I know some of you may be thinking holy smokes this is just plain ludicrous! Water can be harmful to our hair? Well to an extent this is true! Like anything in life there is always a negative and surprisingly this does not exclude water.
We all know water is the only substance on earth that provides 100% moisture to our hair, and I mean the only substance; no other product is even a close contender, except extra virgin coconut oil which can provide about 50% moisture of water’s capabilities and extra virgin olive oil at 25%. Water is the mecca to “healthy” hair and a successful hair routine without water is not even a plausible option but how we use water is just as important of making sure we incorporate water into our hair regimen.
For some this may be an afterthought but just following this quick little suggestion or keeping one word in mind could greatly improve the condition of your hair and what is this suggestion…TEMPERATURE! Consciously being aware of the temperature of the water you expose your strands to could cause less dryness and breakage in the future. Regarding the temperature of water on our hair is so important because the hotter the water the higher risk of potential root damage and more sebum lost from our strands. Warmer water depletes our strands of their natural oils which leaves the hair more susceptible to breakage and yes for some this is just the ABC’s but what you may not know is that water that is too hot can “over process “ or “over heat” the hair which technically is called denaturation “a process in which proteins or nucleic acids lose the tertiary structure and secondary structure which is present in their native state, by application of some external stress or compound”. Similar to cheese that loses its stability, meat that gains more firmness or an egg that loses its solubility when exposed to heat, these protein based food are very similar in the way our hair responds to too much heat and the simple reason why…our hair is protein.
Every individual strand on our head is a makeup of keratin, fibrous structural proteins. The protein on our head reacts similar to the protein we may cook for dinner and as previously stated if that dinner is over exposed to some “external stress or compound” such as heat…you are ordering take out. Yes, you got it, our hair can be over cooked by water that is too hot especially for those who have fine strands, you really need to take heed of perhaps using warm water versus hot because if water is barely touchable, then you can only imagine the effect it will have on thin fibers of protein, especially those with fine strands to begin with.
For those thinking about sealing and knowing that hot water opens the hair shaft insuring your natural oils actually penetrate, while cold water closes the hair shaft, just remember warm water works just as efficiently. Hot water increases blood circulation on the scalp which expands the blood vessels but highly tempered water can expand something else as well, the hair shaft. Hair naturally expands when exposed to water because the hair is absorbing the water, which causes water weight in the hair shaft, but water that is too hot causes structural damage along the scales of the hair shaft, weakening the structure. So not only is the strand dealing with the strain of absorbing healthy water weight but structural damage of the haft shaft which really is too much stress for the strand to deal with. Your hair may not break immediately but over time the continuous use of water that is too hot can and will cause breakage and dryness.
At the end of the day water is nothing less than our best friend and the ultimate savior in providing moisture for our hair, but just as a precaution stick to warm to lukewarm temperatures when applying water on your hair.