Hair elasticity is the ability of hair strands to stretch and bounce back (return to their original shape without breaking). If you’ve got curly or coily hair like 4C, preserving its elasticity is especially important.
Hair experts explain that the more twisted and spiral shape of the hair strands in textures like 4C can make it harder for the natural oil your scalp produces to travel down the shafts and moisturize them, making them more likely to dry out. When the hair is dry, it’s not as elastic as it should be, resulting in breakage and loss of length.
Moisture and Elasticity
To better understand how dryness can result in decreased elasticity, let’s start by explaining how moisture sustains your hair’s elasticity.
Moisture is retained in the cortex, or the middle of your hair strands. The outer layer of hair, referred to as the cuticle, is what envelops the cortex. The hair cuticle may rise and cause the cortex to lose moisture if your hair gets overly dry. When the cortex loses this moisture, elasticity is lost as a result.
Protein’s Effect on Elasticity
Having a protein deficiency can also result in weak strands with decreased elasticity. Being an essential nutrient for sustaining the hair, any reduction of protein in our body can lead to hair problems including hair loss as a result of decreased elasticity.
A protein deficiency in your hair could come as a result of chemical hair procedures that weaken the hair structure such as relaxing or dyeing. Additionally, consuming a diet lacking in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants like zinc can also contribute to a protein deficiency in the hair, resulting in a lack of elasticity.
Other factors that contribute to decreased elasticity include:
Tips for preserving or improving hair elasticity
For anyone looking to achieve more resilient curls and coils, these tips will help. However, hair that’s permanently lost elasticity from procedures like relaxing may need to be cut off to regrow and become healthy and elastic once again. Otherwise, by maintaining optimal moisture levels, embracing protective styles, incorporating protein treatments when need be, and cutting back on heat styling, you’ll preserve or revive your hair’s natural bounce. Remember, you are a gem. Treat your hair as such.