Discover the secrets and natural ingredients that will give your hair a lustrous shine and keep it healthy and beautiful looking all-year-round. See healthy hair tips.
What you should know about your hair. A human hair consists mainly of a soluble protein called keratin. It also contains an amount of moisture and the trace metals and minerals found in the rest of our body.
The visible part of the hair, referred to as the shaft, is composed of dead tissue. The only living part of the hair is its root, the dermal papilla, which lies snugly below the surface of the scalp in a tube-like depression generally referred to as the follicle. The dermal papilla is made up of cells that are fed by the bloodstream. Each hair consists of three layers. The outer layer, or cuticle, is the hair�s protective shield and has tiny overlapping scales, rather like tiles on a property roof.
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When the cuticle scales lie flat and overlap, the hair feels silky-soft and looks glossy. If, however, the cuticle scales have been physically or chemically damaged or broken the hair will be dull and oftentimes brittle and will almost always tangle easily.
The cortex also contains the pigment known as melanin, which provides the hair with natural color. At the center of each hair is the medulla, consisting of soft keratin cells interspersed with spaces. The actual function of the medulla is not known, but some authorities believe that it carries nutrients and other substances to the cortex and cuticle.
Under the cuticle lies the cortex, which is made up of fibre-like cells that provide the hair with strength and elasticity.
This could explain why all types and color of hair is affected so rapidly by changes in a ones personal health and physical wellbeing. Hair�s natural shine is supplied by its own conditioner, sebum, an oil composed of waxes and fats and also containing a natural antiseptic that helps the hair fight all types of infection. See healthy growth tips.
Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands present in the dermis. The glands are linked to the hair follicles and release sebum into them. As a lubricant sebum provides an excellent protective coating to the entire hair shaft, smoothing the cuticle scales and helping hair retain its natural moisture and elasticity. The smoother the surface of the cuticle, the lighter will be reflected from the hair, and therefore the higher will be the gloss. This is why it is more difficult to obtain a sheen on curly hair than it is on straight hair.
Under some circumstances, for example excessive hormonal activity, the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, and the result is greasy hair. Conversely, if too little sebum is produced the hair will be completely dry and listless. For further information see hair articles.
The Unique Growth Cycle
The only living part of the hair is underneath the scalp when the hair has grown through the scalp it is dead tissue. Hair goes through three stages of growth: the anagen phase when it actively grows; the catagen, or transitional phase when the hair stops growing but cellular activity continues in the papilla; and the telogen, or resting phase, when growth stops completely.
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During the telogen phase there is no further growth or activity at the papilla; eventually the old hair is pushed out by the new growth and the cycle begins all over again.
The anagen phase continues for a period of two to four years, the catagen phase for only about fifteen to twenty days, and the telogen phase between ninety to one hundred and 20 days.
At any given time, about ninety three percent of a individual�s hair is in the anagen phase, one percent is in the telogen phase.
Scalp hair, which reacts to hormonal stimuli just like the hair on the rest of the body, is genetically programmed to repeat its growth cycle twenty four or twenty five times during an average person�s lifetime.
What you eat is soon reflected in the health of your hair. Like the rest of the body, healthy, shiny hair depends on a good diet to ensure it is supplied with all the necessary nutrients for sustained growth and health. Regular exercise is also important as it promotes good blood circulation, which in turn ensures that vital oxygen and nutrients are transported to the hair root via the blood.
The Importance Of Diet
Poor eating habits and lack of exercise are soon reflected in the state of the hair; even a minor case of ill-health will usually make the hair look limp and lack-lustre.
For information on black hair styles see black hair styles.
Black Hair Style
An adequate supply of protein in the diet is essential. Good sources include lean meat, poultry, fish, cheese, and eggs as well as nuts and seeds.
Fish, seaweed, almonds, brazil nuts, yogurt, and cottage cheese all help to provide the hair with strength and a natural shine.
Whole grain foods and those with natural oils are recommended for the formation of keratin, the major component of hair. Seeds are a rich source of essential vitamins, amino acids, and minerals as well as protein.
Try to eat at least three pieces of fruit a day � it is packed with fibre, vitamins, and natural minerals. Avoid saturated fat, which is found in red meat, fried foods, and dairy products.
Choose skimmed or semi-skimmed milk rather than the full-fat varieties, and low-fat cheese and yogurt instead of full-fat cheese and cream. Substitute vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, and olive oil for animal fats. These foods all provide nutrients that are essential for luxuriant hair. If you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh ingredients you shouldn’t need to take any supplementary vitamins to promote healthy hair growth.