You probably notice a lot of hair care products mentioning hair bonds, or things like proteins and keratin.

What, exactly are hair bonds? Or proteins and keratins? Is the mention of them just some sort of marketing hype?

To understand what these are, you need to know a bit about your hair and how it’s structured.

The center layer, called the medulla, or the pith or marrow of the hair, is the innermost layer. It’s composed of round cells and is only normally found in thick and/or coarse hair. Naturally blonde and fine hair generally does not have a medulla. This almost invisible layer is the softest and most fragile part of your hair.

The cortex, or cortical layer, of your hair, makes up the bulk of what hair is. It accounts for 90% of the total weight of a strand of hair. The cortex is located between the hair cuticle and medulla and is the thickest hair layer. The cortex is the layer that gives your hair its strength, moisture, color (from melanin, like that found in your skin), and texture. The cortex also plays a part in the shine of your hair.

The topmost layer of your hair is called the cuticle. This cuticle is a protective shell of overlapping cells, arranged like tiles on a roof around the cortex. Their function is to provide a barrier that keeps moisture in, and everything else out. Your hair’s softness, prone to tangle, ease of combing, and shine all depend on the health of the cuticle.

Without continuing too far down the scientific rabbit hole of hair, let’s get back to the cortex…

Cells in the cortex are loosely connected in cylindrical bundles called macrofibrils, made of proteins. These macrofibrils are like the inner strands of a rope. They are made of amino acids combined together to create keratin, which is a protective protein that is less prone to scratching or tearing than other types of cells in your body.

Keratin is held together by two types of bonds:

  1. Hydrogen: which are temporary bonds that, when heat is applied, can change the style of your hair.  These bonds give your hair its elasticity.
  2. Disulfide: these are permanent bonds that maintain the shape of your hair.  They are the bonds that make your hair strong and resistant to breaking.

Why do Hair Bonds matter?

Hair bonds are responsible for the shape, strength, elasticity and shine of your hair. If these bonds break, your hair strands will become brittle, damaged, and ultimately break too, leaving you with short and broken hairs.

How do they break?

Hydrogen bonds are broken by water. They break when you wash your hair, stand in the rain, or simply are in a humid environment.

Disulfide bonds are broken by heat. This happens when you use a hairdryer, curling iron, or straighteners, from some chemicals like those used in straightening or coloring (bleaching) treatments, and even sunlight.

YIKES! That probably accounts for most of what happens to your hair every day.

How do you take care of the bonds?

So, how can you protect your hair bonds? The good news is you can!

  • In terms of your daily routine, use shampoos and conditioners that are free of harsh chemicals that might weaken your hair bonds.Shampoos like LuxeOrganix Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner and our Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner are free of harsh ingredients, like sulfates, which can strip and weaken your hair. LuxeOrganix shampoos and conditioners are designed to be gentle on your hair bonds while still removing product build up and everyday grime.
  • Be gentle with your washing – scrubbing your scalp results in tangles, which means more combing to detangle your hair, and this causes more breakage.
  • Rinse your hair in lukewarm water, not hot. (Remember that heat breaks bonds.) Your bonds are weak at this point in your hair care routine.
  • Always condition your hair. Conditioners, like our Bond Integrity Protein Hair Treatment, are made with proteins that help restore the bonds that are damaged. They also help to detangle hair. Deep conditioners, like our Coconut  Oil Deep Conditioner, help to hydrate your hair, which keeps your hair bonds healthy and your hair shiny.
  • To minimize hair damage after you shampoo, avoid wrapping your hair in a towel turban, vigorously rubbing, and then drying your hair with full-strength heat from your hairdryer. Air drying your hair is the least damaging method to styling, but this may not be practical when you’re running late and need to get to work!  Be kind to your stressed-out bonds! Gently pat the extra moisture from your hair with a soft towel and blow dry with low heat.

This gives you a lot to think about, right? But thoughtfully taking care of your hair will give you the bonds that shine. And those that are strong, and flexible, and healthy!

And that concludes today’s science lesson on hair bonds… Any questions?

Like What You Just Read?

In case you were wondering, the following products were mentioned in this blog post.

Biotin Shampoo & Conditioner Set

moroccan argan oil shampoo and conditioner set

Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner Set

Protein Hair Treatment | LuxeOrganix

Bond Integrity Protein Hair Treatment

Deep Conditioner Hair Mask