What happens when you slightly stretch one of your hair strands? Does it break? Or does it return to its original structure? It depends upon your hair elasticity.
In this article, let's understand hair elasticity in detail, how it impacts your tresses and what you can do to improve it.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
‘’Similar to an elastic band, a strong hair strand with sufficient elasticity will go back to its original shape even after significant stretching. Weak hair that has low elasticity, remains very delicate and prone to breakage.‘’
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Hair Elasticity?
Hair elasticity measures how long a single strand of hair can stretch without losing its original shape and structure. The overall strength of your hair or the amount of pressure it is capable of handling is determined by hair elasticity.
"Similar to an elastic band, a strong hair strand with sufficient elasticity will go back to its original shape even after significant stretching. Weak hair that has low elasticity, remains very delicate and prone to breakage," says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Types Of Hair Elasticity
1. High Elasticity
Hair with high elasticity can stretch long before breaking. It is the strongest of all hair types and usually appears bouncy and lustrous.
2. Medium Elasticity
Hair with medium elasticity can stretch partially before breaking. Most people have hair with medium elasticity.
3. Low Elasticity
Hair with low elasticity breaks instantly after stretching. This type of hair usually appears very dry, thin, and brittle.
What Affects The Elasticity Of Your Hair?
The moisture and protein levels in your hair predominantly determine its elasticity. Lack of moisture and diminished protein levels in the hair make it weak, brittle, and lose elasticity.
- Besides your diet, water consumption, and internal health, below are some of the external factors that contribute to lowering the hair elasticity:
- Color treatments  that use harmful chemicals which rip off the hair protein
- Using heat styling tools and blow dryers excessively
- Overexposure of your hair to harmful UV radiation and pollution
- Frictional damage caused to hair due to wrongful usage of hairbrushes
How To Test Hair Elasticity?
Hold a wet hair strand at a mid-length point. This is to prevent the pulling pressure at the hair root. With another hand, hold the strand at its tip and stretch it gently.
- If you notice the strand breaking instantly without much stretching, then it has low elasticity.
- If the strand stretches slightly before breaking or becomes curly after release from the stretch, then it has medium elasticity.
- If the strand stretches well, does not break so easily, and falls back into its regular shape after release from the stretch, then it has high elasticity.
A healthy hair strand can stretch up to 30% without damage when it is wet  and around 20% when it is dry. Also, a single healthy hair strand can hold up to 100 grams of weight before breaking.
How To Improve Hair Elasticity?
1. Ayurvedic Treatments
A. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
With the richness of tannins and vitamin C, amla possesses incredible nourishing and conditioning properties for your hair. It has about 80% moisture content , which helps in improving the elasticity of hair fibers.
Prepare a paste by adding sufficient water to 2-3 spoons of amla powder. Add 1-2 spoons of lemon juice to the paste. Mix well and apply it to your hair from the roots to the tips. After 1 hour, wash it off with water.
B. Bhringraj (Eclipta Alba)
Bhringraj acts as a natural conditioner for your hair, helping it become healthier, softer, and silkier. It moisturizes your hair greatly, enhancing the elasticity and giving it a natural sheen.
Add 2 spoons of coconut oil and 1 spoon of curd into 2-3 spoons of bhringraj powder. Mix well and apply the paste to your hair. Leave it for an hour before washing. Repeat this twice a week.
C. Japa (Hibiscus)
Hibiscus is loaded with amino acids that help in nourishing and strengthening your hair fiber as well as the roots. By containing high mucilage levels, hibiscus conditions and hydrates your hair naturally.
Grind 1 hibiscus flower along with 3-4 hibiscus leaves into a smooth paste. Add 4-5 spoons of yogurt to the paste and mix well. Apply the paste to your scalp and hair. Leave it on for an hour and wash it off using lukewarm water.
D. Kumari (Aloe Vera)
The chemical makeup of aloe vera  is somewhat similar to that of keratin, the protein of hair. With rich hydrating and conditioning properties, aloe vera imparts the lost elasticity to the hair and minimizes hair breakage.
Prepare a hair mask by mixing 2 spoons of freshly extracted aloe gel, 1 spoon of yogurt, and 2 spoons of raw honey. Apply the mask thoroughly to your hair and rinse it off using a mild shampoo after an hour.
E. Regular Warm Oil Massage
Massaging your manes regularly with warm oil helps in repairing damaged cuticles, thus enhancing the elasticity of hair. This in turn prevents split ends and breakage in the hair fibers. Also, oiling treatments help to bring out the lost shine and silky texture of your hair.
Warm any of your favorite hair oils such as coconut, sesame, olive, jojoba, or almond oil. Apply the warm oil generously to your scalp and hair. Massage your scalp for 10-15 minutes. Then, massage your hair gently for another 2-3 minutes. Leave it overnight and wash your hair with an Ayurvedic shampoo the next morning.
You can also use Ayurvedic oils with herbs that balance the elevated doshas in your hair and scalp. This helps in controlling the other ailments in your scalp and hair along with strengthening your hair fiber.
F. Healthy Diet
The quality of your diet also determines the elasticity and strength of your hair. You must include high protein foods such as sprouts, dairy, eggs, meat, etc. in your diet regularly to provide sufficient nutrients to your hair. Foods such as nuts, salmon, yogurt, etc. that contain omega-3 fatty acids, help in nourishing and strengthening your hair deeply.
2. Natural Home Remedies
Researchers claim that avocado contains minerals that help in achieving healthy and shiny hair.
Mash an avocado and add 2 spoons of coconut oil to it. Mix well and apply the pulp to your hair thoroughly. After an hour, wash it off using a mild shampoo.
B. Raw Honey
Researchers have found that honey contains about 0.5% protein that in combination with other minerals and vitamins is highly beneficial for hair health.
Add 1/4 cup of olive oil into 1/2 cup of raw honey. Mix the ingredients well and microwave it for 20-30 seconds. Let it cool down a bit. Apply the mixture from the scalp roots to the tips generously. Massage your scalp gently for a few minutes. Now, put on a shower cap and leave it for 30 minutes before shampooing.
C. Egg White
Add 2 spoons of coconut oil to 2 egg whites. Whisk them together and apply the mixture to your damp hair. Leave it for half an hour. Wash your hair using a mild shampoo and cool water.
D. Rice Water Rinse
Rinse 1/2 cup of uncooked rice thoroughly. Soak this rice in 2-3 cups of water for half an hour. Strain the rice and use the water to rinse your hair after shampooing. Leave it on for half an hour before giving a final rinse with normal water.
E. Flaxseeds Gel
Studies show that a hair gel formulation containing flaxseeds provided significant strength to hair.
Add 4-5 spoons of flaxseeds and 2 cups of water into a heating pan. Simmer the pan on medium heat while stirring the seeds at regular intervals. Wait until the water gets a gel-like consistency and turn the heat off. Let the gel cool down. Now, use a muslin cloth to strain the gel into a glass container. You can store the gel in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
Apply the gel directly to your hair using your hands. Leave it on for half an hour before washing it off with a mild shampoo.
3. Other Salon Treatments
A. Deep Conditioning Treatment
These treatments help in conditioning the cuticles and increasing their integration. In turn, it results in improved elasticity with smoother and lustrous hair.
B. Protein Treatment
These treatments repair the hydrolyzed protein bonds in hair fiber, thus hardening the cuticle layer. This in turn, patches up gaps in the cuticles and enhances hair elasticity.
Tips For Improving Hair Elasticity
For Low Hair Elasticity
- Put on deep conditioning regularly.
- Stay away from chemical hair treatments.
- Avoid using heat styling tools .
- Protect your hair from sun damage by wearing a scarf or using an SPF spray.
- Wear headgear before slipping into chlorinated pools or seawater.
- Do not use hot water to wash your hair. Rather, use lukewarm water while shampooing and give a final rinse with cool water.
- Use a leave-in conditioner before stepping out for the day.
- Use a wide-toothed comb or brush to detangle your hair.
For Medium Hair Elasticity
- Massage your scalp and hair with warm oils regularly.
- Reduce the excessive usage of shampoos. Also, prefer a mild herbal shampoo instead of one with harsh chemicals such as sulfates or sulfonates.
- Use a good hair conditioner generously every time you shampoo.
For High Hair Elasticity
- Maintain the health of your hair with regular protein treatments.
- Avoid sleeping with wet hair.
- Be gentle with your hair while combing and putting on a hairstyle.
- Avoid tight ponytails or using tight hair bands.
Though different tips have been focused on each type of hair elasticity, every tip is very useful and important for every hair type. Hence, try to incorporate all the hair care tips mentioned above to restore, protect and maintain your hair elasticity.
Difference Between Hair Density, Hair Porosity, And Hair Elasticity
Hair density refers to the number of hair strands growing per 1 square inch area of your scalp. In general, hair density is highest in the crown region on the scalp.
The porosity of hair determines the ability of hair to absorb and retain moisture levels.
Hair elasticity determines how much stretching force your hair can take before breaking.
Please consult your doctor before using any of the treatments mentioned in this article to improve your hair elasticity.
The Last Word
Hair issues like lack of luster, frizziness, brittleness, etc. are all the result of loss of elasticity in hair. However, by following a proper hair care regimen and locking in the moisture, you can restore the elasticity of your hair.
At Vedix, we understand your hair needs to customize an Ayurvedic hair care regimen that addresses your unique hair concerns.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Investigation of hair dye deposition, hair color loss, and hair damage during multiple oxidative dyeing and shampooing cycles (Jan-2016), Research gate
2. Healthy Hair: What Is it? (Dec-2007), Journal of investigative dermatology symposium proceedings
3. Investigation of kinetics of amla (Emblica officinalis) fruit drying process (July-2022), South African journal of chemical engineering
4. A Close Look at Aloe Vera Barbadensis and Its Effect on Hair Health (July-2020), Research gate
5. Hair Shaft Damage from Heat and Drying Time of Hair Dryer (Nov-2011), Annals of dermatology
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