The 411 on... Hair Breakage and Shedding

This post is fuelled by something I read on, an article called "Things that are NOT normal...", which was basically about a lot of misconception corncerning our hair. The points that stuck out for me in particular were that many of us regard excessive hair breakage and shedding as completely normal.

Before I began my research on black hair and beauty, I too believed it was completely natural to have enormous amounts of hair covering the floor after combing or brushing my hair but that isn't normal or natural for hair at all! In fact I recently had a friend  who was very clueless why her was breaking off after continuous use of  relaxers, hair dye and weaves.

So as a result I've decided to post on this very widespread problem...

It is quite normal to shed some hair, in fact on average a person losses from 50-200 hairs a day! However, if you find that you are shedding to the extent that your bathtub, shower, floor, etc are full of hairs or you have areas of hair much shorter than others (unless your hair cut like that) then that is excessive!

Main causes of hair shedding and breakage are;

  • Tight braiding or styling (such as ponytails)
  • Over styling the same areas of hair
  • Damage to the cortex due to use of relaxers, texturizers, hair dye and hair straightening.
  • Excessive heat styling 
  • Improperly de-tangling hair or de-tangling with inappropriate tools.
  • Dry ends.
  • Friction with hairline or hair.
  • Touching hair to much in the same areas.
  • Sleeping without a satin scarf, pillow case or bonnet.
  • Stress.
  • Poor nutrition or illness.

How stop to excessive breakage or shedding
The first thing you will have to do is to diagnose the cause of you hair breakage or shedding. Depending on the cause stopping the breakage/shedding may be just be as simple as stopping or reducing the cause.

So consider avoiding: wearing tight hair styles; wearing your hair consistently in a particular style; or styling the same areas of hair.  And try to reduce how much you use heat for styling but also keep the temperature setting on heat appliances low.

De-tangle hair using a wide tooth comb preferably one without a seam and remember to de-tangle from the tips progressively up to the roots, this will ensure you remove knots and tangles without tearing out hair. A list of the best styling tools which prevent damage or breakage can be found here and here.

To combat dry ends and weak hair: deep condition hair every week or fortnight; moisturise regularly and seal with either a natural oil or butter; trim damaged or split ends. Check out my hair regime for more details on combating dry/damaged hair.

Wool and cotton can be damaging our hairlines so be careful when buying hat, scarves and coats. A good tip is to either buy  a hat with a silk or satin lining or to wear a satin scarf  underneath your hat. Cotton sheets and pillowcases can also cause dry hair so invest in either a silk/satin scarf for wrapping at night or silt/satin pillowcase.

Make sure you are eating a balance diet and drinking lots of water. Also consider taking supplement or eating some more healthy hair super-foods.

Lastly, I would just like to point out the more you minimise breakage and shedding, the more you will retain length and therefore grow your hair!

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