March 28, 2011

{SistaSpeaks} Hair Elasticity

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  The other day while washing my hair in the shower, I randomly decided that I wanted to see how long I could stretch a strand of hair. I'm not sure what gave me the inclination to pick up one of the fuzz balls from the shower wall, pull out a strand and begin pulling as if I were trying to separate two magnets, but I did! Most of the hairs on my head measure between 9 inches and 12 inches, I was able to stretch this hair to 15 inches. Or so I'm assuming, there were 3 inches in between my fingers. By the time I grabbed a towel, dried off and ran to get the camera, the hair had magically disappeared. However, I was stricken with curiosity and couldn't focus on styling my hair because I wanted to know more about this "hair stretching" I just experienced.

Referred to as hair elasticity by cosmetologist, the stretchability of a hair follicle helps to determine if your hair is protein and/or moisture deprived. Although my interest peaked with my hair stretching, it's dually important that you hair return to its normal length. **Remember, I lost the follicle - so I don't know!** A wet hair follicle can stretch up to 30% - 50% its length, whereas a dry follicle will only stretch 20%. Measured according to low, medium and high, the stretch test can help you determine what types of hair styles are best suited for your hair. As expected,  hair with medium to high elasticity can be manipulated with greater ease than low elasticity which may be hard to curl or style. Additionally, ladies rockin' low elasticity hair shouldn't stress their tresses with weaves or braids, instead they should opt for a protein treatment and begin using a daily water-based moisturizer.

The next time I wash my hair, I will be sure to pay close attention to whether or not my hair returns to its normal length. Let's say the strand I test is 10 inches in length, if the follicle is healthy than I should be able to stretch it 3 inches before allowing it to return to it's normal length. I can definitely axe out lack of moisture because my hair actually stretches. But if my hair stretches and doesn't return to it's normal length, then it is weak in protein. However, if it breaks before I reach the desired stretch length, apparently I've been duped and its low in both moisture and protein.

Try it yourself!

The Wet Stretch Test courtesy of OrganicColorSystems

1. Separate about 10 strands of hair and spray with water.
1. Separate about 10 strands of hair and spray with water.

2. Hold hair firmly between both hands.
2. Hold hair firmly between both hands.

3. Gently pull hair away from the client’s head.
3. Gently pull hair away from the client’s head.

4. Healthy hair should stretch around 30% of its length and then return, like an elastic band, showing no signs of damage.
4. Healthy hair should stretch around 30% of its length and then return,
like an elastic band, showing no signs of damage.
 
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