“My hair is breaking a lot. It’s weak and brittle. What should I do?“
This has to be the most frequently asked question and I felt it’s time to pen down a blog post that can address the various reasons that can be attributed to hair breakage. The first question I usually ask a person when they make this inquiry is, “What is your hair routine?” When I ask this, I usually like to not only know the products you use, but how often you use whatever it is you use. To address hair breakage, we have to look at both products and hair practices that one is following(or not following). SO here are some of the things you could be doing or not doing that lead to a lot of breakage and weaken your hair.
1.You comb your hair so much
Our African natural hair texture (for most of us) is not as smooth as some of us would want. Detangling and keeping it neat can be really frustrating. Unfortunately constant use of combs to detangle or style can lead to a lot of breakage. Finger detangling is a better option but if you still prefer combing, a wide tooth comb is advised.
2. You detangle when it’s dry
Other than using combs in the detangling process, your hair will totally break if you always detangle it/style it when it’s dry. Dry hair breaks a lot. It is therefore advisable to detangle your hair when it’s damp because it becomes easier to get through the tangles.
3. You over-use sulfate shampoos
When it comes to the wash process, there are ingredients in our products that, if we are not careful, cause more damage than we expect. Sulfate-free shampoos have always been encouraged more than sulfate-based shampoos. Sulfates are generally harsh chemicals and using sulfate-based shampoos potentially strip off moisture from our hair which ultimately leads to dry hair. Though they are known for their clarifying aspect, it would be good to keep off sulfate-based shampoos if you are suffering breakage. If not, try an alternate them with sulfate-free shampoos.
4. You do not deep condition
When asked the top secret to healthy hair, I blatantly respond that it is regular deep conditioning. I have seen the benefits of deep conditioning when it comes to the length and strength of my hair and I really believe that this can change your hair game immensely. Most women seem to down play the role deep conditioning has on our strands. It helps to boost moisture and strengthens our hair. If you are experiencing breakage, I recommend that you deep condition your hair at least one in two weeks (if not every week). Find a great deep conditioner and ensure you do it as regularly as you can.
5. You don’t use protein treatments at all.
It is important to know the difference between moisturizing deep conditioners and protein deep conditioners. You can use moisturizing deep conditioners as regular as you wish because moisture is key in the growth of healthy hair. On the other hand, protein deep conditioners are very vital in the health of your hair because they strengthen weak strands and increase elasticity of your hair. Just like diet, you require a certain amount of protein to stay healthy. The same concept applies to your hair which is made of protein fibers which keep it growing and strengthened. Protein treatments contain hydrolyzed proteins which nourish and strengthen the hair shafts and even repair cell tissues. It is recommended that you do a protein treatment once in two-three months.
Recommended Protein Treatments: Home made treatments containing eggs, avocado etc, Saru Organics Protein Treatment Masque, Dew Point Naturals Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment
6. You over-do protein treatments
As recommended above, protein treatments should be used once in two-three months whilst moisturising deep conditioners can be used as often as possible. Too much protein will create a moisture imbalance which leads to dry stiff hair and ultimately breakage. It is highly advisable that you alternate between the two types of deep conditioners to strike a balance.
7. You don’t trim your split ends
While most of us cling to length, it may come at a cost if you have split ends. Split ends are very unhealthy and need to be trimmed to promote healthier hair. Our ends are the oldest parts of our hair and therefore need more care and attention. It is advisable to trim your end as soon as you notice split ends so that the rest of your hair strand remains healthy.
8. You don’t take care of your ends.
Other than trimming split ends, pay more attention to your ends as they tend to be the weakest and oldest parts of your hair. Spritz some water and keep them moisturised and add a little bit more product when sealing in the moisture because they tend to dry out faster. Be a little bit extra with your ends even when deep conditioning; just add a little bit more product.
9. You manipulate it too much.
Changing your hair styles every day or too frequently will ultimately strain the hair and cause breakage. Sometimes the best thing you can do to your hair is to leave it alone.
10. You towel dry
Use of towels to dry your hair after washing causes a lot of breakage through friction. Towels are rough and unfortunately most salons still use them to dry our natural hair. Instead, use a cotton shirt to dry your hair and pat dry it instead of rubbing it against your hair. You’ll experience less friction hence less breakage.
11. You use too much heat
It goes without saying that use of too much heat is dangerous for our natural hair. Blow-drying and use of flat irons is really discouraged especially if you have weak hair. If you have to use heat, please set it to low temperatures and use a heat protectant e.g. coconut oil, grape seed oil etc.
12. You don’t moisturize.
Your daily routine has to aim at keeping your hair moisturized. Dry hair breaks and you have to ensure that your hair is moisturized at all times. Add water to your spritz bottle and spritz in the morning and right before bed. You can also add a bit of glycerin (20%) which is a humectant and therefore attracts moisture. Seal in the moisture with an oil. To ensure that your hair remains moisturized for a while, find out your hair porosity so that you can use the appropriate products for your hair.
13. You don’t sleep on satin.
Healthy hair routines play a vital role and one of the main ones include how you sleep at night. Most of us are used to sleeping on cotton which causes a lot of friction when you toss and turn which causes hair breakage. Sleeping with a satin lined bonnet is highly recommended if not on satin pillow cases. You can get a satin bonnet from Sukie Beauty, Satin Nation, Certainly Satin, or from Apparel and Accessories KE.
It takes ‘small’ healthy hair practices to lead to a big ass healthy afro. My hope is that you have found where you might be going wrong and make the necessary changes to stop the breakage. If you found this article to be helpful, leave a comment below or let’s connect via social media. I look forward to hearing from you.