structure of hair
Growth & Retention

Why You Want Your Hair’s Cuticle as Smooth as Possible

structure of hairYour hair is predominantly made up of three main parts: the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle. Within these parts lies a complex structure of protein called keratin. We won’t go into the medulla or the cortex but let’s talk a little about the cuticle.

The cuticle of your hair looks a lot like little the shingles on the roof of a house.

When those shingles cuticles are raised, it’s virtually impossible for your hair to maintain it’s moisture levels. Certainly there are times when you want your cuticles to be lifted but most of the time, you want them as smooth (closed) as possible.

Why Smooth Your Hair’s Cuticle?

The main reason for having your cuticles as smooth as possible is that moisture is held into the hair much better. A head of hair that has really smooth cuticles from day to day can often retain moisture for 3-5 days on end. Secondary to nicely  moisturized hair is shine. When your hair’s cuticles are smooth, your hair is MUCH shinier.

frizz free curls

How To Smooth Your Hair’s Cuticle

During the wash and conditioning process of hair care, your cuticles are lifted. You actually want that so that the beneficial ingredients in your cleansers and conditioners can penetrate the hair shaft and do the job they are paid (for) to do. Once that has occurred, you then want to make sure you close those cuticles.

Getting your hair’s cuticle to close can occur in several ways. You can finish off your wash/conditioning session by:

  • Rinsing your hair with cold water
  • Rinsing your hair with a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar
  • Rinsing your hair with warm water followed by applying a refrigerated leave in conditioner (my preference)

Applying a leave in conditioner followed by a natural oil helps to smooth the hair’s surface and locks in the moisture.

Which method do you prefer for smoothing your hair’s cuticle layer?


Michelle Smith
Michelle is a Christian special needs mom residing in the NYC area who shares useful tips to grow and maintain fine natural hair. She's a published author and Creator of Fine Natural Hair and Faith, inspiring others with faith for living along side knowledge on how to care for their "crown."

6 Comment

  1. I usually just rinse with cool water. I know what it does but it always leaves my hair feeling rougher than if I had rinsed with warm water.

    I also use a leave-in but I never considered refrigerating it before. Thanks for the suggestion.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: