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Hair is a remarkably strong fiber – a single healthy hair is actually stronger than a steel wire of the same diameter and can stretch up to 30% of its length when wet before breaking. However, this only applies if your hair is in good condition!

 

Hairs’ strength and elasticity (stretchability) comes from the presence of disulphide bonds (strong bonds which hold the keratin protein in your hairs’ cortex together) and is also dependent on your hair's moisture (water) content. This is because moisture allows the disulphide bonds in your hair to stretch and retract to normal again – without this, your hair would snap off every time you brushed, blow-dried or changed its style.

 

Things that reduce your hairs’ strength and elasticity, and cause it to break more easily, include chemical processing (such as bleaching and highlighting), keratin straightening treatments, UV, salt and chlorinated water exposure, perms and overuse of heated styling aids. Chemical processing might be the worst culprit, however, as it permanently raises the hair cuticle, allowing for continuous excess water evaporation from the hair cortex.

 

While you can never completely close the cuticle back to where it was, use of the correct products and daily shampooing and conditioning can do a pretty good job of it. Pre-shampoo conditioning treatments can be especially helpful in restoring elasticity and shine and reducing breakage.

Our top tips to reduce hair breakage

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