First, what is hygral fatigue? It's when your hair is over moisturized. Yes, too much moisture can be a bad thing. Imagine what happens when you leave a gummy bear in water, how it swells the longer you leave it in the water, and then it becomes all mushy and gross. I know it's an oversimplified analogy for our hair, which sciences are learning is a complex structure.
There is still so much about our hair that we don't know. For example, we are still learning about our hair having hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties. Hydrophobic means repelling water and hydrophilic is how much it retains water.
Our cuticle or outermost layer of the hair has microscopic scales. Think of it like the shingles on your roof. Proteins called keratin and lipids make up the surface scales. Research has identified one of those lipids as 18- M E A. Researchers believe it is the presence of 18-MEA which gives our hair its hydrophobic character and it's important for the protection of the surface of our hair.
We know that using bleach, different chemicals, and extreme heat can damage our hair. The hair cuticle becomes weathered because of that damage. Generally, hair has three porosity levels; low porosity (the most hydrophobic), medium porosity (cuticles aren't too thick nor too porous), and high porosity. High porosity is when your hair absorbs water, oils, and other hair products very quickly and is the result of damaging your cuticles.
Understanding your porosity is key to preventing hygral fatigue or over-moisturizing your hair.
For example, low porosity hair is more resistant to water and wouldn't get hygral fatigue as quickly as someone with high porosity hair would.
When our hair gets wet, it begins to swell. It can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water. The longer it stays wet, the more it continues to swell, reenter that image of the gummy bear. When your hair stays wet, it weakens your hair. The repeated swelling and the slow drying of your hair lead to cracks in the cuticle, which results in damaged hair.
Going back to my video on air drying, researchers noticed how air drying caused damage in the cell membrane complex which is what bonds the layers, the cuticle, cortex, and medulla, of the hair.
Alright, that's a lot of science in one video to explain over-moisturizing.
So what are some of the things you're doing that can be causing hygral fatigue?
Different things that may cause hygral fatigue are; leaving your conditioner in for hours, sleeping with wet hair, and air drying. These are only to name a few of the things that you might be doing right now. We have this false belief that keeping conditioner in our hair for hours means more moisture for our hair. I used to believe that too. This over-moisturizing leads to your hair being more dry, brittle, and getting split ends. All of the things you thought you were avoiding by using moisture.
So how can you prevent hygral fatigue? First, stop all of those habits I mentioned before and start using a hooded dryer or diffuser to dry your hair faster. You don't need to deep condition your hair every week. A rinse-out conditioner is all you need.
What to do if you have over moisturized hair?
If you suspect that you have over moisturized hair, then using products with proteins can help reduce the damage. Also, products with coconut oil, such as my Get Slick Hair Smoothie, will help to reduce the protein lost. Pre-shampoo your hair with coconut oil to avoid swelling. Coconut oil reduces protein loss. Your hair is dead, once it's damaged, your goal is to is stop it from further damage. You can use products such as my Sealing Hair Butter to reduce moisture loss, but all of this is just a temporary fix.
The next step is to update your hair care routine ensuring that your hair isn't wet for a long time while trimming out the damaged parts in case you have hygral fatigue.
So there you have it. Were you over-moisturizing your hair? Let me know in the comments how you're switching up your hair care regimen. And don't forget to subscribe to this channel. If you find this information helpful, like and share it. I'll see you next time!