Ever found yourself experiencing hair envy? Maybe it was someone you just met or an Instagram influencer. You begin to wonder what products they’ve used to make their hair look so fabulous, and then you realize – you’re chemical-averse!
We get it, finding natural treatments at a great price, is one of the most significant beauty woes most people with minimalist beauty routines can have. Finding something that will change your hair texture without chemicals is even more difficult.
Unless your body has gone through a hormonal change, such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause or cancer treatments, chances are your hair texture hasn’t changed much. In fact, it may be much easier for you to restore your hair texture than you think.
Whether you’ve undergone texture changes due to hormonal imbalances, or physical damage, the good news is that most hair problems come with solutions. We’ve rounded up some of our top expert tips to help you find the best treatment for your hair type, minus the nasty chemicals. But first, let’s understand hair texture and what causes it to change.
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Hair texture refers to the circumference of each hair strand. Most professionals divide texture into three main groups, coarse, medium and fine. The circumference of the hair directly affects how coarse or how fine hair feels.
The larger the circumference, the coarser the hair will be. Fine hair often has the smallest circumference, whereas medium has a middle-range diameter. Since the circumference of coarser hair is larger, it also tends to be much stronger. However, coarse hair is also more difficult to process, and it takes more effort to color, perm, straighten and curl coarse hair.
Fine hair lacks the strength of coarse hair, but it processes easily. Fine hair also over-processes easily, which makes it much more prone to damage caused by chemicals and heat.
The texture of hair varies from person to person. In fact, it may vary across the scalp. You may have fine hair at the nape of your neck and coarse hair at the top of your head. Note that race and ethnicity have no correlation to different hair textures, as a medium, fine and coarse hair can exist in all groups.
Your hair looking and feeling like it is different from how it was many years ago isn’t just your imagination. Research published in the US National Library of Medicine shows that many factors can play a role in changing the texture and color of your hair as you age. The following are the most common causes of hair texture changes.
Blow dryers are major offenders behind dry, brittle hair because most individuals use them every day after they get out of the shower. Moreover, hot styling tools such as straighteners are curlers are even worse because they require you to place tension in your hair, combined with the high heat.
The heat from styling tools can be so high that they form bubbles in your hair shaft. According to a study published in the Annals of Dermatology, heat swells your hair shaft, increase its circumference and make your hair feel coarser and more brittle. This not only promotes breakage but also leads to possible texture changes that cannot be reversed until you grow out new hair.
Using high heat regularly can also cause your hair color to fade. If you’re looking to revive your curl pattern or bring your old texture back, it is vital that you try to avoid heat styling completely till your hair renews. On days you have to use heat, lower the temperature and make sure you use a heat protectant spray before applying heat.
Whether it is tight deadlines or relationship problems, any situation that puts your body and mind under prolonged stress will have a direct impact on how you look.
According to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, stress can cause rapid hair loss; a condition called telogen effluvium. What’s worse is that the condition may kick in months after the stressful even took place. Any stress can push your hair to reach its resting phase, where it ultimately falls out.
The great news is that hair fall from stress is not permanent. Your hair will grow back, but you may notice some texture changes. To prevent your hair from growing back straggly, be sure to take a good hair supplement, along with a diet rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, and water. It’s also important to exercise regularly to reduce episodes of stress in the future.
There’s no way we can sugarcoat this. An earlier study shows that using dyes with peroxides, along with bleach, not only kills the melanin in your hair to lift your natural color – it also weakens the bonds in your hair. This leaves hair looking drier and more damaged.
If you have gray hair in your twenties, it’s not your fault. Blame your genes.
Hair turns gray when there is enough buildup of hydrogen peroxide. This eliminates the melanin in your hair. Hydrogen peroxide, in this case, doesn’t come from dyes, in fact, your hair naturally produces it.
The age at which your body naturally builds up hydrogen peroxide is mainly decided by your genetics. Your genes determine the shape of your hair follicles, and thus your hair texture. They also determine your hair color and how your hair will change with age.
While aging does reduce shine and color in your hair, the diameter of your hair will also reduce, making your hair look thinner and less full.
If your hair is suddenly thinning out, it may be a symptom of something going wrong inside the body.
One condition that often directly affects hair is iron deficiency anemia, where the body has lower levels of iron in the blood than needed. Thyroid disease and vitamin D deficiency can also bring about changes in hair texture. A low-functioning thyroid, a condition called hypothyroidism, can slow down hair growth, leaving hair looking thinner.
Not getting enough of the right nutrients in your diet can have a significant impact on your hair health. Therefore, individuals following fad diets and juice-cleanses, or patients on long-term diets, may experience hair falling at a rapid rate because of not getting enough protein.
An expecting woman often has hair that is shinier, thicker and more voluminous than ever before. Furthermore, her hair texture may also change – for example, curly hair may appear straight.
This is because of the high levels of estrogen during pregnancy, which increases the length of your hair’s growth phase. This prevents hair from shedding, causing it to look thicker.
However, a few months after giving birth, you may notice some thinning as your growth cycle resets. You may even see clumps of hair falling off at once, resulting in bald patches. Luckily, your hair will return to normal as soon as it adjusts to its new cycle. You need some patience.
Menopause is another phase of a woman’s life that may cause changes in her hair texture, due to changes in her hormones.
When it comes to natural texturizers, we can’t think of anything purer and more effective than henna. The world understands the word henna in a myriad of ways. For some, it’s a dark reddish brown dye meant for hair. For others, it’s traditionally used for cultural reasons. All in all, henna has many uses and a plethora of benefits associated with it.
The name henna applies to the flowering plant from which the color is derived from. You can identify a henna plant with its tiny pink or white flowers, and its small fruit. Along with its uses in its dye form, henna is also used in tinctures, aqueous extracts, and salves, containing the seeds, leaves or bark of the plant. This makes henna incredibly versatile and a highly cherished element in Ayurvedic practice.
Henna also has numerous medicinal properties, due to its antiviral, antibacterial, astringent, hypotensive and anti-inflammatory effects.
Apart from being completely natural, henna has a long list of health and cosmetic benefits attached to it. Some of them include:
Henna molecules can bind to the keratin molecules in your hair, resulting in hair that feels thicker and stronger. It also helps loosen your curl pattern. Although this effect is not permanent, the fact that henna is natural makes it safe to use multiple times a month. This makes henna an effective treatment for thinning, damaged and broken hair.
If used correctly (more on this later), henna can make your hair shine and feel stronger. It also conditions your hair when mixed with other moisturizing ingredients. This is especially useful if you’re trying to improve the texture of natural African American hair. Ditching chemical-laden products and using henna on the regular also reduces breakage due to it binding with keratin, as mentioned earlier.
According to a research lead by V.C. Jain et al., since henna increases the strength of the hair, it is a safe and effective dye that doesn’t permanently affect your follicle health.
If you’re using 100% henna, you’ll notice your hair will stain to some extent, regardless of how dark it is. Depending on the ingredients you mix in, how long you leave it and most importantly, the natural color of your hair, the resulting color will range from a deep orange to a coffee brown or burgundy.
Because you are not using bleach and peroxides, the color fades beautifully, without making your hair appear brassy or washed out.
Some henna advocates even suggest using henna for scalp psoriasis relief. Although there aren’t any studies to back this up, giving henna a chance, instead of opting for chemical-laden products, will not hurt.
We love this part. Although henna packages generally instruct you to mix the product with hot water – we suggest otherwise. Using henna solo may leave your hair feeling coarser. While the added texture may not necessarily be a bad thing for some, we recommend trying our conditioning recipes that are sure to leave your hair feeling #blessed.
For added moisture, conditioning and smoothness, try adding the following to your henna mixture:
To improve porosity, add shine and restore pH balance, try these:
To boost scalp health, the following will be your saviors:
If you’re looking to enhance your natural hair color, without using chemicals, try the following:
You may have to play around with these ingredients to get the most out of your henna mask. Be sure to add as much or as little of the above ingredients, based on your hair’s primary concerns. For example, if you want to condition your hair and loosen tight curls, try mixing a packet of henna with one cup of full-fat coconut cream and a few drops of rosemary oil.
Perhaps the easiest way to apply henna is using your hands with gloves on. This allows you to easily slather your henna mixture onto your hair, working it through from root to tips. You can alternatively, use a color applicator brush or a color applicator bottle with wide openings.
It’s important to use what you have around to make the process feel smooth and easy. You want to feel like the henna application is an act of self-care, not a chore.
Read on for some further instructions on how you should apply henna to your hair:
There is a wide range of factors that can change the natural curl pattern of your hair. Sometimes, as hair gets longer, gravity pulls your hair down, causing your neutral curls to appear looser. You can also lose your curls by using too much heat or trying different styles on the regular, stretching your hair out.
Whatever the reason, it’s best to avoid going down the endless rabbit hole of trying to change your hair texture. What’s better is to revitalize your hair and focus on its health. This is mainly because, in search of the perfect hair, you may end up using products and techniques that may cause more harm than good.
Next, you can try our surprisingly simple, natural, yet incredibly effective tips that are sure to give you results, if you’re willing to put in the time.
Hair, regardless of its texture, loves moisture. However, most of us struggle to give it enough of it. With brands pushing their products more than ever, we want to try the latest and greatest, best smelling shampoos we can get out hands on.
However, there’s a dark side to shampooing every day. Your shampoo contains harsh detergents that can strip your hair of its natural moisture. Moreover, it also stimulates your scalp to produce excess oil to compensate for the moisture loss.
A great way to add some kink to your hair, minus the chemicals is using an apple cider rinse. Your hair loves to grow in an acidic environment; however, shampoos make them more alkaline. To restore your natural pH levels, try giving your hair an apple cider rinse after every time you shower and on in-between days when you want to feel clean. You can add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to cut the vinegary smell.
It’s easy to tell when your curls are damaged. They look limper, flatter and drier. Heat can directly cause changes in your curl patterns so your best would be to ditch it entirely – at least till your curls come back. Then you can use it more responsibly.
Protein is an excellent nutrient for reviving the curl pattern. Not only does it make your hair curly again, but it also gives your hair added shine and strength. Also, by consuming more high-quality protein, you should also treat your hair with regular protein masks containing yogurt, eggs, avocado and your favorite carrier oil.
The best way to remove damage is to cut it off – even if it means starting your hair from a very short bob. This may sound downright outrageous, but it may be one of the most effective ways of bringing back your curl pattern.
Damaged hair can weigh your curls down. Furthermore, split ends tend traveling upwards, making hair brittle and more prone to breakage. It helps to understand that your hair will grow back. It’s a little bit of sacrifice for a whole lot of gain.
Whether your hair has changed with age, hormones or has been damaged by heat and styling, moisturizing your hair every day is critical.
Use light, moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera to give your hair some H20, without weighing it down. And remember, while applying any product, scrunch your hair in an upward direction. This is a gravity-defying trick to add more curl to your hair.
It also helps to embrace the wash-n-go, and skip blow drying entirely. Dry your hair with a cotton t-shirt, tie your hair in a loose braid, and you’re ready to go!
Protective styles, such as box braids, faux locks, Marley twists and two strands twists are trending these days for all the good reasons. They act as excellent styles while you wait for your curl pattern to return.
The Bantu knot is one of our favorite techniques for adding curls to strained and damaged hair. They’re a natural way of giving your hair a springy, more defined and kinky texture. It helps to apply a moisturizing product, such as argan oil, to damp strands before styling your hair.
You can wear Bantu knots in the day or through the night. Then unravel the next morning, giving you a mane of fun and bouncy curls.
Curlformers are an excellent product for adding curls and giving you Hollywood-worthy texture, with minimal products, almost no effort and a ridiculously low amount of upkeep. No heat curlers work on all hair types. Just remember, the longer you leave them on, the more defined your curls will be.
Be sure to lock in those curls with hairspray and scrunch them using the palm of your hand and your fingers.
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