Strong Hair. Do you have it?

We reviewed expert knowledge and scientific research as to what strong hair looks like, and what we can do to strengthen weakened hair.

Woman with strong, long plaited ponytail
Published: 2022-10-04T00:00:00.000Z

Table of Contents

What exactly is strong hair?

We all want strong hair so our hair can grow and look as beautiful as possible. Unfortunately, not of all us have as long or as tall hair we'd want. And usually, lack of hair strength is to blame. So what does strong hair look like?

  • Strong hair is a component of healthy hair.
  • Strong hair is a type of hair that is less likely to break.
  • Strong hair has fewer split ends.
  • Strong hair is also elastic, being able to be pulled and stretched without breaking easily.

Hair Strength and Hair Styling

Styling and colouring our hair can cause damage. Z Draelos summarised that external damage to the cuticles caused by processing our hair can lead to loss of elasticity, making hair breakage easier.

Hair Strength and Genetics

Genetics can play a role in the natural strength of the hair and there doesn't look like much we can do about it. As noted by Maria Dias, African hair is more prone to breakage due to a thin cuticle layer which is the outermost layer in a hair strand. In comparison, Asian hair has a thicker cuticle coverage which makes is less prone to breakage. However, knowledge is power. Knowing your hair type will mean you will take better preventative measures to protect your hair if it's genetically prone to breakage.

Hair Strength and Water

Nothing can be safer than water, right? Well, apparently, our hair absorbs water. And why is this a problem? Wet hair is more fragile to breaking. So combing, brushing, or even sleeping on wet hair against an abrasive material like a pillow (unless it's silk) can break our hair strands causing damage. If you must style, comb or detangle your hair while wet, it's less damaging to use a conditioner. That way, there's less friction between the strands and your hair will be less likely to break.

Another problem with water might be dependent on where you live. Living in London, sad to say, means living with hard water. While not a health risk and possibly even beneficial when drinking, Muhammed Luqman et al reported hard water may decrease the strength of hair in comparison to deionised water although the findings are to be confirmed as another study by Gautham Srinivasan et al found no issue.

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