As we age, our hair becomes increasingly brittle. Brittle hair is an indication of a loss of elasticity, which is the hair’s ability to stretch and return to its original shape. If you take a strand of healthy hair and pull it, you will notice that it stretches a good amount before it snaps, much like a rubber band. Hair that has become brittle due to age, chemical processes, or health conditions does not have the elasticity of healthy hair.
Fortunately there are ways to help improve hair’s strength and elasticity. A healthy diet will help ensure that your hair will be strong. A diet low in protein, fat, and vitamins will cause hair to lose strength. Since hair grows about a half inch per month, you may have to change your eating habits for a few months before you begin to notice a change in your hair.
Damage caused by thermal styling can also weaken hair, making it more likely to break. Avoid using the highest heat setting on your blowdryer and curling irons. A 3200-watt blowdryer may dry your hair in record time, but it is much too damaging on the hair. Some straightening irons boast of heating up to 450 degrees. While this type of heat may be necessary for super coarse and curly hair, it is overkill for the average woman.
Chemical damage is just as harmful as thermal damage. Peroxide and ammonia, which are found in most hair dyes, can lead to a loss of elasticity in the hair. Ask your stylist to switch to a low-ammonia demi-permanent color or a semi-permanent color instead. This can greatly improve hair’s strength. Perming the hair is also damaging, since most perms on the market contain a lot of ammonia. If your hair is weak and prone to breakage, it may be a good idea to steer clear of perms.
Finally, using the right shampoo and conditioner can help increase hair’s elasticity. There are many ingredients that can help strengthen and fortify the hair, such as ceramides, wheat protein, and amino acids. Biolage Fortifying Shampoo is a great choice for those looking to strengthen the hair. Redken Anti-Snap is another great and affordable product. As the name implies, it is a leave-in treatment that will help prevent breakage to the hair. When used in conjunction with a fortifying shampoo, this treatment can vastly improve hair’s elasticity in a matter of weeks.
Unfortunately, brittle hair is often the result of genetics. While there isn’t much you can do about your genetics, the above mentioned tips can still make a great deal of difference to your hair.