The main causes of hair breakage are typically dry hair and frequent manipulation, but there any different causes. Structurally, our hair cuticle is made of overlapping 'scales' which help keep your hair strand together. In healthy, undamaged hair, these scales are intact, however breakage can occur when these scales are damages or fall apart.
A common complaint we hear is about hair not growing. In most cases, it is growing, it's just breaking as fast as it grows. This has also played a part in adding to the myth that afro hair doesn't grow. However, brakeage is the culprit of the myth that afro hair doesn't grow. Afro hair grows just like other hair types but if the rate of breakage is faster than the rate of growth, then you'll struggle to retain length.
Dry hair is prone to breakage and damage, and can be caused by multiple factors.
When it comes to Afro and curly hair, the twists and turns make it harder for sebum (the natural oils your scalp produces) to travel down the hair strand. This means afro and curly hair is dryer than other types.
You can combat dryness by using the LOC method, which involve the layering of products. Both are acronyms where:
L = liquid O = oil and C = cream
High temperatures cause the hair cuticle to be raised, not only leaving the delicate cortex of the hair vulnerable to damage but also allowing moisture to escape. Heat styling is one of the main culprits for breakage, especially if you have tight curls. Blowdryers and straighteners strip moisture from the hair, so try to avoid and use heat-free methods to dry and style hair.
Regular cotton towels cause friction which raises the cuticles of your hair strands. Friction causes frizz. Microfibre towels are designed to create less friction (which means less frizz!) and prevent breakage so it’s a win-win for your Afro.
Shampoos are great for removing dirt but some also strip the hair of its natural moisture. As a general rule of thumb, we advise using a gentle sulphate free shampoo, which can help provide a crisp clean and remove buildup without stripping your hair of moisture.
Step away from the hard bristle brushes and fine-toothed combs. These are enemies of healthy hair. Opt for finger-detangling instead as you’re more likely to be gentle with your hands than with a comb because you can easily feel for knots and tangles.
To finger detangle, simply coat your fingers with oil (we suggest Mama's Green Thumb as it's super lightweight!) and work through sections of your hair, starting at the ends and working your way up to the roots. Once a section is detangled, you can twist or braid it to keep it from tangling.
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