A few weeks ago we came across a TikTok video of a woman who was frustrated with the natural hair police and how seemingly everything causes damaged hair, so why bother trying? We totally understand this sentiment because she's right, everything we do to our hair is damaging to it. But, this also shouldn't scare us from enjoying our hair.
About damaged hair
First, keratin forms natural fiber in our hair and it is very complex. Hair is only alive when it is under the scalp in the hair's follicle. It dies when it comes out of our scalp. Thus, once you have damaged hair, it's hard to repair it, although thanks to science, more products are coming on the market to change all of that.
Hair will weather as it is a fiber. Think of your favorite pair of jeans. It washes out over time because you wear it the most. Eventually, it will get holes in it. Even when you take perfect care of it, eventually you'll need to patch it, sew it or get rid of it. Well, we can't quite get rid of our hair unless we shave it off, but we do need to trim the ends as it will reduce the chances of getting damaged hair.
Taking care of wet hair
What is interesting about our hair is that it has the three layers most of us know about, the medulla, cortex, and cuticle. But did you know that the cuticle, or the outermost layer, also has layers to it? The endocuticle, exocuticle, and the outer layer is the epicuticle. Lipids make these layers and are what makes our hair hydrophobic or water-repellant. The cuticle layer lifts to absorb that water or moisture whenever our hair gets wet. Our hair needs moisture to keep its elasticity, but too much moisture will become damaged hair. And the constant lifting of the cuticle will cause it to become frayed.
Constant brushing and manipulation can also cause damage to the cuticle. However, on the flip side, certain styles that are used as a 'set it and forget it' is also damaging. While we might not be manipulating our hair, our hair also isn't getting the hydration that it needs and the best way to get that hydration is with shampoo.
Okay, we need water, but too much is bad. Manipulating our hair is damaging, but leaving it alone for too long is also not good for our hair.
The key is to find the middle ground that works for your hair. For example, most curlies wash their hair weekly. Some people might need to wash their hair every 5 days while others will stretch it to 2 weeks. Every expert we’ve spoken to all agrees that you shouldn't go longer than 4 weeks with any one style that doesn't make it easy to wash your hair if you do not want to deal with damaged hair. They say you should be washing your hair at least weekly. But, that will depend on your hair and lifestyle.
Be sure to use products like Wonder Curl that will lock in the moisture and set your hair on your wash day if you want to fix your damaged hair. This way, you don't feel like you have to constantly rewet or style your hair again.
Once you get your routine down and understand that your wash day should be seen as your hair hydration day. The day that you make sure you're locking in moisture and setting your style until your next wash day, then you'll see how your hair will begin to thrive. Grab a copy of our Healthy Hair Journal to track your hair's progress. This will take some trial and error. Pay attention to your hair.