First off, let’s quickly go over hair and why coarse/curly hair act the way it does. This is important because it’ll make sure all all your hard work isn’t wasted. By knowing about the hair cuticle and how it acts, it’ll help product-picking and creating a regimen specific for your hair much, much easier!
The hair cuticle is the outer layer of the hair shaft. It is made up of dead cells that looks like scales to strengthen and protect the hair shaft. Ultimately, it is the most important part of your hair!
It has been found that health of your hair depends on the health of the cuticle and that is true! In order to grow healthy, long, you have to keep the most outer layer intact because it is ultimately protecting the hair. Remember, hair is dead and we are simply protecting it!
So, why does knowing about the hair cuticle matter when it comes to hair growth? Good question! Understanding the function of the hair cuticle will make everything make sense when creating a haircare regimen. So, what we want is a closed cuticle for healthy hair growth because it’ll allow the moisture we put in our hair to stay there. The hair cuticle controls the water content of the hair fiber. With an open cuticle, all of our hard work is going to waste! Factors that would cause the cuticle to be opened is chemical processing (perms, relaxers, colors), excessive heat, and the weather. Because those factors are designed to raise the cuticle, they can’t be reversed which is why we are seeing big chops taking over the world!
Now, that we know about the hair cuticle, let’s get to the fun stuff! A cuticle layer that is properly closed or sealed helps the hair shaft keep in moisture for a longer period of time giving us longer, healthier hair. If you are experiencing dry/brittle hair, then it most likely because the cuticle is raised and the moisture you’re putting in your hair is leaving just as fast.
To close the hair cuticle, this can be done in two ways- by simply smoothing your hair product onto your hair in a downward motion and/or to make sure hair products are slightly acidic and within the correct pH.
To get the hair cuticle to open up in order to get moisture inside, you can use a mild heat such as a hooded dryer, hot towel wrap, deep conditioner followed by a cold hair wash to close the cuticle. Remember, closed hair cuticles are what we want to lock/seal in moisture!
The key to healthy, long hair starts with properly caring for the hair cuticle since it is protecting the hair shaft!
Comment below your haircare regimens/practices and tell us your thoughts!