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A description of processed hair

A description of processed hair

A cuticle layer can be found on all human hair, and this is the same case for fish scales. When some strands of hair are swiveled in an opposite direction they will tend to clasp to one another, become locked up and end up in the hair becoming matted.

Most of the cheap hair products found in the market today have been mass-produced in a Chinese or Indian factory. As the hair enters the market it is in a sorry state thanks to prior tangling and matting. This hair must be prepared for the market and it thus undergoes a process referred to as cuticle stripping.

Rogue salons have a tendency of assuring their customers that this stripping process is meant to clean the hair. This is a rather blatant act of misinformation given that to clean hair you just require some cleansing shampoo. Cuticle stripping is therefore not a means of cleansing but rather a cheap way to get rid of the tangling and matting.

Hair extensions of the highest quality do not come cheap – hair extensions fall in the class of products where what you pay for is what you get. For this and more reasons you ought to know the tell-tale signs that will help you distinguish between processed and virgin hair. Below is a breakdown of how to do this:

The test for unprocessed human hair

1. Unprocessed human hair has an outer layer of overlapping scales that are arranged in a similar manner to a fish’s scales. Dampen your hair and take hold of some of it, as thick as a strand of spaghetti. Use your thumb and finger to hold the strands of hair and rapidly move from the roots to the ends. This will have quite a smooth feel. Doing the same for the opposite direction will cause some friction.

The difference may not be apparent at first but once you do it continuously you will observe it. The test can also be done on dry hair but in that case your fingers have to be moistened.
Some types of hair will seem to produce the same smooth feeling in both directions. If this is the case then you can get the desired results by doing the test with your eyes closed. Remember that from the ends to the roots the feeling ought to be smooth and vice versa.

2. This test requires an amount of hair as thick as a pencil. Dampen the hair and then rub the hair at the top and that at the bottom together using a vigorous rapid motion. You will note that the hair at the roots will adhere together more strongly as compared to that at the ends. Bulk hair is required for this test.

3. Some hair colors that are naturally lighter tend to have lighter ends and darker roots and this makes for ease in telling cuticle direction. However this shouldn’t fool you as telling the direction accurately takes more than what you can see. The silicone layer found on processed hair makes it almost impossible to identify the direction by an act of feeling. This layer of silicone is mostly applied on hair that had previously undergone cuticle stripping such that the hair ends up feeling smooth in both directions. It is prudent to undertake these tests prior to installation so as to identify the actual curl pattern because some hair types become dramatically altered once they are wetted.

4. The sternest test for processed hair is done using a microscope. It is only under a microscope that a strand of hair will reveal if it has undergone smoothening (like in the picture above). There is no way that all the cuticles can be removed from hair without some degree of disintegration. This is the reason why tangling will start as soon as the coating peels off thus exposing the remaining cuticle. As soon as you start shampooing and brushing the hair, and coupled with natural wear and tear, the silicone layer begins to wear off.

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