Many cultures throughout history have placed great significance on the growth and maintenance of head hair. Today, hair care products are a multi-billion dollar global industry. Every year, new and innovative products vie for our attention; however, more people are finding traditional hair care products actually help to maintain healthier hair.
Hair follicles are nothing more than an outgrowth of dead cells. These cells are primarily made of keratin. Keratin is also what your fingernails are made of. The average human has over 100,000 hair follicles on their scalp.
It takes about four years to grow waist length hair and in that time your hair endures heat, drying, over brushing, plastic combs, static and the inevitable bed head, with the resulting snarls and hair breakage that entails.
To understand and minimize the damage these things do to your hair, you need to understand the structure of hair. If you were to examine a hair through a microscope, you would see a round shaft covered in overlapping keratin
filled scales. These scales form a protective sheath, called the cuticle, which protects the delicate inner shaft of your hair. This cuticle sheath acts as a barrier that locks moisture in your hair and protects it from damaging chemicals. When the keratin scales are healthy and well maintained they reflect light and create the beautiful shine associated with lush and healthy hair.
Dull, dry, and damaged hair comes from the disruption of the cuticle's closely packed sheath. Dryness, heat, static, harsh chemicals, and friction between the comb and hair can result in raising or dislodging of cuticle cells. This exposes the sensitive cortex underneath and allows precious moisture to escape from the hair. As a result, the keratin becomes brittle, dry, and less able to reflect light. Raised cuticle sheaths also catch on one another creating matted or tangled hair.
You can minimize damage to your hair by following several simple steps:
Once a month, add a teaspoon of olive oil to your hair, brush it into your hair and make sure your hair is coated from the roots to the tips. Leave the olive oil in your hair for fifteen minutes then rinse and shampoo your hair
as normal. The reason for doing this is to restore natural oils to your hair. You strip the hair of natural oils by shampooing and conditioning your hair. This will help your hair maintain a natural shine.
Use natural combs and brushes. For centuries, people used horn and tortoiseshell combs and natural boar bristle brushes. Plastic and metal brushes and combs damage hair, but horn combs and boar bristle brushes do not. Why? Because they are made of Keratin. Horn combs are made of the same material as your hair. That is why elite salons all over the world use natural horn combs instead of plastic or metal combs. Horn combs also prevent static build-up and help distribute the hairs natural oils.