We all want healthy hair from scalp, to the ends. But how do you gauge its health? Luckily, there are a few DIY hair tests you can do at home to gauge your hair health. We tried out a few of these ourselves with the hopes of helping you to easily determine if it’s time to get a treatment.
First things first…
We would be remiss not to begin with the advice that seriously damaged hair should first involve either a trip to your doctor or at the very least a visit to a reputable stylist. They will help assess your hair’s state of affairs and hopefully provide you with a plan moving forward. With that said, are there things you can do to assess for hair damage at home? Answer: Yes, or at least it’s a good starting point.
Stylist Robert Dela Pena, has been in the industry for over twenty years. Being with Davines, he has seen it all and says, “even without expert knowledge there are some key things that could indicate how damaged your hair is.” He adds “What you’re assessing are 3 key elements: Elasticity, Porosity, and Texture.”
So after a quick search of the most popular DIY self assessment tests available online, we’ve narrowed it down to just a handful. You can try them out yourself too, and see how far along the damage scale you are.
This is the easiest one of them all. Quickly run through your hair, preferably against daylight, and see if your hair reflects a little light over the strands or it appears limp and matte. Gloss in hair indicates that your cuticles are closed, which is a good sign and means your hair is able to seal in moisture more effectively. Extremely coarse hair appears frizzy and feels tangled. It could mean very dry strands that need deep conditioning. The only caveat is if you have rebonded hair. Processed to be flat, gloss tests for straightened or rebonded hair do not give a definitive assessment.
Slowly run a strand of hair between your thumb and forefinger. Preferably after you’ve taken a shower or before you’ve done any tying or styling. We want to know the state of the hair before anything is applied to it. Feel for bumps or rough spots along the shaft. Hair isn’t absolutely smooth. Healthy hair feel slightly rough but if its too rough or very dry and brittle then it means your hair could be in need of a conditioning treatment. If it’s only rough and severely damaged in parts (usually closer to the ends) then it may be time for a cut.
But what if you have curly hair? Glad you asked. For this you need to study your curling pattern and note the sections where it changes direction. These may (not always, as is the case for soft waves) have more prominent but predictable bumps. What we are testing for is roughness throughout long sections of the hair shaft.
For immediate smoothness try:
Snap and Sound Test
Check the elasticity of your hair when you stretch one strand with your fingers. Pulling on either side with a fair amount of pressure, healthy hair should feel springy, damaged hair would snap and fray fairly quickly. Fraying hair that curls when it breaks can cause split ends and is also a sign of serious damage that may mean you’re due for a cut. Snapping too quickly can also be a sign that your hair lacks protein, and thus is due for a treatment.
While you’re at it, try the snaps test and see if your hair makes an audible snap when you pull the strand apart. An audible one several inches from your ear could mean your hair is actually healthy or in good enough condition to resuscitate from a perm or other chemical treatments. If is snaps quickly and has very little resistance, it may need a protein treatment.
Strengthen your hair with:
Water tests aim to see how porous your hair is. It’s not an exact science, but place very clean air-dried hair in a glass of water for three minutes and see if it floats, gradually sinks or sinks immediately. Its buoyancy indicates the porosity of your strands. If your hair has undergone chemical treatments, like bleaching, you will notice your hair will sink quickly, meaning it is more porous, as the process of removing your hair’s pigment involves opening up your hair’s cuticle layer. Knowing your porosity also means that certain hair dyes would be easily removed from your hair, revealing more brassy undertones. On the other hand, hair that floats may be healthier but it also means products would need to be left in longer then because your hair doesn’t absorb products as quickly.
Get deep conditioning for dry and dehydrated hair with:
There are other tests you can conduct at home but these are already a fairly good indicator of your hair’s health. If you notice your hair is not faring well, take note of your results and remember to book an appointment immediately with your stylist or browse by hair condition at HairMNL.com