Hygral Fatigue and How to Prevent It
We all know that moisture plays an important role in hair growth. It makes the hair elastic which reduces breakage and also makes it less prone to tangles. These are key factors in retaining length as your hair grows. However, like everything else in life, too much moisture in the hair is not a good thing. It leads to what is referred to as hygral fatigue or in simpler terms, moisture overload.
So, What Exactly is Hygral Fatigue?
Hygral fatigue is a state where your hair cuticle is damaged after being exposed to too much moisture. Normally, the hair cuticle swells when it absorbs moisture and contracts while drying up. The frequency of the expansion and contraction weakens the hair strands over time which eventually causes breakage. Hygral fatigue is more prevalent among people with high porosity hair.
What Causes Hygral Fatigue?
Many things can cause Hygral fatigue. We do most of them innocently without knowing the adverse effects they have on our hair. Here are a few of them.
1. Deep conditioning for too long
Most of us fall into the trap of applying deep conditioner and leaving it on overnight. This causes hygral fatigue. You should only leave the deep conditioner on for the minutes specified on the instructions. Extending this time only causes more damage to your hair.
2. Constantly moisturizing hair and not letting it dry
Another common mistake is not letting the hair dry after moisturizing it. For example, if you keep wetting your hair to revamp your wash and go style without letting it dry completely, you end up with moisture overload.
3. Washing the hair too much
Washing or co-washing your hair daily or several times in a week leads to hygral fatigue. The washing affects the porosity of the hair strands and leads to loss of elasticity, weakening of the hair, and even breakage.
4. Not using enough protein on your hair
Protein makes the hair strands slow down the rate which they absorb water thus getting rid of rapid expansion. If you use conditioners that don't contain proteins, your hair will end up absorbing too much moisture.
How Can You Tell If Your Hair Has Hygral Fatigue?
The most obvious sign of over-moisturized hair is its low elasticity. As much as moisture makes the hair elastic, too much of it makes it heavy thus making it hard for it to return to its natural state.
Low elasticity is easy to identify since it affects the curl pattern. You'll notice that some sections of your hair will lose their curl definition and even refuse to return to its initial state when you pull it.
Another sign is when your hair constantly feels limp and gummy when wet. It may also stretch less than normal when wet.
You might also notice that your hair is weak and is shedding and breaking off a bit more.
How can you prevent hygral fatigue?
Preventing hygral fatigue is all a matter of balance as well as paying close attention to your hair.
1. Use Products that Contain Proteins
High porosity hair is more prone to hygral fatigue. Fixing this calls for a balance between moisture and protein. You should use conditioning products that contain proteins. Look out for products with ingredients such as hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed silk, hydrolyzed keratin,
quinoa protein, soy protein, and hydrolyzed wheat. They will help restore the protein structure of your hair.
2. Reduce the amount of time you wet your hair
You should reduce the number of times you wash or co-wash your hair. If you moisten your hair when styling, ensure that it is completely dry before the next time you wet it.
3. Pre-Poo your hair
Pre-pooing your hair reduces the amount of water your hair will be able to absorb. You should use light oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. Sealing your hair with oil prevents rapid contraction as the hair dries thus reducing stress on the hair strands.
4. Use low pH Products
Use products with low pH to help close the cuticles of high porosity hair.