It has been rightly said that your hair is your crowning glory- any wonder that we all worry about it so much;) One of our foremost desires is to have thick, healthy, shiny , bouncy hair isn’t it… and we would do anything to get them looking absolutely fabulous!!
For that we need to know more about our hair type, its porosity and density so that we can choose hairstyles or products that are best suited to it and highlight its strengths . Find out more in detail about your roots and the detailed structure of the hair here.
Did you know that the angle at which the hair comes out of the follicle is related to its shape??The shape of the follicle determines the shape of the cortex, and the shape of the fiber is related to how straight or curly the hair is!!!Straight hair shoots straight out from the scalp and is round in cross section.Wavy hair is oval in shape and comes out of the scalp at an angle,whereas curly hair is flattened and comes out of the scalp at an extreme angle…so blame whatever hair you have on your genes;)
The thumb rule to distinguish between dry, oily and normal hair and scalp is to watch its behavior for 4 days post a hair wash with your regular shampoo and conditioner with a test called the DAY 1234 test courtesy Dr Aparna Santhanam- a leading hair& skin specialist -am a big fan of hers!!
Day 1. After a day, If both the scalp and hair feel greasy to touch- You have OILY HAIR/SCALP
Day 2. 2 days after a shampoo, if your hair needs a wash and your scalp is greasy-you have NORMAL HAIR/SCALP
Day 3. 3 days after a shampoo, if your scalp feels greasy and your hair is limp, you have NORMAL TO DRY HAIR/SCALP
Day 4. 4 days after a shampoo,if both your scalp and hair are still dry – then you have DRY HAIR/SCALP
Dry,frizzy hair is dull, lackluster and usually characterized by a feeling of dryness, split ends or hair that is brittle and breaks easily. This type of hair feels rough,and not smooth and silky and is generally indicated by frizziness, fly away hair and a lack of shine .Dryness can be caused by insufficient oil production by the sebaceous glands on the scalp or due to hormonal imbalances, diets deficient in proteins and vitamins or due to chemical treatments.
People with dry hair need to deliver moisture to the hair’s inner cortex while keeping the cuticle well lubricated and tight.
Dry hair needs protection in the form of emollients and lubricants like herbal hair oils which will lubricate the outside cuticle layer of hair,and create a shine as well. Humectants like aloevera are also needed to retain the moisture within this type of hair.
B. Curly Hair :
Curly hair gets tangled easily is difficult to manage & is also often prone to becoming extremely dry. That’s because the curl keeps the hair away from your scalp and sebum which is the scalp’s natural moisturizers sebum does not reach the hair strands . Therefore the trick is to moisturise curly or frizzy hair without weighing it down with heavy, damaging residues or making it oily and more likely to collect dirt. Light products like aloe vera based gels or light hibiscus or aloe vera based shampoos suit curly frizzy hair better.
Tips for people with dry hair or curly frizzy hair:
1.Massage your hair with nourishing oils like olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil or pamper your hair with a natural hairmask of eggs,curds or papaya before a hairwash . Use a pre -wash hydrating conditioner as far as possible
2. Wash your hair 2 times a week with a mild shampoo and products formulated for dry hair containing natural moisturising conditioning agents like aloe vera, hibiscus etc.
3. Use a rinse off or leave in conditioner based on natural oils like olive, jojoba oils
4. Have a healthy diet fortified with proteins&vitamins like eggs, sprouts etc &drink lots of water
C. Oily Hair and Scalp:
Oily Hair usually goes hand in hand with an oily scalp.The sebaceous glands in this case work overtime& hair tends to take on a limp,greasy look. A diet rich in oily and junk food can also lead to an oily scalp
Tips for Oily Hair/Scalp:
1.Wash your hair 3-4 times a week with a natural shampoo and products formulated for oily hair with amla ,shikakai,reetha to cut down the grease and restore the bounce.
2. Apply light oils or gels before a shower or a paste of fenugreek , but avoid leave in conditioners which can make the hair very limp.
3. Add flaxseeds & chia seeds to your diet , and cut down on oily food and junk.
Lucky are the ones who have normal hair!!! Normal hair is hair that is strong,resilient, moisturised and shiny and a normal scalp is one that is moist and pink without any flaking,irritation or bumps.The goal of people blessed with normal hair is simply to maintain it in the same balanced state.
Tips For Normal Hair:
1.Wash your hair 3-4 times a week with a natural shampoo formulated for normal hair .
2. Apply a pre wash conditioner or hair mask or lightly massage the scalp with coconut or olive oil to maintain the shine and bounce of your hair.
3. Condition with a mild conditioner
4. Add colored fruits, strawberries, peppers and asparagus to your diet
Colored, Straightened or Permed Hair:
Isn’t it ironical that those with curly hair get it straightened and those who are bored with poker straight hair get it permed or curled…Well,the grass is always greener on the other side isn’t it’;) …..C’est la vie!!:D
However it is our poor hair than bears the brunt of all these chemical treatments which include colouring hair as well.
The hair’s outer cuticle is normally made up of a very tightly packed network of cells which do not allow moisture to escape and keep it moisturised and soft and is responsible for shiny, healthy hair,. The alkalis used for Colouring ,perming or straightening treatments first cause swelling of the cells that form your hair’s outer cuticle. The chemicals used in dyes then penetrate the swollen cuticle and move into the underlying cortex, and peroxide first bleaches out the pigment that’s there in the first place,so that the pigments can then change the colour of your hair. The first one or two times,the cells may shrink back to its original tight mesh.But the problem arises when we repeatedly subject our hair to chemical treatments.The more often you do this, the less likely it is that these cuticle cells will shrink back into the tight, smooth network and thus become dry and frizzy. There is no way to totally replace damaged cuticle on existing hair -the only solution is to wait for new hair to grow.
Use a good conditioner like aloevera or jojoba oil will act by filling in the gaps formed between the damaged cells and replacing the lost moisture,thus restoring some softness and shine to the hair.
Tips for people with coloured, straightened or permed hair:
1.Massage your hair with nourishing oils like olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil or pamper your hair with a natural hairmask of eggs, curds or papaya before a hairwash . Use a pre -wash hydrating conditioner as far as possible
2. Wash your hair 2 times a week with a mild shampoo formulated for damaged hair containing natural moisturising conditioning agents like aloe vera, hibiscus etc.
3. Use a moisturising rinse off conditioner or leave in conditioner based on natural oils like olive, jojoba oils
4. Have a healthy diet fortified with proteins, chia seeds &vitamins.
Hope this helps you decide on the right products and regimen to suit you hair type. Will be updating soon on tips to also estimate the density and porosity of your hair with simple DIY tests…keep watching this space 🙂