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      Is Water Really Alone Really Going To Moisturize your Hair? NO!

      Is Water Really Alone Really Going To Moisturize your Hair? NO!

      Part 1: Water is perhaps not a moisturiser?

      To kick start the moisture bumper issue this week, I must go through some basics. First let me remind you about the structure of hair (skip to the diagram if you wish!). 

      1. Hair has two main layers. First an external thin layer called the cuticle that protects an inner shaft known as the cortex. 
      2. Hair is made up from protein known as keratin. Water can and does bind to this protein. 
      3. Hair in the cortex can gain and lose water. 

      So now on to the main feature........water is not a moisturiser at least not on its own. Take a moment to digest that statement, I am not saying water is useless, I am saying though that it may not be as useful in plain form. I have looked at multiple studies of moisturisation of skin and hair, it is clear that both will take up water but both will also lose water. The 'losing' part is the key to my previous statement. In fact water is sometimes used as a control (meaning if you are testing a moisturiser and want to compare its effect to no moisturiser, you spray the skin/hair with water and compare that to skin/hair with moisturiser). 

      The question is what happens when you add water to hair? Well instead of writing a detailed narrative, I thought I might just make some drawings. In short, hair can take up water but it cannot hold on to the water if left in the same environment as before. Hair will lose any 'excess' water to balance itself with its environment. 



      Therefore if you simply spray hair with water and nothing more the additional water to the hair will eventually evaporate and you are back at square one. 

      Glycerine

      Glycerine

      Glycerin: Good Stuff in a funny form!

      There is alot of buzz currently from forum readers which has now filtered down to my inbox. This buzz is about KY Jelly as a hair moisturiser and styling aid. I have to say, it was a little strange that someone thought about putting it in hair (What exactly were you doing to think that up?!!). However, it is not a half-bad idea lol. 

      The main components of KY are water and glycerin (glycerine/glycerol) and both of these are good for thirsty hair. Water is of course the ultimate moisturiser but locking it in is the main activity that most naturals want to perfect. Glycerin is a perfect tool for this because  

      1. It is hygroscopic - meaning it bonds to and retains water. (Hygro meaning 'moisture' and scopic in this case meaning 'seeking' - therefore moisture seeking(Griffin, W. C. et al Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists, 1952)
       
      2. It is a humectant (because of no 1) and therefore can be used to stabilise the water/moisture content in products (perhaps as in KY) (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists,pg 19, 1958)  

      3. It makes hair softer (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists pg 251-263 1989)
       
      4. For natural African hair, it prevents premature failure of hair - and therefore, premature breakage of hair when the hair is under stress (combing/stretching/pulling). However if your hair is relaxed, there is no such benefit (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists pg 39-52 1985)  

      5. It offers some thermal protection to hair, preventing cracking of the cuticle on exposure to heat (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists pg 141-153, 1998)
       
      I am guessing if you were thinking about KY, a cheaper option could be buying some glycerin and mixing it up with water to get a consistency that you like.Some words of caution though is that getting the water to glycerin ratio for your hair is probably easier said than done. There are well reported issues with some users saying it is too sticky or drying (not!!). Glycerin does have to be mixed with water before you use it as if you do happen to get pure glycerol, it will absorb moisture from the air and your hair if applied directly. 

      However, provided you add some water to it and you should be ok. It may take some experimenting to get the right level for you.  

      My Natural 4C Hair is Still Dry... Why?

      My Natural 4C Hair is Still Dry...  Why?

      Do you find that you are moisturizing your hair religiously to no avail? It may not be the products you are using, the issue could instead lie in the porosity level of your hair. The porosity level determines how well your hair is able to absorb and retain moisture within the cortex, and overly porous hair can have a hard time retaining moisture from even the best moisturizing products. Lack of moisture isn't the only drawback to having overly porous hair, hair that is highly porous also absorbs heat faster than hair with low or normal porosity levels which means your hair is more prone to heat damage. 

      What can cause porosity issues? Improper thermal straightening techniques, excessive heat [from blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, pressing combs etc], relaxers, and color applications.  

      How will I know if I have porosity issues? Hair may appear straw-like and dry even after moisturizing. Hair may also have a tendency to air dry faster than normal. Hair may often feel "rough" to the touch. Hair may also be prone to excessive tangles and matting even though your ends are trimmed. Still not sure? Take the porosity test: Rub your fingers up a few strands of hair from end to root, if it feels rough, or bumpy, chances are you have raised or lifted cuticles which can also indicate issues with porosity [porosity issues stem from damaged cuticle layers]. Hair that has low or normal porosity levels should feel smooth up and down the hair shaft. 

      I am natural, can I use products geared towards correcting porosity? The answer is YES! If you use pressing combs, flat irons, and/or blow dryers you are susceptible to porosity issues. - Also as some of us age, certain hormonal changes take place that may also affect the density, texture and porosity of your hair.