That turns out to be a mistake. “Having strong hair is an important foundation that supports styling, coloring and the overall health of your hair,” explains John O’Brien, a hair colorist at Antonio Prieto Salon. Strong hair is created when you have the right balance between protein and moisture content in your hair. This balance can get completely out of hand with the help of heat styling and coloring, which is why your hair can start to look brittle and a bit meh if you don’t give it proper care before and after this type of treatment.
While simply looking at your hair can give you a good idea of whether or not it’s solid, O’Brien suggests putting the locks through a two-part test to see how strong they actually are.
Start by holding the ends of a section of dry hair up and away from your scalp, and use the fingers of your other hand to gently “brush” the hair back toward your scalp, seeing how many shorter strands pop out. “It’s common to have about 10 percent shorter pieces — more than that can indicate a moderate or severe degree of fragility in your hair,” says O’Brien.
“Elasticity is simply the hair’s ability to stretch and then return to its original length,” explains O’Brien. If your hair is healthy, it should bounce back easily when you pull on it. If not, it will likely break. To test elasticity, wrap a ribbon-sized piece of towel-dried (but still damp) hair tightly around your finger with one hand and gently pull two fingers on the hair with the other hand. See how much they stretch and whether or not they are able to return to their original length. “If your hair bounces back quickly, it’s strong. If it stays stretched or breaks, you need to increase the protein and moisture content of your hair to keep it strong and elastic,” explains O’Brien.
If you’ve put yourself through these tests and are now thinking, “oh man, my hair is weak AF,” don’t worry — there are tweaks you can make to your routine to get it into combative shape. “To maximize the optimal strength of your hair inside and out, consume a high-protein diet and hair care regimen to ensure you maintain healthy protein and moisture levels,” says O’Brien. Try Nioxin Diamax Thickening Xtrafusion Treatment ($34) or Nexxus Keraphix Damage Healing Shampoo ($20) to help the protein in the hair, which will help with both fragility and elasticity.
Good Great, strong hair days ahead.
If you’ve ever cried during a haircut, here’s why. And this hair milk is basically the love child of conditioner and hairspray and is worth adding to any routine.