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I'm Verna,
Your Curly-Haired Friend.

Curly hair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. It could be super-defined one day and a frizzy concoction the next day – and it's never exactly the same from one head to another. Our mission is to equip you with the necessary tools for restoring and maintaining healthy locks and celebrating the hair you were born with! 

How To Tell If Your Hair Is Healthy: Signs To Look For

April 26, 2023


Verna Meachum

Image of curly haired woman smiling while touching her healthy hair.

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Curl care

I am highly experienced in the beauty industry and specialize in writing for brands and websites that focus on curly hair care. Moreover, I actually have curly hair and have curly-haired children with varying hair textures. I am also surrounded by curly-haired friends, including curly hairstylists and curly-haired family members. You get the point :) I’m well-versed in the language and nuances of curly hair care, styling tips, and product recommendations.

Furthermore, I collaborate with my friend who has a Ph.D. in organic and inorganic chemistry and works as an R&D Chemist to help us navigate through the misinformation around curly hair care. He advises us on Hair Care Science to ensure we are well-informed.

Hi,I'm Verna

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Last Updated on April 26, 2023 by Verna Meachum

We all know the importance of keeping healthy, but we often forget to provide the same care for our tresses.

Our hair is our crown, and it’s often the first thing people notice about us, so caring for our hair should be part of our health ritual.

So, how can you tell if your hair is in top condition?

Fear not, because in this article we’re covering everything you need to know about how to tell if your hair is healthy!

Healthy hair has sheen and luster with minimal breakage and is linked to overall health and hygiene.

The living parts of the hair are found under the skin, and the shafts are the nonliving part. Hair can be the first visual sign of one’s health issues, both emotionally and physically. 

Our hair is important to us in more ways than we can imagine. Healthy hair can boost our confidence but can also be the first sign of health issues.

Correctly caring for your hair can save you from tears and a bad hair day, while the proper diet offers the nutrients your hair needs to be healthy. 

What Is Hair?

Vector illustration of hair anatomy for How To Tell If Your Hair Is Healthy: Signs To Look For blog.

Hair is made from a protein filament that grows from a hair follicle underneath the skin on the scalp. It’s a thin strand made up of proteins, particularly keratin, which provides your hair’s structural support and health.

Hair also consists of many complex internal layers that include lipid fats in the inner shaft and are protected by the cuticle, cortex, and medulla. The cuticle comprises dead cells that protect the hair from damage.

Hair can be defined into three categories determined by the hair follicle size: fine, medium, and coarse hair. The hair follicle size determines the thickness of the hair, while the shape of the follicle determines the shape of the hair. 

Straight hair is made from round fibers, while curly and wavy hair is made from oval or other shaped hair fibers.

The Importance of Caring For Your Hair

Hair care is essential as it’s the first thing people notice about us, and apart from the emotional toll a bad hair day can have on us, our hair also has many functions for us.

Healthy, glowing, and radiant hair can immediately boost your self-esteem. Still, our tresses also protect our heads from the cold, where much of our internal heat escapes. It also helps wick sweat during hot days.

It provides some protection and cushioning against trauma and injuries and protects our scalps from sun and sunburn.

If you are attentive to your hair and its care, you will immediately see when your hair is not at its best performance, and these could be early signs of internal health issues.

Hair issues can be a window into any overall health conditions that may arise and is a sign to have yourself checked out.

Maintaining good hygiene is essential to maintaining gorgeous hair and keeping your scalp clean.

Hair grows underneath the scalp’s skin, which is made of soft tissue that provides a safe place for hair follicles to grow your beautiful crown. 

The scalp produces sebum, an oil that protects the skin from the sun and has antimicrobial properties.

Since the scalp is a naturally oily area, it can be a rich environment for microbes which can cause odor and infection that could affect the health of your hair follicle and cause dull, greasy hair. 

How To Tell If Your Hair Is Healthy

Everyone’s hair is different, so it’s important not to stereotype your hair according to a specific standard. Hair comes in many forms and shapes, from fine, medium, and coarse hair to straight and curly. 

Coarse, curly hair may not have the same sheen and luster as straight hair, but that doesn’t mean your hair is not healthy. There are multiple ways to determine if your hair is healthy.

Not all hair will fall into the same category, and not all these conditions will be specific to your hair type. Below are conditions to tell if you have healthy hair.

• Hair should have a sheen and luster.

• There should be minor breakage in the hair when brushing it.

• There should be minimal shedding or hair loss.

• Hair should be moisture-rich, not dry and brittle.

• Healthy hair is elastic and detangles easily.

• It reflects light.

• Healthy hair should have no split ends.

• A healthy scalp free of dandruff is a sign of healthy hair.

Signs Your Hair May Be Unhealthy

When you have experienced seeing the healthy sheen or volume of healthy hair or touched the soft locks, you will quickly see when your hair is potentially unhealthy. 

Hair can become unhealthy for several reasons, from using harsh chemicals on your hair, an unhealthy diet, incorrect use of products, stress, or health issues.

As previously mentioned, not all hair will be the same, so remember that some hair types may be prone to certain conditions.

For instance, curly and gray hair is naturally drier than straight hair. Still, if they break easily, then it’s an indication of unhealthy hair.

Another example is straight hair. It may not have the same bounce and volume as wavy hair, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is unhealthy.

Learn to understand what your hair is saying, and don’t judge your hair against advertisements or other hair types.

These signs are general indicators of unhealthy hair and may differ according to hair type.

• Split ends

• Excessive hair breakage

• Excessive hair loss or shedding

• Dandruff

• Brittle hair

• Feels drier than normal

• Your hair has lost its natural luster and sheen

• Tangles easily

• No natural body or less volume than normal

• Frizzy hair

Hair Care Tips: Do’s And Don’ts

Two factors in determining healthy hair are genetics and health. However, there are some regiments for caring for your hair to keep it healthy and strong. 

Just as we look after our skin and faces by moisturizing and nourishing our skin, it’s crucial to have a regime to look after our hair.

Still, it’s also important to avoid hair traps that could potentially cause damage to your manicured tresses.

Do Use A Shampoo And Conditioner For Your Hair Type

There are many shampoos and conditioners that are specifically formulated for different hair types. Using a shampoo that works in conjunction with your specific hair type and problems is vital. 

For instance, people with dandruff should use a shampoo formulated to combat dandruff. Same as people prone to oily or dry hair should use a shampoo and conditioner designed to help oily hair or moisturize dry hair.

Do Get Enough Of The Right Nutrients

Eating correctly and getting the proper nutrients is a fast way to healthy hair. Just as you need to eat right to stay healthy, getting enough zinc, iron, and folic acids can help improve the health of your hair.

Do Use A Hair Mask

We all love some pampering, facials, massages, or mud baths to rejuvenate tired and dull skin.

Well, your hair is no different. Pampering your hair with a rich nourishing deep conditioning mask can make it brighter and softer. It can even help moisturize your scalp for healthier-looking hair and growth promotion.

Do Get A Trim Regularly

Growing your hair can take longer for some people than others, and the thought of regularly trimming your hair may make you cringe. But a regular trim of the ends of your hair can promote healthier hair.

A regular trim can help to get rid of split ends and help keep hair from getting further damaged from the ends up. Split ends can run up the hair shaft weakening your hair and exposing it to moisture loss.

While it’s recommended that you trim your hair every six to eight weeks, trimming your hair every three months will also keep it looking healthy and strong.

Do Wet Your Hair Before Swimming

Swimming, either in the pool or in the sea, can create havoc for your hair. Dry hair will absorb water, but you don’t want your hair to absorb the chemicals or salt found in the pool or sea, which can dry and irritate your hair and fades colored hair.

Wetting your hair under the tap with clean water before going for a swim can limit the amount of water your hair absorbs, limiting the number of chemicals and salt that get into your hair and preventing damage to your hair from within.

If your hair has been exposed to a lot of salt water or chlorine, use a chelating shampoo to get rid of the minerals and chemicals.

Don’t Use Hot Water

Nothing is better than a hot steamy shower in the middle of winter to chase away the cold from your bones. However, washing and rinsing your hair under hot water can damage your hair.

Instead of using hot water to rinse your hair, turn down the heat and use warm water to prevent any damage to your tresses.

Don’t Skip The Conditioning

We may not always have the time to pamper our hair, but you should never skip the conditioning part. Conditioners help strengthen and soften your hair, leaving it shiny and manageable. They can also combat static electricity in your hair.

Make time to use conditioner when washing your hair, and ensure you leave the conditioner in your hair for a while to get the product’s full benefits. If you’re in a rush and can’t spare the time to condition, use a leave-in conditioner that takes seconds to apply.

Don’t Over Process Your Hair

Over-styling and over-processing hair can leave your hair damaged, brittle, and dry. Hair protein is held together by disulfide bonds which makes hair strong. Over-processing can damage these bonds, which will lead to hair breakage.

Cuticle layers can also be damaged by excessive drying with heat or bleaching. This eventually weakens the protein and causes lipid loss in the hair. Give your hair a break from coloring, hair dryers, and straighteners, and allow your hair to dry naturally every once in a while.

Don’t Over Wash Your Hair

As we said before, everyone’s hair has different needs. They should shampoo and condition their hair according to their specific needs. But overwashing your hair and rubbing the shampoo into the hair can be potentially damaging to your hair. 

Skipping a wash every now and then is good for your hair. Overwashing can strip the scalp of oils that promote healthy hair and helps with hair growth.

Don’t Over Brush Your Hair

Brushing your hair one hundred times daily to promote healthy hair is a myth. You should brush your hair only when necessary, preferably once daily. Trying to get rid of every single tangle can cause damage to the hair, especially if it is wet, as that is when the hair is at its most vulnerable.

Gently brush your hair with a wide-toothed comb or brush, depending on your hairstyle, and keep the brushing to a minimum.

Foods And Supplements For Healthy Hair

Good hygiene and genetics may be necessary for healthy locks, but diet and getting the proper nutrients can be just as crucial for the health of your hair.

Sometimes the help of daily multivitamins is necessary to encourage healthy-looking hair by providing the hair follicles with the right amount of trace minerals to help tissues with high biosynthetic activities like the hair follicle.

• Iron

• Magnesium

• Zinc

• Biotin

• Vitamin C

• Vitamin A

The hair strands are mainly composed of the protein keratin; it’s essential to incorporate protein into the diet. Lack of protein can cause weak, brittle hair, loss of hair, and color dullness.

Some examples of protein that promotes healthy hair are:

• Meat

• Fish

• Poultry

• Beans

• Eggs

Minerals are also essential to help sustain the health of your hair. A lack of zinc can cause excessive shedding, but you can supplement this naturally by adding foods that are high in zinc, such as:

• Brazil nuts

• Cashew nuts

• Pecan nuts

• Walnuts

• Almonds

• Leafy greens

• Fruits

Another essential mineral that promotes healthy locks is fatty acids like omega-3, which stimulates the hair follicle and helps improve your scalp’s health.

Some examples of fatty acids rich in omega-3 are:

• Salmon

• Mackerel

• Sardine

• Herring

• Cottage cheese

• Yogurt

• Flax seed

Vitamins and minerals are important in the cycle of hair follicles and cellular turnover. Including nutrients that promote healthy hair in your diet can easily be achieved. 

Adding supplements aids any micronutrient deficit you may have from your diet or due to a specific condition. However, it’s essential to understand what is happening with your hair and for what reason, so ask your healthcare provider which supplement you should take.

Hair Loss: Potential Causes And When To See A Doctor

It’s a natural process to lose hair daily, and we can lose about a hundred hairs a day, which usually is replaced by new hair. 

Everyone experiences hair loss at some point, and it can be permanent or temporary. It can be caused due to genetics, pregnancy, trauma, surgery, medical conditions, hormones, and aging.

Fad diets and rapid weight loss can cause hair loss, often due to a lack of minerals and vitamins. Some diseases, such as thyroid disease, autoimmune deficiency, anemia, and anorexia, can also cause significant hair loss.

Stress, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances can be an influential factor in the reduction of hair. Medications like antidepressants or mood control medication can also be a factor in hair loss.

Hair loss may occur due to major body trauma, such as accidents or surgery, or may be due to viruses and may only be evident three months after the incident.

It’s always important to  consult your doctor when you experience rapid hair loss or notice unexplained hair loss patterns such as widening of hair pathways, receding hairlines, circular bold patched, or if you have any pain or itching of the scalp.


Hair plays a vital role in the confidence we project about ourselves, so taking care of your locks is essential.

Your hair can sometimes be the first sign of health issues, so get to know your hair and how to look after it; incorporating certain micronutrients and supplements in your diet can also promote healthy-looking hair.


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I read books and tried doing things because "that's what I'm supposed to do," but it didn't always work and I didn't understand why. I'm so grateful for Verna and her blog. Her info. actually helped me understand more of the science of why some methods helped and what products or ingredients to use and why. Anyone that compliments my hair and wants to start a curly journey, I tell them to start here. My hair is so much healthier and I'm so happy with it.

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