Hair comes in all types and colors, but with all the styling and changes we put it through, it is very important to take good care of it.
Sometimes it takes a little while to notice, but hair can become dry and damaged, causing it to be brittle and weak, which is less than ideal.
And if that happens, then it’s time for some intensive treatments and a change of habits, in order to bring your hair back to health.
But how can you tell when your hair is damaged? What does damaged hair look like?
Some of the main tell-tale signs are a brittle texture to the touch, stray hairs, and split ends. But other signs can also include an itchy scalp and a lot of dandruff.
Plus, if your hair is damaged, it will be weak and will therefore fall out a lot easier, so if you’re leaving behind a lot of hair, it might be damaged.
L’Oreal Professionnel, a leading brand when it comes to hair care and hair products, also has a quick test you can perform on your hair to easily tell whether or not it is damaged. Here is how to do it:
- Take a strand of hair between your fingers, and pull at either end gently.
- Healthy hair will be able to stretch to one-third of its original length, without any issues. But if the hair strand snaps away when you pull it, then it is damaged, and most likely means it is lacking in protein. And if the strand stretches, but then does not return to its original length, it is usually a clear sign of having dry hair, which is also a form of damage.
- You can also test the texture of your hair by taking an inch-wide section between two fingers, and then sliding the fingers down to the ends. Healthy hair should feel smooth all the way down. If instead, you feel the hair being uneven, brittle, and with sections that easily snap off, then your hair is damaged.
Basically, if your hair looks dull and feels brittle, with strands of hair easily snapping off, with split ends, and with an itchy scalp, then chances are your hair is pretty damaged and needs treating.
How can you tell if your hair is unhealthy?
Start by spotting the signs of damaged hair. The sooner you spot the problem – the sooner you can start dealing with it before things get worse.
There are many different causes for hair being unhealthy, and it is pretty common. After all, our hair goes through a lot on a daily basis, even more so if it is being styled regularly.
Here are the main few signs of unhealthy hair to look out for:
- Split ends:
This is one of the easiest signs to spot and the most common for people to notice when realizing they have damaged hair. Split ends are easy to identify, just pinpoint a strand of hair, and check whether the end splits into two. If it does, then it is damaged.
Usually, the hair around your face will be the first to show signs of damage, as it is the part of your hair that you will likely run your fingers through the most.
- A dull appearance:
Healthy hair will always have a natural shine to it, as the hair will be able to reflect light and show off the natural color. So if your hair looks dull and boring, and not shiny at all, this could be a sign of damage. This is because damaged hair cuticles do not reflect the light as well.
The best way to check this is after washing your hair, under direct sunlight. If there is no shine whatsoever to your hair, it is probably damaged.
- Rough and brittle to the touch:
Healthy hair should feel smooth and even. So if your hair is rough and brittle to the touch, with strands of hair being uneven and splitting off with ease, then this is a pretty clear sign of it being damaged.
- It looks flat:
Healthy hair is flexible and elastic, meaning it can be stretched to a longer length, but it will then immediately bounce back to its original size. If your hair is damaged, however, it won’t be able to bounce back, and instead will split off. So if your hair is looking flatter than usual, with no volume, it could be a sign of damage.
- Overly dry:
Having dry hair now and then isn’t a sign of damage, as you could simply have spent long hours out in the sun or similar. But if your hair stays dry after being conditioned, and is overall always dry, then it becomes a sign of damage because the hair follicles are probably not able to absorb any hydration.
- It tangles too easily:
With damaged hair, the cuticles end up being more raised than usual, which causes hair to tangle more often. So if your hair is a lot harder to brush than it used to, it could be a sign of it being damaged.
However, this depends on your hair type, as some people’s hair is very prone to get tangled, even when healthy.
- Hair loss and thinning:
Hair shedding is completely normal. However, if you are shedding a lot more hair than usual, it might be because your hair is weak and brittle, which is definitely a sign of damage.
What are the 7 types of hair damage?
The 7 main types of hair damage are:
- Split ends
- Damage from heat styling (yes, a hair dryer can be bad for your hair)
- Mechanical damage
- Damage from hard water
- Damage from the sun
- Damage from chemical treatments
- Overstressed hair
What can damage your hair?
There are many different things that can damage your hair. Factors such as weather conditions like the sun, or saltwater when you go swimming.
Also stressing your hair out by putting too much tension or pressure in it, or chemical treatments such as bleaching and coloring.
Heat styling and over-washing can also lead to damage, and of course, there is also the biggest factor of them all: time.