Having some hair breakage is normal as our hair is exposed to situations that are out of our control such as weather conditions. However, there are many things we can do to prevent it from escalating and becoming a serious issue. Transitioning hair is extremely fragile and needs to be handled with care now that you decided to go natural. Washing your hair can soon become the source of your woes and it’s important for you to know how to reduce hair breakage when washing transitioning hair.
Still, before listing the reasons why washing your hair can become the cause of your breakage it’s important you know the difference between breakage and shedding so you don’t start addressing an issue that doesn’t need solving. To identify if you have one or the other take a few strands of hair and have a look at them. If the majority of hairs you see have the root or white bulb attached to them then you have hair shedding which is normal. However, if you see short broken pieces of hair with split ends or knots and no root attached them you have hair breakage. If you want to know more about this subject read this.
Washing your natural hair can seem pretty straight forward, you just keep doing it as before you decided to go natural right? Well, it’s not that simple. The way you wash your hair, the products you use or how you handle it afterwards can have a direct influence on hair breakage. Let’s have a look at them.
Do you still use a regular sulphate shampoo? Those that give you all that white lather and leave your hair with that squeaky clean feeling? If you do you need to know that these remove all the natural oils in your hair making it dry and brittle. Once this happens the cuticle layers on your hair start to get chipped and then breakage creeps in. Because natural hair is naturally dry these effects can show themselves quicker, your best option to avoid this is to use a sulphate free shampoo or co-wash your hair (cleanse with conditioner). Read more about shampoo here or read 6 No Poo Shampoo Alternatives.
If you normally pile your hair up in your head to wash it you are creating a great big mess. When doing this you are producing further tangles and single strand knots in your hair that will make your hair vulnerable and easy to snap or break under manipulation. Separate your hair in manageable sections and wash each section separately, this way you will avoid further tangles and knots. Read this article to get a few tips on detangling.
Brushing Your Hair While Wet
I am going to assume you don’t use a brush to detangle your curly hair when wet, because if you do you are creating stress on your hair. Wet hair can stretch up to 30% more, detangling with a brush will put extra stress on the hair which can make it snap or break. Add lack of elasticity and damaged hair and breakage will be very noticeable. Ideally, you should use your hands to detangle your hair or alternatively a wide tooth comb, but always use a good conditioner with a lot of slip to do this as it will facilitate your job and avoid unnecessary stress on your hair.
I’ve said this before in several other posts in here, but I will say it again. Cotton towels have the ability to snag, pull and break your hair. Most of us used them carelessly, and probably we all noticed a few hairs caught in them here in there. Using a cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to dry your hair will avoid all this. It may be a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction. Read How To Transition To Natural Hair to get a few more tips.
Using a blow dryer to remove excessive water after washing your hair might be a good option if you’re in a hurry and don’t want to leave the house with wet hair or if you want to style your hair with a diffuser for a wash and go. Nevertheless, blow dryers release dry heat which removes hydration from the hair. Preferably, you should let your hair air dry but if you need to use a blow dryer avoid using them excessively and use a low heat setting.
Are you guilty of some of these bad hair habits? What tips do you have to avoid hair breakage when washing your hair?