Hair breakage is one main challenge for most naturalistas. If it is not halted soon, it may even lead to more serious problems like stunted hair growth and hair loss. Hair breakage is not a natural or normal process; rather it is an indication of an imbalance between protein and moisture. It is a result of mistreatment or mishandling.
Causes of Hair Breakage
Hair breakage is simply the breakage of hair strands. The strand becomes shorter and often splits at the end. Once a hair strand breaks, it will never be going back to normal. Breakage is caused by the application of too much heat, sun exposure, mishandling, and different chemical processes like relaxers. Excessive protein treatments and lack of enough moisture are also causes of hair breakage. Older hairs or hairs around the edges are more vulnerable to breakage than younger hairs or hairs at the root. Even though avoiding breakage completely is unachievable, you can keep it to an absolute minimum.
Hair Breakage or Hair Shedding
Hair shedding unlike hair breakage is a natural or normal process. Every day, we are supposed to lose 50 to 100 hairs, and it is quite a norm and a natural part of the hair cycle. Hair goes through three phases; the first phase also called anagen is where the hair grows actively and is deeply embedded into the follicle. Hair at this phase is highly nourished and healthy. The second phase also called catagen is where the hair begins to die off. The third phase is also known as telogen is where hair begins to fall out. This hair cycle produces 50 to 100 hairs to shed every day which is quite a normal process.
How to Prevent Hair Breakage Before It Starts
Once a hair strand breaks, it will never get to its natural state. Therefore, the best thing you should do for your hair is to stop hair breakage before it starts.
Dryness is one of the main causes of hair breakage. Keeping the balance of moisture in your hair saves your hair strands from breaking off. You can read more here about how to moisturize and seal your hair.
You should always be careful when handling your hair. Proper detangling is one big favor you do to your hair. Finger detangle first and then use a wide-toothed comb. Choose your brush carefully. If your hair is low porosity type 4 hair, you may not at all need to use brushes. Watch out about the tools you use for detangling your hair and give your ends enough care as they are the oldest and weakest part of your hair. Use pre-shampoo detangles before shampooing as they make your hair tangle-free.
Related:- 5 Best Detangling Brushes for 4c Hair
Limit Heat Styling
Some naturals entirely avoid heat styling while others use it often. If you apply heat to your hair on regular basis, apply a heat protectant to protect your hair from breakage. Limit the application of heat to once a week at most.
Related:- 5 Best Steam Flat Irons for Natural Hair
Consider Applying a Protein Treatment
The hair cuticle is made of protein. If the protein-moisture balance of your hair is not properly maintained, it causes breakage. A protein treatment helps your hair to restore its protein balance and strengthen your strands. There are two types of protein treatments; one type is for normal once in a while (probably once in a month) treatments and the other to restore severe breakage and hair damage. Read more about protein treatments here.