In recent years, the hair care industry and natural hair specialists are all talking about the importance of protective hairstyles, retaining moisture in our hair and the benefits of using satin to protect our hair.
But the real question is, how do these methods help us with gaining healthier, stronger, and also longer hair? Is it as easy as taking any satin cloth you might have and just wrapping our hair in it while you sleep? Our hair is quite delicate so it is important to understand what can damage it and how we can protect it, to ensure it stays strong and healthy.
One of the most popular products to protect hair is satin bonnets; so how do they work and what are the benefits of using them?
How did the Satin Bonnets Come to Be?
Although the concept of using real satin and hair bonnets to protect our hair can seem quite simple, there is actually significant scientific research which supports these concepts. Primarily, the concept of healthy hair is linked to moisturized hair. The moisture is important as it keeps our hair looking shiny and healthy and prevent the dryness/brittleness that causes our hair to break off. There are also hair dryer bonnets that do the opposite! The most important part of our hair that we must look after when trying to care for our tresses is the hair cuticle. The hair cuticle is an outer layer which surrounds our hair shaft. It is composed of dead cells which look similar to scales and there in order to protect and strengthen the hair shaft. Ultimately, it can be considered the most important part of our hair!
The health of our natural hair is predominantly dependent on the health of the cuticle. In order for the hair to grow longer and healthier, the outer most layers must be looked after and kept intact. This is because this outer layer is essentially protecting it. A key fact to remember is that hair is actually dead protein and we are merely protecting it.
The hair cuticle not only protects our hair, but it also plays an important role in the growth of our hair. By understanding how the cuticle works, it also helps us understand what we can do to ensure the growth of our hair. Essentially, it is important to have a closed cuticle because it will then retain the moisture that we want in our hair. The hair cuticle is responsible for controlling the water content that is found within the hair fibers. If the cuticle remains open then all the hard work that we place into moisturizing and taking care of our hair is gone to waste. There are several factors that cause the cuticle to remain open such as chemical processes, friction caused in our hair from external sources, extreme heat, and the various weather conditions. These factors cannot all be changed; however, their effect can be minimized by taking extra care of our hair. This is done by for instance using heatless alternatives to style hair.
This is where the real satin hair bonnets come in handy (see also: Silk Hair Bonnets). In order to retain the precious moisture in our hair, it is essential that we use fabrics that will not suck the moisture and natural oils of our hair out. The cuticle can be closed by applying our hair products in a downward motion as well as rinsing our hair with cold water after a hot shower. However, these do not prevent the cuticle from opening when it comes into contact with the cotton fabric of our pillow covers. No matter how much we apply products, oils, or serums to our hair, overnight the porous fibers of our pillowcases, bed sheets, and night-time clothes absorb the majority of the product as well as the moisture that it was supposed to provide. Therefore, our hair still does not receive all the moisture that we are trying to provide it.
Benefits of High-Quality Fabrics
The satin fabric is smooth and woven together tightly which does not allow the moisture to escape through it. By retaining the moisture within the bonnet, the satin fabric allows the hair cuticle to have longer and more concentrated exposure to the moisture. This ensures that more moisture is absorbed into the hair and leads to healthier and more nourished hair. There is also less friction caused by the satin fibers as compared to other fabrics which allow the cuticle to remain closed. Another benefit of the satin is that the hair slides right off it due its straight and smooth fibers. This means that the hair will tangle less overnight and will not break off when you brush them in the morning.
However, it is not simply enough to find any satin material and wrap our hair in it. There are many different types of satin fabrics and blends. The key is to use pure sturdier satin or to at least use multiple layers of satin. Some satin fabrics are ineffective as they are not tightly woven together and so the moisture passes right through them. An effective way to check the fabric for its efficacy is to hold it up to the light check if the light shines through it. This allows us to see if the fabric is tightly woven or not. If the light does not shine through it means that the fabric will be highly effective in retaining the moisture as it does not have gaps between its fibers.
Finally, many people have started to wear bonnets and hats outside as well during the day. These are known as SLAPS which is short for satin lined caps. This allows people to protect their hair in the daytime and retain its moisture. Often, the sun and dry wind can be very harsh on our hair. As well as the material used to make regular hats or caps. Therefore, in order to protect their hair numerous, women are now wearing these satin-lined caps as well. There are now more options available than ever before to help you protect your hair. It’s time to use these options!