Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hair under the microscope : Hair Ends, Damage and Knots

Here are some more pictures of my hair under the microscope. I previously talked about the structure and characteristics of my hair well here now is the tale of my hair ends and hair damage.

I found 3 types of end - fibrillated (i.e snapped), cut and tapered. From the hundreds of hairs that I looked at, only one was tapered.

Fibrillated end - hair has been broken/snapped

Cut end - smooth straight cut from previous trim

Tapered - naturally weathered end
My lesson : Fibrillated end are common in African hair but are an indication that the hair is breaking and this is mostly from physical handling. The majority of my ends were fibrillated (70-80%) and a few were cut. I have not trimmed for a while (maybe 4-5 months ago) so I am happy with the few cut ends. My goal is now to be even more gentle and get to a point where 50% or more of my ends are cut.

My hair is quite disappointing (yay!) when it comes to damage. I did not have many obvious flaws in the hair shaft. I did not find any split ends but I did find this mid shaft split which I thought was blog worthy.

Mid shaft split
I also do not have many knots, in the pile of hair I only found these two. Do note the fraying around the edges of the complex knot (which is the hair fibre being damaged) and this is why knots should be trimmed.

Complex knot
Simple knot
I hope you enjoyed these images! I did like doing a microscopic hair analysis and it has reinforced the necessity to trim more often and be even more gentle.

25 comments:

  1. I really want to see my hair under a microscope now. I just got a trim and I want to see if my hair "looks" better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. These pictures are so cool! That complex knot is something else ... wow! Loving this series :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am absolutely fascinated by these photos. Please let me know when I can mail you a sample of my hair for closer observation...LOL!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very informative blog post. What causes mid shaft splits? TIA

    ReplyDelete
  5. wow, that is crazy ! These pictures are great ! Makes me want to go get a microscope... lol The knot photos really shocked me. Cool post : )

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post. This is so interesting

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is fascinating. I'm so glad you've done this and shared it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you all so much, it is my pleasure to share!

    Mikimu - lol you know you are not the first to ask, email me hun!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am so mailing my hair to you in the post Jc! This post is really enjoyable. I feel like a kid again analysing all things small and wonderful.

    More posts please!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love this. More, more, more, more!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. DJ sorry I forgot to answer your question - My theory is that mid shaft splits are caused by many things including hair brushes, combs or even rough finger nails. The one I found was towards the end of the hair so it could have been caused perhaps by the rat tail comb that I use to unbraid my hair.

    If I find some scientific references I will put them up.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for sharing some of your findings with us... examining hair under the microscope and actually seeing it provided so much perspective. Thank you www.lilia-lifeinoh.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I enjoyed reading your post today...It was something fresh & different from the norm I read on blogs and very interesting. The knots were so interesting and very organized under the microscope. AWESOME!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very interesting. I want a microscope. I found a middle shaft split and can't stop freaking out! What causes it? Would be grateful for your insight.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Now I want a microscope too, lol!

    This is a really good post. I am a really visual person/learner so this is right up my alley.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Based on what I've been reading about hair that lacks protein versus hair that lacks water, a fibrillated end shows lack of protein, whereas a more clean break shows lack of moisture. You think?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Not really Jami, when hair breaks through combing (including finger combing in my case) it ends up with a fibrillated end. A clean cut is intentional with a scissor. Getting hair to stop breaking is really about mechanics more than anything (i.e do not force it to carry more streess than it wants to).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Very awsome post! Just wondering if you showed pics of matted hair on the ends and what that does to the hair cause that's the problem I have with my hair at any given time. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks so much for this. This is really what many people need to see. Not just to look at the state of your hair but to see the images and understand how they can take better care of their own hair!

    Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  21. How do you address the mid shaft split? When trimming my natural hair i use an 8x magnifier loupe and i see a lot of these mid-shaft splits. It is recking ahoc on my hair retention coupled with all kinds of split ends. I do not use heat at all. I wash every 7-10 days. I use all natural products. I am at a complete loss as to what to do :-( Thanks, MR

    ReplyDelete
  22. BTW, very nice pictures, it gives us a better appreciation of our hair. Thanks, MR

    ReplyDelete
  23. what magnification are these photos at?

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! All comments are moderated so they will only appear on the blog once I approve them.