|my hair is currently in kinky twists|
I am mentioning this because someone indicated in their comment that most women of African descent have not found products that can help them combat breakage.
Let me be blunt about breakage since I have become an expert at it (My hair have experienced a lot of that). If it is breaking, more than likely, you are breaking it. There are protein treatments that you can use to combat breakage if the source of your breakage has to do with protein, however, if you are still experiencing breakage even after the protein treatments, then take a look at the list below. This is my personal list and since I have fine hair , maybe some people with fine hair can learn from my mistakes
- Excessive Washing: Just because a lot of gurus on Youtube and ten thousand other folks are washing their hair on a weekly basis does not mean that your hair necessarily loves that. That may be too much for your hair to handle especially if you have fine hair. I believe in having a healthy clean scalp, but there are other ways to clean the scalp besides using water. I have used diluted apple cider vinegar successfully to clean my scalp, especially since I work out almost everyday. You can see a short clip of how I do that in the video below. A good example of someone with long hair that washes their hair once a month is Cipriana from Urbanbushbabes.
- Too much layering: Yes, on almost every natural hair blog, you will read about, moisturizing and sealing. While it is true that those two steps combined together will keep your hair moisturized, make sure that you are not applying too much products. I once read on a blog that you moisturize your hair with water, water based moisturizer, heavy cream, oil and then butter. What in the world is that all about? That is way too much product for anyone's hair, even those with thick strands. When I over-layered my hair with products in the past, my hair became stiff and I experienced breakage. I have kept my moisturizing regimen to a minimum: water, aloe vera juice and castor oil and have not looked back since then.
- High pH: You better believe that the science of hair actually exists and plays a big part in having beautiful healthy hair. Afterall, our hair is part of our body and our body functions by science (Anatomy , Physiology, chemistry...) Our hair pH is between 4.5 and 5.5 and when you use products (many products have a high pH, above 7) that have a high pH, your cuticles will be raised, leading to dry hair and of course breakage. Buy pH strips and test your products. I do not use anything with pH above 7. I did in the past and the result was breakage breakage breakage. What I do with my neutral products is add aloe vera juice to them to lower their pH and that makes my cuticles happy.
- Some hair styles: OMG.....DO not even get me started on this one. Are you ready? 1)Wash and Gos. They are easy, fast, convenient, pretty and all that but not kind to my ends. Your hair is constantly exposed to the elements and let's not even talk about those single strand knots. The curly girl method is not for everyone, original or modified. 2)Mini Twists: This is like a vicious cycle, in that you install mini twists to give your hair a break, and you make them "mini" because you want your fine hair to look full, however, your hair end up breaking because those twists are just too small for your fine strands. If you want to see some length, say goodbye to mini twists. 3)Forced Updos: Yes, I said it. While it is nice to protect those ends, if your hair is too short for an updo, do not tug and pull on it. Do not kill your hair with bobby pins either. If you are trying to grow out your hair so you can easily style it into an updo, invest in wigs and extensions. I was not a fan of extensions especially if you have to rely on people (that know nothing about hair care and could care less about your hair growth), but extensions are very useful for retaining length. Watch tons of videos on Youtube to install your own extensions. That way you can install them and manage how your hair is parted. Most African braiders will start braiding from your eyebrows if you let them. Watch me speak about what to tell your braiders here.
- Keeping extensions for more than a month: I am sharing my experience as someone with fine hair. Do not keep extensions for more than a month. If you do, do not go over 6 weeks. If you do go over six weeks, re-do your edges every two to three weeks. This is what will happen if you keep your extensions for more four to six weeks(depending on your hair).Build-up will collect at the base of your hair during the whole time you are wearing extensions(despite washing your hair). The longer you keep your extensions, the more build-up you will get. The more build-up you get, the more breakage you will experience. The build up is very manageable up till four weeks.
- Lack of moisture: Most people's hair do not break from the lack of protein, it s really the lack of moisture that causes breakage most times. Afterall, if you are natural, your hair is not chemically processed and nothing is altered in the structure of your hair. You have to be on top of moisturizing your hair. I cannot definitely say that it is necessary to deep condition but it does make my hair feel nice.
- Excessive moisture: Yes! There is such a thing as that. Excessive "baggying" will make your hair too limp and overstretch. Over-stretching will in turn cause breakage. I used to cover my hair with plastics all the time , I never noticed any great results overtime. I am just saying:). Keep your regimen simple. However, when you have extensions(especially yarn) in your hair, baggying can be beneficial to get moisture into your own hair.
- Coloring: I was not able to retain any length at all when my hair was colored. It depends on your hair. Some folks' hair can handle color very well. If anything, use protein treatment regularly and of course keep your hair moisturized
- Improper Detangling: This is when people lose patience. Detangling takes time. The breakage I was experiencing from detangling has reduced since I started using the Kimmaytube Harp Method. Check it out in the video below. Although she is advertising her products but she shows us how she uses the harp method to detangle her hair
My conclusion:Treat your hair like a cashmere sweater
So these are the main things that have caused the breakage of my hair. If you are reading and have anything else to add, please feel free to do so. I know that some folks may disagree with me but that's fine. I am only sharing my experience. Like I stated above, I am not a guru.
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