Everyone will experience breakage at some point during their journey. Even something as simple as daily manipulation can lead to breakage. Before we talk about how to prevent breakage for natural hair, I want you to keep in mind there’s a difference between breakage and shedding. Sometimes people get them confused and feel like they’re losing more hair than they really are.
Shed hair has a white bulb at the end of a strand whereas breakage doesn’t. Broken hair will be shorter than the length of your strands and you may find pieces around your area while doing your hair.
Although breakage can’t be 100% avoided, it can be minimized by following healthy hair care practices.
How to Prevent Breakage:
Keeping your hair trimmed is important. If you have split ends, you can’t expect them to reverse and become healthy again. There are no magical products or shortcuts you can take to avoid split ends. If you leave split ends untreated, they can travel up the hair shaft and cause more damage.
How often you decide to trim your hair is up to you! There’s no specific schedule to follow, however, you want to look out for the following signs:
- Rough, dry ends
- More tangles + knots
- Excessive breakage + shedding
- Less definition
- See-through ends
I go to a professional stylist for a trim and I always notice a huge difference with the manageability of my hair afterward. You can check out a before and after of my first Deva Cut here. Trust me, your hair will grow back and you’ll notice a reduced amount of breakage and shedding on wash day when you get a fresh trim!
Related Post: Can You Really Repair Split Ends?
Be Gentle While Detangling
When you’re detangling, you want to be gentle and take your time. If you become frustrated and try to rush through this step, it can lead to more breakage and damage.
There are a few tips you can follow to make detangling easier. I follow these and I have noticed the amount of time it takes to detangle is cut in half.
- Pre-poo before wash day
- Use conditioners with slip
- Start at your ends and work your way up
- Detangle in small sections
- Finger detangle first to remove big knots
Related Post: Make Detangling Easy and Get Your Life Back
Deep conditioning is an important step to have in your regimen whether you’re using one for moisture or protein. If you have high porosity hair as I do, then you know using protein treatments strengthens our hair and temporarily fills in the gaps we have in our hair shaft.
Regardless of what your porosity is, our hair is made up of protein. Once that structure becomes weak, it can hurt the health of your hair and lead to breakage. Doing monthly protein treatments or using them as needed will keep your hair strong and promote growth.
If I don’t use a protein treatment, I love using Ayurvedic Herbs in my routine. There are a variety of herbs that can help strengthen and condition your hair. Some of my favorite ones to use are Amla, Cassia, and Hibiscus.
Related Post: 10 of the Best Deep Conditioners for High Porosity Hair
Keep Your Hair Moisturized
When I started transitioning to natural hair, I saw the word ‘moisture’ everywhere — and it was for a good reason! Moisture is the most important thing on your journey. If your curls lack the moisture they need, it can become dry/brittle and lead to breakage.
You can’t moisturize your hair without water, so choosing products with that as the first ingredient is the best option. If the product doesn’t contain water, you can’t expect it to moisturize your hair. Another good moisturizer is Aloe Vera Juice!
Once you add moisture to your hair, you want to seal it in with an oil or butter-based product. A good technique to follow is the LOC or LCO method. Layering your products in this order will help increase your moisture retention. To find which technique is best for you, check out this post: A Breakdown of the LOC Method for Natural Hair.
Use Clean Products
The last way to prevent breakage is to pay attention to your ingredients and focus on natural products. Some products contain ingredients that can be damaging to our hair. Constantly using those harmful ingredients can dry out your hair and lead to less elasticity and more breakage.
Elasticity is the ‘bounce back’ you have when your curls are stretched and then released. If your elasticity is low, this can make your strands more prone to breakage — any tension you put on your hair would cause it to snap easily. Once I started to pay attention to the type of products I use, I noticed a difference in the overall health of my hair.
Check out this post to find a list of brands who create handmade, natural products for our natural hair. I love supporting small brands and using their products has continued to help my hair flourish and remain healthy and strong.
Following these tips will ensure the amount of breakage you have is minimized. It’s all about staying consistent with your regimen and knowing what your hair likes and dislikes. It will take time to learn how to properly take care of your natural hair, however, avoiding these mistakes along the way will help you achieve moisture retention and any goals you have for your curls!