BREAKAGE– the word all women who are on a healthy hair journey dread. When having curly, kinky hair breakage is the one thing that EVERYTHING you do with your hair revolves around. Should we as natural haired women give “breakage” as much thought as we do? Is it really that serious? Is there really a way to avoid breakage? Some of you might even be wondering…what is breakage?
Breakage is a term used to describe when a hair strand breaks in 2 pieces or snaps in half. Leaving you with a shorter strand of hair and often times a little curl on your bathroom sink that looks like this:
How does breakage occur?
Breakage occurs when the hair strand is stretched beyond that strand’s elasticity causing it to snap. sometimes you can even hear the snap and often times you can’t.
What causes breakage?
The appropriate question should be, who causes breakage? You do. Hair is actually not weak but, very strong. Read here for more info Yes, kinky hair may be weaker (this is because where there is a kink there is weak spot) but, its not weak in general.
What can I do to prevent breakage?
There is really no way to prevent breakage. You can minimize breakage but, you can’t keep your hair from breaking. From what I have come to understand, here is why hair damage is inevitable.
First, hair is dead. Meaning, it can’t get healthier after it has grown out of your scalp, it can only get worse or lose some of it’s health. Even if you treat your hair like lace, it will still receive some damage from washing, conditioning, combing and styling. The degrees of damage vary of course but, damage is done none the less. So, as your hair gets older and longer the more fragile it becomes, this is why it is said that the ends of your hair are the weakest (so why some naturals rake the comb through their ends over and over…I don’t know) thus, the ends are more prone to breakage.
Some naturals will say “I never get breakage!” oh yes you do. Just because you don’t see the little curls on the sink doesn’t mean your hair isn’t breaking. If you look closely at the hair in your detangling tool you will notice a few small curls or short strands. This is normal and nothing to be alarmed about.
- Find out the best way to detangle your hair. Don’t just do what people say you should, find out if detangling on wet, dry or conditioned hair is right for you. Is your detangling tool the best for your hair? Detangling is probably the number 1 way we can cause breakage. Read this post on detangling for tips.
- Over manipulation is also a cause for breakage. Since everyone’s hair is different, everyone’s hair can handle different degrees of manipulation. Some people can blow dry, flat iron, comb and brush their hair daily and still have nice long hair but, some others may get breakage from just running their hands along a braid. Find out how much manipulation your hair can handle and handle your hair accordingly.
- As always make sure your hair has the proper moisture/ protein balance. Over conditioning your hair can lead to mushy hair that can snap with the slightest pulling and so can hair that has too much protein.