Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hair Theory: Sealing in Moisture

Hey guys,

Now that you have gotten all that moisture into your hair-shaft how do you keep it in there? Coming out of the hair structure post we see that there are cuticles on the outermost layer of the strand. These are like tiny scales... when they are open they allow substances to enter and leave the strand freely. The trick is to get them open inorder to get the desired substances inside, then to close them shut so that these substances are trapped inside. Below I am going to discuss some of the ways we can trap/seal moisture into our hair..

1. Ph

Our scalps natural sebum is acidic. Our hair thrives in slightly acidic environments as it closes the hair's cuticle. Diluted Apple cider vinegar and aloe vera juice are both acidic and are effective in closing the cuticle. The best ph range for our hair is 4.5-5.6 . You can also purchase ph testing strips to measure the ph of hair products as it is not normally listed on labels.  

2. Oils and butters
Oils  and butters seal moisture into the hair by forming a barrier over the cuticle. It does not close the cuticle but it covers it thus trapping water inside the strand. I like to post pics so I did a little experiment to show you what I mean. I know the results are obvious but just for goes

I put two cups with equal amounts of water outside for the same period of time (about one week) the only difference was that one cup had a layer of oil over the water.


Results: The cup with the layer of oil had significantly more (almost half) water than the other one. The oil sealed the water and prevented it from evaporating. This is similar to how it works with our hair strands, using a hair butter on wet or damp hair is a good way to do this.

3. Temperature
Similar to our pores, heat opens the cuticle while cold closes it. It is a good habit to use cold water as your final rinse on wash day.

Silicones are non-water soluble substances that can be found in most hair products. They operate in a similar manner to hair butters by forming a thin layer over the cuticles to prevent water loss from the strand. The reason silicones have become such a 'bad word' in the hair world is because they can cause build up on the hair strand which can prevent water from entering the shaft. It is wise to use a good clarifying/stripping shampoo when using silicones.

It is important to note that these methods are to be used on hair that has been deep conditioned and moisturised (wet/damp), It can actually harm your progress to use these methods on dry hair.

I hope this concept of sealing moisture into the hair has become clearer to you. It is vital to healthy hair and relatively easy to incorporate into your hair regimen.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more...

God Bless!!