I never really thought about my hair’s elasticity before until I went down a rabbit hole trying to figure out how to get the softest hair possible. Paying attention to the elasticity of your hair in your haircare routine will give you strong hair that is soft and shiny. Despite this being a less popular topic in the hair world, knowing how elastic your hair is and caring for it appropriately is an important part of having healthy, manageable hair.
Hair elasticity ultimately comes down to how strong your hair is. Hair that’s elastic can stretch and return to its shape, while hair that is weak will break. Elastic hair strands also look healthier and shinier and feel softer and more moisturized. If you find that your hair is brittle and dry without any softness, learning about how to improve your hair’s elasticity will help return your hair to health.
We’ll go over why your hair’s elasticity is important, how to tell whether you have good elasticity, and what you can do to improve it.
Why Hair Elasticity is Important
Hair elasticity measures how much stretching your hair strands can take before suffering from breakage. Hair that is able to stretch will look and feel more supple. When your hair has a lot of damage or dryness, the hair won’t be able to stretch and will feel coarse to the touch.
It’s also possible to have hair that is too elastic. Fixing hair that is too elastic or not elastic enough will require some different solutions that we’ll discuss below.
Hair Elasticity Test
It’s easy to test your hair’s elasticity.
Wet a strand of your hair. Pull gently on the hair to see it stretch.
If your hair does not stretch, your hair has low elasticity: The hair cannot stretch and will break. The hair strands are dry and suffer from a lack of moisture.
If your hair strands are extra stretchy and then ultimately break, your hair has high elasticity. Your hair may also feel limp or mushy to the touch. These hair strands lack protein.
If your hair stretches a bit before returning to its natural shape you have balanced elasticity and your hair has the right balance of moisture and protein.
Other ways to tell how elastic your hair is? Does your hair appear dry with lots of split ends. Do you have a good detangling routine but your hair is still tangled? These are signs of low elasticity. Meanwhile hair that is thinner than usual and lifeless can be a sign of high elasticity.
How can I improve the elasticity of my hair?
1. Keep hair hydrated
For low elasticity hair that is dry and damaged, incorporate a deep conditioning hair mask into your routine. Once a week or more is a good cadence to start with.
2. Use a protein treatment
If your hair is high elasticity, protein treatments and hair masks can help get more protein in your hair.
Hydrolyzed proteins from wheat, oats, and vegetables as well as keratin and collagen can add strength back to your hair as can amino acids.
3. Minimize heat styling
If you are styling your hair with heat every other day or even daily, try to only use heat tools once a week. Frequent use of heat styling tools damages hair and leaves it dry and brittle. Heat damaged hair needs both moisture and protein to build up its strength again.
4. Detangle with a comb
A good detangling routine will help your hair from becoming damaged and breaking off. Wet hair is your hair at its most fragile and brushing your hair in that state can cause breakage. Use a good leaven conditioner and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle.
5. Eat hair-healthy foods
Even eating protein in the form of eggs, yogurt, and chicken can strengthen your hair. Omega-3 fatty acids that you can find in salmon, mackerel and tuna, as well as in nuts and seeds provide protein for hair and make hair shinier.
6. Care for your hair while you sleep
Sleeping on a silk pillowcase or with a silk or satin camp wrapped around your head can protect hair from breakage that can occur during the night. Applying a treatment meant to deliver overnight moisture can also help strengthen hair that is dry and brittle.
Best Hair Masks To Improve Hair Elasticity
Hair Masks with Protein
This treatment from Briogeo adds protein from rice water while also delivering moisture from rosehip oil and sweet almond oil. It claims to double the strength of hair after one use. It works for any hair type and for colored, relaxed, and chemically-treated hair.
This mask uses vegan proteins and mango and shea butter to strengthen and moisturize the hair. This is a really thick mask that is a gamechanger for damaged or dry hair.
Hair Masks for Moisture
This mask is a like a huge drink of water for dry hair. It’s amazing at making hair softer and shinier as well as diminishing frizz. Their formula uses jojoba seed oil (super moisturizing) and sea buckthorn (an Amika speciality ingredient that is full of antioxidants.) If your hair is really dry, I would use this on your mid-lengths and ends once or twice a week.
This hair mask from African Pride is a deep conditioner that is best for curly and coily hair as well as highly textured hair due to the immense moisture it delivers. It is also heat-activated, so it’s best to use with a steamer, or you can steam your hair at home by using a microwaved wet towel and wrapping it around your hair. This will allow the mask to penetrate deeply and leave your hair shiny and soft.
Hair Elasticity Conclusion
Getting softer, more elastic hair if you’re suffering from dryness or damage isn’t so difficult once you figure out what your hair needs. Once you’ve done the hair elasticity test, give your hair the protein or moisture it needs and make sure to protect your hair from breakage. With these steps your hair will slowly but surely come back to health.
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