Why Your Hair Becomes Dry (Part 1 of a 10 part series)

There’s been a lot of discussions on hair dryness and which products are most effective at restoring moisture back to the hair. The most important thing to know is what is the “definition” of dry hair and how did it become dry. Once you’ve confirmed that your hair is dry, and you know why it’s dry, you can put a solution into place to over come it. So let’s begin with the definition of dry hair, and segue into the many culprits that lead to this stressful condition.


What is Dry Hair?
Dry hair is defined as hair that lacks the ability to maintain adequate levels of hydration. Untreated hair’s moisture content is approximately 10% at atmospheric conditions. When hair is not properly hydrated, it becomes less elastic and has a physical feeling of dead grass or straw. So, what’s really happening with the hair scientifically?


Your hair is comprised of three layers: the medulla (inner layer), the cortex (the middle layer, and the cuticle (the outer layer). A very basic description of the hair shaft includes both the cuticle and cortex. The cuticle is the layer of sheathing that protects the cortex. Protecting the cortex is the most critical thing that you can do to ensure healthy hair because the cortex gives hair its elasticity and strength. The cortex houses most of the keratin protein; and therefore, contributes the most to the mechanical property of your hair, i.e. will it stand strong or become limp. Needless to say, when the cuticle becomes damaged, well you get the picture, your hair can become damaged and dry because the cortex is now exposed to harmful stressors. What causes cuticle and ultimately cortex damage?


Generally, mis-alignment of the cuticle is one of the most common causes of dry hair. Other stressors could include the following:


UV Stress
Environmental Stress
Mechanical Stress
Chemical Stress
Sulfate Shampoos
Alcohol Based Gels
Hydral Stress
Thermal Stress


Now that you know what dry hair is and what causes, check back tomorrow to discuss the first of the stressors-UV Stress.