I’ve pulled a list together based on what could possibly be causing breakage of your natural hair! The list below includes physical items and/or involves things that you are doing to your hair. It involves things that you wouldn’t even think could be breaking your hair off. I’ve come up with the best list to ward off breakage and help you with length retention. Some of this is from my own experience…bear in mind that everything is ok in moderation!
- Tight Updos & Hair Styles – Tightly pinned natural hair styles can put stress on the hair follicles and pull those babies right on out! If your getting headaches or migraines more often when you have certain hair styles then most likely it is tightly over secured. You most likely need to loosen up the style.
- Old Bobby Pins & Hair Pins – A good friend of mine pointed out that bobby pins that are old or have a deteriorating flaky coating can snag your hair and pull it out. Putting in bobby pins that are really tight can also pull on your strands. You will notice hair coming out with the bobby pin sometimes when you pull it out. Sometimes this is related to shed hair that may have gotten raveled up with the bobby pin but it could also be hair that got snagged in the bobby pin from your hair being pinned to tightly. I noticed some breakage in my crown from using old bobby pins on a two strand twist updo.
- Edge Control Gel – Not all gels are bad out there but some of them are just too plain thick and they don’t spread easily. These are the ones to avoid because smoothing on these types of substances on the weak baby hair around your edges can pull them right out! Also, stay away from using these types of gels as your stylers again for the same reason that they are thick and don’t spread easily.
- Over Manipulation – Constantly styling your hair is a recipe for breakage! You shouldn’t be tugging and pulling on your hair every night or having to wash it all the time! Leave it alone and it will grow. If you detangled every night then you would have no hair!
- Combs / Brushes / etc. – I personally only finger detangle my hair and try to avoid combs and brushes almost all the time. Combs and brushes with narrow teeth can rip hair out. I like to finger detangle my hair from the ends up to the root and tend to not have as much hair in my hand that would usually be on a comb or brush when detangling. If I need to use a comb then I use one that has wide teeth for easy detangling.
- Stress – This one is a no brainer! There are lots of articles out there on the internet that attribute hair falling out or excessively shedding to stress. Try to keep your stress levels at a minimum (oh and drink more water)!
- Broken Nails – Broken nails are horrible for finger detangling as those broken nails will snag hairs and you will hear lots more hair snack crackling and popping! You should make sure your nails are neatly filed before beginning your washing process.
- Jewelry – When styling your hair, its best to remove your necklace and earrings as curly and kinky hair seems to just curl up around these things in the shower when its wet! Taking these items off prevents hair from snagging onto your jewelry and breaking!
- Not Protecting Hair – If you are not wrapping your hap with silk or satin at night and laying on a cotton pillow still then your edges are most likely suffering from breakage. Again cotton is a rough moisture sucking material. The silk and satin help keep the hair cuticle flat! If you must avoid using a scarf then lay on a satin pillow case or use a satin or silk bonnet!
- Hats – Hats that are lined with cotton like baseball caps which we sometimes throw on when we don’t want to take our flat twist down too early when we need to go to the store to get whatever>>>cause breakage by stripping our hair of moisture as the cotton sucks it up!
- Extensions – The issue here is not extensions in general but if they are too tight which can put stress on the hair follicle especially those weak baby hairs around your edges! The other issue is that if the hair extensions are too tight then you cannot effectively moisturize your hair. I honestly think leaving certain styles in for an obscene amount of time (for me is personally 1 week) without moisturizing is a recipe for breakage to occur!
- Over Conditioning – Constantly leaving your hair in a wet state by over conditioning such as baggying overnight can cause breakage. The issue here is that your hair becomes very elastic and is thus more prone to break. I’ve found that balancing this method with a protein treatment periodically helps as these strengthen the hair.
- Excessive Heat Styling – Excessive heat styling will break down the cuticle layer of the hair. There are so many ways to style natural hair, there really is no need to use heat appliances. For instance, you can use perm rods, cold wave rods, Curl Formers, Flexi Rods, Magnetic Rollers, you name it! You can do deep waves, cocoon curls, braid outs, twist outs, and bantu knots, etc! You can literally get every type of curl from some way other than heat styling. Using pressing combs on your edges falls in this category>>>BEWARE!
- Lack of Heat Protectant – Heat Protectants are applied before heat styling with a blow dryer, flat iron, or any other appliance that manipulates your hair with heat. If you straighten your hair or curl it often, you need to use one or you are exposing your hair to very high temperatures of heat that literally can burn your hair causing breakage.
Have you had an experience with breakage? How did you over come it and what steps did you take to avoid it happening again in the future?