A reduced or stripped cuticle is typically associated with significant chemical damage caused by color treatments or chlorine exposure. Chemical damage results in the breaking of disulfide bonds in your hair, eventually weakening and removing your hair's cuticles. Without a healthy cuticle structure, hair becomes porous, easily dehydrated, brittle, and difficult to work with.
Lemma Labs can help you understand your hair health and properties by testing your actual hair strands in a lab. With the hairID Complete Hair Assessment Kit, you receive microscopic images of your hair, an analysis of your hair damage, and a measurement of your hair porosity and thickness.
Broken cuticles can also signal physical damage, which contributes to frizz, dulling of hair color, and further damage. Stretched hair is thinner, weaker, and less flexible than healthy hair, making it more likely to break off and less likely to form defined curls.
Cuticles are composed of dead cells, so unfortunately there's no way to regenerate a healthy cuticle. Many (so so many!) products claim to have repairing or restoring effects, but these can be misleading. While they can certainly make your hair feel better temporarily, deep conditioners or masks will not restore damaged hair.