eat affects your well-being and skin health, and hair. Studies show that foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and whole grains go a long way to nourishing our bodies and making our hair healthy. If you do not eat well or take in well-balanced diets, it can cause us to be unhealthy. Being unhealthy can affect your hair too. You may start to lose more hair than normal. Your hair may become dull and weak as a result. Reduce your intake of processed foods, red meat, and sweet beverages. These are unhealthy for the body and could make your hair unhealthy.

Elastic Ties

You should avoid tying your hair with elastic ties because they put pressure on the hair and cause it to break when the hair is tied in a tight bun or ponytail. When taking it off, it gets tangled with the hair, and in the process, it pulls and breaks many hair strands. Continuous use of this tie can cause hair loss and damage the hair. However, if, for some reason, you need to use a hair tie, oil it so that it does not easily tangle with the hair. Another option is to use scrunchies to tie your hair buns or ponytails.

Stress

Being depressed or stressed can cause some hair damage, like hair loss and excessive hair breakages. When the stress is under control, it may help the hair loss and breakage as well.

Heat Damage

Heat damage can occur when you blow dry or use hot equipment on high heat for a long period. You can know if your hair has been heat-damaged when it becomes rough, changes in texture gets easily knotted up or tangled, changes colour, and becomes dull and very dry or loses its natural shine.

To repair heat-damaged hair, it helps to make a homemade protein treatment by using protein-based products like yogurt, honey, and olive oil, which are rich in protein to help fix the broken tresses and bring back life in the hair. You can also use apple cider vinegar and coconut oil to treat your hair when it’s been heat-damaged.

Improper Towel Drying

When the towel is dry and rough than your hair, it can lift the cuticles from lying flat to the scalp’s surface. When this happens, the cuticles can no longer prevent water from going through easily, so the hair is mostly moist, and the strands begin to weaken and break. It’s advisable to buy soft towels, like towels made out of microfiber or any other material that maintains its soft feel, whether wet or dry, so that it doesn’t scratch against the scalp and raise any cuticles.

Conclusion

Hair health is important to many of us; therefore, checking if we are keeping our hair healthy is necessary. Some things that cause our hair to be unhealthy may be medically inclined due to genetics or other factors. This should not be ignored. Even after following all these tests and traits to check your hair’s health, you may need professional advice for a better review.

The key to having healthy hair is to diet well, take care of your hair by shampooing and conditioning it as often as possible (do not overdo it), and use the right products filled with essential nutrients to help your hair grow well.

FAQs

What does healthy natural hair feel like?

Healthy natural hair, especially 4C hair like mine, feels soft, supple, and resilient to the touch. It’s well-moisturized, with each strand exhibiting elasticity and springiness. There’s a noticeable absence of dryness or brittleness, and my curls have a defined, bouncy texture. When running my fingers through my hair, it feels smooth and sleek, with minimal tangles or knots. Overall, healthy natural hair feels strong, vibrant, and full of life, reflecting the care and attention I’ve invested in maintaining its well-being.

What are the signs of healthy hair?

For my 4C hair, signs of health include bounce, shine, and elasticity. Healthy strands resist breakage, boast a natural sheen, and bounce back when stretched. A well-nourished scalp, minimal shedding, and manageable styling are also indicators. Regular deep conditioning, protective styles, and gentle handling maintain my hair’s vibrancy and strength, ensuring it looks and feels its best.

How do I know if my natural hair is damaged?

As someone with 4C hair, I can tell my hair is damaged if it feels dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Split ends, rough texture, and excessive shedding are also red flags. Lack of bounce, dullness, and difficulty retaining moisture indicate damage. Regular trims, deep conditioning treatments, and gentle styling help combat damage and restore my hair’s health and vitality.

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