When you hear the words “strong curly hair”, what do you think of, shiny, bouncy curls, long-lasting styling, less breakage and split ends? Strengthening our hair is vital in helping to keep our locks happy and healthy. But what does “strong curls” mean? Let us guide you through what makes hair strong and how our products at Curlsmith can help support your quest for beautiful, fortified tresses.
What Makes Hair Strong?
When it comes down to the strength of our curls, a number major factors that are rooted in our DNA come into play.
To understand hair strength, we must first understand hair structure. The hair shaft consists of two or three layers, dependent upon your hair type. These are the medulla, cortex and cuticle.
1) The Cortex
The cortex forms the main bulk of the hair. It is made up of keratin, bound together by hydrogen, salt and disulphide bonds (which dictate the shape and flexibility of our hair). It contains melanin pigments that determine hair colour.
2) The Medulla
The medulla is only present in certain hair types. It is fragile, difficult to see and comprised of loosely connected keratin cells.
3) The Cuticle
The cuticle consists of overlapping cells, which protect the cortex and regulate moisture penetration. Healthy hair has a cuticle layer that is smooth and flat, minimising movement of water in and out of the cortex, this maintaining hair hydration and balance. When damaged, the cuticle layer may lift or in severe cases develop holes or flake away entirely.
Hair strength is heavily impacted by the following factors:
- Curl pattern: The tighter the curl, the dryer the hair tends to be. This is because sebum (our hair’s natural oils) cannot travel down our hair strands so easily. A lack of this natural lubricant can cause the hair to be more fragile and prone to damage.
- Hair texture: The thickness of the hair strand, often referred to as fine, medium or coarse. Fine hair tends to lack a medulla and is thinner and weaker than medium or coarse hair.
- Hair health and porosity: Porosity refers to the state of the hair’s cuticle layer, which dictates how well the hair absorbs and retains moisture. This directly affects the hair’s health and often the integrity of the cortex. Further to this, any damage to the hair bonds and keratin structures within the cortex will affect hair health. If the cuticle or cortex layer of the hair is compromised, the hair will be weaker as a result.
- Hair products: The products you use can help to support the strength of your hair and manage your natural texture or any damage that you might have.
Signs of Weak Hair
Weak hair is often identifiable by observing how the hair feels, looks and acts. If you have weaker hair, you may experience:
- Extremely dry, brittle hair that tangles and breaks easily.
- Hair that appears dull, with little shine.
- Excessively frizzy hair, especially in high humidity.
- A lack of elasticity and bounce, or a lack of overall shrinkage.
Conversely, for finer hair types, you may experience the opposite, with curls that become extremely soft and fluffy, lacking much natural hold.
Regardless of the “symptoms”, Curlsmith has a product that can help rectify your hair’s woes. Read on for how we can support your curls and restore strength to those strands.
How can Products Support Curly Hair Strength?
Hair products can help manage dryness, damage, and natural texture through the use of key ingredients that help to support hair strength.
Proteins are strengthening ingredients that can:
Proteins come in different shapes and sizes and can be found in our products as:
Whilst protein can be a fantastic solution for those with weaker strands, it is possible to have too much of a good thing! Overuse of products containing protein can lead to a build up of protein on or in the hair strands, commonly referred to as “protein overload”. This build up can cause the hair to become stiff, brittle and dry.
Various types of protein can also cause your hair to react differently, sometimes exhibiting symptoms of overload, so don’t be put off if a particular protein doesn’t work for you!
Our Curlsmith Strength Recipe Range is enriched with a low dosage of protein, enough to restore and repair the hair but avoids overload which keeps your hair strong, yet soft to the touch.
Introducing the Curlsmith Strength Range
The Strength Recipe Range features eight amazing products. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits that weaker curls will love:
Bond Curl Rehab Salve
Product purpose: To target all 3 of the hair bonds in the cortex, helping to repair, rebuild and strengthen the hair fibre from the inside. The proteins in this product also protect from further damage.
Strength Recipe Styling Products
Hydrolyzed rice protein: A plant-based alternative to animal keratin, hydrolyzed rice protein forms a film on the hair, supporting hydration and helping to manage cuticle damage.
Feather Light Protein Cream: Multi-function must have, adding conditioning and lightweight hold. This product can also be cocktailed with other products from any Curlsmith range.
Bouncy Strength Volume Foam: Adding weightless texture and volume to the hair.
Shape Up Aqua Gel: Adding medium yet pliable hold to the hair.
Who might benefit from proteins?
Whilst everyone can benefit from some protein in their curly hair routine, some hair types will benefit more than others. Finer hair, which is naturally weaker, benefits hugely from the use of protein. Those with higher porosity or damaged hair will also particularly benefit from products with protein.
Conditioning agents in our products help to soften and seal the hair and aid hydration. Whilst they don’t necessarily share the reparative capabilities of protein, these ingredients deposit on the hair and help to strengthen by managing damage to our strands and protecting those strands from further damage. Certain conditioning agents also help to provide “hold” to the hair, adding longevity to our styling.
Here are some examples of conditioning agents used within the Curlsmith ranges:
Emollients (Oils & butters)
Shea butter: Widely used in Curlsmith products, shea butter leaves a thin hydrophobic film on the hair and acts as a sealant. This hydrophobic layer helps manage hydration levels better and can strengthen damaged hair as a result. Shea butter is also able to provide mild UV protection.
Product examples include:
- Double Cream Deep Quencher
- Fragrance-Free Shine Conditioner
Olive oil: Olive oil is high in oleic acid, squalene, and vitamin E, making it the perfect emollient to protect and strengthen the hair strands. Olive oil is capable of penetrating the hair strands and can help manage porosity as a result, aiding hydration, shine and protecting from further damage.
Products examples include:
- Curl Conditioning Oil-in-Cream
- Hold Me Softly Style Balm
Hyaluronic acid: This film-forming humectant can attract and deliver moisture to the hair without weighing it down. This ingredient strengthens by forming a film on the hair, thus helping to manage porosity and enhance moisture retention.
Product examples include:
- Hydro Style Flexi Jelly
- Hydro Crème Soothing Mask
Polyquaternium-69: Excellent for a long-lasting style, this polymer creates a film on the hair, providing hard hold and humidity protection for curls. This ingredient protects the hair against humidity and gives hold and strength to weaker hair. Its film-forming properties also help to manage porosity.
Product examples include:
- Fragrance-Free Shine Gel
In-Shower Style Fixer
Botanical extracts have a variety of benefits for the hair. Here are some examples:
Green tea extract: Contains vitamins C and E, which help to guard against UV rays and replenish dry, damaged locks. Found in: Hydro Crème Soothing Mask
Hops, jasmine flower, and lemon extracts: Used throughout the Shine Recipe Range to help promote shiny locks.
Who might benefit from conditioning agents?
Everyone. Even if you only have minimal damage to the hair, conditioning agents help the hair feel soft to the touch and protect the strands from wash day to wash day. You may wish to consider the weight of the conditioning agents in your products, as heavier ingredients can weigh down finer hair types. Humectants are lighter weight than emollients for example.
Preventing weak hair
Now we have covered how to strengthen hair, let’s talk about ways to prevent your curls becoming weaker in the first place. There are a few easy changes you can make to your haircare routine to avoid causing weak hair. These include:
- Limiting damaging practices such as chemical treatments and high heat
- Using styling products to target existing damage, and altering your routine to include strengthening products should you choose to colour, bleach or straighten your hair.
- Using protective products to target environmental agressors; the Miracle Shield, for example, can help prevent chlorine damage for frequent swimmers.
- Clarifying regularly to help prevent build up damage from pollutants and hard water.
- Swapping your cotton pillowcase for silk or satin or using a bonnet or buff as sleep protection to reduce overnight friction and breakage.
- Minimising brushing and always detangling gently.
- Substituting elastic hair ties for a satin or silk scrunchie.
Wearing a sunhat to minimise UV damage.
Achieve Dream Curls with Curlsmith
For some, weaker hair is unavoidable. For others, hair is weakened by the choices we make or the lifestyles we lead. Whatever the case may be for your hair, rest assured that Curlsmith will have a product that can support and strengthen your curls. Focusing on ingredients that gently nourish curls, and avoiding those that may be too harsh such as silicones, drying alcohols and sulphates, Curlsmith products allow your curls to achieve their full potential and enable you to have the curly hair of your dreams. If unsure what products serve your curls, take our Curl Quiz to receive personalised recommendations.