How To Know Your Natural Hair Is Healthy
If you're looking for ways to understand if your natural type 4 hair is healthy, I'm here to help. My name is Joanna. I'm a hair, beauty, and lifestyle blogger based in Ghana. Continue reading for my easy-to-follow tips, and don't forget to follow my Facebook page, where I share more hair, beauty, and lifestyle tips.
Over the past years and decades, there has been a rise in many concerns people have over their hair. So many people have become paranoid and overly concerned about the health of their hair and its overall appearance. This has made the hair industry more popular and very lucrative, especially those that deal in hair products.
Many would even argue that the rave for natural hair products results from people wanting to give their hair a natural shine and make it healthy without putting in so many chemicals. We need to know whether our hair is healthy because appearance means so much to us as human beings. In this era where social media has become a powerful tool that influences the lifestyle of people, we tend to take care of our looks.
You can not achieve that perfect or picture-quality look without having healthy hair. Healthy hair does not only make you look good. It brightens up your persona and also makes you feel good.
Unhealthy hair comes as a result of so many factors. Some research says that weather conditions, climate change and the food we take in can affect our hair positively and negatively. But let's not get into that! Several tests have proved to be efficient in testing whether our hair is healthy. There are, however, some basic and pretty simple ways to do this. These are the traits found in every hair deemed healthy.
Signs To Know Your 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.
Healthy hair stretches between 40 to 50% in its dry form but stretches at 20% in its wet form. This information is an easier way to identify the elasticity of your hair. This quality maintains the curls and gives your hair a voluminous look. 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 a 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.
As living things, we have certain life processes and cycles that prove we have life, specifically, the process of restoration. Our hair follows the same 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.
It's just that. But If you find shedding too much hair, you may have to seek professional help. It could be a medical problem that you may need treatment for. Most people with healthy hair are expected to lose about 125 hairs per day. Thus losing more than this amount of hair means you should see a doctor.
Another easiest way to know if your hair is healthy is by how easily it detangles. There's no way any healthy hair will have so many knots that it's very difficult to detangle. Healthy hair does not take much effort to detangle and most definitely does not need any hair detanglers or chemicals to help smoothen the hair tresses.
You could easily use your fingers to detangle your hair or brush through it and have all the knots gone. Healthy cuticles do not stick over one another and become hard to separate. This is because if it's healthy, the oils in the hair will spread evenly over each other and prevent them from being caught over one another.
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.
A Little Moisture Doesn't Make Your Hair Frizzy
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. The cuticles lying flat on the scalp's surface create a barrier preventing water or moisture from reaching the scalp.
Breakages are unhealthy when it happens excessively. It would help if you immediately tried to treat your hair when you realize that your hair keeps falling off in large locks. This happens when the 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 do not find a lot of hair breakage.
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 have some scientific background to show that your is healthy or unhealthy. So, if you have doubts about your hair being healthy and need a more precise way to prove your assertions, then these tests will go a long way to help you achieve that.
These tests can be done in the comfort of your home and do not require much effort or tools. These tests have been proven to be a form of "wellness check" that helps to determine how healthy our hair is.
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.
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 and 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 is supposed to have the trait of being able to stay the same despite being wet. If hair suddenly retains too much water that easily penetrates the scalp of hair, then the hair is most likely to get damaged and should be treated.
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.
This 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.
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 aces 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.
We should avoid tying our hair with elastic ties because they put pressure on the hair and causes 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.
Being depressed or stressed can cause some hair damage, like hair loss and excessive hair breakages. One may need to visit the hospital to undergo treatments that can help reduce stress. When the stress is under control and patients seem to get better, it may help the hair loss and breakages to reduce as well.
Heat damage can occur when you blow dry or use hot equipment on your hair at its highest temperature over 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, you need to undergo protein treatments by using protein-based products like yoghurt, 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.
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.