Healthy hair can look different for everyone. No one hair type is necessarily healthier than another; hair color, texture, and length are the most common physical properties we associate with hair, but these vary by hair type and thus, aren’t true indicators of healthy hair.
Wondering how to tell if your hair is healthy? With a scan of the ends, a test for smoothness, and noticing visible shine or lack thereof, you can determine the state of your hair.
There are signs you can look and feel for to determine if you have healthy hair. Let’s explore these in detail and compare them with what your hair might look and feel like if it is unhealthy.
3 Signs You Have Healthy Hair
1. Lack of Breakage
We often look to split ends to determine when it’s a good time for a haircut, but they can also serve as a cue for healthy or unhealthy hair. Ends that are intact, meaning they aren’t split or broken off, are a sign of healthy hair.
Everyday wear and tear will naturally result in breakage at the ends of the strands, or even higher up, resulting in what is often called “baby hairs” or “flyaways”. The more wear and tear it undergoes from tension, heat styling, and harsh ingredients, the more hair breakage you will experience.
Take a close look at the ends of your strands and the hairs around your face to spot those that are splitting or breaking. The less breakage you have, the healthier your hair is because when your hair is strong, it’s more resistant to breaking.
Smoothness is not referring to the overall texture of the hair (i.e. curly or straight) but rather the texture of each strand. When hair is damaged, the strands feel rough and bumpy. This is because the cuticle layer of the strand is lifted or missing entirely in some places.
By sliding a strand, or a few, between your thumb and forefinger, you might be able to feel for the health of your hair. A smooth, easy slide, likely means your hair is healthy, while a rough and bumpy feeling means you likely have some damage.
Hair shine is one indicator of hair health that you can spot in the mirror. To exhibit shine, hair requires moisture, and with moisturized hair, the cuticle lies flat allowing light to bounce off it and shine. In fact, moisture is one of the critical components of hair health because the more water the fibers have, the stronger they are.2 As a result, lack of moisture is of the main causes of dry hair.
Moisture also reduces frizz, which is why shine can be a signal of healthy hair vs unhealthy hair.
However, it’s important to note that curly hair will naturally emit less shine than straight hair because of its shape.1 Whether it’s healthier or not as healthy, shine is relative for everyone.
Healthy Hair vs. Unhealthy Hair
While healthy hair feels smooth, has minimal breakage, and appears shiny, unhealthy hair usually has frizz, split ends, roughness, and a lack of luster. All of these latter signs point to intrinsically weaker hair1.
Unhealthy hair can result for a number of reasons, including:
- Manipulation of the hair through heat tools and salon treatments
- Everyday wear and tear
- Scalp conditions which can lead to hair thinning and hair loss
While taking care of your hair is important for healthy hair, maintaining a healthy scalp should be an integral part of that routine.1
If you’re experiencing signs of unhealthy hair, you can improve the condition of your hair with hair repair products. Depending on what your particular concern is, be it frizz or split ends, you can find specially formulated hair products online to help improve the strength, and thus health, of the hair.
For instance, if you’re experiencing dryness and frizz, a restorative hair mask, such as our Repair Mask, can help transform frizzy, damaged, and dehydrated hair to look and feel healthier in minutes. If split ends are your primary concern, you can use our Repair Leave-In, which makes hair 15x stronger and prevents 93% of new split ends, or a cuticle sealer like our Healthy Hair Perfector to restore the hair’s outer F layer.
If you’ve used the above three signs to determine that your hair is less healthy than you’d like, you can bring it back to good health with supportive hair care products at Living Proof.