Susanna’s Concerned About Curls:
What a superb blog! My question: I’m trying to grow my hair long, and for over a year now I’ve been avoiding using sulphate-heavy shampoos, commercial dyes, heat styling and brushes. I now have a halo of super curly, short, new hairs. The length of my hair is not so curly, it’s barely wavy. Are these new hairs curly because they’re short, and will straighten out as they get longer, or is it just that the length of my hair *would* be curlier if it hadn’t been blitzed with detergents/hair dryers/alcohol-based styling products/vigorous brushing when wet – all things that can damage hair’s structure?
The Left Brain Reassures Her:
It sounds like you’re doing most things right including avoiding heat styling, brushing and hair dyes. However, avoiding sulfate-containing shampoos has no effect on the damage you will get from shampooing. All shampoos will damage your hair to about the same extent. Sulfate fears is just something made-up by small marketing companies to get you to buy their more expensive shampoos. They aren’t better. Check out this post we did on sulfates some time ago.
The hairs you describe are curly for two reasons: the shape of the follicle from which they grow and the chemical nature of the protein in your hair. Hairs that have a slight curl can look even curlier when they`re short because they don’t weigh as much. As they get longer, they will weigh more (just a little more) and that could be enough to straighten them out.
It is not likely that your hair would be curlier if it wasn’t damaged. In fact, damaged hair is usually less straight then non-damaged hair. Just think of frizzy hair. It’s much more curly than straight hair and it’s usually more damaged.
Hope that helps. Feel free to ask another question and tell your friends about The Beauty Brains.