The Truth about Frizz Hairdressers and Product companies don't want you to know
Banana Cake, Dalgona coffee, exercise & work from home - for sure this was the talk of the town, during the lockdown.
But what really was the talk of my BFF WhatsApp group chat was how suddenly without any conscious effort my hair started looking & feeling good. And do you know I said this line in a sad tone? Why? Because my hair is in its perfect form, like a dream I always dreamt of, now it's a reality but I have nowhere to go, Just can't flaunt it at all.
But looking for the amour in the dark, the only good thing was how my hair was behaving and all the complaints that I had with my hair, were just disappearing on its own.
What caused this sudden change? Why did my hair behave like a good girl, without any conscious effort? I was curious to find out the answers!
So, I dialed the number on my speed dial and called Joseph! Joseph - my shine in the armour - my hairdresser.
When I addressed my confusion to him, he laughed and asked “do you really wanna know what caused the difference?'' To which I instantly stated - YES!
And he started, Let's start with the basics then. Why what happened, happened.
Firstly, let's get your basics right! Only then will you understand your hair better.
Curly, wavy, straight, and coily are the four broad kind hair categories of natural hair. A
nd whatever category you fit in, one most common hair problem that bonds them all is - HAIR FRIZZ.
But First, What is Frizz hair?
The mere sound of the word ‘frizz’ can be enough to cause alarm in many females with natural hair! Apart from the undesirable appearance of frizz itself, effects ranging from simple annoyance and inconvenience to anxiety and low self-esteem impact millions of women everywhere, every day because of frizz.
But at the heart of the problem of frizz is hair that is dry. Remember, frizz is a symptom! But its cause is dryness of hair, for which the reasons can be anything from excessive color treatments to sun damage.
Let's look at the technical way...
Frizz can be defined according to the chemical makeup of hair, water, and their interaction. When we look at the composition of water (H2O), it is made up of two parts of hydrogen and a single part of oxygen. Hair is mostly the fibrous protein keratin, and these keratin proteins can become chemically bonded in several ways including as hydrogen bonds. When exposed to moisture, what happens is the hair’s original hydrogen bonds are broken. Then the hydrogen molecules from neighboring strands of keratin form a weak bond with the same water molecule, which leads the two keratin proteins to come together indirectly in new bonds.
So when hair is wet or the surrounding air is humid, and because of the presence of a high volume of water molecules, hydrogen bonds are created between these water molecules and the keratin proteins found in hair. When many of these bonds are formed between the keratin proteins in one strand, it turns natural hair frizzy!
Another way to think about frizz is in terms of the movement of air into spaces in hair. In this sense, frizz is the result of air moving into the spaces between hair, which causes the strands of hair to swell.
A third way to look at it is in terms of hair porosity, which is the ability of hair to absorb moisture, quite like the empty spaces you would find in a sponge. High hair porosity means it quickly and easily absorbs any moisture in the air, turning hair frizzy. You can test where your hair stands on the hair porosity scale yourself by simply dropping a fresh strand of hair into a container of water. If the hair strand floats about halfway down, then your hair porosity is normal. But if it sinks almost immediately, your hair porosity is high.
We can also consider frizz in visual or basic physical terms, speaking of it in terms of the hair cuticle or the outermost layer of hair. One cause of frizz is a hair cuticle that becomes raised instead of lying in its normally flat position. When flat, it looks smooth. But when the cuticle is raised, moisture can quickly penetrate the hair shaft and make hair frizzy. The raised cuticle is quite normal in curly hair, which is why it is more prone to frizz. But hair that’s dehydrated or damaged due to chemical and color treatments or other factors can also display raised cuticles, and thereby turn frizzy.
So in the course of this page, I’ll take you through different hair problems (symptoms) we face and their actual causes.
This is important because it can be tempting to go for a quick, unnatural fix for your natural hair problems, without properly identifying their cause. This problem of fixing the symptoms and not the cause is widespread now, across homes, salons, and even the industry as a whole.
Some may go for rebounding to tame frizzy waves and make them straight, silky, and smooth. . No amount of frizz treatments, for example, will help in the long run, if your hair goes back to being dry. This is because frizz is caused by dryness, and this is what we should address.
And in this comprehensive page of ours, we will discuss a range of natural hair problems and their original causes on this page. This project was started by using the feedback of a range of females who filled in our hair surveys, which offered insight into the main natural hair issues experienced regardless of type, texture, etc. And so our focus will be on hair issues such as breakage, thinning, and frizz as a whole, without too much emphasis on hair types.
Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom
Because for healthy natural hair and to properly treat the root cause of natural hair issues, what’s most important is your lifestyle; wearing protective hairstyles for natural hair; reduction in heat and chemical treatments applied to hair; staying hydrated; managing stress levels; frequency of washing hair; and similar factors. This is true regardless of your hair type.
1 - DRY HAIR
dry hair is one of the frizz’s biggest causes. If we consider frizz that comes about when hair is exposed to humidity,
Not taking enough water in your system can dry your hair, inside out
Over-cleansing or washing your mane daily can strip its protective layer which locks moisture & once this layer is gone, hair will lose moisture and dry out easily.
Most regular shampoos contain sulfates which work on hair like detergents, they remove your hair’s natural oils and thereby its moisture, leaving it dry.
Not moisturizing adequately or conditioners not penetrating right through to the hair shaft, will keep your hair dry.
Washing your hair with extremely hot water can remove the natural oils that work hard to keep it moisturized resulting in super dry hair!
Wrapping a rough towel turban-style around your wet hair will not only soak up excess moisture but draw out your hair’s moisture too.
The roughness plus absorbent nature of the cotton pillowcase you use for sleep, remove natural oils and moisture out your hair.
2. Damaged Hair Cuticles:
The cuticle plays a protective role in hair as it forms the outermost layer of the hair shaft and it protects the inner part of hair from environmental aggressors like heat, air pollution, etc, & also by keeping natural oils and moisture sealed inside the hair shaft while also keeping external moisture or humidity from penetrating it and causing frizz. Now, hair cuticles are considered damaged when this cuticle layer or its outer scales become cracked and raised, without properly overlapping each other. Damaged hair cuticles can result from many factors.
Frequent heat styling tools and high temperatures will cause damage to your hair cuticles. Using heat to style your hair can have a ‘cooking’ effect on it, raising your hair cuticles and making hair more porous.
Towel-drying can disturb the hair cuticles, causing them to lift up and become damaged.
Rough washing and rubbing your hair when its wet and weakened, can damage the cuticle heavily.
Shampoos with high pH levels (above 5.5) can lead to a change in the balance of hair and cause a ‘roughing up’ of hair cuticles, thereby damaging them.
Harsh brushing or combing with an abrasive brush or comb cause friction and can damage the cuticle layer by lifting it up.
The application of excessive chemical treatments requires penetration through the hair cuticle, leaving it damaged and exposing the cortex to further damage.
Strong hair colouring treatments like hair dyes and bleach also act harshly on hair. Causing exposure of inner layers of hair, leaving room for continued damage to hair.
3. External Factors or Environmental Aggressors:
From UV rays, and harsh heat from the sun, to air pollution, there are loads of environmental aggressors that can turn hair frizzy. In some ways, they are much harder to deal with as they are all external factors over which we have no control.
Break down of air pollution into particulate matter such as dust, soot, etc., gaseous pollutants found in the air, and smoke. Damage to hair through these airborne pollutants can occur through ways including penetration of the hair cuticle or direct damage to the hair cuticle and thereby hair damage; free radical damage through aggressive pollutants which lessen the quality and texture of hair; gaseous pollutants can turn hair dry by removing all moisture
Exposure or direct heat from the sun plus higher temperatures will draw out moisture from your hair and lead to dryness of hair.
The sun’s UV rays are particularly harsh to the hair cuticle, can directly penetrate the hair cuticle, and can also damage the keratin protein found in hair, and turn hair dry.
4. Stress, hormonal changes, diet, medicine, etc.
As opposed to other external causes we listed as frizz promoters, this is equally important, the chemistry of our body has a large role in the relative health or ill health of hair. It can have such an effect, that hair texture and hair type itself can gradually change due to extreme changes in stress levels, hormones, and diet, among other factors.
the damage works its way inside-out. The very internal structure of our body and chemical composition is shifted through stress, hormone changes, and poor diet, leading to compromised hair health and thereby frizz.
Excessive Stress brought on by stressful environments can stunt hair growth by causing hair to move from what is called a growth phase to a rest phase. At the end of the rest phase, it is shed. This is one reason that hair fall is experienced several months after encountering a very stressful incident.
The body undergoes massive hormonal changes during events in life such as puberty and pregnancy. Particularly after the event, the hair follicles move into a period of rest and hair growth is stunted, leading to shedding and hair fall. The health of hair can be impacted due to massive fluxes in hormone levels, thereby leading to other hair issues too.
When we consume a poor diet on a daily basis, over time, it can lead to either improved or poorer hair health. A lack of protein, omega-3 fats from fatty fish, etc., and iron, among other essential nutrients, can cause hair issues such as thinning. The reason for this is that without a high, consistent supply of nutrients to the body and hair, hair reproduction will be stunted. A poor diet can lead to poor overall hair health and leave hair susceptible to other hair problems as well.
But How can I break this bond with the frizz?
1. Firstly, let's work & improve on the basics - tackle your hair dryness
Improve your water drinking habit. Have enough water throughout the day, at least 10 glasses.
Never over wash your hair, the basic rule is, once if your hair is dry, twice if oily.
Shift to sulfate-free shampoos & conditioners.
Always remember to condition your hair after the shampoo, also once in a wile you can provide your hair with a royal spa treatment.
Use cold to mild-warm water to wash your hair.
Shift to a microfiber towel (or an old cotton t-shirt) to wrap your hair instead of harsh cotton towel.
You can also try switching your cotton pillowcase with a silk pillowcase.
All the above tactics mentioned above will prevent your hair from drying up and help lock the moisture off your hair.
2. Secondly, let's focus on our hair cuticles
Avoid using heating appliances on your hair regularly. Let your hair breathe.
Use a diffuser when blow-drying your hair.
Do not rub your hair when wet or while washing it or applying products.
Remember to choose shampoos having less than a 5.5 pH level.
Choose a good quality hairbrush to comb your hair and avoid combing wet hair.
Do not overdo chemical treatments. If not required, please avoid it.
Hair treatments should be avoided as much as possible, unless if you feel it is the only option or a necessity.
All the above tactics mentioned above will prevent your hair cuticle from damage and maintain the natural oil of the hair.
3. Thirdly, let's work on our environment, though we don't have any direct control over these factors, we can still make a difference.
Avoid places where there is dust, a lot of pollution, etc.
While traveling on road, cover your head & hair with a scarf or satin cloth
Avoid standing directly under the sun for a long period of time, wear hats if possible.
All the above tactics mentioned above help maintain the quality & texture of the hair.
4. Lastly, focus on your lifestyle. You can make it or break it.
Avoid taking unnecessary, excessive stress. Instead, meditate and practice yoga.
On events like pregnancy, puberty, etc. be patient and don't be too harsh on yourself.
Have a rich diet on daily basis, full of proteins, omega-3, fatty fish, etc.
All the above tactics mentioned above help maintain hair health, prevents hair thinning and boosts hair growth.
In the end, I just want to say is starts now, even if it's a small step, but starts.
Working towards haircare doesn't mean that I'm suggesting you do & follow all tips at once. No! The main point to be considered is to start with what you feel you can do and achieve & then keep incorporating one and then another as per your convenience.
For guidance and some more thought sharing, get in touch with our hair experts at Salon Nayana.
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