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By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom

Hair will be strongest when it is undamaged and when formed while on a proper balanced diet with sufficient protein and vitamins.  However, no matter how gentle you are, it is necessary to handle hair while maintaining it. This maintenance will damage hair and impact hair strength. Here are four methods that are scientifically known to increase the strength of hair.

1. Humectants – Glycerin/Glycerine

For natural hair which is not bleached/treated with permanent hair colour, humectants such as glycerin will increase the strength of hair (J Cosmet Sci, pp 39-52, 1985). This is related to the ability of the humectant to hold on to water and increase the flexibility of hair allowing it to stretch without snapping easily. Glycerin works best in a detangling product as well as a leave in product. Glycerin is scientifically known to increase strength but other humectants may work in a similar manner including honey and aloe vera.

2. Drink more water – Silicon in your diet

Silicon (without an e) occurs naturally in a form known as orthosilicic acid. It is actually present in almost all tissues of the human body including skin and nails. A recent small study found that dietary intake of orthosilicic acid could increase elasticity and strength of hair ( Arch Dermatol Res, pp 499-505, 2007). This is actually one of the first studies to link mineral supplements with a measurable positive result on hair. This mineral is present in drinking water and water based drinks such as beer. It can also be sold as a supplement known as choline stabilized orthosilicic acid.

3. Cover your hair in the sun

UV radiation from the sun is responsible for damaging the internal protein structure of hair and with sustained exposure can also weaken it. Sunlight also can introduce porosity at the cuticle surface (J Cosmet Sci, pp 271-281, 2003). As with skin, the lighter the colour of your hair, the more affected it will be. White/grey hair is the most affected and black hair the least. Melanin in hair serves as a protective barrier from sun damage, and the darker your hair is, the more protected it will be. If you happen to live in or holiday at a place with strong sunshine and you intend to be outdoors for an extended period, wear a hat or scarf to protect your hair from UV damage and the associated loss in strength.  Sunscreen is just as effective on skin as it is on hair too.

4. Proteins in your conditioner

Hair is protein and as you can see from the UV radiation above, the more degraded the protein in hair is, the weaker it will be. Protein treatments or indeed small amounts of hydrolysed proteins/amino acids added into hair conditioners and applied to hair can increase the strength of hair (J Cosmet Sci, pp 339-346, 2007). This is in part because the proteins can temporarily bind to flaws/cracks/pores in the hair and also because proteins do behave as humectants and help hair retain moisture. Hair that is damaged (bleached/colour treated natural hair) benefits the most from protein treatment. The definition of damaged hair should be extended to hair that easily breaks/snaps, requires very gentle handling or easily forms split ends. Regularly using or adding protein to hair will help maintain or increase the strength of hair.

Ladies, have you tried any of these methods? Share your results!

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51 Comments on "4 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Stronger Hair"

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Okay

Good article, however glycerin does not really work for high porosity hair. Although it retains water for a little bit, then it sucks the dry air into the strands. If people find the tips above are not working, maybe check into the max hydration method.

Abby

Honestly…the one and ONLY method that drastically helped me GROW (I mean, grow like weed lol) AAAAND maintain the length of my hair was… *drum roll* WATER.
at least 1.8Ls of water a day. Seriously my hair now grows like weeds. Also, I stopped shampooing my hair.. I only do it maybe 5 or 6 times a year. I co wash my hair at least once or twice a week. Seriously..my hair though lol

—-
my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn8Be38cDN3dxKh5KfRLuEQ

Dr K

I noticed that my hair was not in the best of shape and it was splitting after pregnancy… it was very true that water is the key. I had become dehydrated from breast-feeding, I didn’t notice how much water I needed to keep up with. I increased my water intake and got a very good trim. My hair looks like it’s starting to bounce back!

leandra

water is the key for mi hair growth i drink water all the time ande mouisturize my hair with water and grease lol and my hair is strong than ever was i love water seriusly water water water lol

Tri

Hi!

The hair on my sides and my temple growth very, very slow. Also seems a lil weaker. My back does well! Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Tyler

I’ve noticed that glycerin makes my hair shiny. I don’t know about stronger though.

Tyler
onelittleblackdress.com

Nat

What about putting silicon directly on hair? I’ve been looking at Silicon Mix Hair Treatment: http://www.amazon.com/Silicon-Mix-Hair-Treatment-16oz/dp/B002IT3KD0/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t

MissIsaMonalisa

why is glycerine not good for people with color treated hair. and what can they use instead?

FeFe

Glycerine lifts the permanent color from your hair a good alternative may be to spritz with aloe vera juice and water. I had my hair permanently dyed black, it allowed my hair to grow softer and stronger however my black color started to fade sooner than I wanted. Hope this helps =)

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Bernadette

I needed to know this about the glycerin.

briggsy

So what is the issue with hair that has been dyed and glycerin? Does it cause issues with color treated hair?

Alton
I am certain many of you have heard someone say, “Your hair is dead, and so it does not matter what you do to it”. But is it dead or alive? Actually No and Yes. I will elaborate on my answer for clarification. The hair outside your scalp, physiologically speaking, is dead. It has no blood, nerves or muscles. In addition, when cut you feel no pain nor does it bleed or pull a muscle when stretched. However, for a dead fiber it is quite remarkable. A healthy hair strand will stretch up to 30% of its length, can absorb… Read more »
awesome

i thought silicon was bad for hair.sooo confused :/

Tanya

Silicone (with an e) is what you’ve heard is bad for the hair. Silicon (without an e) is not bad for the hair.

Colalover

Also good tooth health. Taking care of our teeth is important. I had an infected tooth removed, and honestly I saw a change in my hair.

Colalover

White tea is great for keeping skin smooth!

Natalie

I don’t do any of the above except drink lots of water and I would never put sunscreen, full of nasty chemicals, on my body or hair, coconut oil is a natural sunscreen ladies.
I keep to a simple routine and have lovely strong hair.
I think my diet which is high in raw vegetables and fruit, cuts out processed foods and taking fish oil supplements like Blue Ice Royal (Butter/CLO blend) Gel are what keep me and my hair healthy. I drink organic raw ACV as well as using it on my hair, fabulous.

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[…] This is in part because the proteins can temporarily bind to flaws/cracks/pores in the hair and also because proteins do behave as humectants and help hair retain moisture. Hair that is damaged (bleached/color treated natural hair) benefits the most from protein treatment. The definition of damaged hair should be extended to hair that easily breaks/snaps, requires very gentle handling or easily forms split ends. Regularly using or adding protein to hair will help maintain or increase the strength of hair….More at 4 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Stronger Hair | Black Girl with &#… […]

mangomadness

I do #1. I use rinse-out conditioners, deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners and moisturizers with glycerin in the ingredients. Hair care products keeps my hair moisturized, soft and supple which helps to reduce breakage.

ta ney-ney

What a great article! I love informative blogs! Keep up the good work! going to amazon to buy me a big bottle of Glycerin! thats the one thing i used consistently with my hair my first year after BC and not in my second year and my hair is seriously struggling! thanks for the reminder

Anita
My hair has been really damaged from heat and from my former stylist not using the proper hair products. My hair was very wiry, dry, and brittle the past few weeks and I recently changed to another stylist who is more familiar with natural hair and uses heat protectants when blow drying and flat ironing (my last stylist didn’t, she just used hair grease.) I got a deep conditioning last week using the macadamia nut oil deep hair mask and she also used a product called It’s a 10 keratin heat protectant and a little morroccan oil styling cream. My… Read more »
Tasneem

It very well may be the reason but you might also need protein treatments

merry

don’t take a silicon supplement.

eating a diet rich in vegetables will help you. cucumber and leafy greens have silicon.

Irisnaturelle
Thanks Ill google it. We dont have tresemme in France. We have garnier, garnier ultra doux, l’oreal but not much of the new branches you have in the US, the Ever**** of Loreal are not found in supermarkets but more specialist shops. to detangle I use garnier ultra doux with avocado and shea butter, but I think you dont have this branch in the US. we dont have suave, v05 etc as well. Another thing, I heard baking soda wasnt good (Kimaytube) because it was very basic, it had a very high pH of 12 as high as that of… Read more »
meowmeow

Lol super late but I use baking soda because it’s the only thing that removes my product build up and my dandruff. But I make sure to rinse with Apple cider vinegar to neutralize the basic pH plus acv is excellent for keeping away dandruff and keeping the shiny and able to retain moisture

kiyla
Hey, I used to live in Lille so I know how hard it can be to get products. You can buy glycerin from almost every pharmacy and most chinese stores sell coconut oil too which is great to add to your conditioner to get stronger hair. My routine in France for stronger hair was the following: co-wash with carrefour conditioner (cherry) to wash and Garnier Fructis anti-frisottis to condition. The Garnier Fructis is absolutely amazing – it contains Keratin so it really makes your hair strong and soft. Lastly, I would fill a spray bottle with one part honey, one… Read more »
Flairelle
I live in France also and for the past 2 years cannot find what i need for my hair. Infact my fast growing hair does not want to grow here. I also use the Garnier Ultra and I look at Kimmaytube. Yes Baking soda has a high PH but if you are only use natural NON SULFATE shampoos a little bit of baking soda with that is good to use when your hair is very dirty, has gel or other product buildup. I just purchased many natural products to make my own shampoo and conditioner you can check the parapharmacie(HUGE… Read more »
Dananana

I’ve heard it before, and personally, I don’t like what baking soda/ACV treatments do to my type 4 hair…I really feel like it dries it out by stripping it, and it broke off a tonnn when I tried it a few years ago. I get my protein from my diet, and when I want to strengthen, I henna/use homemade deep conditioners with honey.

Irisnaturelle

Hello ladies,

I’m a French natural and I’d like to do protein treatments when I cant find my product near me and I cant go to the African district in Paris.

Do you have any suggestions of ingredients that contains those proteins that are good for protein treatment?
You mention several options in the humectant category but for the protein there are none. Anyone can help me out?

Thanks

Lexi J

avocado
mayonaise
yogurt

Tiff Dizzle

try the cherry lola method… Google it… but its easy at home products you can use… Braggs Amino Acids Baking Soda and Yogurt….

IDK what brands you guys have there but I use Tresemme nourishing rituals protein renewal creme as a conditioner once a month

Abiola

lol@ hair isnt alive

Binti

I believe hair is alive. Why will hair continue to grow if its not alive?

Lexi J

Once hair breeches the scalp it is biologically dead. That’s a fact love, not an opinion.

Gina

Interesting. I would like to know more about #1. I color treat my hair, jet black and use products with glycerin. What would be the adverse reaction?

The Natural Haven

There is no adverse reaction, you can use glycerin on colour treated hair. The strengthening effect of glycerin is not seen on bleached hair/ hair that has permanent hair colour.

Tiffiney

I have a question I permanently color treated my hair (went lighter) and I use glycerin products all the time and they tend to work way better than products for color treated hair am I missing something? Or has it just not been proven?

Martini
I would like to add it has also been scientifically proven that contracting the cuticle on the hair is one of the best way to create strength AND flexibility which is very important to the integrity of the the hair. Stay away from proteins and oils that cause buildup on the hair because the molecules are too big to actually penetrate the hair shaft. This ultimately can encourage internal drying as the hair cant breathe under these coatings. We at our salon spent some years developing a product line the helps to contract the cuticle of the hair. If your… Read more »
I got sense!

Hair isn’t alive so it doesn’t need to breath. Coating ingredients, when used properly i.e. to seal in moisture, are good for your hair.

The Natural Haven

lol this was such a funny reply and a great name too, I got sense too

The Natural Haven

Actually hydrolysed protein is made of a string of amino acids, so it is larger and more substantial (sticks better on to hair, resists washing off easily) compared to amino acids.

Hydrolysed protein products – aphogee 2 step, komaza protein strenghtener. You do not need to follow the instructions on the bottle and can just add a few drops to your hair conditioner instead.

Yes some amino acids are known to penetrate and adsorb better on bleached/severely damaged hair. The list is here http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/2012/10/deep-conditioning-what-ingredients-in.html

Kator

Hi Jc,
Please when you say add a few drops of Aphogee/KomazaProtein Strengthener to a conditioner, do you mean we could use for a regular deep conditioning?

Jojuana

You once said you added some drops of liquid protein too your hair products. I have looked for hydrolyzed proteins to purchase and add a little to my products but no luck. Can you tell me where I can purchase this liquid protein? Thanks so much.

Jo Somebody

Hydrolysed protein is just liquid amino acids (which is what protein is made from), which can be found in many health food stores/muscle building departments. Brand does not matter although I guess if you get a brand with all 20 amino acids, you can add it to your diet too.

Hmm, I wonder if there are particular amino acids that are good for hair or if keratin (hair protein) is made of a combo of all of them…? JC? Anyone??

robin

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Why

Why?

OHR

^I do #1, #3 and #4. Better at #2. I always cover my hair in the summertime, and use humectants EVEN during the winter months. The trick is to seal effectively. When I do my deep conditioning treatments, I do use Vatika oil mixed with my favorite conditioner, then leave in and rinse. Even my hairdresser tells me I don’t need any stronger treatments.

african sun :)

i stay in Gaborone, Botswana (Africa) and this country has the sun out 90% of the year. i naturally drink lots of water and use glycerine (my grandma taught me :)) but the sun protection is my difficulty. not sure how to keep it from the sun, and not always covered all the time

Beatrice

Hello dear,
you might want to try sealing with shea butter, it is a very good sunscreen for skin and hair. At least that is what my research has showed me

selah

I use 3 out of the 4, but now that I have locs, I am unsure how to do protein treatments without causing buildup…

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