One of the common hair problems naturalistas face is the problem of hair breakage. There is nothing as disheartening as seeing your hair come off with your comb even after you have invested so much in hair products.
However, what many women don’t know is that there are hair habits that they do, often unconsciously, that result in hair breakage. So instead of spending hundreds of dollars on hair products, you can stop hair breakage by simply ridding yourself of these common hair breaking practices.
- Persistent Touching and Tugging
Okay I understand the excitement that comes with transitioning to natural hair. I also understand the big smile that comes with using your finger to stretch your natural hair to double its visible size. Or some of us, touching our hair could be out o habit or even boredom but the bottom line remains that touching your hair excessively would only harm your hair. Touching your hair strips it of oil and causes breakage especially when there is a tear in our finger nails. Fixing this would involve a consciousness and resolution to avoid touching your hair unnecessarily.
- Tight Braids
The belief that the tighter the hair the more chances of it growing is nothing but an old wives myth. The tighter the hair the higher the chances of your hair breaking and your scalp getting damaged. Tight braids put a lot of tension on your scalp and hairline which leads to hair breakage and even baldness. According to a study by Archives of Dermatology, “…any hair style that causes too much tension and traction on the hair can possibly lead to scarring hair loss”. So when next you go to the salon, and the stylist is pulling at your hair like elephant grass, gently tell them to take it easy.
- Excess Heat
Excess heat could also be the reason your hair is coming off with your comb. Use of hair driers, hair straightening and curling machines and all sorts of hair drying tools will ultimately cause your natural hair to dry out resulting in splits ends and hair loss. Use of these heat instruments can also result in a dry scalp causing dandruff. So when next you go to a salon and they tell you they have a faulty hair drier, calm down and let your hair dry off naturally.
- Night Routine
Your night routine plays a huge role in determining how much hair you have left on your head. You can’t just lay your head full of hair anywhere and expect to wake up with a head full of hair. Sleeping on cotton pillowcase could result in your hair snagging off the rough cotton holes while you twist and turn at night. Cotton pillow case also causes a lot friction between your hair and the surface of the pillow, resulting in breakage. This is especially true if you don’t sleep with a hair net. However, with satin and silk pillowcases your hair just slides across the surface reducing the chances of damage. If you aren’t a pillow person or aren’t interested in going all silk and satin on your pillows, get a silk or sating hair cover.
- Poor Diet
Hair grows from inside out; never forget that! The hair of your dreams starts with the right diet. Many women are wasting thousands of naira on miracle hair products without giving thought to the bodies where the hair grows out of. A healthy, balanced diet with the right serving of iron, protein and several other hair nutrients will result in a healthy and not easily broken hair. So you’ve not tried everything until you have changed your diet.
- Use of Sulfate Shampoos
One of the keys to healthy hair is essential oil. If your hair were stripped of its oil, you would be left with a dried out, delicate hair that would break at the passage of one comb stroke. Using sulfate shampoos have been proven to strip the hair of its essential oils, leaving it dry and frizzy. You can try using African black soap for your hair instead. African black soap does what a shampoo does without stripping your hair of all its natural oils.
- Wrong Hair Combing Routine
Combing is a skill that goes beyond just running any comb through your hair. In fact, poor combing skills have left most women’s combs coming out with more hair than should be. In order to reduce hair breakage, you must understand the which, when and how of hair combing.
Which: Always use a wide tooth comb
When: Com your hair when wet and conditioned
How: Comb you hair in small sections
- Going Color Crazy
I understand how easy it is to get carried away by fashion trends and start to go all color crazy on your hair. However, the repercussion of dying one’s hair is simply not worth the temporary beauty rave…or so I think. Well, asides possibly causing extreme hair damage, dying one’s hair can lead to several other problems such as itchy scalp, swelling scalp, mild dandruff, brittle hair and allergic reactions.
- Poor Moisture
Moisture is the major reason all your hair doesn’t fall off while being twisted, styled, and generally handled. Moisture plays the role of reducing hair breakage and damage during handling. The lesser the chances of your hair breaking the more you are likely to retaining new length additions to your hair. So get a spritz bottle and fill it with some distilled water and little mixture of coconut and mint oils. Spray at your natural hair at intervals to keep it moisturized.
- Careless Use of Hair Accessories
Have you ever used hair accessories and seen lots of hair around it after you take it out? Many women might see this as normal but that hair accessory is doing a lot of damage to your hair. The rubber band is the common culprit when it comes to careless use and hair breakage. The one quick fix to this is avoid using rubber band or any hair snagging accessory on your hair. However, if you must use a rubber band, I suggest that you apply some oil on your hair and the band, this will make it harder for your hair to get entangled with the rubber band while it’s on your hair.
- Health and Medications
Health conditions and medications could also be the reason your hair is breaking so easily. The one rule here is health before beauty. Do not quit a beneficial medication because its only side effect is hair loss or breakage. Some medications that may cause hair loss include acne medications, antibiotics, antifungal drugs, antidepressants, birth control pills, anti-clotting drugs, cancer drugs, NSAIDs, weight loss drugs, steroids, anti-hypertensives and a host of other drugs. If you suspect health and medications might be the cause of your hair breakage, be sure to speak with doctor before taking any decisions.
Yeah, even stress! Stress can cause not just hair breakage but total loss of hair. A significant level of stress cause your hair follicles to go into resting phase or even cause the body’s immune system to attack the hair follicles, resulting in hair loss. Other times, we lose hair to stress, when we rub, tug and pull at our hair when stressed. As I often tell myself, have some rest the world isn’t going stop for a mini-second if you drop.
- Your Hair Stylist
Ok, if I could get back all the hair I lost to careless hairstylists, I would probably make the Guinness book of world records… or at least be a hair model. If only hair stylists grew on trees! If your hair stylist is inexperienced at handling hair in a safe way, then you’d often end up with inches less in hair length after leaving the hair salon. The solution to this is getting “the” hair stylist by referral or learning some self-hair-styling yourself.
Wrong styling techniques are also a major cause o hair breakage. Every act of styling, if not handled properly, can work against your hair. From heat to chemical processing to the final hair styling, these styling processes can rob your hair of its moisture, causing it to become dry. The solution to this is to ensure that the styling techniques used on your hair are gentle and not damaging.
- Excess exposure to sunlight
So excessive sunlight does not only work against your skin, turn out it’s an enemy to your hair too. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays can extensively damage your hair from its cuticle to its inner structure. Overexposure to the sun can also result in weak, dry and brittle hair. This will make your hair more susceptible to breakage and split ends. If your hair has been chemically bleached, it is particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of the sun’s ultra-violet rays. However, whether your hair has been chemically bleached or in its healthy natural state, leaving your head unprotected in the sun can damage your scalp as well as your hair. The simple solution to this is wearing a wide brimmed hat, using a scarf or an umbrella while exposed to the sun’s damaging rays.
So there you have it! 15 reasons why your natural hair is breaking. Do let us know your thoughts on this article.