The Science of the Surface: The Cuticle
The cuticle is the outer protective covering that covers the cortex of each human hair strand and is responsible for the lustre and texture of human hair. The normal cuticle is smooth, allowing light reflection and limiting friction between the hair shafts. It’s made up of six to eight layers of flattened overlapping cells and covered by an invisible, water-resistant lipid layer, which acts as a natural conditioner. Scientists call this layer the F-layer. This fatty acid layer is what naturally gives human hair its smooth and silky feel. Chemical processes such as coloring perming and relaxing strip the cuticle of the F-layer, which leads to what is generally referred to as “chemically-damaged” hair. Fortunately, Pantene scientists are experts in how to address the F-layer conundrum. Advanced Pantene Pro-V color shampoos, conditioners, and treatments are specially formulated for color treated and/or damaged hair and can restore a great deal of human hair’s natural softness, lustre and manageability.
Other common culprits that can ruffle the feathers of a healthy cuticle include excessive heat from blow dryers and flat irons as well as combing and brushing. Limit your hair’s exposure to heat by letting your hair air-dry until slightly damp, then use heat to set your hairstyle as it transitions from just damp to dry. When blowing your hair dry, hold the dryer three to six inches away from your hair rather than right up against it. Use a wide-toothed comb, especially when combing wet hair, and try to minimize brushing and combing in general. (Don’t believe the 100-brushstrokes-a-night-for-healthy-hair myth!)In addition to all these preventative measures, using the right shampoo and conditioner to protect and seal the cuticle can help it get back to its naturally smooth state, where it can reflect light and shine!