Shiny hair with a smooth texture and clean-cut or tapered tips is perceived as healthy (1). However, not all have that kind of hair. Sometimes, our hair may not look or feel smooth and shiny, but that does not mean it is unhealthy. What if you are blessed with great hair but are just unaware? Possible, isn’t it? This article talks about the true signs of healthy hair. Scroll down to know more.
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5 Signs Of Healthy Hair You Can Check For At Home
Constant styling, pollution, aging, and hormonal imbalance can all have evident effects on your hair. It is, hence, critical to monitor your hair health. Here are a few properties or signs you need to check regularly to understand your hair needs:
Healthy hair is elastic and does not snap on stretching. Wet hair can stretch 30% of its original length without damage. In other words, your hair strands should come back to their natural form, however curly or straight, after styling and stretching. But note that excessive stretching between 30% and 70% may cause irreversible changes and breakage (1).
To check the elasticity of your hair:
- Hold a hair strand between your fingers.
- Gently pull it in the opposite direction.
- The hair strand should stretch and bounce back.
If it does not return to its original form and snaps, your hair lacks moisture and is brittle. You can improve hair elasticity naturally by increasing your dietary protein intake. Another way is to try non-toxic hair protein treatments periodically at a trusted hair salon or clinic.
The hair strands can hold moisture. The hair cuticles are porous enough to absorb and retain hydration to maintain healthy and lustrous tresses. Low porosity hair (usually types 3 and 4) has a tough time absorbing moisture, which affects its shine, texture, and strength. Lack of moisture causes frizz, friction, breakage, and ultimately hair fall.
One of the easiest ways to check the hair porosity is to do a Float Test. Here’s how:
- Place a hair strand in a cup of plain water.
- If it gets heavy and sinks, your hair is highly porous and damaged.
- If it sinks after several minutes, it is healthy.
- If it does not sink and stays afloat even after several minutes, your hair has low porosity.
High porosity hair has raised cuticles, which is usually caused by excessive heat styling and lack of proper hair care. Use heat protectants and products with plant oils to reverse hair damage. If you have low porosity hair, use deep conditioning treatments to keep it healthy.
3. Consistent Thickness
A healthy hair strand has consistent thickness and texture from root to tip. This is indicative of the uniform distribution and integrity of the hair protein throughout the strand length. Damaged, overstyled, or weathered hair may show dwindling thickness. The ends may look dull, frizzy, and frail. They would show splits and cannot be hand-combed.
Pick up a fallen hair strand and examine its thickness. Run it through your fingers and feel the uniformity. If it is bumpy and thins out gradually, your hair could use a trim and spa session.
4. Hair Loss Rate
We normally lose approximately 50 to 100 scalp hairs each day. A higher count indicates poor hair health. Monitoring hair loss is a good practice to develop. It shows whether your existing hair care routine is addressing the changing hair needs or not.
In some cases, hair loss could indicate underlying hormonal issues or medical conditions. Therefore, if you are losing hair at an unusual rate, consult a dermatologist or a physician at the earliest.
5. Scalp Health
We often ignore the scalp and hair roots and judge hair health only by the strands. The health of the scalp is equally important as it is the source of nourishment for the hair follicles. Scalp issues like dandruff, flakes, blisters, sores, painful patches, and product buildup impede hair growth.
Painful hair roots and sensitive scalp may lead to severe hair loss and baldness. It is caused by improper massage techniques, excessive hair dryness, and chemical exposure (through hard water and hair products)(2).
Keep an eye on your scalp health as it often needs more than just a shampoo-conditioner wash.
- Use natural hair masks to nourish and cleanse the roots.
- Watch the kind of leave-in hair products you use – don’t overdo them.
- Switch to medicated or specialized shampoos if you have dandruff or inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.
- Massage your scalp before going to bed in gentle circular motions.
- Find natural ways to hydrate, control sebum, and pump nutrients— whatever your scalp needs.
Consult a dermatologist or trichologist if home remedies and a regular hair care routine fail to resolve your scalp issue.
The Bottom Line
The health of your hair and scalp is equally affected by every disturbance in your system. So, if your hair is not in its best shape, give it more love and time. Be gentle and mindful about your hair needs. Your hair may not be smooth-silky-straight, but as long as it has a healthy growth rate, feels strong and good when you run your finger through it, and your scalp is healthy – everything is fine.
- Healthy hair: what is it?
- Sensitive Scalp