Hair Elasticity: Do the Stretch Test

Do you want to Improve your Hair Elasticity or find out why your Hair is Stretchy?

I’ve been working in hairdressing for over 35 years. In my experience, hair elasticity is something that hairdressers may mention. However, a busy salon environment is not always the best place to explain the meaning to our clients.

For most of us, hair elasticity doesn’t become meaningful until our hair becomes difficult to style. Or worse, it’s brittle and starts to break. At the other end of the spectrum, hair can become too stretchy, also leading to breakage.

So what does this mean? The vital point here is that all hair should have some stretch or elasticity. If hair doesn’t have any elasticity, it becomes brittle and can break. Too stretchy and, your hair can become matted and gummy, leading to breakage.

For instance, curly hair is naturally dry and can be prone to loss of elasticity. However, it’s not just about hair type. Dry hair can be a result of environmental factors such as heated styling or exposure to the sun. When hair loses moisture, you may notice that it feels more brittle.

For some, hair elasticity after bleaching can be a problem resulting in excessively stretchy hair, leaving hair matted and at risk of breakage.

In this blog, I’ll be talking about the definition of hair elasticity. I encourage you to think about hair elasticity as achieving the right balance for your hair.

Here’s what I mean by balance. When hair has balance, it has enough elasticity that it doesn’t break but not too much stretch that it doesn’t fall back into shape.

So, I’ll be talking about how you can get balance in your hair.

Whether your concern is that your hair is dry and brittle or maybe your hair has too much stretch, the goal is that hair has the right level of elasticity.

I’ll be sharing a simple stretch test for you to check the elasticity of your hair. Plus, I’ll be sharing some real-life examples of clients who have improved hair elasticity, restoring balance to their hair, preventing breakage and stretchy hair.

how-to-get-shiny-hair-9

This blog is all about how you can test your hair elasticity and improve the elasticity of your hair.

Helping you to achieve balance, preventing dry, brittle or stretchy hair.

Firstly, I’ll cover the meaning or definition of hair elasticity.

Secondly, I’ll be sharing some real-life examples of hair prone to breakage and poor elasticity, along with my tips for improving your hair condition.

My real-hair stories will include tips for tackling dry, brittle or stretchy hair. Plus, you can find out how to improve elasticity for curly hair, bleached hair and dry hair.

Let's talk about Hair Elasticity

I’ve been working with hair for over 35 years and in my experience, restoring moisture to hair makes the biggest difference.

Whenever I tackle a hair problem like hair elasticity, it’s helpful to explain the meaning or definition.

So let’s kick off by talking about the definition of hair elasticity.

Norris_OGARIO
Norris Ogario

What's the Meaning or Definition of Hair Elasticity?

When we talk about hair elasticity, we are talking about how much stretch your hair has. That’s because this is an indicator of how healthy your hair is and how much moisture it holds. 

Every individual strand of hair has many layers. We’ll focus on the centre of the hair and the outer layer.

What is Hair Elasticity?

The hair’s centre, otherwise known as the cortex, holds the moisture for the hair strand. The job of the outermost layer, the cuticle, is to protect that moisture. The cuticle is a series of tiny scales forming the protective outer layer of the hair strand. When those scales are flat and smooth, they protect the hair from moisture loss.

So, when your hair has plenty of moisture, it looks and feels better. For instance, it’s easier to style and holds the shape better. That’s because when hair has enough moisture, it retains elasticity. Elasticity is when the hair has some stretch so that it doesn’t break. However, it can still retain its shape.

When the scales of the protective cuticle lift, hair suffers moisture loss. That can result in hair becoming dry and brittle or so stretchy that it cannot spring back into shape. In other words, loss of hair elasticity.

Shiny Grey Hair

How to Test your Hair Elasticity NOW

So, here’s a quick test for you. If your hair is wet whilst you’re reading this, try this test to check your hair elasticity.

  • Take a strand of hair, hold it at the mid-length or roots (this will prevent pulling at the roots) and gently stretch the strand.
  • If hair doesn’t fall back into shape, it has too much stretch, or if it breaks, hair elasticity is low.

Chances are your hair isn’t wet right now. However, you can do this the next time you wash your hair.

If you find that your hair has low elasticity, what does that mean, and what can you do about it?

Stop Frizzy Hair After Washing

Real Hair Stories

I like to put things in context, and if you were sitting in front of me right now, we’d be having a chat about several factors that influence the elasticity of your hair.

We’d talk about your hair type, the styling techniques you apply, what products you are using and how often you wash and moisturise your hair.


Low hair elasticity can be a result of any of the factors I’ve mentioned above.


If you’re wondering how you can apply that to your hair, I’ll share 3 Real Hair Stories with you.


Each of these customers came to me with hair problems related to low elasticity. I’ve changed the names to protect their privacy.

Real Hair Story 1: Elasticity and Curly Hair

Mags, Curly Hair, works in Finance, mother to two children under the age of five.

She says, ‘My curls have lost their bounce.’

When Mags came to see me, she felt her curls were being dragged down by the weight of her responsibilities. She’d had two children in quick succession. Combined with the stress of a high pressured job, her curls were depleted.

The Problem

The changes to Mags’s hair during and after pregnancy meant that her hair needed more moisture than pre-pregnancy. Plus, due to her busy lifestyle, she was short on time. Not to mention, she was only washing and conditioning her hair once a week. The results? Her hair was dry. When curly hair becomes dry, it can lose elasticity. Loss of elasticity gives you precisely what Mags was experiencing; flat curls.

Hair Goal

During my years in the salon, I was typically working with time-poor clients. Mags was no exception. Firstly, she didn’t have time to fuss with her hair. Secondly, she wanted a simple solution to incorporate into her lifestyle and easily manage her curls. For Mags, her hair goal was keeping her curly hair looking good in-between washes with a simple routine.

What is Frizzy Hair

The Solution

I’ve worked with a lot of curly hair during my career and, I’ve found that taking a simple approach gets the best results.

First up, Mags needed a great haircut. Secondly, we agreed on a plan to get more moisture into her hair. So, Mags would add a second wash to her hair each week. But, this was a challenge for Mags. She felt she didn’t have the time.

Routine

I have a theory. When it comes to achieving things in life, routine is king. That means, whether it’s exercise or diet or work, I think good things come out of a consistent approach. So, Mags and I talked about her weekly routine and, we spent some time working out when and how she could fit in weekly hair treatments.

Mags usually washed her hair at the weekend and, we agreed that she would continue with this routine. Because she worked from home one day a week, we decided that this was the perfect opportunity to wash her hair, followed by Restore and Shine Hair Masque. For Mags, a woman expert in the art of multi-tasking, this meant she could get on with her job whilst taking care of her hair.

 

The Results

Mags kicked off her journey back to bouncy curls by giving her hair a moisture boost. For the first two weeks, she gave her hair two treatments with Restore and Shine Hair Masque. After that, she used Restore and Shine Hair Masque once a week every week.

Restore and Shine Hair Masque did two things for Mags’s hair. It delivered moisture right to the core of her hair and smoothed the cuticle to enable her hair to retain moisture. By doing this, she restored hair elasticity over 3 to 4 weeks and, her curls started to bounce back.

Now, she’s been using Restore and Shine Hair Masque every week for over two years. Now, there’s no way she would miss a weekly treatment. Her hair is in better condition than it has ever been.

But this approach did more for Mags than bring back her curls.

It made her feel good about her hair. It put her back in control in a way that she could easily incorporate into her busy life. Now, she loves her curls more than ever.

Plus, she loved the experience of sitting in her home office with her hair mask on, smelling the essential oils of Restore and Shine Hair Masque. She found the fragrance uplifting and began to look forward to her weekly hair treatment. She thought it would be a chore, but it turned out to be a treat.

That was a simple solution and, by making this a part of her routine, Mags was able to get her bounce back and keep those curls looking fresh.

 

Real Hair Story 2: Elasticity and Bleached Hair

Lizzie, Bleached Hair, Teacher loves fashion and dancing.

She says, ‘My hair is dry, and it’s starting to break.’

When Lizzie first came to my salon, she had been bleaching her hair for most of her twenties. Now, as she approached her thirties, her hair had become dry and brittle and was starting to break. Her bleached hair had lost its elasticity.

The Problem

Lizzie was afraid. She was afraid of losing her hair. The ends of her hair were thin, broken and stretchy. But Lizzie loved her hair colour and didn’t want to stop bleaching it. Her hair colour was a statement. It was who she was, part of her personality.

Hair Elasticity Treatment Bleached Hair

Hair Goal

Lizzie wanted to maintain her statement bleached hair and, at the same time, regain the elasticity of her hair after years of bleaching. For Lizzie, this meant putting a stop to her hair breakage, preventing future damage and, as she put it, ‘I want my hair back, but I don’t want to compromise on the colour’.

The Solution

Working in a hair salon, you spend a lot of time with people. I’m sure you’ll agree that the connection you have with your hairdresser is vital to getting the right style and advice for you. Getting your hair done is an intimate experience and trust matters.

Trust was important for Lizzie. She needed to know that she was in control of the process of getting her hair back into good condition. Her hair was more than hair. It was at the core of who she was and is. Lizzie and I spent a lot of time discussing her options.

One of the things I loved about having my own salon was that I could take the time to understand the client. That meant that together we could come up with solutions tailored to their hair and their lifestyle.

Lizzie and I talked for a long time, and we agreed on an approach. The ends of Lizzie’s hair were jagged and uneven. So, we decided to cut her mid-length hair to a shorter bob. That got rid of the worst of the breakage caused by the bleach.

Hair Elasticity Treatment for Bleached Hair

Over-Bleaching

Lizzie had been bleaching her own hair. She had been overlapping the bleach on hair that had already been bleached. For this reason, we agreed that we wouldn’t colour her hair on the first visit to the salon. At this point, her hair was too damaged and, we needed to get her elasticity back after years of over-bleaching.

Happy with her new sharp bob, Restore and Shine Hair Masque in hand and committed to treating her hair Lizzie left. She came back to my salon eight weeks later so that we could assess her hair to see if it was ready to be bleached again. 

Hair Elasticity Over Bleaching

The Results

I love it when people commit to making a change in their life and follow it through. It was hard for Lizzie to stop bleaching her hair. I’m sure she hated having those dark roots during that period, but Lizzie is a determined woman. Lizzie knew that giving her hair some time off was the right thing to do. She took some time to restore the elasticity to her hair.

Like Mags, Lizzie kicked off her journey back to healthy hair by giving her hair a moisture boost. For the first two weeks, she gave her hair two treatments with Restore and Shine Hair Masque. After that, she used Restore and Shine Hair Masque once a week every week for the remaining six weeks.

Restore Elasticity to Bleached Hair

When Lizzie came back to my salon, we were both amazed by the results.

The combination of giving her hair a break from the bleach and regular deep conditioning treatments had proved effective.

We were ready to bleach her dark roots. That was the other change. Up to this point, Lizzie used to bleach the whole of her hair. But, this was drying her hair and reducing its elasticity.

By concentrating on the roots, we were treating hair that hadn’t previously been bleached. That was important in reducing the damage to Lizzie’s hair.

When bleach is applied to hair, for the colour to take, it opens the cuticle. That is drying for hair. Repeat the process on the same section of hair, and it can get to the point where the hair has little moisture or elasticity. That can result in breakage and excessive stretch, particularly at the ends.

Lavender to Repair Hair

Because she committed to a weekly treatment with Restore and Shine Hair Masque, she put back the moisture she was taking out with the bleach.

That meant she was able to maintain the moisture in her hair. In turn, this meant she increased the elasticity of her hair and stopped further breakage and stretch.

Furthermore, Lizzie committed to her shorter bob. Getting her hair trimmed regularly and keeping a sharp line in the ends made her statement hair even more powerful. With the elasticity restored and no more straggly, stretchy ends, Lizzie and her hair were in a great place.

Real Hair Story 3: Elasticity and Dry Hair

Ellen, Dry Hair, Solicitor, two teenage children, swims three times a week and attends hot yoga classes.

She says, ‘My hair is dry and has lost its shine.’

Ellen enjoyed the freedom that came with having older children who were spending more time with their friends. She had recently taken up swimming and loved going to hot yoga classes a couple of times a week. It was the first time in years that she had this time to herself, but her hair was increasingly dry.

The Problem

Ellen had thick hair, and for most of her life, she had been able to enjoy her hair without having to do too much to it. With her new routine of swimming and yoga, she was feeling energised. However, her hair was becoming more difficult to style and, she was frustrated with how dull it looked. She knew that chlorinated water was drying out her hair, but she was unsure what she could do about it.

How to Use Restore and Shine Hair Masque​

The Problem

Ellen had thick hair, and for most of her life, she had been able to enjoy her hair without having to do too much to it. With her new routine of swimming and yoga, she was feeling energised.

However, her hair was becoming more difficult to style. When hair becomes difficult to style, it’s a classic sign that hair has lost elasticity. Ellen was frustrated with how dull it looked. Another sign that she needed to restore balance and elasticity to her hair. She knew that chlorinated water was drying out her hair, but she was unsure what she could do about it.

Hair Goal

Firstly, Ellen was entering a new phase of her life. She was determined to keep her body fit, and she wanted to look and feel her best. Similarly, her hair had always been her crowning glory, so her goal was to get it back in shape, looking healthy and shiny. Secondly, she wanted her hair to be as easy to maintain and style as it always had been.

Hair Elasticity Dry Hair

The Solution

In my experience, thicker hair types tend to be drier. But there is an exception to every rule, and Ellen’s hair was not particularly dry.

However, the things that were making her hair dry were mainly external; chlorinated water plus the temperatures in her hot yoga class. As a result of doing more exercise, she washed her hair more frequently, and Ellen admitted that there were times when she would skip the conditioner.

We needed to find ways that Ellen could add moisture to her hair without too much fuss. Getting the right level of moisture into her hair was vital. That would improve the hair elasticity and get Ellen back to a point where it would be easy to style and manage her hair.

We agreed on a plan. Ellen was usually at home on Saturday mornings. Every Saturday, she would give her hair an intensive treatment with Restore and Shine Hair Masque. Because of the thickness of her hair, she would leave it on for a couple of hours before rinsing. That gave her hair a weekly injection of moisture.

If she felt she needed an extra boost, she would use the hair masque whilst swimming. She would wet her hair before a swim, towel out the excess water and apply the hair masque. She put on her swimming cap and let the intensive conditioning treatment work its magic whilst she swam.

Improve Hair Elasticity

The Results

The elasticity of Ellen’s hair had improved the next time I saw her. She loved how her hair was looking and feeling. The texture of her hair had started to feel a little bit rough. Now, it had that slippery feel again. She was finding her hair easy to style and noticed that her hair was holding its shape. Her hair was shiny.

Ellen’s hair responded to the additional moisture. She’d noticed a difference in her hair after the first treatment with Restore and Shine Hair Masque. Over the next few weeks, she was aware that her hair condition was improving.

Ellen was someone who had embraced the routine of exercise. She was building strength in her body and boosting her mood. Because of this, Ellen understood the need for a haircare routine. She committed to the weekly treatment with Restore and Shine Hair Masque and, it paid off. It left Ellen’s hair looking and feeling healthy and shiny.

Hair Elasticity

What about Your Hair Elasticity?

I’ve shared the hair stories in this blog to give you some insights into hair elasticity and why it’s something you should think about for your hair. Plus, some practical tips about how you can create balance and improve your hair elasticity.

You may recognise some of the signs of low hair elasticity in your hair.

I’ve summarised the key points about hair elasticity below.

Hair that has low elasticity has lost moisture and can be prone to breakage and or excessive stretch. Adding moisture to your hair is vital, just as it is for your skin.

Here’s why:

  • Your hair structure is a series of layers and, for your hair to maintain health, it needs moisture at its core.
  • The outer layer of the hair is called the cuticle. The cuticle is a structure of tiny scales protecting the hair’s core to retain moisture.
  • Many factors impact the outer layer of the hair. For example, sun, wind, central heating, styling or chemical treatments. They cause the scales of the cuticle to lift, resulting in moisture loss.
  • Once the scaley protective layer lifts, the core of the hair loses moisture. In other words, this reduces the hair elasticity, leaving it vulnerable to breakage or becoming too stretchy.
Fixing Hair Elasticity

How to do The Stretch Test?

The stretch test is simple to do, and knowing the condition of your hair will help in understanding how to style and care for your hair.

  1. When hair is wet, select a strand of hair, hold it securely at the root to avoid pulling. With the other hand, gently stretch the hair.
  2. Release the hair. If the hair stretches and returns to its original length when released, then elasticity is good.
  3. If there is any breakage or your hair doesn’t fall back into shape, it has low elasticity.

NB Hair is most vulnerable when wet, so be gentle with the hair at all times!

What's Next? Take Action

Once you’ve established the elasticity of your hair, there are two possible outcomes.

Your hair has good elasticity!

Excellent news! If your hair has good elasticity, think about maintenance. Remember, routine is king. So that means regular conditioning and the weekly deep conditioning treatment. Similarly, avoid styling products with alcohol-denat as they can be drying for the hair. Keep up the excellent work!

Your hair has low elasticity.

Don’t despair! The positive results in the hair stories I’ve shared with you are a testament to establishing a hair care routine that works for your hair. You can improve and restore hair elasticity.

Whatever you are doing with your hair, I recommend taking some time out. Think about everything we’ve talked about in this blog and commit to a plan to improve your hair elasticity.

Quick fixes are not the answer. However, with regular attention, you can achieve balance. You can get your hair in shape and keep it that way. My tips below will help to develop your hair care plan.

Choosing Frizzy Hair Products

My Tips for Improving Hair Elasticity

  1. Regular conditioning. Always condition your hair after shampoo. Think of looking after your hair in the same way as your face. After cleansing, moisturise your hair with a conditioner.
  2. If your hair elasticity is low, use the Restore and Shine Hair Masque twice a week for at least two weeks. That will help to rehydrate your hair and give it a much-needed moisture boost.
  3. After two weeks of intensive treatment, the hair will start to improve. Follow up with a routine of giving your hair a weekly hair mask treatment.
  4. Take some time out from heated styling tools. That will give your hair the chance to recover. However, if you can’t bear to be without your hairdryer, choose a lower heat setting. Avoid over-drying your hair. Less is more!
  5. When using Restore and Shine Hair Masque, I recommend leaving on the hair for as long as possible. For example, you can leave it on for a couple of hours or even overnight. For other hair masks, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Look out for shampoos, conditioners and styling products containing ingredients that will improve hair elasticity. Honey is a favourite ingredient of mine. It improves elasticity, leaving hair supple. Because I love it so much, it’s an active ingredient in my Styling Products.
  7.  

Healthy Hair Matters

Follow my tips above, and you can improve your hair elasticity. You can achieve healthy, shiny hair.

Above all, it takes time and patience.

Improving hair elasticity will give you many benefits, from tackling dry, brittle hair to improving hair shine and health.

Are you inspired to take charge of YOUR HAIR HEALTH?

Restore and Shine Hair Masque with lid removed

About the Author

Norris Ogario is founder and Creative Director of Ogario London. Developed in his London salon, the Ogario London haircare products reflect his belief that hydration is the key to fixing most hair problems. You can style hydrated hair with ease. Plus, hydration leaves hair shiny and healthy. Norris has over 35 years of hair know-how. With expertise in all hair types; from dry hair to fine or grey hair, from frizzy to damaged or bleached hair, curly hair and afro hair, Norris offers his expert advice.

Norris_OGARIO

Recommended Reading

Over the years, I’ve talked to and helped a lot of customers with dry hair concerns. Additionally, I write about all aspects of healthy hair, from tackling frizz to getting rid of split ends and share salon tips and techniques for looking after all hair types.

I’ve suggested further reading below, but please look at our Healthy Hair Blog to find more articles.

Firstly, how we style and care for our hair is not the only factor determining hair health and shine. That’s because good nutrition is also vital.

So, if you want to delve deeper into how you can improve your healthy hair diet, take a look at our blog, Healthy Hair: Choose the Best Foods for Hair Growth.

Did you know that colour treatment has a significant impact on reducing moisture in the hair? Particularly if you bleach your hair.

So, if you have bleached hair and want to regain your shine, read my blog, How to take care of Bleached Hair. Plus, take a look at my case study on elasticity in bleached hair.

For further reading on dry hair, Salon Know-How: How to Moisturise Dry Hair is a must-read.

Have you tried styling your hair with a leave in conditioner? It’s the best option for adding moisture to your hair before heated styling. That’s because it gives hair the best foundation for styling without compromising the health of your hair.

Recommended Reading

Salon Know How: How to Moisturise Dry Hair 

Whether your hair is fine, coarse, colour-treated, grey or curly, all hair can become dry. Plus, I talk tips for adding moisture to all hair types. After that, I get more in-depth on the causes of dry hair and answer some common questions.

Read More >

Deep Conditioner: Avocado Hair Mask

Discover the benefits of and Avocado Hair Mask. Plus, I share some salon know how on getting the best from your deep conditioning treatment

Read More >

Salon Know How: How to Repair Damaged Hair

Want to know about the causes of damaged hair? How can you tell if the hair is damaged? Firstly find out what steps you can take to repair damaged hair. Secondly, I answer the most common questions about damaged hair.

Read More >

How to get Healthy Hair and Promote Hair Growth

With a little bit of know how, I believe it’s within everyone’s grasp to get healthy hair. I’ve spent years working with clients in the salon and there are two concerns that come up time and time again; how to get healthy hair and how to promote hair growth. I believe the two go hand in hand. 

Read More >

Leave In Conditioner: Get the Heads Up!

Leave in conditioner works on all hair types; from fine to frizzy, dry to damaged and curly hair. The best leave in conditioners detangle, reduce static and frizz, whilst speeding up drying time and leave hair with shine.

Do you have a leave in hair conditioner in your styling kit? If not, now is the time to find out more.

Read More >

About Us

Ogario London is a salon developed, natural hair care range. We are passionate about our products, and, delivering the best results is at the heart of what we do. Do you have questions about our products? Or, would you like advice on the best products for your hair type? Maybe have another question about how to look after your hair? If you do, please get in touch at info@ogariolondon.com.

 

Winner of Best Shampoo in Red Magazine Green Beauty Awards; Ogario Revive and Shine Natural Shampoo

Beauty Bible Recommends

Restore and Shine Hair Masque was awarded best hair mask in the Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible Awards. As an independent hair care brand, we are incredibly proud to be recognised alongside some of the industry’s biggest haircare brands. Because I spend time ensuring that our products deliver the best results, I couldn’t be happier to get this review and win this prestigious award.

Here’s what Josephine Fairley and Sarah Stacey had to say,

“Beauty Bible fell in love with this mask when we discovered it at a Cosmetic Executive Women product demo evening. The brand comes from a London hair salon, and the mask is a huge boon for hair – packed with avocado, olive oil, aloe vera, nettle and horsetail, together with sage (which is rich in vitamins A, C and E). Just a sniff of this rich, unctuous creamy mask perks you up. Use for gleaming shiny, healthy hair.”

 

Restore and Shine Hair Masque contains avocado to add moisture. For best results, use this deep conditioner once a week.
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