Try this simple strand test to find the best products for your hair

Use a hair strand test to find best products

Have you tried conditioner aftere conditioner and been frustrated with the results? What if there was a way to tell you which ones to buy and which to leave on the shelf? There is: a simple strand test I discovered that can point you to the best conditioner for your dry hair. But first a little about why we might need new conditioners as we age.

Why does hair become dry and frizzy?

Hair has no natural lubrication.  It is no longer alive when it grows out of our scalp. This is why we don’t feel a thing when we get a good haircut. When hair grows, it’s not able to produce its own oils. Instead, hair relies on the oils our scalp produces to provide nourishment and to make it look and feel glossy.

As we age these oils decrease. The result? Drier, frizzier hair. Frizzy hair is generally less smooth in texture, caused by this lack of hydration.

In addition to decreased oil production, our hair grays as we age—the result of declining melanocytes (the substance that gives our hair color).  This also causes hair to become dry. This pigment change affects the structure of the hair follicle, leaving it feeling brittle and frizzy.

Hormonal changes after menopause can also lead to dry hair. In a healthy cuticle, the layers lie tightly together and keep moisture in. When a cuticle’s layers separate and peel away from hair, it can’t hold moisture and oil escapes.

You can tame your dry frizzy hair with the right products—once you identify what your dry hair is missing. 


Moisture or protein? Not all dry hair is alike

There are two types of dry hair: hair that thrives on added protein and hair that cries out for added moisture. Get it wrong and your hair will show it.

This discovery made all the difference in the health and appearance of my hair—and it can do the same for you.  Once you understand the concept and align your hair products accordingly, you will be on your way to healthy looking hair—regardless of your age!

Your hair will either benefit from protein-based hair products or moisture-based products.  How do you know which ones are right for you?

Moisture vs. Protein: The Science

Each strand of your hair is held together by something called disulfide bonds. They can only be damaged by chemicals, such as hair coloring, or by long-term exposure to the sun–which applies to most women our age. Proteins reinforce these bonds, making hair stronger and less likely to break.

Disulphide bridges in protein
Illustration: disulphide bonds,

Moisture hydrates the bonds, which contributes to the overall look and feel of your hair.

If brushing your hair causes snapped strands and fallout, your disulphide bonds are broken: you need a protein treatment. If breakage isn’t your issue, but the feel of your strands is dry and wiry, you are most likely lacking moisture.

Take the elasticity test

This strand test can help you find the best conditioner for dry hair.

Take a strand of your hair and stretch it.

  • If it doesn’t stretch or breaks, feels dry and rough, it is brittle and damaged. It needs a moisture treatment. Products that have fatty acid-rich ingredients found in plant, nut, and seed oils are good for this type of hair.
  • When your hair stretches far or curls as it rebounds, if it feels mushy, gummy, or like cotton candy, your hair needs a protein treatment.  Products that are protein-based are good for this type of hair.
  • If your hair stretches but then returns to its normal state, your protein and moisture are balanced and you can use either group of products.

I tested a strand of my hair and discovered it needs products that provide moisture, but I had been buying products (expensive products!) with protein. Once I switched to a moisture-based conditioner my hair completely changed.

The author shows before and after hair strand test
Left: Hair was frizzy when using a protein conditioner; Right: Hair is smooth and shiny after switching to a moisture-based conditioner.

Products for hair that crave moisture

The best products are those that have fatty acid-rich ingredients found in plant, nut, and seed oils.

Enjoy Hair & Skin Treatment Oil

After hair strand test hair needs moisture
Enjoy Hair & Skin Treatment Oil 

Enjoy Hair and Skin Treatment Oil system delivers intense moisturization and includes calming anti-frizz benefits without weighing hair down. It tames unruly, frizzy hair, leaving it smooth and soft.

Buy here.

Agadir Argan Oil Hair Treatment

After strand test Agadir hair oil provides moisture to dry hair
Argan Oil Hair Treatment

Argan oil hair treatment imparts a beautiful sheen and won’t weigh your hair down.  Reviewers say they have tried many of the popular oils and Agadir is one of the best.

Buy here.


Black Seed Dry Oil conditioner provides moisture to dry hair
Black Seed Dry Oil

Despite the fact that this famous family are masters of self-promotion through social media, the hype around this product is real.  This product gives moisture and shine without weighing the hair down.

Buy here.

Products for hair that needs protein

Frederic Fekkai Protein RX Anti-Breakage Treatment Mask

Strand test revealed need for protein-based conditioner
Anti-Breakage Treatment Mask

Frederic Fekkai is a celebrity hairdresser and entrepreneur.  Reviewers credit his much-coveted protein mask as “hands down the best repair treatment for damaged, lifeless, frizzy hair.”

Buy here.

Sukin Botanical Protein Hair Treatment

Strand test finds Sukin Protein Hair Treatment best for dry hair
Sukin Protein Hair Treatment

Reviewers with protein-needy hair swear by Sukin’s botanical protein treatment, which leaves hair smooth and healthy.

Buy here.

Beyond the Zone Last Call Hair Masque

Last Call Hair Masque
Last Call Hair Masque

Last Call Hair Masque repairs damaged hair to strengthen and add needed nourishment for healthy hair. It turns dry frizzy hair into beautiful, strong hair that holds up against breakage and split ends. It won’t weigh hair down like some heavy treatments leaving hair shiny and full of life.

Buy here.

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