Healthy, undamaged afro hair has strands that are protected by the cuticle (the outer part of the shaft.) Cuticles are dead cells with overlapping layers which form ‘scales’ that cover and strengthen the hair shaft. Breakage occurs when these ‘scales’ become damaged or are caused to fall apart. So, breakage is the reason why your afro hair might feel like it isn’t growing.
If the rate at which your natural hair breaks is quicker than the rate at which it grows, it will be a struggle to grow longer hair. In this article we will discuss six causes of afro hair breakage and the ways that you can prevent or treat these problems.
Chemically treating or altering your hair can increase the rate of breakage. For instance, hair dye contains hydrogen peroxide and ammonia which has been linked to hair loss and thinning hair. Additionally, hair relaxers contain sodium hydroxide which can weaken your strands by over processing your hair shaft. The fix for using harsh chemicals is to make the transition towards using products without any toxic ingredients that quickly dry your afro hair.
Once you decide to transition away from your chemically altered hair to natural hair, handling your strands with utmost care is essential. First, you need to learn how to make your natural hair thrive which will involve looking after your two hair textures (one natural and the other altered), and adopting a good wash day routine and protecting your strands when you are outside. If you are in favour of it, you could also opt for a big chop which will mean chopping off the chemically altered hair and leaving the natural hair which has recently grown.
Lack Of Moisture
The twists and turns in your afro hair make it more difficult for the natural oils on your scalp to travel down to your ends. This causes your ends to be more prone to damage. Eventually, if not fixed, this damage can travel up your strands and cause breakage for the rest of your natural hair too. Prevent this from happening to your afro hair by using our Leave-In Conditioner with Manuka Honey and Avocado Oil, which can reduce split ends or breakage when applied to damp or dry hair.
To have healthy longer hair, you need to ensure that the foods you eat are high in protein, iron, vitamin E and vitamin B. Foods like salmon, chia seeds, eggs and avocado are examples of foods that can nourish your body. You also need to drink at least eight glasses of water a day for your strands to get the moisture it needs. If you struggle with a bad diet (who doesn’t) try nourishing your body with at least five vegetables a day. Choose vegetables that you like and look for recipes that incorporate them into your meals for that day. Once you get used to this habit you can try another one like trying to add at least two protein sources to your diet.
It is essential to realise that tight hairstyles like braids and high ponytails can cause damage to your hair. This is especially the case if these hairstyles are left in for longer that 2-3 weeks. This causes tension on your hair follicles which can lead to hair loss and hair breakage. To fix this, you could try a low manipulation style such as puffs, low buns, twists, and pineapple updos as they require you to touch your strands less.
Tools That Can Damage Your Hair
The prospect of trying out a new style for your afro hair can be an exciting process. However, hair claws, regular bobby pins or clips can lead to more hair fall as they can be harsh for your strands. Instead, try afro hair accessories that have been created especially for afro hair. You can also remain gentle to your hair when detangling your natural hair. For example, opt for finger styling your hair with a lightweight oil and stay away from bristle brushes or fine-toothed combs.
Stress could cause you to have temporary hair loss called telogen effluvium, which occurs after a traumatic event. This condition results in your hair follicles becoming dormant meaning that new hair that hasn’t had an opportunity to fully grow might break off more easily. However, fixing stress isn’t easy as every individual deals with stress differently. Start off by recognising the importance of self care and then move onto doing at least one activity that makes you happy and fulfilled everyday.
Now that you understand the six top causes and treatments for afro hair breakage, you can do more to stop it from happening. Remember that while it will take some effort to put these changes in place, you will be left with healthier afro hair that is more of a joy to take care of.