Proud Tips | Your Hair is your Personality, A good well-conditioned Your Hair style can Boost our personality in exactly the same way as an expensive outfit. We pursue this path of destruction by using harmful brushes and combs, by shampoo ing inadequately and by subjecting your hair to the intense rays of the sun.
Understanding Your Hair
Of all the outfits which we possess to enhance our looks, hair is the one we never take off. A good well-conditioned style can turn heads in the street and boost our self-confidence in exactly the same way as an expensive outfit. Yet it is the one aspect of our personal appearance that we take for granted above all others.
From childhood to old age we abuse our hair through carelessness or sheer ignorance. We tug it back into damaging elastic bands, rip the ends apart by grooming incorrectly and even pull it out by the roots! We pursue this path of destruction by using harmful brushes and combs, by shampoo ing inadequately and by subjecting your hair to the intense rays of the sun. We complete the process by continual use of chemicals, some times applied inexpertly by amat euros, until our former crowning glory breaks beyond the point of no return. Then we panic.
Ignorance of this vital aspect of our looks has been with us since time immemorial. Hair has sometimes been revered, often abused. The early Egyptians shaved their heads, partly for religious reasons but also as a way of coping with the hot climate and of keeping their heads free from vermin.
They progressed from one extreme to another as more elaborate styles became the fashion, and even worn by both men and women. Ancient Greeks preferred more natural hair and women spent great sums of money on oils and perfumes for it. Romans believed that too-frequent washing disturbed the spirit guarding the head — so women were permitted to wash their hair only as often as once a year!
However, it was during supposedly more civilized times that hair care really suffered at the fickle fingers of fashion. During the 18th century, incredibly extra vagrant creations would be filled with cotton wool and molded together. Because they would not be disturbed for weeks, nests of mice were sometimes found to have taken up residence!
The hair and scalp are two such delicately linked and intricate subjects that one can understand why countless generations before us have preferred to remain in blissful ignorance of them. But, whether we like it or not, first impressions are formed on ap appearances and your hair is very often the first part of us to be noticed. Haircare plays a more prominent part in beauty routines now than ever before, yet it is still 11 often neglected-simply because it is least understood. So what exactly is hair and how is it formed?
Hair is a slender, thread-like extension of the skin. There are between 80,000 and 150,000 hairs on the human head at any one time, depending on gender and hair color. A natural blonde tends to have more hairs on the scalp than a redhead and women tend to have more than men. But all of these hairs, or at least those which are visible to the human eye, are dead; it is from a root deep beneath the scalp, or the papilla, that life goes on.
The scalp is made up of three layers; the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. The epidermis more commonly known as the skin has a life cycle of between five and six weeks and is itself divided up into layers. The epidermis is fed by the dermis, which is the home of the hair follicle where the hair actually begins its life. It is at the base of the follicle where the papilla is found and where the hair cells are produced. Living cells need nutrition and your hair cells draw theirs from blood vessels, which also feed the sebaceous glands with sulfur. The seb access glands are attached to the hair follicle and produce sebum which lubricates the hair shaft and scalp.
For some people, sebum is automatically associated with oiliness and is a dirty word, but it is vital to the well-being of your hair because it seals in essential moistrue which protects it from dan dangerous elements such as the sun, wind, and weather, it also contains a natural antiseptic which helps fight infection.
Sulfur supplied by the blood vessels controls the flow of sebum. The dermis also contains the nerves and nerve cells that are sensitive to touch, heat and movement. The third layer of the scalp, the hypodermis, is situated at the base of the dermis and is made up of fatty tissue which produces the fatty acids present in sebum. The hair itself, or hair shaft, is also divided into three layers: the cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair and its protective coating.
- Redheads often seem to have the most abundant hair types, but in fact, they have the fewest number of hairs on the head.
- Blondes have the greatest number of hairs, but these are much finer than red hair.
Hair is at its most fragile when wet; that’s why it’s so important to know how to shampoo, condition, rinse and comb out properly. Always remember to handle wet hair with extra care.
Believe it or not, the cuticle is also made up of layers, but in this case, they are layers of overlapping transparent scales of keratin, which is a hard protective protein also found in the nails on the hands and feet. When the hair is wet these scales open out, and when it is dry they close.
Beautiful shiny hair is the result of the cuticles lying smoothly on the surface of the hair shaft where they reflect the light. Dull hair is the product of damaged cuticles that can note flat or catch the light. This kind of hair becomes porous, which means it absorbs water and other substances at different rates along its lengths.
The second layer of the hair shaft, the cortex, is the main bulk of the hair and contains the hair pigment granules which give the hair its color. The medulla is not always present in the hair shaft, but when it is there it is located in the center and is made up of soft fibrous keratin. This may all sound like too much of a biology lesson, but it is important at least to remember that all chemical hair treatments, whether they be to color or curl, depending on changes within the hair’s molecular structure for their effect.
If these treatments are abused, cells in the cortex of the hair may break down, and that is where damage begins. Bear in mind also that, apart from its biological structure, hair is a reflection of our whole well being, and its condition and growth are influenced by the same factors which affect the rest of our bodies. As we appear to radiate health and energy in the summer, so does hair, and it is a fact that it grows faster in summer than in winter. Nutrition affects general body health. Whether we like it or not, we are what we eat, and what we feed our hair is bound to influence its growth. For all this, hair only becomes hair as we know it once its cells have been har denied by the oxygen in the atmosphere and their process is complete. It then becomes dead and we take an interest in it!
Each hair actually lives for between one and six years grows approximately half an inch a month and completes three phases in its life. It is one of the hairdressing myths that hair grows faster when it has been cut short.
It may appear to, simply because growth is more noticeable. That is not to say that a good cut cannot sometimes make the hair appear thicker, and in some cases longer, than it did before. The first growth phase of a hair’s life is the anagen phase, during which normal growth takes place and the papilla is fully active, producing hair cells. The sebaceous gland is also active during this time.
Next, the new growth stops, the papilla begins to shrink and the sebaceous gland becomes less active. This is the catagen phase. The final stage in the cycle is the telogen phase when both the papilla and seb access gland become inactive and dormant.
They remain this way for a few weeks and then the new hair begins to grow, attaching itself to the old hair which usually remains in the follicle. The cycle takes 80-90 days, the new hair enters the anagen phase and the cycle is repeated. During the telogen phase, hundreds of hairs are easily removed by vigorous brushing.
All of us lose hair every day; about 100 is quite common and nothing to worry about. It is simply all part of the growth, resting and shedding cycle. Under normal circumstances, 85-95 % of the coarse scalp hairs are in the anagen phase, 1% in the catagen phase, and 4-14% in the telogen phase. With the possible exception of bone marrow, the rate at which hair cells reproduce is greater than that of any other organ in the body. Since the process is so fast, it is easy to see why it is quick to respond to adverse factors such as illness and bad diet.
- Some hair types naturally do grow much longer, and faster, than others, and it is a fact that hair grows longer in warm sunny climates than in more temperate zones. That’s why women in Mediterranean countries always seem to have such long hair.
- Opposite: An example of just how cleverly hair can be cut and styled to look thicker. This beautiful, bouncy bob is from the Taylor Ferguson Salon in Glasgow.
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