Your hair needs hydration and protein to grow strong and healthy. Unfortunately, we can inadvertently damage our hair and contribute to moisture loss, through styling products and tools used on our hair.
You might not notice your hair is even in trouble until it becomes obviously brittle or starts breaking and peeling. Once hair is this badly damaged, it can take some time to restore it back to its natural state of being. Therefore, it's important to keep track of the condition of your hair, and take corrective measures before it gets out of control.
Testing the moisture levels of your hair is really quite simple. There are two things you can test for that your hair really needs. One is moisture, the other is protein. Both are critical for healthy hair, and a loss of either one can lead to split ends, loss of hair and hair that does not grow properly.
After you comb or brush your dry hair, take a single strand that remains in the brush to perform a strand test with. (There's really no need to pull a hair out of your head!) Hold each end of the hair and pull it gently to see if it stretches or breaks. If it breaks quickly, you hair is showing signs of dehydration. It should stretch a little and then break after more pull.
Next, soak a single strand of hair in water and take the pull test again. This time, you are looking for loss of protein as well as moisture. If the strand stretches like rubber, you need more protein. Wet hair should not hold much elasticity, and is more likely to break when piled on. The stretchiness results from low protein levels which give the hair its structure.
This easy test can be performed any time, and should be done every couple weeks or so, especially as season's change. If your strand test indicates dehydration, start using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner and cut back on heated appliances. If protein levels in your hair seem low, try protein enhancing products to restore and structure your hair.