The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Does Shiny Hair = Healthy Hair? (Courtesy Natural Haven)

By Jc of of Natural Haven

Do you equate shiny hair with healthy hair? I have seen many people emphasise that natural hair can or should have a 'healthy' sheen but is this really true?

The research ( J. Cosmet. Sci, pp 49-63, 2004) I found gave there are three main factors which affect natural shine for clean hair (i.e when oil is not added artificially to create shine and the hair has been freshly washed).

The three factors are

1. Colour of your hair

2. The shape and thickness of your hair strands

3. Twists or kinks in your hair

1. The darker your hair, the shinier it appears
Very light hair (grey or blonde) can easily allow light to go through the hair instead of reflecting it back. As hair gets darker, less light is scattered in this way and more of it is reflected back, therefore darker hair appears shinier.

2. The more elliptical your hair, the shinier it appears
By now you should know the varying shapes of hair with Asian hair tending to be round, European hair tending to be slightly less round and African hair tending to be elliptical. It may come as a surprise that excluding other factors and considering only shape, elliptical hair is actually the shinier hair. This is because the flattened shape can direct light back better compared to round hair which tends to scatter the light at the edge.

3. The more twists and kinks in your hair, the less shiny it looks
This is really where natural hair falls. There is a distinct difference between a curl where hair can form spirals and kinky curly hair where hair does not tend to clump up. The more your hair can clump up, the shinier it appears because the hair fibres follow in the same direction and direct the light falling on them back in a uniform way. However, hair that does not clump up will direct light in different directions leading to less shine. Therefore straight, wavy or curly hair where hair fibres tend to align with each other look shinier. Kinky curly hair which tends not to clump up appears less shiny.

So is shine an indicator of hair health?
No it is not. A very high shine means that your hair is clean, darker, elliptical and not very kinky. For naturals who straighten their hair, they may find that their hair appears much shinier and darker when straightened compared to when unstraightened.

If you are seeking extra shine to your hair and your hair is very kinky, the artificial way (i.e oil) may be the path for you. Castor oil is a noted oil for giving hair sheen as are silicones including amodimethicone (J. Cosmet. Sci, pp 335-351,2003).

Keep it natural!


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