I often get a ton of questions and comments saying:
"My hair isn't growing!"
"I'm noticing a lot of short hairs falling out of my head."
"Why are my hair strands breaking off?"
"I'm experiencing a lot of breakage. What can I do to stop it?"
Hair breakage can become a serious problem when you are trying to retain length, and if your hair is breaking off faster than it's growing it may seem like your hair isn't growing at all. The less your hair breaks the more length it will retain so let's figure out why your hair is breaking.
Why does breakage occur?
1. Lack of moisture: If your hair feels dry and brittle, you need to MOISTURIZE! When our hair is dry and brittle it tends to have less elasticity, so our strands are weaker and easier to break. Moisture is a natural girls best friend. Be sure to moisturize your hair with a water based moisturizer then seal it in with an oil/butter to prevent it from drying out.
2. Styling on wet or drenched hair: Hair is most fragile when drenched or wet, so styling the hair in this state may lead to breakage. Depending on the desired style, it may be better to wait until the hair is damp or mostly dry.
3. Leaving hair unprotected at night: Curly hair dries out easily, and cotton is often the moisture depleting culprit. Cotton pillowcases can be both drying and abrasive to the hair, so sleep on a satin/silk pillowcase or use a satin/silk bonnet to protect your hair at night.
4. Use of an improper comb: Thin-tooth combs or combs with seams can tug on the hair and increase breakage. Instead, try a seamless, wide tooth comb.
5. Diet low in protein: Hair is largely made up of protein (e.g. keratin). Protein is responsible for hair’s strength and structure. A diet low in protein can translate into weaker, thinner hair strands, breakage, and even hair loss. Incorporate more nuts, chicken, fish, and beans into your diet.
6. Protein-moisture imbalance: A proper protein-moisture balance is important for overall healthy hair. Too much of one without the other can lead to brittle or stretchy hair and breakage. Deep conditioning weekly with a moisturizing deep conditioner and protein treatment biweekly/monthly can help you maintain balance.
7. Over manipulation/over stretching the hair: Do you style your hair daily or stretch your hair prior to styling? If so, be sure you are using one of the least harmful stretching methods: loose twists/braids, buns, and banding.
Dry Two Strand Twist Tutorial
8. Manipulating and stretching wet hair: Be sure you are stretching on damp hair instead of wet hair. Wet hair is more prone to breakage under tension.
9. Hair that was previously heat styled: Heat usage from months or even a year prior can be effecting the hair now. Mid-shaft splits, untrimmed ends, and unhealthy strands can be causing breakage. Trims are the best way to solve this problem.
10. Hair that has been colored: Hair dye lifts the cuticles and weakens the hair shaft. Regular deep conditioning, protein treatments, and trims can solve this problem.
*The tips mentioned above are simple techniques for eliminating unnecessary breakage. If you are experiencing severe hair breakage or loss of hair from the scalp, you may want to consult a trichologist or dermatologist to determine what is best for you.