I realize that a lot of women do not know about the structure of their hair. Naturals in general get so caught up in hair type (spiral curls, s-wave, z-shaped kinks) and do not realize that hair type has nothing to do with the structure of their hair.
Hair type has as much to do with the structure of your hair as your skin color does the structure of your skin. Nothing!
If you really want to know the answers to these common questions: what products will work best, how to combat frizz, how to keep your hair moisturized, what is a good deep conditioner, how do I define my curls…then you need to learn about hair structure.
Hair is a biological material that grows from a hair follicle located below the skin on your scalp. The part that extends from the scalp, called the hair shaft, is not a living thing. The hair shaft, composed of a protein called keratin, is divided into three layers. The medulla layer is the innermost layer. The cortex is the mid-layer which giver the shaft its the shape, texture and stores water. The cuticle is the outermost layer and is arranged in a shingle like pattern covering the cortex. Your hair follicle is what determines how the hair shaft is comprised which is why when you chemically treat your hair your new growth is unaffected.
Ok so now that we have the science down what does that have to do with caring for hair?
Well, lets go back to the cortex. Depending on how the cortex is shaped, your hair shaft will be shaped differently yielding straight, wavy, curly, kinky or a combination. But that is just the aesthetics of hair the cortex also determines the structure of you hair: texture, porosity, density and elasticity. I will post each of these characteristics in a separate note to ease readability. By determining your hair’s texture, porosity, density and elasticity you will be able to make educated hair care decisions.