Think Your Hair Is Damaged? Here's An Easy Way to Tell

As common a problem as hair damage is, it isn’t always super obvious. Finding out exactly what your hair needs may feel like a science, but not everyone is a scientist — we all can’t just take a look at a few strands underneath a microscope to determine what’s wrong. If you suffer from hair damage (or if you suspect you do), there are painless ways to determine if your hair is damaged or not, and we talked to a pro to get to the bottom of it.

According to Devin Toth, a hairstylist at New York City’s Salon SCK, you can start by doing a simple strand test.

“The easiest way to find out if your hair strands are fine or coarse in texture is to press your thumb and pointer finder onto one strand of your hair and gently glide your fingers down your hair strand from your roots to your ends,” he told POPSUGAR. “Don’t use any hot styling tools beforehand because this should be done on only natural, dry hair. If the strand feels bumpy then it is coarse. If the strand feels smooth and silky, then it is fine. That’s is your basic strand test.”

The strand test doubles as a way to determine your hair’s porosity, which is another indicator of how healthy your hair is. If you’ve determined that the strand of hair you used in the strand test is course, that means that your cuticles are damaged and open, and your porosity level is high. This kind of hair is often fragile and susceptible to breakage, and can benefit from a protein treatment every four to six weeks. Another helpful way to point out damage, according to Toth, is to take a look at the hair’s overall texture now compared to its texture in the past.

“If you’re looking for damage, see if the hair texture feels different on on the ends or in the front by your face, compared to your root area,” he said. This can be done by simply running your fingers through your hair and paying special attention to any split ends or an uneven wave pattern. For that, you’ll also have to take into account whether or not your hair has recently been cut, heat styled, or color treated. If this is the case for you, you could benefit from incorporating a weekly deep conditioner into your hair regimen.

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