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Curly Nikki

Natural Hair Breakage- How You May Be Causing It

By January 27th, 2021No Comments
Natural Hair Breakage- How You May Be Causing It
Photo Courtesy of Keshia Langevillier

With the new DIY wave many women are doing everything themselves,
and when they decide to visit a salon, they may be unaware of how
damaged their hair is. The primary complaints I encounter in the salon
setting from women who have not visited a salon in a while, especially
after going natural are “My hair is dry” or “My hair is not growing.”
When women feel like their hair is not growing, I explain that the hair
will always grow as long as they are living. Therefore, if they feel as
if their hair is not growing past a certain length, the hair is breaking
and we have to investigate why. I have found that these complaints are
often a result of the misuse of conditioners or heat styling tools that
can create different forms of damage.

Read On!>>>
Overusing leave-in conditioner

When a client complains about dry hair, I immediately ask about their
current hair care regimen. The most common products that are over used
or misused are moisturizing conditioners and leave-in conditioners.
Leave-in conditioners were designed as a “quick fix,” meaning they
should be incorporated into your hair care regimen when you don’t have
time to deep condition your hair. There are different types of
hydrolyzed proteins found in leave-in conditioners that are designed to
increase the hair’s strength, flexibility, and shine. When leave-in
conditioners are used on a regular basis you may find that the hair
feels dry and brittle. This is because the hair is predominantly made of
protein that provides the hair with strength and structure. When you
apply too much protein on the hair it causes the hair to harden. As a
result, the hair feels dry and when you manipulate the hair for styling,
it breaks easily.  Therefore, leave-in conditioners should only be used

Leaving a deep conditioner in too long

The other extreme is when women over condition their hair with
moisturizing or softening conditioners. It is important to deep
condition your hair on a regular basis to maintain a proper moisture
balance. When I talk about deep conditioning, I am referring to the
process of applying a moisturizing conditioner to the hair; distributing
it evenly with the use of a wide tooth comb or brush; and incorporating
the use of steam or heat for at least 10 min., but no more than 30 min.
for deeper penetration of essential proteins and moisturizers into the
hair shaft. I would consider this the “proper” way to deep condition the
hair. The misconception many people have about conditioner is that if
they leave it on longer than the recommended time their hair will get
more benefits, but this is not true and there are ways in which you can
over-condition the hair. Many women deep condition their hair by leaving
the conditioner on overnight or even for a whole day. Unfortunately,
the hair can become deficient of the structural protein it requires to
stay strong and result in a soft, mushy mess. The hair will feel limp
and weak, become extremely elastic, stretch, and eventually break. 

Not using a heat protectant

Most women who choose to wear their hair in its curly state do not
use heat styling tools. If they do, it is very minimal and it is with a
blow-dryer. The mistakes some women make when using a blow dryer are not
protecting the hair from the heat with light essential oils or making
the blow-dryer too hot. Each shaft of the hair has about 7 to 12 layers
of cuticle scales. Their job is to protect the inside of the shaft,
known as the cortex. Excessive use of heat will create cracks and damage
to the cuticle. The damage caused by heat styling includes blistering
and fracturing of the hair. Microscopic examination of the hair shows
small nodes seen as grey-white or yellow specks on the affected hair
shafts. The hair tends to break at the sites of the nodes, leading to
patchy breakage.

These are common at-home practices that can cause damage to the hair,
but you can take some steps to prevent the damage. Remember: 

  1. Change your hair styling routine- Limit the use of heated instruments on your hair and also try using them on lower settings
  2. Choose heat protectants- Apply a heat protectant to your strands
    before using any form of heat for an added barrier of protection and for
    the prevention of breakage
  3. Don’t over condition the hair- One of the main sources of hair
    damage is dryness. The regular use of leave-in conditioners causes the
    hair shaft to become dry, brittle, and susceptible to breakage. Make
    sure you are using a moisturizing shampoo and deep conditioner. When
    conditioning your hair, leave the conditioner on at least 10 min. but no
    more than 30 min. and incorporate steam or heat for deeper penetration
    of the hair shaft.

Most importantly, occasionally visit a licensed hairstylist that you
trust to provide you with information on how you can improve your
routine at home and offer you in-salon treatments that will enhance the
health of your hair.

This article is written by Dr. Kari Williams. Dr. Kari is a
licensed barber, professional hair designer & stylist, natural hair
care specialist, educator, hair care products consultant, board
certified trichologist through the American Association of Drugless
Practitioners, and the Founder & CEO of Mahogany Hair Revolution
Salon & Trichology Clinic. She is the current President of the
California Board of Barbering & Cosmetology, appointed by Governor
Jerry Brown in 2013. Dr. Kari is also the Creator and Co-Founder of
AnnCarol, a line of products formulated to achieve and maintain healthy
hair. Her products can be purchased at

Follow Keshia Langevillier (pictured above) here:
Shiia M. and Instagram 

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