4 Reasons Why Your Natural Hair Is Dry & Breaking
Natural hair is beautifully tedious and requires a lot of care which can be at times overwhelming. Especially when you have what you think is a good hair care routine and yet and still you’re not seeing retained moisture or any less breakage. Every hair type is very different and may require a little more of one thing and a little less of the other however, scientifically everyone’s hair is made up of the same thing’s that when taken into account can cause improvements. Here are 4 factors that might be making your natural hair dry and break.
Your Wash Routine
This day for most naturals is very time consuming but within the madness you must pay very close attention to everything that you’re doing. I came to this revelation one day as I was co-washing my kinky curly clip-ins. I lathered the conditioner into them and began to rinse them through water but I could still visibly see product in them. I then took my thumb and index finger and pinched the hair in a downward sliding motion to gently wring out the product. As I got closer to the ends all of the oil and product from the hair finally rinsed out and left the water very dirty. I began to really put some thought into it and realised that the ends of the hair were dry and easy to tangle after every wash and never really became moisturised without constant application of leave in conditioner. I finally figured that due to them being so curly the product wasn’t able to work it’s way out completely during the wash and was just drying around the ends. So I then implemented this method into my own natural hair wash day process and noticed a significant difference in my ends within two weeks. This repetitive accidental neglect of washing everything in my scalp down to my ends and leaving it there to have even more product placed over it was so easy to miss. This could have caused breakage by potentially causing protein overload at the ends (depending on hair product ingredients) or a build up of too much product that can weaken your ends. Don’t just count on that downward stream of water to wash it all out really work your shampoo and conditioner through all the way down to your ends with your fingers and you just might see a difference in the health of your ends.
This repetitive accidental neglect of washing everything in my scalp down to my ends and leaving it there to have even more product placed over it was so easy to miss.
Your hair is made up mostly of protein so it requires protein to continue growing properly. The hair operates in two cycles, one being the growth cycle and the other the rest cycle. At any given moment 90% of your hair is already in the growth cycle, this cycle last up to 2-3 years. After this period the hair that was in the growth cycle enters the rest cycle for a period of 3 months where they’re shed and replaced by new hair. However without enough protein in your body a disproportionate number of your hair will prematurely enter into the rest cycle and make shed hair more noticeable and cause more shedding. A very poor diet effects everything in your body so make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water and taking in an appropriate amount of protein. There are protein treatments for hair but keep in mind that too much protein can make the hair break so a balanced diet with a lot of water is key!
Your hair is made up mostly of protein so it requires protein to continue growing properly.
Your Detangling Process
Curly hair is prone to knots and tangles because of the intricate swooping and bending pattern of each strand. What and how you work out those tangles and knots is important and also key in length retention. If you use a brush to detangle your hair make sure that you’re starting at your ends first to pull through any curls that may be in a knot (most knots start at your ends). Another good practice is to hold on to your hair as you brush downward, some people have coily hair as wells as fine hair. Fine hairs are thinner and not as strong and can break from medium to hard tugs. One recent discovery that I’ve seen tons of reviews on from some of my favourite naturals was the Denman brush. I was reluctant because a brush is a brush in most cases and they’re all created equal! Giving into the hype I bought the D3 brush they recommend for thick natural hair and I can say I am a believer! This brush actually pulls product all the way through to the ends defining all of your curls and eliminating frizz during styling. In effect it gently grips onto the hair and doesn’t let go! This isn’t a product review so I’ll stop right there. If you finger detangle be careful to not do so on anything less than very damp hair. Not doing this caused me to get my first single strand knots which have to eventually be cut slashing length retention in half. Lastly, always follow the golden rule; never comb your hair dry this will break your hair and cause unnecessary knots.
What and how you work out those tangles and knots is important and also key to length retention.
Your hair will show very specific signs when it is dry and breaking. Signs of breakage are short tiny curls that measure no longer than the length of your pinky nail. Natural shedding comes from the roots and will have a small white bulb like tip where it’s become detached from your scalp. Other signs of breakage show up in places where people are more prone to tug a little harder due to muscle positioning. These areas include near the nape of your neck, the middle of your head and around the front of your hair so If short hairs appear in this area you’re brushing with too much force. Signs that your hair may not be getting enough moisture is dry hair texture after washing the hair before any product is applied, hair that quickly soaks up water and very brittle ends. If you’re having problems with extremely dry hair try co-washing more often (Once a week for a month) and implement a deep conditioner (Every other week for a month before co- washing). This will help your hair’s moisture retention significantly.
Your hair will show very specific signs when it is dry and breaking.
These tips were formed by minor habits that I noticed myself and other naturals doing through research. Through every problem there is a solution and by experimenting with these suggestions you might just find what your hair has been lacking. Another good tip for stronger edges is to daily apply strengthening sealants (oils). Check out my previous blog post “6 Praise Worthy Oils For Natural Hair” for a complete list of those oil’s.