We all know that moisture is key when it comes to natural hair. You’ll find a variety of articles and tutorials online about the importance of keeping our hair moisturized and how to do it.
Whether it’s from deep conditioning weekly or focusing solely on products that’ll add long-lasting hydration, this is something many naturals make a priority in their regimen.
Although moisture is needed, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Over time, adding too much moisture to your hair can lead to Hygral Fatigue.
In this post, we’re discussing what Hygral Fatigue is, signs to look out for, what can cause it, and how to fix it. Although this can be a setback in your regimen, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost!
What is Hygral Fatigue?
When your hair cuticle is damaged due to excessive moisture entering and exiting, it can cause Hygral Fatigue.
Our hair cuticles expand or swell when it’s wet and shrinks back to their normal size while it dries. Think of it like a sponge!
Repeated swelling and contraction from moisture can cause our cuticles to become weak and damaged over time. This will lead to breakage and less elasticity.
Signs of Hygral Fatigue
Here are common signs you may notice if you’re dealing with Hygral Fatigue:
- Low elasticity — Your hair doesn’t bounce back to its original state when it’s stretched or pulled down
- Excessive shedding, frizz, + breakage
- Curls won’t hold definition + look limp
- Prone to more tangles and knots
- Hair feels brittle and looks dull + lifeless
- Your hair feels mushy or gummy when it’s wet
Now that you know what signs to look for, let’s talk about what causes Hygral Fatigue.
What Causes Hygral Fatigue?
Hygral Fatigue is caused when you add excessive moisture to your hair and don’t have the proper balance of protein to strengthen the cuticle.
When you’re using nothing but moisturizing products and aren’t adding protein treatments to your regimen, then it’s possible to over-moisturize your hair.
It can also be caused by over conditioning — leaving your deep conditioners on longer than required or sleeping in them overnight. You shouldn’t deep condition longer than 30 minutes. That’s a sufficient amount of time for the product to do what it's supposed to for your hair!
Another cause of Hygral Fatigue is when you’re constantly wetting your hair and not allowing it to fully dry. This can easily happen if you’re using a moisturizing product on your hair daily and don’t leave time for your hair to dry properly before adding more.
Those with high porosity hair can be more prone to Hygral Fatigue since the cuticles are wide open and it can lose moisture just as fast as it enters. Since low porosity hair has tightly sealed cuticles that make it difficult for water to enter, they’re less likely to deal with this.
Although porosity can play a role, everyone’s hair is different and you have to figure out the best way to keep your curls flourishing without worrying about this setback.
How to Recover/Treatments
The key to recovering from Hygral Fatigue is to change your regimen and maintain a proper moisture-protein balance. Using protein can prevent your cuticles from swelling and contracting constantly when you apply moisture or it’s wet.
A good balance of moisture and protein works together to create a foundation for healthy, strong hair.
How often you use protein depends on what your hair needs. Some may need protein once a month and others may need it less often. This is when trial and error comes into play and you have to keep track of how your hair reacts.
You want to start by examining the ingredients in your products and figure out how they can fit into your regimen. It’s important to gauge how each product makes your hair feel to see if it’s the best option for your recovery.
Here are more tips and steps to follow in your regimen:
- Use coconut oil as a pre-poo treatment. Coconut can help reconstruct the fiber that protects your hair. It also serves as a barrier against water and prevents the swelling and deswelling of your cuticle.
- Be gentle while shampooing and use a clarifying shampoo to remove product build-up so that your protein can penetrate better. Our Lemon & Rosemary Shampoo is perfect for this and won’t strip your hair.
- Apply a protein-based treatment to add strength. You can use our Milk Strengthening Deep Conditioner for this step. This should be left on for 20-25 minutes with heat.
As you continue to add more strength to your hair, you can slowly incorporate moisture back into your regimen.
There’s no timeframe for your hair to recover from hygral fatigue. Some sections may recover faster than others and other people may be able to bounce back from it quickly.
Don’t let this discourage you! It’s easy to get caught up in everyone else’s techniques and products they recommend, but you want to use this time to focus on YOUR hair and what it needs the most. It’s called a journey for a reason, trial and error is key.
It’s best to stay consistent with your regimen, pay attention to your hair and how it reacts, and be patient! This can be fixed and your hair will get back to flourishing soon by following healthy hair care practices!
Blog Post Contributor: @naturally_madisen