As curly haired women we are taught the importance of moisturizing our locks. We deep condition, slather on oils and serums, and use protein treatments all in an effort to keep our curls hydrated. Is there ever a point where there's too much of a good thing when it comes to moisturizing? Apparently there is.
Hygral Fatigue: What's that? Hygral fatigue occurs when your hair's cuticle is overly swollen and absorbing water while wet, but contracting when dry. Often tied in with porosity issues, if this over absorption and contracting happens often, it can lead to weakened curls. This occurs when your curls are stretched beyond their limit and can lead to breakage. While your curls and their needs are unique, there are some things you might be doing that could lead to hygral fatigue. This could include:
- Regular overnight conditioning treatments
- Deep conditioning longer than suggested
- Rewetting and styling your hair daily without sufficient drying time
- Only using moisturizing treatments without protein
What can you do? To avoid hygral fatigue you need to maintain a balancing act between moisturizing and using protein. If you curls have a solid protein structure they will be will resistant to over expansion from moisture. When selecting a deep conditioner look for products that contain hydrolyzed silk proteins, hydrolyzed wheat protein and hydrolyzed keratin to repair any damage to your strands.
How can you tell if your hair is fatigued? Check your curls to see if they're suffering from low elasticity, which is a sign of hygral fatigue. Stretch your curls while wet, and if they don't bounce right back it can be an indicator of over moisturizing. Your strands may also have gummy feeling while wet. Checking with a hair care professional is also a good idea to assess the needs of your curls and develop a specific treatment plan.
Stopping hygral fatigue: If you're sure your curls are experiencing fatigue, there are some steps you can take to rectify the problem.
- Don't allow your curls to stay drenched with water for a long period of time. This can occur with overnight deep conditioning treatments. After rinsing your conditioner out after cleansing, seal your strands with a leave in conditioner.
- Use products to help balance your curl's pH. When your pH is balanced, your curl's cuticles will be closed, creating less opportunities for damage.
- Use an oil to prepoo your curls. The particles in coconut, avocado or olive oils can penetrate the hair shaft and attach themselves to the protein structure, therefore limiting the amount of moisture than enter.
Looking more info on hygral fatigure? Read about it here.