Hygral Fatigue: The reason behind limp hair

Megan Dominion

Curly hair can be both a blessing and a curse. While there are loads of benefits to having curls (less wash days, for one) it might take you a while to figure out your hair’s exact needs and requirements. Keeping curls healthy could feel like a part time job for beginners, and we don’t blame you for feeling overwhelmed. If your hair or curls are feeling limp and mushy, then there could be various culprits, but let’s outline the most probable suspects! 

Your hair could be over moisturized

You might be feeling like Goldilocks right now, trying to find the porridge that’s just right! We’ve been told that curls need moisture and deep conditioning, but you can actually over-do it. Over conditioned hair can lead to Hygral Fatigue, which is basically ‘tired’ overmoistrized hair. It happens when your hair swells (when water is absorbed) and contracts (as the hair dries) too often. It helps to know what your hair’s porosity is, which will help you learn how much moisture YOUR hair needs, and why!

What happens to my hair if I have Hygral Fatigue?

The constant stretching of over-moisturized hair makes your hair weaker. Your hair works overtime with all the stretching and contracting, so the strands can break more easily. Your hair will look tired (it literally is), weak, dull, brittle and limp. It will become difficult to style and manage, too!

How can I avoid over-moisturized hair?

It can be a nightmare and take a bit of time to reverse, correct or fix hygral fatigue. Here are a few things you can do to prevent it to happening to you, or from happening to you again:

1. Use leave-in conditioners, masks and treatments exactly as recommended on the packaging. You might be tempted to leave a “20 minute” treatment on your hair overnight, but it’s much safer to follow the guidelines on the packaging.

2. When using overnight conditioners, limit them as much as possible or you could be doing more harm than good for your hair!

3. Wait until your hair is completely dry before wetting it again. We know that no two casts or curls are the same, but try to avoid re-wetting the same cast until it’s bone dry.

4. We know the dangers of protein build-up, but you should use a protein-enriched conditioner every now and again to get your moisture-protein balance right!

Protein vs Moisture in Hair

Hair elasticity Test

Can you test your hair for Hygral Fatigue?

You can absolutely test your hair’s elasticity at home, right now – even while reading this! Here is a quick method:

1. Grab and CUT a single strand of your hair. It’s important that you don’t pluck the hair out, as we don’t want the strand to stretch at all before the test. We’re going to be testing for elasticity!

2. Now pull on both sides of the strand. If the strand is stretching, and then snapping – then you have poor elasticity. That means that your hair has too much moisture and it needs to be remedied / fixed.

How to fix over moisturized hair

Healthy hair elasticity needs a perfect balance between moisture and protein. Keratin will help to strengthen your hair’s strands which will reduce the breakage when your hair is stretched during brushing, styling and handling of your hair. On the other hand, moisture will help your hair stretch and then return to its natural shape. Basically – we have to make sure that your porridge, erm -hair, isn’t too hot and not too cold. It really does need to be just right! Here are a few things you can do to help correct hygral fatigue at home:

1. Clarify your hair to strip it of any excess moisture

2. If you are wetting your hair every day or every second day, avoid doing this so often

3. Use a protein-rich conditioner and / or treatment on wash days

4. Use a protein rich leave-in conditioner as required until you start seeing an improvement in your hair!

Volume in hair with curlers

If this info and these steps haven’t answered your questions or assisted with your hair concerns, then you can also read up on how to create volume in type 2 hair! Or browse our hair category for more hair care tips.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.