Opening the Cuticle
One of the very easy ways to get your hair cuticle to react is to use mild heat. Mild heat helps to open the cuticles of the hair so that your hair products can penetrate the hair shaft and effectively attach to its protein structure.
I’m sure this sheds some light on why your hairdresser put you under those hooded dryers on those deep conditioning Saturdays. Remember how nice and healthier your hair looked and felt after you left the hairdresser. Though we speak of heat, it’s important to note that there are both inappropriate forms of heat and it’s important that you know which forms of heat to use.
Inappropriate forms of heat
Methods of mild, appropriate heat are:
Towel wrapped around head
Hooded head dryer
Hair therapy wrap
It’s important to remember that when using mild heat, timing is key. Hair products left on the hair strand for a long enough time will produce better results.
Often times, we apply hair products in a manner that allows only a light coating on our hair. Ideally you want your hair products to move into the hair strand and become attached to it so that the ingredients will not be easily wiped away.
It’s important to note that coating your hair is not the same as moisturizing your hair. Greasy hands are usually the first sign that your hair product is only coating your hair and your cuticle has not absorbed the product.
Have you ever experienced dry hair right after you have just moisturized your hair?
Well this may have resulted from your cuticle of your hair not being closed, and could not hold the moisture from your hair products long enough. So just how do you close the cuticles of your hair?
Closing the cuticle
There are two simple ways to close the cuticle layer of the hair strand. The first and easiest way is to use your hands to smooth products onto your hair in a downward motion.
The second and more efficient way to close the cuticle of the hair and seal in moisture is to make sure your hair products are slightly acidic and within the correct pH. But what is pH, you may ask?
Well the next section in this chapter will explain exactly why Jamaican Black Castor Oil is better for your hair than cold-pressed castor oil.
It’s been a long discussion about which type of castor oil is best for your hair and this book would not be complete if this issue wasn’t addressed.
pH and Hair
pH stands for potential for hydrogen and measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.
Every liquid substance that you place on your hair has a specific pH level. pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. Any substance between 0 – 6 is acidic, 7 is neutral and anything from 8 to 14 is alkaline.
Human hair and scalp natural oil is known as the sebum and has a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. This natural hair acidity prevents fungi and bacteria from growing on the scalp and will keep the cuticle closed and healthy. It will be beneficial to keep your hair within an acidic pH of 4.5 to 5.5, which is similar to our body’s natural moisturize
Opening the Cuticle using pH
Alkaline products like castor oil and relaxers open the cuticle of hair and go straight to the root of the strand and change its characteristic. Now, this may be bad for our hair in regards to some products like relaxers and hair dyes but this explains why they work so effectively because they move into the cortex of the hair strand and re-design the original structure of the strand. With Jamaican Black Castor Oil, that opens the cuticle and moisturizes the hair from the inside out. Can you imagine how beneficial this is to your hair? And just imagine if this is mixed with a whole host of other ingredients that is good for hair growth.
Hair that has open cuticles however is more susceptible to damage because the open cuticle cannot hold appropriate moisture to prevent dry hair. So it’s important to close the cuticle before you go about your daily activities.
Closing the Cuticle using pH
An acidic product causes the cuticle to seal shut and is the best way to gain control over the softness and flexibility of your hair. This pH level will seal in moisture and the beneficial products in your hair strand. Therefore when the cuticle is closed, the hair is within its strongest defensive state and produce smooth, shiny hair and essentially that what we want.