Breakage is a term most of us are familiar with whether our hair is natural or relaxed. We all have experienced it at one point or the other in our hair journeys and some are still battling with it. For this reason, it’s important for us to discuss how to combat breakage as it is the enemy to growing long and healthy hair. Before I went natural, breakage was a close companion. Every time I made my hair, I would notice hundreds of hair extension looking hairs all over the place even though I wasn’t using any hair extension. I wasn’t bothered because I thought it was normal, as long as it was breaking off not uprooting. Need I say that my hair suffered for it; it couldn’t grow beyond a particular length. Going natural seemed like the solution because my hair stopped breaking when I did. Sadly, about one year into my natural hair journey, breakage raised its ugly head again. I realized that it had stopped when I first went natural because I was working with short hair and short hair doesn’t break much. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing the tips that helped me overcome breakage for good.
When you notice that your hair is breaking, it could be as a result of one or all of the following reasons; your hair is dry, you’re in need of protein treatment, you have damaged ends. Unhealthy ends and breakage work together, if you’ve experienced breakage consistently for over two weeks then it’s expected that your ends would be unhealthy. The first step to take when your hair is breaking is to get a trim to remove the damaged ends. Many people do not realize the importance of trimming; if you don’t trim your hair, it’ll break off and take healthy hair along with it. After getting a trim, the next step is to do a protein treatment if you haven’t done that in the last three months. Protein helps to strengthen the hair and when the hair is strong, it’ll break less. Thereafter, you will need to moisturise your hair as moisture makes the hair elastic. This could be done by deep conditioning or using the LCO/LOC method. There has to be a balance between protein and moisture in your hair, too much of any will eventually cause more breakage. Excess protein will make your hair brittle while excess moisture will make it limp. Both brittle and limp hair break easily.
When you’re done treating your hair against breakage, the next step is maintenance. Maintaining your hair is as important as treating it. As soon as you’re done with treating your hair, breakage will stop almost immediately. However, if you neglect your hair, breakage will return in no time. The following maintenance tips should be adhered to if you must overcome breakage:
- Trim hair regularly: After doing the major trim while treating, it’s important to constantly trim your hair in order to keep it healthy. Whether we like it or not, the ends of our hair wear out and get damaged with time and so it’s recommended that we trim those damaged ends frequently. This could be every two weeks or six weeks; depending on what suits you. Just make sure that you trim your hair as soon as you notice any damage. This way, you get to save those inches you would have cut if you waited longer.
- Keep your hair moisturised always: Moisture is natural hair’s best friend. When your hair is moistursed, it’ll break less. When you moisturise, make sure you focus on the ends of your hair as they are more prone to dryness. I know that sometimes moisture can be seen as an enemy when you’re trying to achieve that big fro but it shouldn’t be. You don’t have to wet your hair all the time, just make sure that your hair is damp anytime you’re doing any style that involves detangling. This is the best way to minimize breakage.
- Do a protein treatment at least every three months: Protein treatment is needed to keep hair strong. it’s important to replenish the protein in our hair as soon as it gets depleted.
- Be gentle to your hair: No matter how much moisture and protein you have in your hair, it’ll still break off if you’re harsh to it. Make sure you’re gentle when you style and detangle your hair. If you don’t have the time and patience to do your hair gently, let it be and come back when you’re less busy. You can wear a wig, hat or head wrap. Never detangle your hair when you’re in a hurry.
- Wash and detangle your hair in sections: If your hair is four inches or longer, then you should wash it in sections (2-6 sections depending on what suits you). Washing hair in sections helps to minimise tangling and knotting which in turn reduces breakage on wash day. Detangling/combing hair in sections also helps to minimise breakage.
- Sleep on a satin pillowcase or with a satin scarf: Many people think that this is unnecessary but it isn’t. You’ll be surprised at how much breakage you’ll prevent if you adhere to this. When you sleep, your hair rubs against the fabric of your pillowcase and this friction could cause breakage if the fabric is cotton. Wearing a satin scarf reduces this friction. In addition to protecting your hair from breakage, a satin scarf or pillowcase helps to preserve your hairstyles so that your hair looks fresh for a longer period of time.
Caring for natural hair takes dedication but it isn’t as tedious as many people paint it to be as long as you understand the basics.
Please share your tips on how you combat hair breakage in the comment section below.
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