Sunday, April 29, 2012

So, What does it all mean?

The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything?

If you are not a big geek, ignore that part.  This post explains what all your hair properties mean.  I suggest going on the Wavy Hair Community,  Curl Talk forum on Naturally Curly (or the Long Hair Community for straight hair since Naturally Curly doesn't have a straight hair section) and find people with the same hair properties.  You can see which products and techniques they use for their hair and try them on your hair.

If your hair is wavy check the hair biography file at the Wavy Hair Community (message an administrator to Clijoin, you must be a member to view) or the wavy hair biography thread on  Pay more attention to the other properties then you do curl pattern.

Curl Pattern:
Curl pattern is the least important hair property.  In general, the curlier your hair is, the more moisture it needs.  Very curly hair will be dryer, because it has more bends, and the cuticle "shingles" cannot lie flat against the bends in the hair shaft.  When the cuticle "shingles" aren't flat, moisture escapes. People with wavy (type 2) hair often find they need a gel with a harder hold then those with curly hair.  Different styling techniques will work best for each curl pattern.  Styling is probably the biggest difference between different curl patterns.  Also, the straighter your hair, the stronger cleanser you are likely to need.  Straight hair (1's) will likely need at least an occasional sulfate shampoo.  Nearly all wavies (2's) need an occasional non sulfate shampoo (low poo).  Curlies (3's and 4's) are more likely to be able to cowash (conditioner wash) exclusively.

People with thick hair will probably want heavier products to keep their hair from getting too big.  They may also prefer air drying, which produces less volume then diffusing.  On colder days, you can sit under a hard hat dryer to speed things along.
People with thin hair will probably prefer lighter products so their hair does not get weighted down.   They may also prefer diffusing and/or clipping (I'll explain in a later post) as their styling method to add volume.
For more info:  No-poo Jillipoo:  Adjusting the Volume

Fine hair:  Fine hair usually does not like a lot of oils, butters, or products that contain them.  Heavy products will be too moisturizing and/or may weigh fine hair down.  Fine hair tends to get over moisturized easily.  Fine hair that is very prone to being weighed down may not like any silicone, even water soluble ones.  People who's hair gets weighed down very easily may find silicones too heavy.  Many fine haired wavies find cowashing weighs their hair down.  Some fine haired wavies cannot cowash and have to use a low poo exclusively.  Fine hair tends to like protein, no matter what the porosity.  Fine hair has a relative small cortex compared to coarse hair, and has a hard time keeping the proper amount of protein inside it.  There is not enough room for protein in the cortex of fine hair, so you have to routinely add more protein.  Products that contain protein and/or protein treatments help keep the proper amount of protein inside the hair's cortex.  Use products that contain protein and/or protein treatments as needed.  Once a week protein treatments are common for fine hair.  You should do protein treatments as often, but only as often as your hair needs them.

Coarse hair:  Usually likes oils and butters and the products that contain them  These products help soften the hair so it bends easier.  Coarse hair tends not to like protein.  (porous, coarse hair will need some protein, but be cautious)  Coarse hair has a large cortex that tends to have plenty of protein naturally.  It doesn't need any additional protein.
More in depth explanation  of "makes hair bend easier" from Science-y Hair Blog.

Medium hair:  Is is in the middle (duh).  It likes some oils, butter, and oil/butter products.  It needs some protein.  Medium hair may like a protein treatment more like once a month to once every few months.  Again, do protein treatments as often as you hair needs them.  When the positive effects of a protein treatment wear off, it is time to do another one.

Porous hair:  Porous hair needs protein.  Protein helps fix the porosity by temporarily filling in the openings and holes in the hair's cuticle. When the protein eventually washes out of your hair, you will need to fill the openings again with more protein. You will want to use protein in you products and/or do protein treatments. If your hair is porous and coarse, use caution because this hair can get too much protein easily.  I've read keratin or silk protein is the easiest for coarse hair to use.  I don't know if that is true or not.  Closing the holes in your cuticle will also help keep moisture from escaping, so treating your hair with protein may help keep your hair moisturized as well.  Experiment with different types of protein to see which type works best.  Your hair may dislike one kind of protein and love another. 

Normal Porosity:  Good for you.  If your hair is fine you will still want protein treatments.  If your hair is medium, you may still want an occasional protein treatment.

Non Porous Hair:  Non porous hair does not need protein because the cuticle lies flat and does not need to be repaired (you still need protein for fine hair).   Non porous hair is very healthy hair in general.  If non porous hair becomes dried out, it hard to get it moisturized again.  It is hard to get moisture back into hair because there are no openings in the cuticle for the moisture to make its way into hair.

Overly Elastic Hair is a sign hair is over moisturized.  You need to use more protein and use as little conditioner as possible until your hair returns to normal.

Normal Elasticity Hair stretches up to 1/3 of its original length and returns back to its original length.  Good Job.  Carry on.

Low Elasticity Hair can be caused by several things.  Usually it is lack of moisture.  Use moisturizing conditioners, deep treatments, and leave in conditioners.  You may also need protein treatments to shore up the stretchy protein strands in your cortex.

Keep in mind that these are general rules.  Hair is individual.  My hair is very fine, but only follows about half of the general rules for fine hair.  You need to do what works for your individual hair.

If you know your hair likes/needs specific things, this page on Science-y Hair Blog might help you pick products.  

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