Why is my afro hair dry? This is one of the most common questions asked by people with afro hair types. Regardless of how frequently we moisturise our hair, we get a temporary relief from dryness for an hour or for a day before our hair returns to feeling dry. It’s exasperating and frustrating because dry hair has a dull, lacklustre appearance and is more prone to breakage.
Raised Hair Cuticles
There are two reasons why afro hair appears to be inherently dry: (a) curly or coiled afro hair cuticles are raised to accommodate the kink and curl of afro hair. Hair cuticles which lay flat protect the hair shaft and seal in the moisture and hydration and (b) raised cuticles allow moisture and hydration to escape from the hair shaft, making hair dry and brittle. Cuticles typically lay flat for straight hair textures because they do not have to adapt to a curl and are less likely to suffer from dry hair.
Another cause for incessant dryness of afro hair is that sebum does not sufficiently coat the hair shaft. Sebum, which is a natural, oily substance that is secreted from the sebaceous gland, located just beneath the scalp, is unable to coat the entire length of the hair shaft (strand) adequately because of the intensity of the coil of afro hair. The sebum is only able to travel an inch or so along the hair shaft before becoming exhausted along the coil, which leaves the rest of the hair shaft lacking the natural lubricant it needs for moisture and protection.
Sebum is important because it lubricates the hair, providing vital oils which are essential to moisturise the hair, making it healthy and shiny and most importantly preventing it from feeling dry and breaking. If sebum is unable to adequately coat the entire length of the hair shaft, as is the case for afro hair, it will constantly feel dry. Therefore, it is advisable to moisturise hair strands (not the scalp) frequently.
Conditioning your hair with a good conditioner helps to flatten cuticles, assisting in maintaining hair moisture whilst making hair feel and look smoother and healthier in an appearance.
Dry Hair Can Cause Hair Loss
Dry hair is more prone to breakage because when hair is dry it loses its elasticity (its ability to stretch) which makes it brittle and more prone to snapping and breakage. It is important to moisturised and hydrated afro hair regularly.
Too much Moisturiser Can Cause Hair Loss
So, we have established that afro hair requires frequent moisturising maintenance to prevent dryness and breakage… but too much of it can be counterproductive. Applying too much moisturiser to your hair can result in your hair follicles becoming blocked. Blocking hair follicles prevents the secretion of sebum on the scalp. Sebum is vital for scalp health because it contains an acid mantle which kills bacteria and protects the scalp from infection. Scalp infections can hinder hair growth and cause hair loss, potentially triggering hair loss conditions such as Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia. If you are suffering from a hair loss condition, it is advisable to seek treatment such as soon as possible to prevent permanent hair loss.
ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion contains natural extracts of Rosemary and Nettle and the patented Si MATRIX PF which rebalances and purifies the scalp, preventing the hair follicle from becoming clogged by sebum from over productive sebaceous glands. ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion stimulates the flow of blood around the scalp and revitalises hair follicles which improves hair production, extending the anagen (growth) stage of the hair growth cycle, restoring hair growth, making hair thicker and stronger whilst reducing hair loss.