adj. Elastic, resilient, resistant to breakage
Hair is made of a protein called keratin plus amino acids, and each strand is like a power cord: It has an outer sheath, or cuticle, that encases the inner cortex. the cuticle can withstand abuse such as heat and brushing -- to a point. Even durable strands can use a jolt of support. Take charge with these tips:
Handle with Care. "Hair can be stretched 30 percent of its length before it breaks," says Philip Kingsley, Ph.D., a trichologist (hair and scalp expert) in London. "Water makes it swell, so vigorously combing damp strands will cause them to snap. "In the shower, saturate hair with conditioner, then detangle to help knots slide out easily, says Sarah Potempa, a stylist in New York City for Aussie
Cool it. Heated tools deliver great looks, but they can also burn hair. Before wielding your flatiron, apply a styling product that uses cuticle coaters like silicone to protect. Once a week, clean tools with alcohol to remove product residue, which can sear into hair, making it brittle.
Be salon smart. The ends of your hair split as they age (strands can be up to two years old, depending on their length). Get a trim every 10 weeks, and wait about the same amount of time between color visits, especially for highlights. For root touch-ups (which you can do more frequently), ask for dye with less ammonia, a chemical which can make hair wiry over time.
adj. Silky to the touch, swingy, bouncy
Smooth cuticles are the ticket to irresistibly sexy hair, and there's no better polisher than conditioner.
It's chockablock with fatty alcohols, oils and other sleekifiers. But don't slap on any creak rinse and call it a day. Use these hair-quenching ideas:
Seal the deal. You may not shampoo every day (it strips hair's oils), but you should condition each time hair is wet, to lock in moisture. "When water evaporates, it draws moisture from inside the shaft, drying it out. "Devacurl One Condition, is perfect for all textures of hair that are craving moisture and shine. It contains no silicone; which is literally liquid plastic. Silicone coats the hair, which not only forms a coating on the hair, it prevents the hair from absorbing moisture.
Go deep. Coping with coarse, straw like hair that rivals Raggedy Ann's mop top? Rather than hide under a hat, try a supercharged treatment that contains amino acids and natural oils, such as Devacurls Heaven in hair mask, $28, twice a week. Massage into scalp with fingertips, then comb through hair. Next, wet a towel, wring out water and microwave it for a few seconds. Wrap the warm towel around your head and wait 20 minutes before rinsing. The towel traps heat, increasing absorption.
adj. Glossy, bright, reflects light
Ruffles may be a big fashion trend this spring, but hair looks best when its cuticles -- which are composed of cells that overlap like shingles on a roof -- remain flat. If they're on an even plane, light bounces off, creating a high sheen. These tricks will keep hair in prime-shine condition.
Go gently. Wet cuticles lift easily, putting out the welcome mat for frizz and dullness. Frantic towel-drying can rough up the cuticle, too. Try patting strands with superbsorbent Devacurl microfiber towel. Start at roots, soaking up water, then slide down to the tips. This will leave hair smooth and ready to absorb products evenly.
3 parts of hair
Your hair is predominantly made up of three main parts: the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle. Within these parts lies a complex structure of protein called keratin. We won't go into the medulla or the cortex but let's talk about the cuticle.
The cuticle of your hair looks a lot like little shingles on the roof of a house. When those cuticles are raised, it's virtually impossible for your hair to maintain it's levels. Certainly there are times when you want your cuticles to be lifted but most of the time, you want them as smooth (closed) as possible.
The cuticle is the part of the hair that probably concerns us the most on a day to day basis. When your hair emerges from our scalp, it has about 6 to 10 layers of cuticle about 50 micrometres on a side and about 0.5 micrometres thick. The cuticle is attached to the cortex and forms a tight sheath around it. The cells of the cuticle overlap.
The cuticle is covered in a find layer of covalently bound lipids, which helps mitigate the friction of your hair strands and helps repel water.
The cuticle protects the cortex from damage, but over time the cuticle wears away. The cells can erode, break, lift, and get ragged edges, all of which can leave the cortex unprotected. When this happens -- look out! THe cortex is laid bare for all sorts of physical and mechanical assaults, and this can lead to even more damage even quicker! Even it you threat your hair well, as it grows longer the cuticle will erode from friction from other hair strands and brushing, leading to split ends and gaps in the cuticle!