Do Wave Texturisers and Wave Pomades Cause Hair Loss?
The natural hair movement inspired a lot of men to grow their hair, allowing their natural curls, coils and kinks to be on display. Short, medium and long afros, braids, cornrows, locs and twists were sported by men of varying ages. However, for men in the corporate world the reception from wearing longer styled afro hair is mixed and can become uncomfortable, which is why a short, sharp fades and waves are still a safe and popular choice. Waves enable natural afro curls to be loosened, more defined and maintained whilst adding shine and smoothing the texture. To achieve low maintenance waves, a wave texturiser is applied, followed by a pomade. Unfortunately, persistent use of texturisers and pomades can cause hair to become weak, thin and eventually fall.
What Is a Wave Texturiser?
A wave texturiser is a chemical treatment which loosens curls whilst making the texture smoother and softer. A texturiser is basically a milder version of a relaxer. A relaxer may be left on hair for 15-20min, whereas a texturiser is left on hair for between 5 and 10 minutes. The purpose of a relaxer is to completely eliminate the hairs natural kink and curl, whereas a texturiser loosens curls whilst making hair softer and more manageable. The composition of a texturiser and a hair relaxer are very similar because they will be either lye or non-lye.
How Does a Wave Texturiser Work?
Wave texturisers work by changing the composition of the hair structure by weakening the bonds which hold them together. Hair is composed of protein cells which are held together by three types of bonds:
Disulfide bonds – give hair strength, elasticity and shape. Disulfide bonds are the very strong and only broken by product with high alkaline content.
Hydrogen bonds – provide hair with elasticity and strength. Hydrogen bonds are populous and slightly weaker than disulfide bonds. Hydrogen bonds can be broken when water is applied to hair.
Salt/Ionic bonds – provide hair with elasticity and strength. Salt bonds are the weakest bond and affected by changes in hair pH levels which means they easily broken by acidic or alkaline hair products.
Wave texturisers must contain a high amount of Alkaline to be successful in breaking the disulfide bonds, thereby loosening the curl and making hair smoother, softer and shiny. When Alkaline comes into contact with hair cells it causes hair cuticles to rise, allowing the texturiser to penetrate the cortex. This in turn reduces the strength of the disulfide and ionic bonds, loosening the intensity of the curl/coil of the hair strand.
A wave texturiser lasts for between 6 to 8 weeks, so the process creating waves by using a texturiser which involves the of breaking disulfide bonds which are the strongest hair bonds. Disulfide bonds provide hair with strength and elasticity so when they are broken repetitively it will eventually result in hair becoming weakened over time which makes hair more prone to breakage and loss.
The levels of Alkaline required to loosen curls and create the ideal wave are relatively high and consequentially disrupt hair pH balance, making hair more Alkaline. When the pH balance of your hair moves away from the neutral position and moves towards Alkaline, hair is likely to become dry. Alkaline causes hair to become dry because when Alkaline interacts with the hair follicle, the hair cuticles raise, allowing moisture to escape from the hair shaft, which otherwise would have been sealed in. Dry hair usually becomes brittle and more prone to breakage and loss. Click here for more causes and treatments for black men suffering form hair loss.
What Is a Wave Pomade?
Wave pomades are creams and waxes which are applied to hair to help to loosen, define, soften and shine hair curl to achieve the ultimate wave. Wave pomades are typically applied to the hair:
- After texturizing
- After shampooing whilst hair is still wet
- On dry hair
- On dry hair over night with a do rag
All of the above depends on the brand of wave Pomade.
Can Wave Pomade Cause Hair Loss or Breakage?
Because waves are typically achieved in short hair which is ½ - 2 cm in length, when applying creams and waxes to the hair to achieve the look, it is likely to engulf the scalp and block the pore through which hair follicles grow.
It is essential that the pores through which hair follicles grow are not blocked because they also allow a pathway for sebum to be released to the scalp. Sebum is a natural lubricant which the body produces to moisturise the hair and scalp whilst also protecting the scalp from bacterial invasion through an acid mantle which it produces. Therefore, it is vital that we do not block the sebaceous glands with heavy pomades and waxes, because this will cause the hair and scalp to become dry and vulnerable to infections which can trigger hair loss and breakage.
How to Avoid Hair Loss and Breakage Whilst Sporting Waves?
To Avoid hair loss and hair breakage whilst sporting waves we recommend the following:
- Use a Neutralising Shampoo to Hair After Application of a Wave Texturiser
Restoring the pH balance of hair and scalp to its natural levels of acidity after use of a wave texturiser maintains a healthy scalp and prevents hair loss because:
- acidity keeps scalp infections and bacteria at bay
- acidity also closes hair cuticles. Closed hair cuticles to seal moisture and hydration in the hair shaft as well as acting as a protective shield for hair from external damage
- Avoid Colouring Your Hair Whilst Using a Texturiser
Colouring your hair is achieved in a similar way to which your hair is texturised. Hair bonds are weakened and cuticles are raised to allow the chemicals and colours to penetrate the cortex to achieve the colour change. Colouring and texturising hair simultaneously place extreme strain on hair because it is put in a perpetual state of damage and fragility making the path to hair breakage and shedding more rapid.
- Condition Your Hair
Conditioning your hair after using a wave texturiser will improve the health of your hair because conditioners should flatten the hair cuticles, helping to seal moisture into the hair shaft, making hair stronger. Click here to learn more about the importance of conditioning afro textured hair.
- Frequent Shampoos
When using a Wave pomade, wash hair frequently to prevent the pathways for sebum being blocked.
Treatment for Hair Loss for Black Men
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Hair loss is an ever-increasing problem for black men and if not treated, the problem can get worse over time. Due to the delicate nature of hair loss, men, in particular, are typically reluctant to visit a specialist, due to denial of the problem. This is what makes ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion so great - it is discrete - you can apply the treatment yourself in the comfort of your home. Living in an instant society, it is common to expect rapid hair growth within a week, defying science. Disappointment leads to frustration. So, the ProTress team wants to ensure that your hair goals are realistic and achievable, we have provided in-depth blogs on our website to assist you reach your hair goals.