A lot of the breakage we experience in our natural hair is often preventable. Harsh detangling, damaged hair, and too tight of styles can all lead to breakage. Too much breakage can eventually stunt length retention and affect the strength of your strands.
Here is how to prevent breakage in natural hair:
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1) GET RID OF ANY HAIR DAMAGE
Permanent damage to your hair can be caused by heat tools, hair dyes, relaxers, etc. Hair damage can alter the protein structure of your hair, creating weaker strands that are more prone to breaking off. Some hair damage may be able to be temporarily alleviated, however, depending on the severity most damage will eventually have to be cut off.
To prevent breakage in your natural hair, trimming off any damage you may have will be of great benefit. If damage is left untreated throughout your hair, it can begin to travel further up the hair shaft and cause more splitting, creating the appearance of thin, brittle ends. This can in turn lead to you not being able to retain much length if the issue is not remedied. You don’t necessarily have to do a big chop either. You can gradually trim off the damage and do regular deep conditioning treatments and monthly protein treatments in the meantime.
2) DO MONTHLY PROTEIN TREATMENTS
Our hair is made of protein, so if this protein composition/structure becomes altered or weakened, it can affect the overall health of our hair and thus potentially lead to breakage. Completing monthly protein treatments will help to keep your strands strong and provide a healthy foundation for maintaining good hair health.
Aside from protein treatments, it is also essential that you are getting enough protein in your diet. If we are lacking the proper nutrition on the inside, this can then begin to show on the outside. Meats, eggs, and beans, are just a few good choices of protein-rich foods.
3) MAKE DETANGLING A GENTLE PROCESS
A big contributor to breakage in our natural hair is harsh detangling. We have all had those times where we have gotten impatient when detangling and may have started rushing through – unfortunately causing some breakage along the way. If we continue to do this too frequently though, it can begin to stunt the amount of length you are retaining and create weak, brittle ends.
To prevent breakage in your natural hair, make the detangling process a gentle one. A few ways to do this are to first, avoid detangling on dry hair. Make sure your hair is at least damp and use a leave-in conditioner with slip to help ease the process. Also, make sure you start your detangling beginning at the ends of your hair and working your way up. Finally, it helps to first finger detangle throughout your hair and remove the bigger knots, and then follow up with a wide-tooth comb or other detangling tool to finish.
4) AVOID WEARING TIGHT STYLES TOO FREQUENTLY
Breakage and thinning in our natural hair can be caused by wearing tight hairstyles too frequently. We all love a quick bun or puff, however, if we begin to wear them on the daily it can begin to cause noticeable thinning and breakage commonly around the crown, edges, and nape areas. To avoid hair breakage in these areas, limit how often you wear tight pulled back styles.
5) LEAVE YOUR HAIR OFF YOUR SHOULDERS WHEN JUST LOUNGING AROUND
Another cause of breakage and a possible reason why your natural hair may appear to “not be growing”, is that it is breaking off at your shoulders. A lot of our clothing is made of fabrics like cotton which absorbs moisture. The oldest parts of our hair, the ends, are constantly rubbing against these drying fabrics when we wear our hair down, creating friction and possibly breakage if we are not maintaining adequate moisture.
To prevent breakage in your natural hair, try to keep your hair off your shoulders when just lounging around. Try putting it up in twists or braids or another protective style from time to time to keep your ends healthy and strong. When wearing a wash and go, make sure you are applying enough moisturizing product to your ends to keep them soft and hydrated as well.