As in, I bet you’ve never seen it magnified under a microscope.
Last week Stephanie, our transitioner who won the Komaza Consultation and Regimen, sent a few samples of her hair to Rene for an up-close-and-personal checking out under the hair microscope. When I saw the resulting images of her relaxed ends beneath the microscope, my jaw dropped. It was bittersweet to see hair in such amazingly, awesome detail, but also a bummer to see splits, breaks, and knots. I have never really seen hair this magnified, but what it showed was just how damaging relaxers can be. Here’s a peek at the pix and what Rene had to say about it:
(Note: all images are about 1.5″ up from the end)
Please do not stress when you see the images. This kind of damage is to be expected of your relaxed hair. The stress break (where the hair looks untethered) can be the result of a few things such as wet combing/brushing your relaxed hair, overprocessing, and from styling. This is why your hair didn’t feel smooth. This can also happen with your natural hair if you dry comb/brush, use a bristle brush, and constant tension (like braiding or pulling into a ponytail).
It is also time for you to have another trim. Your ends are beginning to split. You will be able to see it in the first image of slide 2. The 2nd image of slide 2 is another split that is located 1/2 inch up from the end. The 3rd image of slide 2 is an image of the single strand knot (there is an air bubble in the center if this image, I apologize). The knot is located 1 inch above the end.
This is a serious break about an inch up and then a stress break about 1/4 inch above the end of of the hair (scientific names for this type of breakage=trichorrhexis nodosa)
I am surprised to see that you have fairy knots/single strand knots (scientific name= trichonodosis) in your relaxed hair since this is usually an issue for wavy to curly hair. It can also be from a vitamin & iron deficiency, but since I have seen that your hair is very damaged I would guess it is because your hair is weak. Please do not start an iron supplement unless it is advised by your doctor. Too much iron can cause serious health issues.
These images show why we need to use protein even when you are natural. Protein protects the hair from styling, combing/brushing, washing, even sun exposure. These things and more are causes of protein break down in our hair which leads to weakness, breaks, split ends, and open cuticles.
The end diagnosis was that Stephanie needs to cut off at least 2″ of hair where the damage is the worst and keep up with the protein treatments so as to further protect the existing hair. I really thought these pictures were fascinating in how they show the tangible evidence of what chemically altering the keratin bonds of the hair can make it susceptible to. Stay tuned for the continued progress of Stephanie and her transition!