How Water Affects Your Hair
For most of us (with hair), we always want to make sure our hair looks the best, whether its in style or just overall health. Those commercials with the hair models showing long, shiny, thick hair know that people strive to have and keep that look. Healthy hair is essentially seen a reflection of a healthy body.
(For those of us with naturally thinning hair, there is stigma about not being healthy, but in many cases this isn’t true, and there are a number of websites and books you can find that talk about this, so I won’t get into it here.)
So like the rest of our body, hair health depends a lot on what you put into your body, and water is an essential part of hair health and growth.
There are a number of ways that water affects hair, from both ingesting it and external application.
Drinking Water and Hair
We know that water is important for the body, but how does it affect your hair?
Well first of all, think of your hair as being made of up cells, like the rest of your body. Water is essential to cell growth and health, bringing nutrients to them and removing waste. When your body is dehydrated, it functions less efficiently, and can hinder hair growth and health.
Think of your hair like your skin. When you’re dry and chronically dehydrated, your skin can become dry, cracked and just not healthy looking. The same goes for your hair. Even though your hair is made of dead cells, your hair follicles are alive and creating cells and need that hydration to produce stronger cells.
Water and Hair Loss
While there is no magic solution that water can bring to hair loss, there are studies (and lots of books) around that suggest thinning hair can be helped by drinking more water (along with a better diet and exercise). Some people claim miracles happened and thinning hair stopped (or got better) when they started drinking more water.
The idea makes sense in that hair thinning can be a sign that your body is not at its healthiest, kind of like fatigue or dry skin, and needs better nutrients and more water. That being said, balding is also not only associated with nutrition, so take it as you will. If you’re concerned about thinning hair, drinking more water (see how much water to drink here), is probably the cheapest and quickest solution to test out.
External Factors in Hair Health
Normally, we talk about drinking water and internal health, but hair health (including that wonderful shine) also has to do with external factors, like whether you wash/rinse in hot or cold water. Essentially, hot water is great to remove oil and dirt from your hair/scalp, but it also opens the pores of your hair, causing it to get brittle and frizzy. Cold water causes the follicles to close up, keeping your hair strong and sleek.
So it comes down to how you want to shower, and if you can stand a bit of cold water while rinsing your hair. This isn’t the most comprehensive explanation of hot vs cold water on hair, so do a quick google search and you’ll learn a lot more.
Bonus Note: Did you know that your hair can absorb about 30%-50% of its weight in water? And this doesn’t even have to be in a shower/swimming. It can absorb water from the air, which is why on humid days your hair can be unmanageable: its continually absorbing water that affects its structure!
Header image by Petras Gagilas