Breakage occurs by a number of bad habits within your personal hair care routine. Chances are, you may not even realize they are bad habits. Give your hair a rest from the damaging practices and watch the luster restore right before your eyes--in time and with patience, of course.
1. You skipped your detangling session.
Detangling can be a daunting task, especially for curly and natural hair. It is so necessary, though. If you normally have coils and curls and start noticing actual locs forming, that is no good. When you finally decide to get down to the nitty gritty of detangling, you might pull and tug hair and break it. Hearing hair rip while detangling is a bad sign. Get into a nightly habit of creating sections and either doing bantu knots, twists, or braids before going to sleep. That way, you can prolong your next detangling session and not have to worry about more breakage or shed hair.
2. You use a sulfate packed shampoo.
Sulfates dry the hair and strip the scalp of its natural oils--causing the hair to be weak, brittle, and dull. This makes styling an extreme risk to the health of your hair, especially if you use a comb or brush, flat iron, or hair ties. Weaker hair means breakage prone. Next time, check the bottle of your cleanser to make sure it is sulfate-free. As I Am Cleansing Pudding is sulfate-free but still creamy, and includes moisturizing tangerine extract and aloe leaf juice for great slip.
3. You brush your hair dry.
If hair is breaking excessively, it is likely in need of extra moisture and nourishment. Using a brush on dry hair is a big no-no because curly hair tends to be weaker when it is dry. If you must brush, do so gently only after hair has been sprayed with a water bottle and a water-based refresher like Obia Natural Curl Hydration Spray has been applied thoroughly.
4. You dry your hair with a terry cloth towel.
Haven't you heard? Microfiber towels are all the rage--just ask your curls. Not only do they lessen the chance for unhealthy hair breakage, but they also reduce that pesky frizz halo you might get after co-washing. Use a DevaCurl DevaTowel for quick absorption on those rushed mornings.
5. You are still sleeping on a cotton pillowcase.
Cotton creates additional friction that hair can totally live without. Sleeping on it for hours on end isn't healthy, so double up on your satin or silk intake--pillowcase and bonnet. Miss Jessie's Night Cap was made for this.
6. You neglect your real hair under protective styles.
Are you a new natural who isn't quite ready to debut your natural texture? Just remember to still care for the hair covered by a wig, weave, or extensions. And be mindful of using a lot of bobby pins constantly--they are metal and with constant updos, can lead your hair into more breakage toward the ends of your hair. Once you take out the weave or marley twists, use a strengthening deep conditioning treatment like Eden BodyWorks All Natural Hair Masque to revitalize your neglected hair length, seal in moisture with something like Alikay Naturals Moisture Rich Hair Parfait for softer, hydrated curls.
7. You use a fine tooth comb to style or detangle.
The days of your mom tugging at a knot with your comb and you feeling absolutely helpless (while in excruciating pain) are over. See a matted up knot during your detangling session? No worries, grab your coconut oil, and marshmallow root leave-in. Drop the comb altogether--your fingers are less painful and attribute to less breakage or hair loss. Try Kinky Curly Knot Today--the marshmallow root extract in it provides a ton of slip, making detangling easier. If you must use a comb, opt for a wide-toothed one that can be taken into the shower and used on wet, conditioned hair.
8. You don't wait long enough for root color touch-ups.
Most hair dyes contain bleach, ammonia, and other harmful chemicals that dry out the hair over time. If you do root touch-ups too closely together (less than every 6 weeks), you are putting yourself at greater risk for hair breakage. Everyday get into the habit of either the LCO or LOC Method, and seal with a hydrating, protective oil blend after applying your water and leave-in. SheaMoisture Raw Shea Reconstructive Elixir is color safe and contains shea butter, argan, carrot seed, and macadamia nut oils for extra shine and intense moisture.
9. You don't use protection when using a flat iron.
The beauty of natural hair is that its style possibilities are endless; sometimes this means straightening it with a flat iron. Always apply a heat protectant like Nubian Heritage Honey & Black Seed Serum beforehand to shield your hair from any additional damage. Also, do not let the flat iron sit on one part of your hair for too long.
10. You don't protect your hair in the elements.
For some, extremely dry climate conditions can contribute to breakage or excessive shedding. During warmer months with the sun constantly out, it is important to treat your hair as delicately as you do your skin. Use a conditioner like Bee Mine Bee Lovely Daily Conditioner, which contains UV protection for hair. If you are going to be out in the sun for a long period of time, like the beach, wear a hat that will prevent your hair from crisping up and breaking when you get home to wash it.