Dry Ends or Missing Cuticle?

As you know, the struggle against dry, porous ends is ongoing (mainly on one side of my hair). I moisturize and seal daily. I deep condition with heat weekly. What could I be doing wrong?? How about … NOTHING??? It could be damaged hair left over from my pre-HHJ days that had too much heat and too little moisture and protein and the cuticle has just peeled away, leaving the strand to fend for itself!

Last night I was reading “The Science of Black Hair” aka my hair care bible and saw a part about the ends of hair naturally weathering and the cuticle wearing away leaving nothing but the cortex, which can cause those ends to just break away.

After a bit of research, I think I am piecing some information together. The cuticle is “a hard shingle-like layer of overlapping cells, some five to twelve deep. It is formed from dead cells which form scales that gives the hair shaft strength and do the best job of providing protection for it.” (Source: Wikipedia) Due to the natural tendency of hair to weather as it gets older, coupled with daily manipulation and heat styling tools (ooooh … my vice pre-HHJ!), the cuticle peels away, layer by layer, until the cortex is exposed, leaving it without protection, causing it to break away.

Once the cuticle is gone, it’s gone! You can use protein treatments to try and patch it up and maintain strength of the strand, but that is a temporary fix and must be reapplied when the product is washed away.

So what is a girl supposed to do? I think I need a bit more protein in my life at this point! I do rarely do protein treatments and I occasionally use my protein leave-ins. I am quite sensitive to protein, so I need to figure out a perfect balance so that my porous ends are getting the protein and moisture they need. Also on Wash Days, I am going to start applying my Alterna Caviar Photo Defense in 6 parts of my hair and focus on the ends (the point of that product is to patch up “holes” in the hair and protect against photo degradation). Additionally, instead of moisturizing and sealing in  quadrants, I am going to start parting my hair in 3 parts on each side of my hair so I can do a better assessment of what each area needs.

That is the thing with HHJs. Our fickle hair requires us to be oh-so-flexible with our hair plans. I did have this A-HA moment today when I read this. It is almost like I felt renewed and excited again because I feel like I have a solution to a problem that has plagued me for a year now! I always feel like I find something new when I read “The Science of Black Hair!” I will keep you all posted on this new routine and how it is working for me!


Ta ta for now! 🙂