Cutting hair to keep it healthy?
Updated: Dec 4, 2021
This is something that has never made sense to me when I hear people say it. How does cutting hair keep it healthy? Let's do a science lesson!
Foundations first: hair is made up of 95% keratin, which is a helical shaped protein.
Hair has a cuticle, a cortex and sometimes a medulla.
The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair shaft and is thin and colorless. It’s the protective outer coat.
The cortex is the middle layer of the hair shaft and provides strength, color, and texture.
The medulla is the deepest layer of the hair shaft, and is only seen in large, thick hairs.
Now that we have a little foundational info about hair, let's talk about the commonly heard phase that people "cut their hair to keep it healthy". This is an erroneous statement as hair does not grow from the ends. It grows from the follicle.
The hair follicle is a tunnel-shaped structure in the epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin. Hair starts growing at the bottom of the hair follicle. The root of the hair is made up of protein cells and is nourished by blood from nearby blood vessels. As the body creates more cells, the hair grows out to the surface of the skin. Sebaceous glands near the hair follicles produce oil, which nourishes the hair and the skin. One topic that many forget to cover when discussing the scalp is buildup. The products we use can clog hair follicles and reduce sebum production. This is why we must know exactly what the ingredients are in the products we use so that we know what is happening to our skin and hair.
Hair grows in phases. Anagen, the growth phase, which is where the hair begins to grow from the root. This phase lasts between three and seven years. Catagen, the transitional phase, which is where the growth slows down, and the follicle shrinks. It lasts between two and four months. Telogen, the resting phase where the old hair falls out and new hair begins to grow from the same hair follicle. It lasts between three and four months.
So, as you can see, hair health comes from the scalp and not the ends. Cutting ends does not keep hair healthy. Cutting hair makes it shorter. If you have split ends that need cut, then take care of your ends! Actually, we MUST take care of our ends because the growth from the scalp is slow, while breakage at the ends can be quite a bit more than what is growing out. If you want your hair to be healthy and retain length or continue to grow, you must take care of the scalp and the ends.
My hair foundations are always going to be:
1. Use a sulfate free and fragrance-free shampoo. Sulfates cause hair loss, breakage, protein degradation, and strips hair of its necessary oils leaving hair weak and brittle. Fragrance causes damage to hair because it is made with alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating by nature, and when put on hair it draws the water out! Never use alcohol on your skin or hair, ever.
2. Put hair up in a sleeping bun. See my Instagram highlights for a tutorial. A loose bun gently held with spin pins that doesn't pull hair and protects ends all night long.
3. Sleep on a mulberry silk pillowcase. Cotton causes friction on hair, so if you have any weaknesses or damage, you will see a lot more breakage using cotton. Mulberry silk protects hair from breakage and also prevents split ends, in addition to drastically reducing tangles and knots.
4. Do a whole head scalp and hair treatment at least once a week. I recommend overnight if possible as it really helps drive the products into the hair and scalp.
5. Oil ends at least one time a day. This is something that will need assessed every day. Do your ends need some TLC? If so what kind of TLC do they need? Are they just a little parched and a drop of Nourishing Tonic will do? Are they frizzy and dry to the point they need Split End and Frizz Control or are they kinked and need a little Restoring Hair Oil? Only you can determine what your hair needs are at any given time.
How do Essential Homemaker hair oils assist with hair health?
1. The Hair and Lash Growth Treatment is specifically targeted to extend the Anagen phase with ingredients that keeps cells from shifting into catagen. This results in hair that grows longer and thicker because follicles are well nourished and strengthened, they don't need to transition. It also stimulates hair follicles that have gone dormant, which allows new hairs to grow also yielding longer, thicker hair. It promotes hair elasticity and strength. It eliminates dandruff, reduces inflammation, and removes buildup that clogs hair follicles.
2. The Growth & Strength Spray is designed to target hair loss prevention by reducing inflammation that stifles the hair follicle from allowing hair to grow out of it. Hair cannot come out of a swollen, compressed hair follicle. It strengthens the hair follicle and the surrounding cells and rebuilds the hair shaft to make hair stronger with high amounts of antioxidant properties, vitamins, and minerals. It increases circulation to the hair follicles, so they become and remain healthy. This product is great for those that suffer from alopecia, postpartum hair loss, or thinning hair due to age by activating IGF-1.
These two topical Essential Homemaker products will help you have a healthy scalp, that will yield healthy hair growth.
Now, to address breakage at the ends. I kinda understand when people say they cut their hair to keep it healthy, but only because breakage happens at the ends. We can remedy this with oiling daily instead of cutting. It is important to choose an oil to use daily that is not heavy or greasy but will address moisture (oil) and hydration (water). These two MUST be addressed simultaneously, in addition to strength and damage prevention.
1. Nourishing Tonic is formulated to address the needs of hydration and moisture to address dry, brittle, frizzy hair, parched hair. It helps to balance oil production, and scalp pH. It also helps to detangle hair, and adds shine.
2. Split End and Frizz Control Oil was created to be a step up in capabilities of Nourishing Tonic. It tames frizz, tangles, and dull hair. It penetrates deep into the hair shaft to strengthen from the inside out to prevent breakage and increase elasticity. It can stimulate sebum production so only use on the scalp if you have really dry hair.
3. The best hair mask I have ever used: Restoring Hair Oil is for truly damaged hair. It penetrates the hair shaft and preserves moisture internally as well externally. It prevents protein loss, increases oxygenation, seals the cuticle, prevents further damage, and replenishes fatty acids to repair damage.
So you really don't need to cut your hair to keep it healthy, you simply need to address the needs of the hair which primarily is moisture, hydration, and damage prevention. You can also work on addressing the needs of the hair follicle itself, stimulating it, strengthening it, and keeping the growth phase extended to grow long, thick hair!
As an Apostolic/Pentecostal woman, I am honored to have uncut hair. I want to keep it as healthy as possible. You DO NOT have to cut your hair for it to be healthy!
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out!