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Hygral Fatigue: What Causes It and How to Fix It

September 29, 2022 4 min read


Hygral fatigue is a condition in which there is a repeated cycle of swelling and unswelling of the hair follicles due to excessive moisture retention. This process of repeated swelling is stressful and damaging to the hair. It can lead to symptoms such as frizziness, tangling, dullness, brittleness, and a lot of physical changes that might cause your hair not to look its best. In this blog post, we’ll look at the causes of hygral fatigue and some simple steps you can take to fix and prevent it.

Causes of Hygral Fatigue

Various factors can lead to hygral fatigue. Some of these factors we will discuss below.

Over-Moisturizing Hair

You’re at a higher risk of developing hygral fatigue if you over-use conditioners and shampoos that are specifically designed to moisturize hair. Too much of a good thing is not good, using deep conditioners and hair masks too often can introduce too much moisture to your hair, leading to hygral fatigue, especially if you have porous hair.


Hygral fatigue starts when water makes it past the cuticle (the outer layer of your hair) into the cortex. The way your cuticle is shaped (determined largely by genetics) plays a huge role in how porous your hair is. Tightly packed cuticle cells translate to low hair porosity and a more spaced cuticle means high hair porosity. People with high porous hair are more prone to hygral fatigue because of the structure of their hair.

Loss of Protective Oils

Our hair is naturally designed to repel water. This means there’s already a mechanism in place to prevent over-moisturization. Overshampooing your hair or using harsh chemicals can strip your hair of these protective oils, reducing your hair’s ability to repel moisture, and ultimately leading to hygral fatigue.

Damaged Hair

The cuticle is the protective layer of the hair, it protects other inner parts like the cortex and the medulla. Damaged hair is usually characterized by a compromised cuticle, which makes hair more porous. High-heat treatments, excessive chemical treatments, grooming habits, and environmental factors can lead to damaged hair, making them indirect but potent causes of hygral fatigue. 

pH paper

Imbalanced pH  

There is a specific pH at which the hair shaft and scalp are healthy. This pH can be disrupted by the use of overly alkaline products. Using any product or adopting any process that upsets the pH balance of the hair shafts and the scalp can lead to a breakdown of the cuticle, ultimately leading to hygral fatigue.

Fixing Hygral Fatigue

Hygral fatigue in most cases can be irreversible but further damage can be avoided and new practices adopted that will encourage new healthy growth.

Switch Things Up

One of the major causes of hygral fatigue is over-moisturizing. A very effective step to take to stop hygral fatigue is to reduce how often you use shampoos and conditioners that are specifically designed to moisturize hair. You can also reduce how often you wash your hair as washing your hair too often can strip it of protective oils that prevent too much moisture from entering your hair.

Reduce Chances of Damage

Damaged cuticles won’t provide enough protection for your hair. A good practice to adopt is reducing or completely avoiding treatments and tools that can cause damage to your hair. Your cuticles are very important to the health of your hair, so anything that will cause its breakdown should be avoided.

Some of the potential causes of hair damage are listed below:

  • Heat through straightening tools and blow dryers
  • Frequent use of bleach or hair dyes
  • Chlorine
  • Perming
  • Roughly towel drying hair
  • Chemical treatments

Cut Off Damaged Hair

Damaged hair can’t repair itself, the only way to go is to be patient and wait for new healthy growth to replace the damaged hair. This might sound extreme, but cutting off damaged hair, implementing new healthy hair practices, and waiting for new hair to grow is a great way to fix hygral fatigue.

Swimming Cap

Use a Swimming Cap

Chlorine present in most swimming pools can be damaging to hair. When swimming, make sure to wear a swimming cap to reduce the amount of chlorine that comes in contact with your hair, thereby reducing the potential for damage.

Be Gentle When Shampooing Your Hair 

Even though the purpose of shampooing is to wash your hair and make it clean, you shouldn’t be too vigorous when doing it. Applying too much pressure and being rough when washing your hair can be damaging to your cuticle. Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp and then gently rinse it out, letting the shampoo travel the length of your hair as you rinse it out.


Although genetics can play a major role in how porous your hair is, there are a lot of other factors that are in play when it comes to hygral fatigue, factors that you can control. By taking control and making simple changes to your habits where your hair is concerned, you can prevent damage to your hair. 

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