Monday, October 10, 2011

I Declare Healthy Hair Challenge: Week 1

As I write this, I'm watching The Sing Off on NBC and sitting with a three-shopping-bagged-secured head full of homemade deep conditioner.  It consists of the following: avacodo, banana, mayonaisse, honey, yogurt, apple cider vinegar and a host of carrier oils (olive, almond, apricot, sunflower and coconut).   We're working on hour two of the deep conditioner.  Today is Week 1, Day 1 of the I Declare Healthy Hair Challenge presented by the deNaturalistas.  I'm working on bottle four of spring water, I popped three hair pills this morning, actually took the time to cook dinner at home (pan-seared sesame seed tuna, whole wheat noodles and asparagus) <--- oh yeah, the girl is BAD!  AND swear I'm going to fit in a 30-minute quick Exercise TV workout before I rinse this conditioner out.   Shewwww ---- OK, I digress!

Each week with the I.D.H.H.C. we will introduce a new component to fundamentally focus on, so that the challenge stays interesting.  So atop all 11 official I DECLARE rules to stay in good challenge grace, Week 1 is dedicated to: UNDERSTANDING YOUR HAIR!  To help with this our very own Nicole Scarborough, founder and owner of Get Twysted, a natural hair salon in New Castle, Delaware has graciously decided to offer all deNaturalistas a $10.00 hair consultation AND 10% off a hair appointment booked after the consultation.  Visit for more info or call (302) 419-7128.

In order to Understand Your Hair, we'd like for you to REALLY take the time to get to know your hair tresses intimately.  For those of you who hide your natural under weaves or only allow your personal hair stylist to touch your coife, this may be a little difficult.  That's why this is a challenge ... it won't be EASY. 

Learn the following things about your hair:

1. What is your hair texture? (fine, medium or coarse)
       Hair texture is the measure of the circumference of the hair strand itself. Professionals classify the texture of hair as being "coarse", "fine", or "medium". Coarse hair has the largest circumference, and fine hair has the smallest. Medium texture indicates a middle-range of the size of the hair shaft, it's considered normal and poses no special considerations regarding processing and chemical services. Coarse hair is stronger, for obvious reasons - it has more substance. However, coarse hair can also be harder to process, and can be resistant to haircoloring services, perming, and straightening. Fine hair, conversely, is often very easy to process, and can be over-processed easily and is susceptible to damage from chemical services.
Hair texture varies from individual to individual, and can be different in separate areas of the same head. You may have coarse hair on the top of the head and fine hair at the nape of the neck. Race and ethnicity are irrelevant in determining hair texture, as coarse, medium and fine hair can be found among all racial and ethnic groups.


2. What is your hair wave pattern or type? (straight, wavy, curly or kinky)

Type 1a - Straight (Fine/Thin) - Hair tends to be very Soft, Shiny, difficult to hold a curl, hair also tends to be oily, and difficult to damage.
Type 1b - Straight (Medium) - Hair has lots of volume & body.
Type 1c - Straight (Coarse) - Hair is normally bone straight and difficult to Curl. Asian women usually fall into this category.
Type 2a - Wavy (Fine/Thin) - Hair has a definite "S" pattern. Normally can accomplish various styles.
Type 2b - Wavy (Medium) - Hair tends to be frizzy, and a little resistant to styling.
Type 2c - Wavy (Coarse) - Hair is also resistant to styling and normally very frizzy;tends to have thicker waves.
Type 3a - Curly (Loose Curls) - Hair tends to have a combination texture. It can be thick & full with lots of body, with a definite "S" pattern. It aslo tends to be frizzy.
Type 3b - Curly (Tight Curls) - Also tends to have a combination texture, with a medium amount of curl.
Type 4a - Kinky (Soft) - Hair tends to be very Fragile, tightly coiled, and has a more defined curly pattern.
Type 4b - Kinky (Wiry) - Also very fragile and tightly coiled; however with a less defined curly pattern -has more of a "Z" pattern shape.

3. What is your hair density? (thin, medium or thick)

 Hair density is the amount of hair strands on the head. Generally, it is measured by counting the number of hair strands found in one square inch (2.5cm) of scalp. When a stylist tells you that you have thick hair, it is high density he/she is describing. Generally, the classifications of hair density are thin, medium, and thick, and are unrelated to the texture of the hair. The average head has approximately 2,200 strands of hair per square inch, and a total of approximately 100,000 hairs. The main consideration of hair density is in styling. Thick hair is well suited to layered styles, while thin hair is often better suited to more blunt styles. People with thin hair often prefer styles with added curl to give an illusion of more hair. While there is not a true ethnic or racial determiner of hair density, it has been found that blondes tend to have the greatest hair density, while redheads have the lowest.

4. What is your hair porosity? (low, medium, high)

 Porosity is the measure of the hair's ability to absorb moisture. This is determined by the condition of the hair's cuticle layer (the overlapping scales of the hair shaft), and is rated as low, normal, and high. In normal, healthy hair, the cuticle is compact and inhibits the penetration of the hair shaft by moisture - both moisture going in, and moisture coming out. When the cuticle is overly compact and prevents the penetration of the hair by moisture it has low porosity. Hair with low porosity is harder to process, and is resistant to haircolor and perms. Low porosity hair must usually be softened prior to other chemical services. Hair with high porosity is hair whose cuticle layer is open and the hair too-readily absorbs moisture. Overly-porous hair also releases moisture easily and becomes dry and is easily damaged. Acid-balanced conditioning treatments are used to contract the cuticle layer and lock-in moisture on overly-porous hair. Extreme caution must be used when performing chemical services on overly porous hair to prevent damage. Haircolor will take much more quickly and strongly in overly porous hair (and semi-permanent and demi-permanent haircolors will fade much more quickly). Perms and straighteners will process much faster in high-porosity hair as well. To determine the porosity of your hair, simply feel it - both when wet and when dry. If the hair feels straw-like and rough when dry, or if it feels gummy or slightly rubbery when wet, then you probably have a problem with overly porous hair.
5. What is your hair elasticity? (low, normal, high)

The hair's elasticity is the measure of how much the hair will stretch (and return to a normal state). Healthy hair, when wet, will stretch up to 50% of its original length and return to its normal shape without breaking, while dry hair will only stretch about 20%. Elasticity is rated as being low, normal, or high. Hair's elasticity comes from the side bonds in the hair shaft. Hair with normal and high elasticity is easily styled with wet-roller sets, thermal styling tools, etc., while hair with low elasticity may prove hard to curl, or lose its curl quickly. To test the elasticity of your hair, you need to select strands of hair from four different areas on the head. Be sure the hair is wet. Hold the strand securely and stretch the hair. If the hair stretches and returns to its original length when released, then it has good elasticity. If the hair breaks or doesn't return to its former shape, you have low elasticity. Hair with low elasticity is highly susceptible to breakage, will be hard to curl, and will not perm well.
The source of a portion of the above information regarding Understanding Your Hair is

1 comment:

  1. I found my hair is thick, course with a low porosity (which explains why my hair would never fully relax and why creams took a long time to settle into my hair) I have to wait to check elasticity when I wash my hair again.