Hair can be pretty mysterious. I mean, some of us have spent over half of our lives treating it like skin, only to find out that we're not even supposed to be washing it on the daily. How are we supposed to know if our hair is unhealthy if frequent washes really aren't good for hair but it took us, what, two decades to figure it out?
Sure, we know some of the things that can make hair unhealthy like bleaching, frequent heat styling, and frequently swimming in chlorinated pools. But there are some habits we have that can secretly cause damage as well — things like wearing ponytails too often, or towel-drying hair. So how do you tell when your hair has had enough?
Even if it's subtle, your hair will let you know that it needs a little extra TLC to get it back to being healthy and happy (yes, your hair has feelings). You just have to know what to look for. If you notice one or more of these six signs that your hair is unhealthy, there are a few ways to make it healthier. Focus on cutting back on any unhealthy habits like over-styling, add a restorative treatment or deep-conditioning hair mask to your routine, and try eating healthier. Your hair will thank you for the break, moisture, and vitamins.
1. Split Ends
Split ends are one of the most obvious signs of damaged, unhealthy hair. LINK So make sure to scan your tips on a semi-regular basis to make sure there aren't two hairs where there should only be one. Keep an eye especially on areas that may be more prone to damage like the hairs around your face that you may touch or style more often.
2. No Shine
Dull or lackluster locks are a sign that your hair could be healthier, as healthy hair cuticles better reflect light than damaged ones. On Today Style, hair stylist Michael Stranko recommended trying to add more protein and Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet for extra shiny strands.
3. More Tangles
If you run your fingers or a brush through your hair, and you can't make it all the way through without hitting a few snags, it may be because your hair is damaged. When hair is healthy, the cuticles lay flat and strands are able to slide against each other. But when hair is damaged, the cuticles become raised, making hair not only drier but also more susceptible to becoming entangled.
4. Less Bounce
Strong and elastic hair is healthy hair. If you hold a strand of hair between your fingers and pull on it, and it does not stretch or easily breaks, it is likely damaged. Healthy hair will not only stretch when pulled, but it will bounce back to its original shape when you let go.
5. Misbehaving Color
If you dye your hair, there are a couple of ways to tell if it's damaged. The first is how well your hair accepts color. Because damaged hair is more porous, it may absorb too much dye, and turn out darker than expected. Also because of its greater porosity, damaged hair is more susceptible to color-fading, and will release more dye than normal when washed.
6. Brittle Texture
Perhaps one of the quickest ways you can tell if your hair is damaged though, is simply by how it feels. If you run your fingers over your strands, and they feel dry and brittle instead of soft and smooth, your hair could be damaged. If only the ends feel brittle, it could just be time for a trim. However, if the majority of your hair feels brittle, it may be time to look into a restorative option like treatment masks or changing your diet.