I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but your handsome hair looks a lot less handsome under magnification of a microscope. In fact, it looks a lot more like coarse rope—and the degree of “fraying” upon this rope depends, among other reasons, on whether or not you’re using conditioner.
Like a Fine Cigar (That You’ve Torn Apart With a Brush)
On the molecular level, your hair is essentially composed of a smooth inner core protected by layers of short, fibrous cuticles. Picture a finely rolled cigar. On the inside, you’ve got your tightly packed filler, and on the outside you’ve got your protective wrapping.
Now what would happen to your cigars if you brushed them every morning; rubbed them with shampoo; and exposed them to sunlight, moisture, and wind all day? They’d fall apart and look a lot less impressive when arranged side-by-side, no?
This is precisely the story of our hair. In its ideal protected state, hair is smooth and falls together like cigars preserved in a humidor. But when we neglect it, it’s a lot more like the crumpled heads you see on the sidewalks outside package stores: frayed, dry, frizzy, and crushed.
How Conditioning Repairs (and Protects) Hair
Even the best shampoos disturb hair cuticles, as their purposes are to clean rather than protect—and, in doing so, they can also strip away the positive charges that help keep cuticles laying flat and molecularly bound to the core. Conditioning puts back these bonds, sealing the cuticles flush against the core and surrounding them with positively charged molecular “armor” that doesn’t go away when you rinse. In a way, it’s kind of a like an invisible cigar case for each individual strand, ensuring your hair looks its best no matter where you take it or what you do with it.
Hopefully this convinces you to start taking better care of your hair by adding a bottle of conditioner to your shower rack; if not, perhaps it has at least convinced you to take better care of your cigars.