You can tell that something is off with your hair when it starts behaving in odd ways everyday. It’s not just a bad hair day. Could those be behaviors of damaged hair?
Here are 8 characteristics of damaged hair.
- Damaged hair has a low level of internal lipids and free surface lipids. Hair surface lipids usually come from the sebum secretions of the scalp. This is often displayed as lower pliability, less softness and a drier feel.
- The hair wets easily. Contact angle measurements can determine how easily water beads up or soaks into hair. Damaged hair is more hydrophilic and absorbs water fast, swelling the hair like a sponge. [See how you can test your damage level]
- Unfortunately, it also loses the water fast upon drier because of the lack of lipids to control the flow of water. Therefore hair feels dry and crisp after drying. Lower moisture retention + lower lipid levels = more flyaways/statics.
- Damaged hair has more resistance making it hard to pass the comb through the hair both in the wet and dry state. Lack of lubrication causes this. The hair is more tangled in damaged hair making it more susceptible to further damage.
- Cationic polymers from conditioners will deposit more on damaged hair because of the increase in negative charges on the surface. However the layer does not last well through rinses. The lack of lipids on the surface seems to influence how well the uncharged portions of the polymers stick to hair. [Reference here]. The resulting effect is that the hair will crave for deeper conditioning (using butters, oils or other ingredients that can compensate for the lack of lipids). The charged polymers in conditioners were found to have a longer lasting effect on virgin hair even though they don’t deposit as much initially.
- Damaged hair is weaker, due to loss of protein. It tends to be more brittle resulting in several breaking points which we often see as white dots on the hair right before breakage occurs. On a similar note, the hair has more split ends.
- Damaged hair is more sensitive to changes in the atmospheric humidity. The exposed proteins in the cuticles are prone to attract moisture (humidity) from the air. Humidity disrupts hair styles and as the water absorbs into hair, it will make hair pouffy: hair gets frizzy.
- Hair that has been severely damaged or overprocessed, might not take color well anymore. The same shade of the same brand that you’ve been using for years can seem less intense and off tone after the color application. Fading will also occur faster if the hair is badly damaged.