The health of hair surface is very critical to the look and feel of your hair. Hair with healthy surface can be smooth and shiny, while hair with damaged surface will be frizzy and dull.Hair surface is consisting of a unique structure called “cuticle”. Cuticles look like fish scale and is a protection for the internal structure of hair. Cuticles will lift up and expose the internal structure of hair when they’re in an alkaline solution such as shampoos. On the other hand, acidic solutions, for example conditioners, will close the cuticles so that the hair surface becomes smooth and the internal structure can be well protected.
This is the key process of washing hair, ie. shampoos will open up the cuticles and allow cleaning inside the hair, and conditioners can then change the cuticles back to the closed state.However, the hair cuticles can be damaged by many factors in your daily life such as sunshine, chlorine in the swimming pool, combing the hair especially when it’s wet, hot blow-drying, flat-iron, and harsh chemicals in some shampoos.Other major activities that will damage the cuticles include bleaching and coloring your hair, straightening or curling your hair, and any other “hair-beauty” process involving harsh chemicals or high heat. Therefore, pay special attentions to “hair-beauty” treatments as they may severely damage your hair and actually result in bad-looking hair eventually.Damaged cuticles will expose the internal structure of hair so that the hair will eventually be damaged and ultimately hair fall.
Besides that, damaged cuticles that cannot be properly closed will result in frizzy and dull hair, and even entangled hair. Applying leave-on conditioners or oil on the hair may help to reduce this problem at an early stage, but may not solve the problem completely.
At Kyra, we perform microscope observations to characterize the health of cuticles. This will allow us to see directly the surface of your hair and status of the cuticles. A sample scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of healthy hair is shown below, with a magnification of 500 times.
It is clear that the cuticles on the hair are intact. They’re aligned layer by layer on the hair and the distance between each layer is the same, indicating that not much cuticle loss has occurred. Moreover, the cuticles are seen lying down on the hair. In this case, the cuticles are closed, with the internal structures well protected. This hair fiber is considered healthy and will be smooth and shiny.An example of damaged hair is shown below, which clearly shows the cuticles are almost gone, and the internal hair structures are exposed. This is probably due to hair treatment such as bleaching and hot-ironing. Hair in such conditions will be frizzy, rough and lacking of shine. Due to loss of cuticles, the internal hair structures will be more prone to the environment and can be damaged easily. Therefore, such hair is usually very weak and can break easily.
Microscopy images give us substantial information on the health of hair. We can thus determine the next step to solve the hair problems. For example, hair shown in the above image requires special care using various natural oil to form a protection layer over the hair fibers. Combining with other information that we gather from other characterization methods, we can come up with solutions specifically tailored for each individual person.Various factors in your daily life may damage your hair. You’ll need to show your hair some love before you can be rewarded with a full head of pretty hair. Wash your hair thoroughly and use clarifying shampoo after swimming, apply sunscreen for hair before doing prolonged outdoor activities, follow correct hair washing practices, keep calm and rest well, and avoid over-doing hair treatments.
At Kyra, we are focusing on your daily hair-care needs. Kyra shampoo and conditioner are specifically tailored for your hair by performing various scientific characterizations on your hair such as microscope observations. With these data in hand, we can generate unique formulations for your shampoo and conditioner using our proven algorithms. We then use our premium natural ingredients to prepare the shampoo and conditioner that can tackle your problems effectively.