How To: Tell If Your Hair Is Damaged

damagedhairYou might be thinking that after seeing this topic that you know pretty much when your hair is damaged so there is no need for an extensive analysis but the truth is, quite a few ladies do not know whether their hair is damaged or not.   They know it gives them problems now and then and it itches sometimes, and it sheds a lot around the winter season, but have no idea how to tell if the hair is damaged.

This article is meant to shed some light on the issue and to help you with some damage control.  We all know what we think healthy hair should look like:  thick, shiny, bouncing hair that blows in the wind and has a healthy sheen.   But what does damaged hair really look like?   Is it somebody with a bad case of alopecia or is it dried and fried hair?   The beauty about knowing whether your hair is damaged or not is that you can do something to stop the damage in its tracks before it takes over and gets to a level where it becomes hard or tedious to repair.

How To Check:

The Feel and Compare Test

Pick up a strand of hair and run it through your fingers, and check if it feels rough or smooth at the end.  Roughness is a sign of dryness and damage.   You can further compare the strands of your hair from the front part or crown of your head, to hairs from the nape of your neck and your hair middle.   According to the Ladies Home Journal,  if you notice a substantial difference in texture from one strand to another or from roots to ends, your hair may be damaged.   Comparing the strands allows you to distinguish the difference between your natural hair texture and damage.

Hairbrush Test

Look in your hairbrush or if you don’t use a brush, look in your comb.   Is your hair coming out mostly from the roots or do you see broken off hairs all over the floor or sink.   If your hair is breaking off in the middle or on the ends, then it is more than likely damaged at various points on the strand.

Split End Test

If your hair is splitting soon after a trim, then something is very wrong.   Healthy hair does not split that easily.   The minimum time for healthy hair to split is a month to eight weeks.   Some women with healthy hair only require a trim only once per year.


Porosity Test

Each hair naturally contains water, how much it can hold and how quickly it can absorb water determines the porosity of hair.   Put two or three strands of hair in water, if the water is absorbed quickly and the hair sinks, it is porous.   The cuticle layer is damaged causing the hair to lose its natural moisture.   Another factor can be a lack of sebum to prevent evaporation of moisture, also causing the hair to dry out.

Elasticity Test

Wet hair is elastic.  Take a strand and gradually pull.   Healthy hair can stretch up to one third beyond its natural length and then shrink back to normal.   If your hair snaps after stretching a little it needs more moisture.   If it stretches more than usual and then breaks it needs more protein.   If it feels mushy, limp, and tangled when wet,  it definitely needs more protein.

So after this, there is no need to guess whether your hair is damaged or not, even if it is not visibly damaged, you can test and then rectify it.

Author: Brenda Barrett

Brenda Barrett is an author and freelance writer. She has written for several websites, including her own- blackhair101 and fiwibooks, on topics ranging from healthy hair care maintenance, human resources, and publishing. She is an avid reader of fictional novels from all genres, a habit that she picked up from she was very young. This love of fiction spilled over into writing and she currently has several novels on the market.

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  1. My name is Clem. I replied a few seconds ago but I forgot to mention that I am all natural and get my hair flat ironed by a stylist who says I have healthy hair but my ends still break. What do you think is my problem?

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    • you probably need to oil your ends more

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  2. nice post and information is too good about hair damage problems thanks for sharing

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  3. Liked this submit, just needs it could give some extra choices or samples of products that are wonderful

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  4. Liked this put up, just needs it will give some more alternatives or samples of items that are excellent in restoring that distinct spot of harm.

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  5. Loved this post, just wishes it would give some more alternatives or examples of products that are great in repairing that specific area of damage.

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  6. I always had long hair and keep it, but it is very difficult to grow without breakage. I have tried every shampoo to help stop the breakage when I grow my hair out, and I have to recommend the Shielo Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner to you – because its the only shampoo where I see a difference after one use. It smells very clean, not overly fruit or perfumed, which gives you a nice, natural feeling. I has great frizz control and I do not have the same hair breakage I used to have. The bets part is, a bottle lasts me like 2 months, cause you only need a little bit of the product, and it soaps up your entire hair! The Shielo Shampoo is similar to Fekaii (but better priced), but definitely better than a Suave or Herbal Essences. Suave makes my hair break alot!

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    • I’ve bleached my kinky hair 3 times, color frequently, get keratin treatments & straighten weekly. I know what you’re thinking, & my hair was starting to break. But I caught it early w/weekly protein treatments. I deep condish maybe twice a month, but highly porous hair needs protein more than anything.Now there’s minimal breakage. Is my hair still damaged? Yes, but for someone who abuses her hair in the name of vanity, I’d say its in pretty good shape haha

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    • Hi Stef. This is Clem and I am black. s this Sheilo shampoo for african americans. I have very thin, fine but good grade of hair and it’s below shoulder length but it it breaks alot and is dry.

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  7. I have naturally fine hair. I use no chemicals, minimal to no heat, meaning four to five times a year. I did a big chop six months ago and was just starting to really embrace my curls. Today I took down a crochet that I had up for three weeks. My hair was braided in corn rows underneath. The ends of hair were super straight. Usually I can just wet it and it will revert but even after shampooing, conditioning, & applying a protein treatment, the ends are still bone straight. Granted, I did smooth them as normal but that’s never been an issue. I’ve also been consistently taking biotin vitamins for hair, skin & nails. Is my hair damaged?

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  8. Outstanding Info. Very Very Thanks For This Post.Grate Tips For Hair Product.

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  9. My hair is damaged… if you have any treatment so share with me

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  10. Great post! Not only am I on a journey to become natural, I’m moving toward a healthy head of hair. This has definitely helped. I look forward to more.

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  11. My hair is long on the sides and short in the back. About a month ago my hair started breaking in the back. So I did a protein treatment and I deep conditioned it with olive oil DC. I use a anti-breakage moisturizer daily at night when I wrap my hair. My sides has grown a little past my collar bone and the back is still on my neck and it looks thin at the bottom. What to do? Please don’t tell me I have to cut all my hair off BC the sides look healthy. God has blessed me with my hair because I suffered from alopecia, I lost all my hair and it took years to grow it back. So that’s why I don’t want to cut it all off. Please help.

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  12. thank you for the info, very helpful, I use a good hair product that is helping me a lot with the damage in my hair, it’s Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil and it leaves my hair smooth and shiny. 😀

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