3 Types and Hair Damage and What Exactly They Mean

What type of hair damage do you have?

We try our best to treat our hair well—gentle shampoos, intense conditioning treatments, routine hair cuts—and yet most of the time it still behaves badly.  If frizz, dullness, breakage and unmanageability are just a part of your normal hair day, it’s highly likely that your hair has been damaged.

But what exactly is hair damage?

Hair damage occurs when one or more parts of the hair structure are altered, which weakens hair and sets off a domino effect of noticeable results that look and feel like unhealthy hair.  Damage to hair’s structure can be done through washing, drying, grooming, styling, chemical/coloring services—basically everything we do to it. Yikes.

There are basically three types of hair damage. Here is a breakdown of what they look like and what is really happening. There is more than meets the eye.  

dull and unruly hair

1. Dull and Unruly Hair

The Look: Frizzy, easily tangled, lacking shine, and altogether unmanageable

The Cause: Damaged cuticles. Cuticles comprise the outer surface of the hair shaft. Your cuticle cells overlap like scales and are held together by a lipid layer that helps make the surface of the hair naturally water-resistant.  When cuticle scales are closed and smooth, the hair is in its best state of defense.  The strand reflects light and hair looks shiny and healthy. When cuticle scales are open and lifted, hair looks dull and frizzy, feels brittle and rough, and tangles easily.

The Culprit: Heat, UV rays, friction, high pH products

Fried and fragile hair

2. Fragile and Fried Hair

The Look: Split ends, easily breaks

The Cause: Cuticle AND cortex damage.  The cortex of the hair is made of keratin proteins and structural lipids. Cells within the cortex are able to stretch and recoil and are responsible for hairs elasticity and strength.  The distribution of cortical cells is responsible for our hair’s pattern – straight, wavy, or curly.  The cortex is also where hair’s color, or melanin, is stored. Cortex damage weakens hair strands and makes them more vulnerable to breaking and splitting.  An exposed cortex is also prone to water damage during wetting and washing hair as it easily becomes water-logged, swelling and further weakening the strand.

The Culprit: Hair color, chemical straighteners or perms, heat curling, flat ironing

thinning hair

3. Thinning Hair

The Look: Patchy or slow hair growth, excessive hair falling out.

The Cause:  Damaged your hair follicles. The hair follicle is the living part of hair.  It attaches to the scalp and is responsible for helping our hair grow.

The Culprit: Product build up, excessive brushing and combing, extensions, chemical treatments

Now that you know how easy it is to damage your hair, it’s time to start giving it a little extra love. Investing in your hair’s health will not only save you styling time, it will also save you a lot of heartache and hassle. Visit our blog The Wrap for simple tips on how to keep your hair strong and start loving your locks.

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