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Beating hair breakage

Hi there,
   If there is one thing that breaks the heart of anyone trying to grow hair, it is hair breakage. I cannot explain how sad I feel each time I see broken strands of hair on my palms or worse still on my comb. Hair breakage is what prevents us from getting our desired length and or fullness and must be dealt with severely. Since I began my natural hair journey I have learnt a lot about this common problem and I'm glad to say that knowledge is power! I'm beginning to see little or no breakage and I'm bursting with info to share!!!
What causes hair breakage? Dryness, over manipulation, combing recklessly, loss of hair protein, dehydration, over moisturising, shampooing too much, uv damage from the sun, heat styling, sleeping on a cotton pillowcase, dyeing your hair etc. Things I never even thought about were truncating my hair growth hustle and I had no clue. Now though things are different. I know what I must do to protect my hair and in extension yours too :-)


                  Combating hair breakage

Moisturise your hair
Hair needs moisture to thrive. Moisture makes our hair elastic, pliable and less likely to break .Just like you and I need water to survive our hair needs moisture and the best moisturising ingredient for hair is ... water! Water is the only thing that can actually penetrate your hair strands and moisturise it from the inside. This is great news for naturals and not so great for those with chemically treated hair. The best hair moisturisers usually have water as the first ingredient.

Ways to moisturise your hair
  • Spray water directly on your hair with a spray bottle. The hair does not need to be soaking wet just slightly damp. To kick it up a notch you can add either Glycerine or honey (they are humectants and can attract water from the air into your strands) to the water. You can equally add Aloe Vera juice or gel as it is a great moisturiser.

  • Pick a good hair moisturiser or leave in conditioner. The best leave-in conditioners /moisturisers have water as the first ingredient so be sure to read the label.

  • You need to condition your hair at least once weekly. A moisture based  deep conditioner is also necessary especially after washing your hair.

  • Do not let your hair get dry. Once your hair feels dry try to give it some moisture. You can carry around a spray bottle with you to ensure you are on top of your game.


Sealing in the moisture
To combat breakage your hair must be moisturised but we also need to lock in the moisture because black hair looses moisture fast. After moisturising your hair rub on some oil(olive, coconut, castor, jojoba, sweet almond etc.) or a heavy sealant like Shea Butter on top of the moisturiser.
This is ensure that your hair stays moisturised for a longer period. Read more about this here Sealing your hair

Give your hair  protein
Hair is made up of protein (70% protein) Your hair needs protein because as time passes manipulation takes a toll on hair and the protein fibres are eroded leaving the hair brittle and prone to breakage. Protein helps to temporarily rebuild the cuticle and strengthen the hair strand which helps it withstand breakage. Strive to get protein into your hair on a regular basis by using deep conditioners that contain protein (there are protein based conditioners too). Look at the label and search for ingredients like Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, Hydrolysed Soy Protein, Hydrolysed Silk Protein, Keratin Protein etc. (I'll do a post about protein next)

 Step up your conditioning and deep conditioning game
Conditioning your hair is a sure way to combat breakage. Conditioning restores your hair's moisture levels and improves the general condition of your hair. Do this at least once a week. Deep conditioning is an intense form of conditioning that nourishes your hair from within. It is one of the most important practices of healthy hair care. Do this religiously and kiss breakage goodbye. I know I have said this before but I'm repeating for emphasis. I read somewhere that your deep conditioner must be the most expensive product in your arsenal. There are moisture based deep conditioners and protein based ones. As you progress in your healthy hair journey you'll learn how to balance it up.

Comb your hair properly
Combing is one of the most stressful things our hair passes through. Combing chips away the protein structure of your hair leaving it susceptible to breakage. To combat breakage comb your hair sparingly. Do not use fine tooth combs. Do not comb your hair while it is dry or soaking wet .Do not rush. Learn to finger detangle. Get more info in this post combing natural hair

Reduce your manipulation
Stop touching your hair unnecessarily. Manipulation is not good for the hair it causes single strand knots and erodes the cuticle leaving the strands weak. Try to leave it alone. Use protective styling like twists, braids, buns ,cornrows, wigs ,weaves etc. to keep your hair safe from daily manipulation.

Protect your ends
The ends of your hair are the oldest part of hair. Hair usually breaks up from there and that is why people think hair doesn't grow. As the hair ages it looses its protein and gets brittle, this leads to breakage. To combat this you need to baby your ends. Give it more food than the rest parts. Moisturise it with more product, seal it with more oil, apply your deep conditioner or regular conditioner there first and  regularly bag it (another post) to keep it in good condition. Also try to keep your ends from rubbing on your clothes when you let your hair down. It is a good idea to tuck your ends away (putting then in a bun or sticking them inside the cornrow etc.)
 
Protect your hair while you sleep
Cotton pillow cases, pillows and bed sheets suck out the moisture from your hair. It is so annoying to go to bed with well moisturised hair and then wake up to Sahara dry hair because your pillow felt it needed  the moisture more. Use a satin bonnet or silk scarf to protect your precious strands while you sleep so your hair is never robbed of moisture.

Do not use heat often
Flat irons or straighteners and blow dryers can be extremely dangerous for your hair. Heat damage is real and most times cannot be reversed. I have decided to never use heat on my hair. If you decide to use a flat iron, use a good heat protectorant and try not to do it often. Settle for air drying your hair rather than using a blow dyer or use the lowest settings on it.

 Be careful in the sun
African sun is just like a witch glaring at your hair and drying out the life out of it (don't let me get started on the way it bleaches your hair to a dirty brown colour ) We have to be out in the sun sometimes but to protect your hair you could use an oil like coconut oil to protect your hair from the sun (it has amazing uv protection properties).You could use a pretty scarf or a sun hat to protect your hair if you plan on being in the sun for an extended period of time. Before going into the sun ensure your hair is properly moisturised. If your have a sunscreen lotion you can mix that with water and spray your hair with it. This may sound impractical but will you allow the sun to spoil your precious hair after all your effort??

 Beware of hair dyes
Hair dyes can be extremely drying for your hair. Avoid them! If you must dye use an ammonia-free dye and be ready to step up your deep conditioning and daily moisturising if not your hair will depart from your head and sail down the sink.

 Over shampooing
If you wash your hair too much and use a harsh shampoo you will dry out your hair and that will cause breakage. Try not to wash too often and invest in a sulphate free shampoo as these are milder on the hair. On the flip side if your hair is dirty it will become drier because your moisturiser will not be able to penetrate your strands. Balance is key and ensure you deep condition after you wash to restore your moisture levels.

 Avoid Dehydration
Drink lots of water. You know the reason why so no need to talk too much.

 
Some more tips to help
  • Look at the label of your products and make sure you do not use any moisturiser with petrolatum, mineral oil or lanolin. They do not moisturise your hair and will only coat your hair which will prevent moisture from penetrating the hair strand leaving it brittle inside.

  • Trim split ends and weak ends so the hair can be healthy. Holding on to weak ends will compromise the health of the strand and lead to breakage.

  • Do not do the baggying method or GHE method too much as this will lead to over moisturising of your hair. Also wetting your hair too much will cause the hair strands to be overwhelmed (hygral fatigue) and then be weakened and then breakage! Dampen hair not drench it...you get?

  • Too much protein will cause your hair to become too stiff and then the next thing...snap! Be moderate and strive to balance your moisture and protein levels (a post on that next)


Its been a long post but I just want to say that if you really want to combat hair breakage you have to be ready for the work. Its worth the effort I promise.



KimB

Comments

  1. Really good post!
    I know we shed hair everyday but seeing hair on the bathroom floor or in the sink tugs at my heart! lol
    I've found that my fine 4C hair prefers to be detangled with my fingers. So much less breakage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh the heartbreak ! Finger detangling is the truth especially for fine hair. Thks for stopping by :-)

      Delete
  2. its so heartbreaking when you put in effort trying to grow hair and they just keep breaking off.
    great tips.
    ezechimereuchenna.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm transitioning and it's kinda difficult for me putting in that extra time to care for my hair. I just hide my hair under weaves as I don't have the time to properly care for my hair. Thanks for sharing these tips, will put in more effort.

    htpp://www.bexluvs2dress.blogspot.com

    http://www.bexcoox.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Transitioning? well done! Its usually the most difficult part of going natural so I can understand how you feel. Just develop an easy regimen and you'll be fine :-) Loved your blogs.

      Delete
  4. I really want to go natural, but cutting my hair eh choi my liver dey fail me!
    Any tips?
    How did u do it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol! I feel you dear.Its not easy but like Nike says "just do it" . For me,
      I didn't relax my hair for a period of time (its called transitioning) I kept it hidden with wigs, weaves and braids for the most part. when my hair grew out I did a big chop (cutting off all the relaxed hair leaving only natural hair ) You can do the same until you are ready to do a big chop. All the best :-)

      Delete
  5. Wait, is this just for natural hair? Or. Relaxed hair like mine. Lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It applies to all types of hair.The only difference (in my opinion) is that relaxed hair needs more protein than natural hair

      Delete

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