Many of us deep condition our hair. It can seem like the longer you leave the conditioner in, the better. What if we told you that this is damaging your hair?
Leaving hair wet for too long can weaken it through a process known as hygral fatigue.
What is hygral fatigue?
When hair is wet, the hair shaft expands as it fills with water and it contracts as it dries. Each time hair is washed, cracks on the hair structure can occur. Hygral fatigue is a weakening of the hair caused by this repeated expansion and contraction of hair each time it is washed. Hair is weakened by hygral fatigue over time as damage accumulates in the cortex bundles of protein that makes up the hair.
Hygral fatigue also causes the protective cuticle layers to chip away as the hair swells and contracts.
The result of hygral fatigue is breakage, limp weak hair and split ends.
How can I avoid hygral fatigue?
There are two main ways to avoid hygral fatigue. The first is before washing. The second is when drying.
Before washing, applying a polar oil can reduce the chance of hygral fatigue. Polar oils are able to bind to proteins in the hair shaft meaning that fewer water molecules can bind to the hair and so less swelling occurs. Coconut oil has been proven to protect against hygral fatigue by preventing swelling.
Drying hair quickly also helps. When hair is wet, time is of the essence. The faster hair is dried, the less opportunity there is for damage to the hair structure. Heat damages hair so we recommend using a special hair drying microfibre towel turban for optimum results.
Try coating hair in coconut oil and covering with a shower cap for a few hours before you wash it. Let us know if it makes a difference!