We all desire luscious, smooth and thick hair but that's not the reality for many of us.
There are three easy tests you can do at home to find out if your hair may need damage control.
Although genetics and your natural hair type will affect the results of these tests, it can also reveal damaged hair as a result of pollution, prolonged sun exposure, usage of heat styling tools, chemical hair treatments, incorrect hair washing & styling methods, etc.
Keep reading to check out the test methods and how aloe vera can help repair damaged hair!
Our test subject is Angela, who has damaged hair due to her love for the sun, frequent hair dyeing and using heat styling tools.
To demonstrate how healthy hair reacts in the tests, we also carried them out after she used aloe vera products for two weeks. Aloe vera is known to strengthen the hair and scalp. It contains vitamins A, C, and E which all promote healthy cell growth and shiny hair.
On the right side of her hair, Angela used her usual shampoo and conditioner, then left aloe vera gel in her hair for an hour before rinsing it off. On the left side, she used the Herbal Essences Potent Aloe Vera + Mango Shampoo & Conditioner.
Herbal Essence's range of Aloe Vera hair products contain actual aloe vera, so we tested both sides to see how it compares with aloe vera gel.
Test #1: The float test
Take two or three strands of your hair from different parts of your head and place them in a glass of water. Observe for two to three minutes.
Before using the aloe vera products, Angela's hair rapidly sank to the bottom of the glass. This may be a sign of damaged hair where the cuticles are flared out, making the hair absorb moisture quickly and sink. This also means that the hair loses moisture just as easily, making it prone to dryness, frizz, tangles and breakage.
After using aloe vera gel for two weeks, her hair remained floating near the top of the water after three minutes. The Herbal Essences aloe vera shampoo and conditioner produced similar results.
This is usually a sign of healthy and resilient hair where the cuticles aren't too open or too packed. This makes it easier for moisture to penetrate the hair as well as to retain moisture for a longer period of time. The hair has a glossy, smooth look with few split ends.
Test #2: The hair pull test
Take two to three strands of hair once again. Gently pull each strand of hair at both ends.
Before the aloe vera TLC, Angela's hair snapped into two instantly. This could be a sign of protein damage. A common culprit of such damage is free radicals from sun exposure and pollutions as it attacks the proteins in the hair, leaving it weak and prone to brittleness.
After using aloe vera gel, her hair didn't snap as you can see above. That's a good sign, but the hair didn't stretch either and it was slightly curled when released.
After using the Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner, the hair stretched and bounced back to its original length when released as seen above. This is how healthy, hydrated hair usually reacts.
Test #3: The slide test
Slowly run your index finger and thumb through a small section of hair.
Angela's hair felt bumpy and rough before. This uneven texture is commonly an indication of raised cuticles along the hair strand which could be a sign of damaged and dry hair.
After using the aloe vera gel on the right side for two weeks, Angela's hair felt much smoother to the touch. On the downside, the gel was difficult to wash out and left a filmy residue on her hair, leaving it looking limp and dull.
The hair on the left side where she used the shampoo and conditioner also felt much smoother and had a glossy, voluminous look, with a more vibrant colour than the right side.
After using both the aloe vera gel and aloe vera shampoo & conditioner for two weeks, Angela crowned the latter as the winner! Although the aloe vera gel worked well, it was a hassle to use as it needs to be left on the hair for about 30 minutes to an hour to take effect. It also has an uncomfortable sticky feeling and leaves residue weighing down her hair even after painstakingly trying to wash it out.
The Herbal Essences Potent Aloe Vera + Mango shampoo and conditioner is pretty much like aloe vera gel but formulated to do the job faster and with more convenience. Plus, it also protected and enhanced the colour of her dyed hair.
All the products in the Herbal Essences bio:renew range are infused with real aloe vera. That means the bottles contain actual plants, as certified by the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, a leading botanic institution in London. The plant experts there have endorsed the real botanicals in these hair products so you know they're the real deal.
The aloe vera is extracted from the plants using a patented process which allows for a high level of polysaccharides in the aloe to provide powerful moisture. That's why the products leave dry, damaged hair feeling silky soft, smooth and easy to manage with a lovely shine.
Besides the Aloe Vera + Mango range for protecting coloured hair, there is also the Aloe Vera + Bamboo range for hair strengthening and Aloe Vera + Eucalyptus range for balancing the scalp and hair.
All three ranges are free of nasties like sulphates, parabens, paraffins and colourants. They also give the hair a fresh scent that's almost like a luxury perfume thanks to the base notes of white musks and amber.
If your hair shows signs of damage like in these three tests, or if you want to maintain your healthy hair, the real aloe vera in the Herbal Essences Potent Aloe Vera hair products will help. Try it for yourself here: guardian.com.sg.
This post is brought to you by Herbal Essences.
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Text by: GirlStyle SG