You are at your monthly 'hair and cocktails' meetup and the YouTube guru with the almost perfect hair is sipping her Shoofly Shiraz and trying to explain to you that she has absolutely no breakage because her regimen is rock solid. You begin to wonder, is that really true, can someone have absolutely no breakage? Or is that just the wine talking.
Unfortunately it is just the wine talking, it is next to impossible to have a breakage free regimen but you can however have a regimen that is greatly reduced in breakage.
Here’s the thing, unless you never style your hair, never use any styling tools, manipulate your hair wet or dry or even wear a sweater you will at some point in your regimen notice some breakage. And this happens to everyone regardless of hair type or race.
Causes of Hair Breakage
There are three main categories or causes for breaking strands, they are dryness, styling and the use of chemicals in the hair.
Dryness is a real no brainer, if you over fry a piece of bacon it naturally breaks apart. Its the same with the hair strand when subjected to excessive heat, it will without a doubt, break off.
Hair styling can include anything from detangling with a comb, to using a million hair pins to create your ‘go to’ top knot bun. The metal and constant pulling and tugging will lead to some breakage whether at the ends of the hair or smack bang in the middle of the strand if you are not careful.
The third category, chemicals, can be easily avoided if you just totally avoid color, perms or relaxers all together. But that’s boring, some of us just prefer straight hair or blonde streaks.
Chemicals are unpredictable at the best of times, you can be very careful but still cause some noticeable damage. The reason for this is because chemicals change the hair structure in a way which weakens the strand. Because the strand is weak it is more susceptible to breakage and again your regimen appears less than perfect.
A truly breakage free regimen is nearly impossible, so finding ways to minimize it is the next best thing.
Here are 4 ways to reduce breakage-
1. Limit the use of heat - The idea here is to keep as much moisture in the hair shaft as possible. When we use heat, we are doing the exact opposite as heat will naturally evaporate some of the moisture in our strands making them weaker. We may look fabulous with our new smoother straighter locks but remember that the now weaker strands are more prone to breaking.
2. Use protein often - Our hair is made up of approximately 90% protein and when your add protein treatments to your hair regimen you can essentially fill in any gaps that are present in the strand that make it weak and susceptible to breakage. Even as a natural, with every detangling or styling session, you are losing protein from your hair so without protein in your hair regimen, your breakage would increase and length would elude you.
3. Manipulate less - Opt for finger detangling over tool detangling, however if you must use a tool, go for ones that are less damaging for example a large tooth detangling comb rather than a small one. Additionally use your products to your advantage, so that you spend less time manipulating your hair into submission. Conditioner filled hair will reduce friction among your strands and pre-treating your hair before you shampoo will protect it from drying out.
4. Deep condition more - Moisture is key to keeping your hair snap free and breakage resistant, and one of the fastest ways to give your hair a moisture boost is through deep conditioning with steam or another heat source. It is important to make your deep conditioning session worth your while with heat. Choose products that are water based and ensure that you are consistent with your regimen so that you hair’s health can be maintained.
There really is no breakage free regimen, unfortunately hair fiber cannot be completely protected from our environment or ourselves. What is true however, is that we can have a rock solid regimen that greatly reduces breakage and helps to retain the majority of your length.