Healthy hair should be at least 50% elastic, meaning, when it is wet, it should be able to shrink to at least half its size and stretch again to at least double its shrunken length.
the definition: Elasticity is Stretch
Highly elastic hair will stretch to 70% or more of its original size. Mid-elastic hair will stretch to about 50% of its original size and hair with low elasticity will perhaps stretch about 20% of its original size.
the test: Pull at It!
To test this, simply take hold of a section of wet hair and pull it gently. When my hair was shorter, every time I washed it, I constantly had people asking me if I had cut my hair. If your hair can shrink so much as to convince people you had a haircut, you probably have high elasticity. If there isn’t much of a difference in your hair’s length before and after you wash it, you have low elasticity and of course you can be right down the middle with mid-elasticity. Curl pattern can also be an indication of elasticity. Curlier hair can usually stretch more than hair with an undefined curl pattern.
the meaning: Elasticity Is Pliability
Those who have mid to high elasticity have very pliable hair. This means that your hair can bend and twist easily without breaking with each bend. It’s flexible. Elastic hair is easy to manipulate and can hold hair styles and curls well.
the reasoning: Nature’s Design
It’s amazing, all women of other races I have met all site elasticity as the biggest envy they have of our hair. I’ll be talking to someone and they say “I wish my hair could do that” or “Oh wow, you can do so many different things with your hair”
Our hair is elastic by nature. It loses this natural flexibility when we try to (ironically) straighten it with chemicals or heat.
the breakdown: High | Mid | Low
Heat and chemicals are elasticity’s biggest enemies. When you treat your hair with chemicals or heat appliances, yes it straightens, but it also flattens. It loses its natural ‘bounce’ and weakens your hair. Your scalp is still skin and therefore breathes, absorbing all the chemicals you put on it. It’s quite close to the brain too so you don’t want to disturb the chemical balance ‘up there’ either.
If your hair is not very elastic it means it can break easily, so you don’t want to do anything that will increase breakage. Including deep conditioning treatments can help in restoring strength and stretch.
As with most hair properties, it is not uncommon for some people to have different levels of elasticity in different sections of their hair. For example your hair might be less elastic in the sections you used to apply more relaxer cream to because you considered them ‘stubborn’ areas and thus they suffered more exposure to chemical treatments.
the conclusion: Observe
Continually observe your hair every time you handle it to see if its stretching capabilities are increasing, decreasing or unchanging. This will help to inform you if the changes you have made are working or not, so that you can make adjustments according to your hair’s requirements.
Next we dive into the detangling, but first let us know how your experience in determining your elasticity has been in the comment section below.