What is healthy hair? Do you know what it looks like, feels like or even acts like? We pretty much know hair that is not balding, suffering from hair loss or thinning means it is somewhat healthy. Honestly, there are a lot of signs before getting to extremes such as those mentioned. We want to know what to look for well before any of those detrimental hair problems occur.
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There are signs to look for to help you ensure your hair is thriving and its best to find out what they are from the experts in the field. We talked to Monaé Everett, American Board Certified Haircolorist, celebrity hair stylist, and makeup artist to find out her biggest signs of healthy hair that we all need know.
Just as a strong mind and body are great signs of health, hair strength is a big indicator of healthy hair. Monaé Everett says, "Strong hair is the tell tale way to ensure that your hair is healthy. Being able to change your style without breakage show's your hair's health." If hair is popping and breaking at every turn, you want to get to the bottom of the problem before it becomes worse. Quite often, excessive breakage is a sign of dryness and hair's moisture or protein levels may be compromised.
What to do: You may be in need of a protein treatment, a moisturizing treatment or you may have been slacking on your deep conditionings. Health can be a factor too so enlisting the help of a professional (hairstylist, trichologisit, etc.) is a good idea so you can nip that problem in the bud.
Monaé's second sign of hair being healthy is "hair being naturally shiny. Dryness is an indication of damaged hair in need of more moisture." Many believe our hair cannot hold any sheen or shine but that's just not true. Our hair can hold shine or even sheen and quite often we are just not keeping hair fully moisturized so it's dry and keeps a matte finish.
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What to do: Make moisturizing a priority in your haircare routine. Water is our friend and #1 moisturizer in the world. Black women have been fed a big bag of lies that our hair hates water and why many of us suffer from breakage, dryness and hair that won't retain length. Moisturized hair will and does hold shine and/or sheen.
Curls falling flat or hold more frizz than definition? Your hair's health may be to blame. Monaé's third sign is that "(healthy) hair holds a curl throughout the day. When you smooth and curl your hair, your curl should stay throughout the day. If your hair falls flat, it may need more moisture and/or a trim." Yes, regular trims (I only need around two a year) are necessary for polished looks that don't fray or frizz on the ends.
What to do: Frizz can be a sign of dryness or the hair's cuticle is raised and you are losing moisture and probably need some protein to build it back up. I use a protein treatment around every two or three months. With regular deep conditionings, quarterly protein treatments and bi-annual trims, my frizz stays at bay.
This sign ties into the previous one because according to Monaé, "Noticeable curl definition without frizz is a strong indication that your hair is healthy. Frizz is a is your hair's way of crying out for moisture."
What to do: Don't skimp on moisturizing your hair and most oils are not moisturizing but seal hair so know you probably need water or some water-based products. Drink plenty of water because hydrating our hair also occurs from within!
Monaé's last and most important sign is no excessive shedding. "Little to no, visible shedding is a great sign that your hair is healthy. While the average person sheds an average of 100 strands a day, you should only notice a few strands a day in your combs and brushes." Take heed if you notice more. I also notice more shedding when going through a stressful time so take that to remember there are plenty of indicators or variables that can negatively and positively effect our hair.
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What to do: If you notice excessive shedding evaluate your haircare routine. Are you using a lot of chemicals, heat styling, not protecting hair or not conditioning properly? Are you on new meds, going through stress, having problems with hormones or wearing extension in too long or too tight? There are a slew of reasons as to why this may be happening so access what you are doing to stop it so the damage stops too.
Here's a video from the lovely Monaé sharing some amazing healthy hair tips.
What other signs you feel qualify to be on this list? Share below!
Monaé Everett: Monaé Everett is a NY hair and makeup artist with over 14 years of experience. Her recent work has graced runways at New York Fashion Week for international designers and top beauty magazines. She recently worked on Project Runway and as the key hairstylist for the upcoming movie feature Seasons of Love.