What Happens to the Hair During Heat Styling?
There are about 100,000 hair follicles on the head, and each hair has a complicated structure. Its shaft consists of three layers: inner (medulla), middle (cortex), and outer (cuticle).
Inner or medulla layer contains a special substance — keratin, an essential protein, thanks to which our hair is shiny, elastic, and smooth.
The cortex layer is responsible for the flexibility of the hair; it also contains melanin — the pigment that gives it a certain color.
The cuticle (outer layer) has a protective barrier function. Its condition directly affects the overall health of the hair.
If you look at a strand of hair through a microscope, you will see that the cuticle resembles a roof-like tile. Like the purpose of a roof, the cuticle protects each hair from external influences. The closer the cuticle is adjacent to the hair shaft, the more healthy, elastic, and the less likely to it is to break.
We always try to save time and we are always in a hurry. So, we often make a terrible mistake, drying and styling it right after washing, though it is necessary to wait at least 15-20 minutes. Why?
The cuticle “scales” in wet hair are more opened or raised. Therefore, the heat during drying causes damage and breakage of cuticle fragments. As a result, the hair shaft becomes more thin and fragile due to the cuticle damage and the cortex substance becomes more vulnerable to various chemical and physical factors (like chlorinated water). Gradually, protein keratin, which makes up 85-90% of the total hair weight, thermally degrades.
Unfortunately, we cannot completely abandon drying and styling nowadays. So, here is a simple rule — the less, the better. Try to give your hair a rest from the thermal procedures on the weekend. You may also try to wash it not in the morning before work, but in the evening, to avoid the morning drying.