Can You Really Overhydrate Your Hair?

Here at ZALA, we always emphasize the importance of keeping one’s hair well-moisturized at all times. However, there is such a thing as too much, even when it comes to hair care. Can you overhydrate your hair? Let’s find out.


One interesting point that we have to make early on is that this problem only really occurs to those who have already been doing hair care for quite some time.

For most beginner hair enthusiasts, the biggest problem is not overhydration, but under-hydration. Oftentimes, these people experience dry hair due to neglect or improper hair care.

Over-enthusiastic hair enthusiasts, on the other hand, may go overboard with their hair care. Simply put, you may think that too much is better than nothing, but it doesn’t always apply in all cases.

When you overhydrate your hair

Surprisingly, overhydration is a more common problem than you may think. There’s even an official term for it: hygral fatigue.

Hygral fatigue happens because when your hair is wet or moisturized, it swells, and when it’s dry, it shrinks. It’s basically just another way of saying that our hair is tired from having to switch from dry to moisturized all the time. Just like you, if you have to do something more often than usual, there’s a good chance you’ll get tired too.

There are some simple signs that you can look out for to see if you’re over hydrating your hair.

1. Extremely limp hair

Extremely Limp Hair
(c) Unsplash

Hair doesn’t just become limp due to dryness. Hair can also become limp if you hydrate it way too much. This type of hair looks lifeless, same as dry hair, except without the straw-like texture. In fact, on the contrary, overhydrated hair actually looks rather sticky, which also doesn’t feel good to the touch.

2. Too elastic and stretchable strands

Soft hair feels good, doesn’t it? But if your hair feels way too soft, softer than usual, then that probably means you’re over-hydrating it. Although it may seem that soft hair is a good thing (and it is! Most of the time) hair that is too soft is also much more prone to breakage. If you can stretch your hair more than usual, whether or not it breaks, then you should probably lay off the conditioners a bit.

3. Hair that doesn't retain moisture

Sometimes, overhydration can cause your hair to look dry too. It’s not just greasy hair that has this problem. When your hair can’t seem to retain moisture no matter how much product you apply to it, maybe you’re actually applying way too much.

So what causes overhydration? Here are some of the common habits that lead to greasy, over-moisturized tresses.

  • conditioning your hair every single day
  • using a deep conditioning mask more than twice a week
  • not letting your hair to dry properly before  getting it wet again
  • staying in the shower for way too long often
  • not using products that replenish protein

How to avoid overhydrating your hair

Hair Oil
(c) Unsplash

Although overhydration is an annoying problem (“We’re already giving you what you want hair, what more do you want!?”) it’s much easier to solve than dehydrated hair.

  1. Apply hair oil before going to the shower. This protects your hair cuticles from getting bombarded with too much water and product.
  2. Stop conditioning your hair too much. Once every few days is okay, and you don’t have to empty out half the bottle on your hair. You also don’t need hour-long conditioning sessions, believe it or not.
  3. Once or twice of hair mask sessions per week is ideal. Just like conditioning, you could also lay off on the hair masks a bit. You really don’t need that much moisture, we promise.
  4. Use protein products. Protein products are specially designed to restore your hair to its natural condition, so utilize these products well!

So now you know the answer: you can over hydrate your hair. Plus, you now know what causes hygral fatigue and how to avoid it. For more hair care tips and tricks, don’t forget to check out our ZALA blog!

July 16, 2019
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