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What you need to know about your hair and its chemical composition

Hair is a characteristic element of mammals, in human beings' hair is a cutaneous element that grows from the hair follicle. Its structure, also known as the hair shaft, is composed of keratin and makes up all the visible hair located above the scalp.

The hair shaft or hair strand is made up of three circular layers that include all visible hair located on the scalp. Inside the medulla is located and around it, is the cortex and in the outermost portion of each hair is the cuticle. made up of very thin cells that are responsible for supporting the hair and anchoring it inside the follicle. Below I detail each of the elements that make up the Hair Strand.

- The Cuticle:

It is the outermost part of the stem and is made up of flattened, keratinized and unpigmented cells (translucent) that are superimposed on each other, remaining attached and directing the free end towards the tip of the hair.

- The Cortex or cortex:

It forms most of the hair structure. Its elasticity and resistance depend on it.

- The medulla:

It is the internal part of the hair and has no direct relationship in the alterations of the shaft. It does not appear on all hair and may or may not have pigments. These cells are poorly keratinized and poorly attached to each other.

Chemical Composition of Hair

Hair is made up of proteins, lipids, trace elements, water, pigments and other substances.

- 28% protein.

- 2% lipids.

- 70% of water, salts and other substances (urea, amino acids, etc.).

The hair protein is mostly keratin, the keratin of hair and nails have a higher sulfur content than that of the skin. We can differentiate between two types of keratin, hard and soft keratin.

The hard keratin present in the cortex and cuticle and the soft keratin is observed in the hair medulla. The breakdown of keratin is due to the action of strong and reducing alkalis, on this the process of change is based permanently.

Hair has several phases of hair growth

Which are defined as the process of hair birth, development and death. Each hair follicle has its own independent cycle, with respect to the other follicles around it.

Phase 1 It makes up 85% of the hair

Anagen: It is when the hair is attached to the papilla, it is born and grows. It lasts between 4 and 6 years, although normally three years is taken as an average value. The shape of the follicle in this phase is wider at the base than at the stem. The hair grows incessantly due to the fact that the cells of the follicle matrix are constantly dividing by mitosis.

Phase 2 It makes up 1% of the hair.

Catagen: It is a transition phase. It lasts about 3 weeks, during which growth stops and is separated from the papilla, ceasing the activity of cells in the matrix, including melanocytes. The bulb takes on a cylindrical appearance.

Phase 3 It makes up 14% of the hair.

Telogen: It is the phase of rest and hair loss, it lasts about 3 months. The hair root takes on a waxy appearance and remains attached to the follicle.

The first thing we must understand is the structure of the hair, since this determines the structure of the hair follicle and therefore it will define its type of hair, that is, it will depend on this factor what type of density and thickness of the hair strand your hair has. hair.

Porosity is another important factor

As you know, no two curl patterns are the same. For a more complete knowledge of your curls, it is important that you know your level of porosity to make the most of your curl routine. In other words, understanding your hair's porosity is the first step in mastering your specific curl type, as this information helps us determine which product regimen is best for you and your hair care.

What is hair porosity?

Hair porosity simply refers to your hair's ability to absorb and retain moisture. Therefore, the porosity will depend on the arrangement of the cuticles. These not only have a genetic component but can also be affected by-products and processes such as perms (dyes) and coloring, here are three ways to determine where yours is located in the porosity spectrum: Low, Medium or High.

Therefore, the porosity will depend on the arrangement of the cuticles. These not only have a genetic component but can also be affected by-products and processes such as perms (dyes) and coloring. ⠀

Having knowledge of our type of porosity, we can get to know how much product we need to apply to last a certain amount of time, you can determine if you need a softer or denser product.

Distinctive Characteristics of each Porosity:

While these three tests are good places to start in determining your hair's porosity level, there are other telltale signs to look out for:

Low Porosity:

• Curls take a long time to dry.

• Products tend to accumulate on curls rather than absorb them.

• Natural oils do not penetrate easily, but rather settle on your hair.

• Curls take much longer to fully saturate when wet.

Normal / Medium Porosity:

• Curls are full of bounce and elasticity.

• Requires very little maintenance.

• Easily accepts and retains moisture within the cuticle.

• Maintains styles well and can be colored with good results.

High Porosity:

• Curls easily absorb water, however, they require more products.

• Curls often look and feel dry.

• Curls tend to have more frizz or frizz.

• Curls dry quickly.

Texture, elasticity, density and porosity are all indicators of the personality of your curls, and now that you understand what yours is, you can customize a routine of winning products, so that you always enjoy beautiful curls without the frizz.

In addition to porosity, there are other factors that help your hair to be the way it is, below I share how you can identify the elasticity, density and thickness of your hair.

Hair Elasticity

The elasticity of the hair is the measure of how much the hair will stretch and return to its normal state.

Healthy curly hair, when wet, can be stretched up to 60% of its original length and will return to its normal shape without breaking, while damaged hair will only stretch 20%.

How to identify what is your Elasticity?

The elasticity of the hair comes from the side links in the hair shaft. Elasticity is classified as low, normal, or high. Hair with normal and high elasticity can be styled with a brush and the hair can return to its original shape without problem, it can be styled and when hydrated, shrink again. While hair with low elasticity can be difficult to curl and tends to lose its curl quickly.

To perform the elasticity test on your hair, you must select strands of hair from four different areas of the head. Make sure the hair is damp. Hold the strand securely and straighten the hair. If the hair stretches and returns to its original length when released, then it has good elasticity. If the hair breaks or does not return to its previous shape, you have little elasticity. Poorly elastic hair is very susceptible to breakage, will be difficult to curl, and will not perm well.

The Density of our Hair

Normally, when we classify our hair and how to treat it, we look at how thick or long it is. We also look at its texture and whether it is processed to determine how often we need a clipping. But another lesser known metric to consider is hair density.

The density of your hair refers to how many strands of hair grow per square inch of your scalp. Hair density is a factor that determines how best to style your hair.

Hair Thickness

After understanding the structure and texture of the hair, it is time to understand other factors that will determine your hair type, such as the thickness of the strand which is also important if you are looking to master your curly hair.

Hair thickness refers to the thickness of the individual strands of your hair rather than how much hair you have on your head. Knowing the thickness of your hair can help you understand its characteristics and can help you understand proper maintenance. There are three types of hair strand thickness that can be easily identified.

To find out the thickness of your hair, take a strand from your comb or brush and hold it close to the light. If the hair is very thick and visible against light, it may be thick. If you can't see it against the light, it's probably fine. If it looks neither fine nor thick, you have medium hair.

Thick strand

Thick hair tends to be the widest in girth appearance, this type of thickness tends to be much stronger. That makes it easy to maintain the length because the hair is more resistant to damage. This type of strand is ideal for creating amazing protective hairstyles.

Middle Strand

Medium hair tends to be medium, it is strong but at the same time it is more elastic, Medium hair is more or less resistant to damage, This makes the maintenance intermediate, not too rough, but without the need to be very delicate when detangling with the comb. This type of hair can use protective hairstyles that do not need as much maintenance.

Low Strand

Fine hair has a very small circumference, it is very delicate, very easy to mistreat. As a result, it is more difficult to hold long. Try to limit manipulation of the hair to avoid breakage. Avoid the use of combs and brushes and avoid hairstyles that need high maintenance.

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