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How to tell if your hair is damaged

Updated on February 8, 2013
Is my hair damaged?
Is my hair damaged? | Source

Damaged hair

So many things can damage your hair. Heat styling, hair coloring even using the wrong brush can contribute to damaging hair. There is only so much your hair can take before it is limp and completely lifeless. Everyone is different so it can be difficult sometimes to determine how damaged your hair is or if it is even damaged at all. Even after you determine your hair is damaged it can be difficult to tell how badly. Learn the three major signs that tell if your hair is damaged and what you can do about it.

Three fingers
Three fingers | Source

The three signs

The three major signs that your hair is damaged are the following.

  1. Breaks Easily
  2. Rough texture
  3. Overly porous

Rough  textured unmanageable hair
Rough textured unmanageable hair | Source

Breaking easily

This one is pretty easy to look for and spot.What to look for exactly is listed below.

  • If your hair breaks and snaps more easily than usual.
  • If you can't run a brush or comb through your hair without pieces ripping and breaking.
  • You might see more hair in your brush than normal.
  • You will have lots of split ends.

Rough texture

Rough texture is another serious sign of damaged hair. A list of what to look for is listed below.

  • Your hair feels rough even after you brush it.
  • Your hair does not feel soft even after deep conditioning.
  • Your hair feels dry or brittle to touch.
  • When you rub the ends of your hair across your hand they feel more like straw than hair.

What porous hair looks like
What porous hair looks like | Source

Overly porous

Porous means that your hair will not hold or retain water or liquid like hair dyes. The fluid will flow in and out.

  • When coloring your hair the color will fade quickly.
  • When you color your hair it will soak up to much color and be darker than what is should be.

The best way to test this I think is with a temporary or semi permanent dye.

The Gummy test

The gummy test is a great way to tell whether or not you should color treat or heat style your hair. If your hair is to damaged heat styling and or color treating will cause damage beyond repair and even hair loss.

How to preform the Gummy test

  • Dampen your hair
  • Take a strand of hair
  • Slowly pull the hair letting it stretch an inch or two.
  • Then let go.
  • Look at the strand of hair.
  • If it resembles the look of gum that has been stretched then your do not want to damage your hair further.
  • If your hair breaks then it may be brittle unless your hair breaks easily when wet.
  • If it keeps its elasticity and returns to the same shape or close to then your hair is okay or at least not at a huge risk.

Check | Source

Quick checklist

This is a quick checklist if you go through. If you find three or more of these that apply to your hair then it is most likely damaged.

  • Snaps and breaks easily
  • Rough to the touch
  • Can't brush or comb through it without lots of tangles and breakage
  • Hair dye fades quickly
  • Hair dye turns out to dark
  • Hair is more dry than usual
  • You find lots of split ends
  • Feels brittle like straw
  • When you pull a strand it stretches really far before snapping
  • Unmanageable you can't seem to work with it

Asking a professional

If you want to be absolutely sure and you still can't tell there is nothing wrong with asking a hair stylist. They know what they are doing and are usually happy to help. If your hair is damaged they can help with a trim, a hair cut or deep conditioning treatment. Al of these things realy help take care of damaged hair.

What to do about it

If your hair is damaged a little or a lot there are still some things you can do to help.

  • Trim your hair every four to six weeks.
  • Avoid heat styling for as long as possible.
  • Use heat Protectant every time you heat style.
  • Deep conditioning once a week.
  • Use leave in conditioners often.
  • Wash your hair once every three days.(Try using a dry shampoo)

All of these tips will help get your hair back to healthy and prevent further damage.


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