Can Curling Sponges Damage Your Hair?
The natural hair movement has instilled confidence in people with afro hair. We have become liberated, displaying our coils and curls. Consequently, a range of new hair styling techniques have emerged to meet the growing demand for innovative ways to define our curls. One such technique is the curling sponge. Simple, quick and easy to use, the curling sponge can define our curls in minutes, adding that extra panache to hair styles.
However, behind the science of the innovative creation of the curling sponge lay some uncomfortable facts which can result in hair breakage, hair thinning, hair loss, hair matting and dryness.
THE SCIENCE OF THE CURLING SPONGE
Curling Sponges Can Make Hair Dry
The Curling Sponge is a soft, porous material. Because curling sponges are porous, they will absorb the moisture and water in your hair. Consequently, if the curling sponge is used repetitively over a long period of time, it can have a drying effect on your hair. Afro hair types are typically naturally dry because the curl and coil causes hair cuticles to be slightly raised (click here to find out more about why afro hair is dry), therefore using a curling sponge can exacerbate a cycle of dryness.
Curling Sponges Can Cause Weathering
The technique employed to get the best curls from a curling sponge is to (1) wet the hair, (2) apply a generous amount of lotion/curling moisturiser and (3) rub the sponge on your hair tips in a circular motion. Curling sponges are usually made up with polyester fibers and contain polyurethane (an abrasive material). By using a tool which contains the aforementioned materials, in a circular motion, rubbing the hair, especially when wet or damp (at the hair’s most sensitive) can have a damaging effect on the hair shaft, causing weathering. Weathering occurs when trauma or frequent injury is inflicted on the hair shaft through hair styling techniques which involve rubbing the hair strands together against rough objects, such as curling sponge. The damage caused can result in hair loss, breakage or thinning.
The hair shaft is protected by cuticles, which look like fish scales in appearance, under a microscope. Hair cuticles on afro hair types are naturally slightly raised because of the curl/coil, so rubbing the hair shaft whilst using a curling sponge will raise the hair cuticles even further, causing some of them to break, become fractured or jagged, also known as ‘weathered’. Once the hair cuticles is sufficiently ‘weathered’ the softer parts of the hair shaft are no longer protected, becoming vulnerable to damage and prone to breakage if the curling sponge is continuously used. Damaged cuticles result in hair breaking, the hair shaft losing its structure, becoming frizzy, matted or forming single or double knots along the hair shaft, known as Trichonodosis. Trichonodosis occurs when hair becomes scratched by the curling brush, causing the cuticles to become fractured and the consequential splintering of the hair shaft which then forms knots.
Curling Sponges Can Make Hair Electrostatic
Static electricity is created when two unlikely objects are rubbed against each other. A curling sponge is a foreign object for hair, and when rubbed together in a continuum, the process causes electrons to be transferred between the sponge and hair. The swapping of electrons between the sponge and hair causes a positive charge to build up on your hair. The positive charge of electrons on your hair causes the hair cuticles to become positively charged and raised. Raised cuticles make the hair shaft prone to breakage, causes hair frizz and makes hair feel ‘rough’.
How To Treat Hair Damaged by Curling Sponges
If you are a frequent user of a curling sponge and you are experiencing hair breakage, hair thinning, small knots on hair strands, frizzy or matted, discontinued use of the curling sponge is advisable to prevent further and possibly permanent damage to your hair.
Hair weathered from regular use of a curling sponge can be treated by frequent shampooing by a gentle shampoo, ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo, which will help to restore hair, making it thicker and stronger, whilst providing much needed hydration, click here to find out how. When shampooing damaged hair, massaging should be avoided and hair should be washed by gently stroking.
ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo has been developed with the necessary ingredients to thicken and repair afro hair because it contains Rosemary and Nettle. Rosemary thickens hair because it improves the circulation of blood (microcirculation) around the scalp, which facilitates the transference of nutrients and oxygen to the hair bulb, which is necessary to create hair, restoring hair which was broken by weathering. Nettle cleanses and heals the scalp, calming inflammation caused by the constant pulling of the hair due to the circular motion of the curling sponge on the hair and scalp.
Regular conditioning can also repair hair damaged by curling sponges because a good conditioner will flatten hair cuticles which have been fractured or broken by weathering.