Why Your Hair is Breaking and How To Stop It
There is a very predominant myth that afro hair does not grow. Truth is, every hair type grows and every hair type breaks. The problem arises when hair is breaking off more than it is retaining length. For this reason, we have decided to talk about the reasons why your afro hair is breaking, what you should know and what you can do to stop it.
The biggest enemy of afro hair is dryness. Naturally, afro hair is not the most moisturized type and loses moisture very fast.
The best way to ensure hair is completely moisturized and sealed, is to know your porosity. Porosity helps you learn how to layer your products in a way that will both be penetrative but also sealed. You are either going to use the L.C.O or L.O.C depending on how porous your hair is.
Finally, use the right products. Opt for moisturizing shampoos, Co-washes if your hair is too dry but needs a gentle cleanse. Follow up with a deep conditioner at least weekly and a good leave-in moisturizer. Know your oils and butters and use them to moisturize and seal your hair.
2. Over processing your hair
Just because hair is dead does not mean it does not need to be taken care of. First of all, anything that may mess with your hair’s structure is a huge no-no. That goes for relaxers, texturizers, dyes and bleaches.
Problems like having highly porous hair due to over processing may arise, scalp problems like dandruff and weakening of hair strands. This is in turn causes hair to break off easily and sometimes in cases where burn marks are severe, hair will literally fall off.
If you have to bleach or dye your hair, let a professional do it for you. This ensures that they keep you informed on how to properly take care of coloured hair. Secondly, choose a colour that does not go too far off the norm because the more ‘unnatural’ the colour is, the harsher it is.
As for relaxing, it’s probably a good idea to lay off completely. Some of these relaxers are just a nasty business you do not want to get yourself involved in.
3. Using the wrong tools to detangle
First of all, black hair is majestic, big and defies even gravity (imagine how gorgeous that is for a second). It also tends to be tangled very fast prompting most of us to want it as detangled as possible. Unfortunately, this is when most hair is lost due to it being ripped while combing or brushing.
In order to make sure you do not lose any hair while detangling, follow these steps;
- Do not detangle dry hair as this causes more breakage.
- Detangle before or after shampooing not while at it. This is because hair swells when wet and breaks off easily. Detangle when pre-pooing or deep conditioning.
- Finger detangle as much as possible and use a wide tooth comb/brush only when comfortable after finger detangling. Do not be too quick to use brushes so you don’t rip your hair.
4. Tight protective styles
Did you know that afro hair suffers the most breakage from traction alopecia? Traction alopecia occurs when a protective style (especially braids) are installed too tight leading to a receding hairline and breakage.
We all love when our protective styles are popping but sometimes our hair pays the price. Insist on styles that are low in manipulation and are not tight. It is also wise to rotate your styles making sure that the parts are not always partitioned along the same area.
Keep hair moisturized even in a protective style. If you have to cleanse your hair in the protective style, water down your shampoo so it can be easy to rinse off, condition, moisturize and seal with your favourite oils.
Finally, moisturize your hands before taking down your protective style. This is usually where most hair is lost. Take your time with the take down process and do not detangle unless you use an oil/hot oil treatment or a conditioner.
5. Friction from pillowcases
Exposing your hair to pillowcases made from cotton and other absorbent materials can soak moisture from your hair and lead to frizz, breakages and split ends as friction is generated when your hair rubs against the pillows.
Consider upgrading to pillowcases made from satin or silk material. Even better, also sleep in a high grade satin or silk bonnet to closely protect your hair from friction and better retain moisture while you get your beauty sleep.
Conclusion and Bonus Tips
Afro hair is a marvel to behold. Although there are a lot reasons why it breaks, following the tips outlined in this article will help reduce breakage and reverse damage that has been done.
In addition, drink plenty of water, mind what you are eating, take your vitamins and supplements and generally love and appreciate it.