Hair breakage is a very common and distressing phenomenon, which has happened to most people at some point. It is caused by factors such as improper nutrition, stress, incorrect application of chemical services, hormonal changes (pregnancy) and improper hair care practices.
Due to the copious amount of emails I have received on this issue I decided to tackle the most effective ways to stop hair breakage in its tracks.
1. Protein treatments: A protein treatment is when you deep condition your hair using a conditioner that contains protein. The easiest way to identify a protein conditioner is that it usually contains some sort of protein in its ingredients such as silk protein (amino acids), wheat protein, soy protein, keratin and so on. Another way to identify a protein conditioner is in its name usually anything called mayonnaise is a protein deep conditioner. Examples of such conditioners include Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise, Africa’s Best Hair Mayonnaise and so on. Natural sources of protein which can be used as a protein treatment for the hair include eggs, real mayonnaise, coconut milk and so on. Protein stops hair from breaking because it temporarily deposits on the hair cuticle filling up any holes on its surface. It also re-structures and strengthens the hair’s cuticle. Therefore protein treatments are vital to restore the hair to a healthy condition and reduce the amount of hair breakage.
|Some mayonnaise and conditioner mixed together makes for an effective protein treatment|
2. Protective styling (stop Over-manipulation): Hair generally should be protected as much as possible. Everyone should endeavour to keep their hair in a style that would lead to less manipulation. Styles such as buns, french twists, chignons, and so on help to protect the hair from mechanical and environmental stress. This is because you are not constantly combing or touching your hair. Longer term protective styles such as weaves and braids also protect the hair from breakage as long as the hair is still given the necessary care. For more on protective styling read this.
3. Practice basic hair care: It does not matter how many protein treatments you do or how often you protective style your hair. It is important that basic hair care practices are incorporated so that the health of your hair flourishes. Hair breakage is usually as a result of chemical abuse. This may occur in instances where the hair is relaxed improperly from ends to roots; where the relaxer is left on for longer than is stated on the instructions; where the relaxer is not rinsed out properly and washed with a neutralizing shampoo; where no deep conditioner is applied after washing the relaxer off and the list goes. Colouring services can also lead to breakage especially people who relax and colour their hair without leaving enough time in between and people who colour their hair without realising that this service requires that they take much better care of their hair as the very nature of their hair has been compromised (this applies to those with relaxed hair as well).
Hair breakage will also occur where you ignore various basic but crucial aspects of hair care such as not washing the hair frequently, not deep conditioning the hair frequently after every shampoo wash, not moisturising and sealing the hair frequently, using a fine tooth comb to detangle instead of a wide tooth comb, excessive combing (over-manipulating) of hair when wet and so on.
4. Hot Oil Treatments: Hot Oil treatments will help in reducing breakage because the oils penetrate into our hair follicles to restore damaged hair. For a more invigorating experience try lightly massaging the oil into the scalp before applying it to the rest of your hair for deeper and more effective penetration. For more explanations see my post on hot oil treatments here.
5. Limit heat styling: Some people are guilty of constantly applying heat to their hair in form of blow dryers, hair straightners, curling tongs, curling wands and so on which tends to damage the hair over time. Other people further abuse the heat styling process by not using a heat protectant before using a heat styling tool. To prevent hair breakage it is important to minimise the amount of heat used on the hair and to make sure that before heat is used a heat protectant is applied to protect the hair from heat damage. See my post on how to air dry without the use of external heat here.
For more ways to prevent hair breakage, read my post on the 10 Cardinal Rules for growing longer and healthier hair.
Forgive me if I have not responded to your emails, I will start doing so as soon as I can.
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right – Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine