Breakage is a dreaded word not to just naturals but to all women with all different hair textures whether it is relaxed, dyed, or worn in its natural state. Breakage is a woman’s worst nightmare. So what is causing the breakage? There are a few things you could be doing wrong in your hair regimen that you didn’t even know were causing damage. I for one am guilty of a few of these things as well and always believe that the breakage won’t happen to me, or won’t happen after just this one time. WRONG!!! It only takes one time to damage your hair, sometimes even beyond repair. So watch out for the damage and there are a few steps to stop, limit, and help begin the healing process.
1. stress: Stress is a big factor when it comes to a healthy head of hair on the top of your head. It can often be difficult to control your stress levels depending on what you are going through at any given moment but its good to keep in mind some stress relieving activities or exercises because losing your hair to stress… will most likely cause more stress that you do not want to deal with.
2.lack of moisture aka DRY hair Dry hair is extremely fragile and susceptible to damage and breakage. You need to keep your hair moisturized to prevent unnecessary breakage. Here are some quick easy tips to remoisturize your dry natural hair!
3.overprocessing Dyeing your hair too frequently, or getting a relaxer too often is a terrible terrible terrible idea! You shouldn’t be putting chemicals in your hair of any kind more than every 8 weeks at max. You should also leave coloring and touch ups for the professionals. Doing it on your own out of the box is asking for damage and disaster.
4.unhealthy eating You knew this one was coming! Your diet can affect not only your hair growth but your hair healthiness. If your diet is filled with excessive salts and sugars you may stunting your hair from properly growing. While if you are low or lacking B & E vitamins then you will be more prone to breakage as well. So with the lack of growth and excessive breakage your poor diet is costing you more than you think.
5.illness: different illnesses or dramatic weight loss are two causes that we can’t always control that may possibly cause your hair to break. Certain eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can also cause dry and brittle hair which will lead to drastic breakage.
6.overstyling We all love a nice sleek bun, up do, or pony tail however these hair styles cause constant pulling and tension and can be extremely detrimental to your edges and the nape of your hair.
7.over stretching: I know ladies.. I am prone to doing this as well. However in our search for the ultimate big hair day or volume we could actually be doing more damage then we think. When our hair is over stretched it puts it in a fragile and weak state. Its better to safely use stretching methods that aren’t too harsh such as two strand twists or loose braids. Anything too strong will ultimately snap the stretched hair and leave you with uneven strands and sections.
8. Styling / Protective Tools: This is often over looked but your styling and protective tools need to be replaced when they have run their course or they will do more harm then good. Your boar bristle brushes should be replaced, your combs and styling tools should be kept clean. Using a wide tooth combed instead of a fine tooth rat tail comb is better for detangling and will cause less tension and breakage. Also protective tools or styles should be kept in for a limited time and not excessively worn. Wearing protective styles for more than 6-8 weeks will make your hair more prone to damage. The protective style actually is doing more harm then good and has stopped doing what you put it in to do.
9.Too much heat: The constant blow drying, and flat ironing has stripped your hair of essential proteins that protect the strands and keep them strong against damage and breakage. With each heat appliance used you are compromising the shaft of the strands further and further until they become so damaged that they just snap off.
1. First things first put down the flat iron, curling iron, curling wand, blow dryer and all other styling tools. You should really only be applying indirect heat to your hair if you are going to use heat at all. If you are going to apply direct heat such as flat ironing and blow drying you may want to consider only doing this twice a year and using a really good heat protectant to prevent damage. Besides the heat protectant it is also important to prepare your hair for the process before applying the heat (at below 400 degrees). This means deep conditioning and doing a protein treatment before applying the direct heat. If you suspect you have heat damage I recommend doing protein treatments every 6-8 weeks to prevent further damage and to help the new hair grow in healthy as you get rid of the damaged hair in transition. There is no going back after heat damage ladies once its done its done. That doesn’t mean you should be afraid of using heat… just use it with caution and on rare occasion.
2. Wait 8-12 weeks before re-dyeing your roots or getting a touch up. Let the new growth truly have time to grow in order to avoid reprocessing hair that has already been dyed or relaxed.
3. Limit your buns, up dos, and pony tails to a minimum. Try other styles that do not require much manipulation, pulling or tension on your hair. Remember natural hair has poetic license to be big, frizzy, fluffy, and a bit messy without getting too much of a second look. Go for a twist out, bantu knot out…etc to relieve some of the tension from over styling and still rock a dope look.
4. Trim your ends when necessary not on a time schedule. If you want to see your length retained and your breakage/shedding limited you need to listen to your hair and do what it wants when it needs it. I’ve constantly heard so many arguments about trims. If you have split ends then you need a trim or it will get worse. The hair will split up the shaft and eventually cause more breakage which we are trying to avoid. However every 4-6 weeks may be a bit excessive especially if you don’t particularly manipulate or use heat on your hair frequently.
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