last post the question posed was
'As black women with the driest hair, why should we really even
care about hygral fatigue? White women wash their hair every single day,
some just shampoo and do not even use a hair conditioner. I am
wondering just how damaging would washing your hair every day be? Is
hygral fatigue really that bad?'
In the last post I addressed the question as to whether white women actually wash their hair everyday and today I would like to address the main questions asked in this post.
1. Is black (African) hair actually drier than Caucasian or Asian hair?
Scientifically, there are no firm answers. Two studies have found African hair to be drier and another two found the moisture levels to be similar to Caucasian or Asian hair.
In practice, most people with natural hair of African origin will tell you that hair is more flexible and breaks less if wetted slightly before combing. This is most likely due to texture as many Caucasian curlies will also tend to find it easier to comb wet rather than dry hair. Curls tend to be more easily handled with moisture (e.g if your hair has shrunk drastically, often it is easier to undo this by wetting slightly then stretching the hair in a braid or twist).
Additionally, many people find that their hair fairs better with a regular moisture routine than without (be that daily misting, mid week or weekly cowashing).
In my opinion, moisture is an important part of handling any hair with a curl
2. How damaging would washing your hair every day be?
We are not all alike. Some people can wash their hair every day and some cannot. As a general observation I have noticed people who can wash hair everyday have:
- any texture short hair (6 inches or under)
- long hair which is of a loose / large curl (sharpie/marker sized)
- hair of any texture which tends to hang when wet rather than shrink (i.e appears longer when wet than when dry).
- long hair of any texture which is in a protective style
3. How can you tell if you have hygral fatigue?
If you can remember the hygral fatigue analogy is every time you wet your hair and dry it, it goes through a cycle just as when you stretch and relax a rubber band. The first sign that your rubber band is about to break is that it stops going back to its original size (much like the way you can overstretch a scrunchie until it has a new larger size). For hair, the mark is the same, a lack of elasticity where hair can stretch but does not return to its original unstretched length. For some, hair skips this stage all together and goes into the breaking stage, so it snaps when stretched even gently.
4. Is hygral fatigue really that bad?
In my opinion, I do think that women with natural hair who want long hair should aim to do as little as possible to their hair, this is the only proven way to preserve hair for as long as possible. Will washing your hair every day give you hygral fatigue? It may or it may not depending on how many cuticle layers you have, the type of shampoo/ conditioner you use, how gentle you are with rubbing your hair, whether you towel dry or not..........the list is endless. However, if you can stretch it out to another day, you preserve your hair for longer (remember every time you wash your hair, you do lose some protein and every time you do not, you preserve that protein).
Do you really need to wash your hair to get moisture or would a simple misting be enough? Do the least, stretch out your washes, preserve your hair for longer. This does not mean do not wash your hair or avoid water, on the contrary, I encourage you to use water when it will benefit your hair and avoid it when it does not.