There is nothing nice about your hair constantly breaking off. Natural hair breakage is one of the biggest problems for many naturals. It is the reason you are not retaining length and it seems like your hair is not growing. There are different causes of hair breakage and it is important to identify the cause first before trying to prevent/stop the breakage. Yes! It is possible to stop your natural hair from breaking and put measures in place to prevent it from happening in the future.
What is Hair Breakage?
Hair breakage occurs when your hair strand breaks off due to tension it cannot withstand. It results in split ends and shorter hair strands. It is usually as a result of dry scalp or damaged hair. Before hair breakage occurs, you would notice a lot of split ends on your hair. It is usually a result of poor hair care, chemical treatments, styling, or even the wrong hair tools.
Hair breakage differs from hair shedding. Broken hairs will be shorter than the normal length of your hair. They will also lack the small white bulb on the end of the hair, which is characteristic of normal shedding.
What Causes Hair Breakage?
Hair breakage can be caused by many different things. The best way to stop natural hair from breakage is to first identify the root cause. The cause could be chemical, mechanical, or even heat-related. Once this root cause is identified, the steps to stop breakage become easy.
1. Using the wrong combs and brushes
When you use the wrong combs such as a rat tail comb to detangle your natural hair, your hair would break. An article in the Journal Of Cosmetic Science on hair breakage during combing showed that the hair breakage can occur during combing due to the impact of the hair strands on each other whilst snagging a comb through the hair. That’s why the best comb for detangling natural hair is wide-toothed combs.
2. Moisture-Protein Imbalance
Our hair is primarily made up of moisture and protein. The breakage you experience may be a result of an imbalance between moisture and protein. The two components work hand in hand to produce a healthier head of hair, and neither one can work on its own, as they both rely on each other. When there is more moisture than protein, your hair stretches too much and breaks off easily. When there is more protein than moisture, your hair becomes, dry and brittle and breaks off too.
3. Using the wrong products
When it comes to choosing the right products for your hair, one important factor to consider is what your hair needs at that moment. Does it need moisture or protein? What products do the products contain? Some products that people use for coloring, cleansing, and styling the hair contain chemicals that can weaken the hair and make it more likely to break.
4. Excessive use of heat
Using heat too often on the hair can damage the hair shafts and remove the moisture from the hair, which can cause brittle hair and hair breakage. Blow-dryer, straightener, curling tongs, hot weather, and humid climates can also dry the hair out and increase the risk of breakage.
5. Lack of moisture
As I mentioned earlier, our hair is primarily made up of moisture and an absence of it leads to breakage. Our hair needs enough moisture because the natural oils from our scalp can’t get to all the parts of our hair to keep them moisturized.
6. Forgetting hair in a protective style
So many of us are guilty of forgetting about our hair in a protective style. You don’t moisturize and seal your hair while in a protective style. This would eventually lead to breakage once you take down the style.
7. Towel drying
Rubbing wet hair with a towel can damage the hair, increase frizz, and cause breakage. Wet hair breaks more easily than dry hair. When you combine that with the snagging and pulling of a cotton towel on your hair the results can be tragic. A better option is to use a microfiber towel or even a t-shirt; if nothing else is available.
8. Not having regular trims
Not trimming your hair causes your hair to have split ends which enhances breakage. These broken ends make the hair more likely to break higher up, nearer the hair shaft. Hair usually begins to split around 3 months after a trim. This means the optimum time between trims should be around 3 – 4 months. By doing this you’ll prevent further damage to your hair.
Here are 10 things that would break your hair if you don’t stop them now. You should totally watch this video.
How To Stop Your Natural Hair From Breaking
Now we know some causes, it would be easier to tackle it and stop your hair from breaking. The first step is to stop the hair breaking behavior. Are you putting harmful products, using the wrong tools or not moisturizing and trimming regularly? Stop it!
1. Step up your moisturizing game
You can’t avoid losing moisture on your hair. Start by using the LCO method (Liquid + Cream + Oil) to moisturize your hair when needed. Don’t overdo it. Remember, the goal is to make sure you have equal moisture and protein in your hair.
2. Change your hair routine
You may need to change your hair routine if possible. Switching haircare routines can help if hair products or styling methods, such as harsh chemicals or heat treatments, are damaging the hair. Try air-drying the hair and using gentle products that contain fewer harsh chemicals.
3. Get rid of those wrong combs and brushes
Get rid of combs, brushes and other tools that tend to rip off your hair. The best tools to use include; wide-toothed combs, tangle teezers, detangling brushes and ouchless bands for styling.
4. Read the labels of your hair products
Before you buy any products, ensure you read the label. Avoid ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, mineral oils and petrolatum in natural hair products. Sulfates are known to dry out the hair. The more dry your hair is, the more prone it is to breaking.
5. Deep condition more often
This is a major solution to natural hair breakage, dry hair, and hard hair. Deep conditioning is the process of masking your hair with a deep conditioner, whether DIY-ed or store-bought and leaving it in your hair for about fifteen to thirty minutes before rinsing off. A deep conditioning treatment a week will keep your hair game at its peak.
6. Take a balanced diet and vitamins
When your hair has lost its strength, you can try eating foods that strengthen the hair again. These foods include ones with plenty of protein, omega-3s, iron, biotin, and zinc. Also taking vitamins C, D3, and E work exceptionally well in enhancing the health of your hair. It is important that the hair follicles receive proper blood supply and nutrition for your hair to be in good shape.
1. Detangle your hair when it is damp and not dry or wet.
2. Give the ends of your hair extra love and attention as they are very fragile.
3. Don’t over-manipulate your hair by changing styles too frequently, leaving your ends out too often and putting your hands in your hair all the time.
4. Use a satin bonnet or scarf to sleep.
5. Cleanse your scalp at least bi-weekly. keeping scalp moisturize can prevent hair loss and scalp irritation.
6. Incorporate protein-based deep conditioning treatment into your hair routine.
Just follow these few tips shared in this post and you would be saying goodbye to hair breakage.