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Structure of hair

What is the Cuticle?

The cuticle of the hair is the outside protective layer of a hair strand. The cuticle resembles shingles on a roof in the way that its different layers overlap. The protein scales of the cuticle overlap to lock moisture within the hair strand.

What is the Cuticle protecting?

The cuticle is protecting the brain of the hair called the cortex. The cortex tells the hair strand what to do. Every attribute of a hair strand from its color, texture, curl pattern, thickness and so on- is dictated by the cortex.

Chemical treatments to the hair are only effective because they can go inside of the hair strand–pass the cuticle layer–and reform the cortex.

For example, manufacturers of highly alkaline hair products such as relaxers, perms, and hair dye can alter your hair because they understand how to constructively manipulate the cortex.

A relaxer opens the cuticles, moves into the cortex, and breaks the bonds that make a hair strand curl.

Once the characteristics of the cortex are altered, the process can not be undone.

The cuticles help to prevent damage to the cortex. A damaged cortex is a damaged hair strand that can not be repaired.

How does the Cuticle layer work?

When the cuticle is strong and healthy, the hair is strong and healthy.

Although hair is dead, the cuticle layer is made up of protein-based keratin scales that either rise open to receive an ingredient or close to lock the ingredient within the hair strand.

Once the fibers of the cuticle are lifted, substances (such as your favoriteingredients) can become deposited within its structure. When closed–the cuticle can prevent moisture-loss as well as act as a shield to protect against damaging environmental forces.

How can you make the Cuticle of the hairwork for you?

Having the capacity to manipulate the scales of the cuticle allow you to control the appearance of your hair. The condition of the cuticle directly affects how your hair look and feel.

If your hair is dry and brittle; then the cuticle is likely open and a lot of moisture has evaporated into the air. If your hair is soft and shiny; then it is likely that the cuticle of the hair is closed and keeping moisture within your hair.

The best thing about making sure that the cuticle is closed is you can experience soft, moisturized hair for several days at a time. This is the most efficient way to moisturize your hair and prevent constant dryness.

How do I close the Cuticle layer?

There are two simple ways to close the cuticle layer of the hair strand. The first and easiest way is to use your hands to smooth products onto your hair in a downward motion.

The second and more efficient way to close the cuticle of the hair and seal in moisture is to make sure your hair products are slightly acidic and within the correct pH.

Learn more about pH balance and soft hair.

If you learned to control when the protective layer of the hair (the cuticle) is opened and closed; then you will never HAVE TO be surprised about how your hair will look throughout the day.

You WILL NOT be surprised with dry, matted hair.
You WILL NOT be surprised with weighed-down oily, greasy hair.
You WILL NOT be surprised with dull, brittle, inflexible hair.


There are TWO easy ways YOU can get the hair cuticle to REACT:

MILD heatopens cuticles to receive moisture
o hooded head dryers (15-20 minutes)
o wrap hair in drying towel after shampooing (45 minutes).

pH of hair productscloses cuticle to seal moisture in

alkaline (8-14) product causes cuticle to raise open
acid/Base (0-6) product causes cuticle to seal shut
neutral (7); water
o Products that are too acidic or too alkaline can be extremely damaging to the hair cuticle. Your hair products should fall within a pH range of 4.5-5.5.

Potential of Hydrogen, or pH, is the measurement of how acidic or alkali a substance is. It is judged on a scale between 0 and 14. Anything between 0 and 6.9 is acidic, 7 is neutral, and anything between 7.1 and 14 is alkaline. Human hair and scalp oil, sebum, has a pH balance of between 4.5 and 5.5. This natural hair acidity prevents fungi and bacteria in the hair and scalp, and keeps the cuticle closed and healthy. Many of the hair products that people use disrupt the natural pH of the hair. A substance that is too alkaline will cause the hair cuticle to open, while a substance that is too acidic will cause the cuticle to contract. This article will tell you how to balance pH in hair naturally.

Want to know more?

Visit the article page where we discuss this topic in more detail….



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