Prevent Hair Damage

 
Damage is a barrier that will prevent you from seeing hair growth. Your hair is actually growing all the time, but with damage in the way, your hair is breaking off at the same rate it is growing, which is why there will appear to be no growth progress.

You have to slow down the rate at which you damage your hair. Reduce is the word of choice used because it is impossible to eliminate all damage. Your hair is damaged to some degree every time you wash it, detangle it, and even touch it.

We will concern ourselves with the 4 types of damage that can occur and how to prevent these sources of damage altogether:

Manipulation of the hair

The more you comb, style, or touch your hair you are causing damage to it. If you have particularly fragile hair, like 4b or 4c hair, this type of damage is easy to come by.

Even if you are chemical free and you do have a good moisture routine, damage from manipulation will get in your way. To resolve this issue you have to be gentle with your hair.

You might be thinking to yourself, well I am gentle! Well, if you are experiencing breakage you are not being gentle enough.

As stated before you want to reduce the amount of damage that you experience, because you cannot eliminate it completely. You still have to wash your hair, you still have to style it, and detangle it.

The key is to cut down on the manipulation of your hair. How much manipulation is reduced will all vary from person to person. 

For particularly fragile hair types you will want to keep your hair in protective and low manipulation hairstyles 80% -90% of the time and instead of detangling with combs or brushes you may want to try finger combing instead.

During the length retention phase where you are trying to gain length, maintaining styles for 2 to 3 weeks at a time will help you to hold on to the hair that would have normally broken off had you worn a style that requires daily styling.

However for some naturals this is not practical, wearing styles for 2 to 3 weeks at a time may simply be unnecessary. Only you can determine this.

Nevertheless, even for naturals with looser curls and more resilient strands protective styles help to protect hair from damage.

Hair Dryness

Dryness of the hair will lead to hair breakage and split ends which ultimately prevent hair growth. You have to have a good moisture routine if your goal is to have longer hair.

One problem is many people do not know how to effectively moisturize their hair.

Let’s first start with defining what a moisturizer actually is!

A moisturizer is a water based solution. Which means oils, greases, and butters are not moisturizers, they are sealants, so in other words they help to keep moisture in your hair but they are not moisturizers.

So every time you set out to moisturize your hair, you should lightly be misting with water or a water based product first, then sealing in that moisture with an oil and or butter.

When you moisturize you should moisturize all of your hair, but you want to pay close attention to the ends of your hair because they get particularly dry and they are the oldest and most delicate part of your hair. This will also help to prevent your split ends from getting too severe.

You may need to moisturize each day, every other day, or even once a week. This is all specific to your hair. You will know what works for you by the look and feel of your hair.

Heat Damage

While heat is a useful tool for giving us gorgeous stretched out styles, it is also good for sucking the moisture out of hair. Does this mean you can never use heat? No it does not, but if you want healthy hair you should cut down your usage of heat down to the bare minimum.

When you frequently use heat, you will also find that you will have to trim your hair more often, which again results in lack of hair growth progress.

You also have to keep in mind that you may not have a consistency in style if you continuously heat style your hair. High heat will cause permanent straightening of hair strands for some naturals.

If you are transitioning this is why you should avoid flat irons and hot combs altogether until you are fully natural. You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between relaxed hair and the hair that has been permanently straightened from heat damage.

If you must have heat in your regimen do not use it more than every 2 to 3 weeks. Try to stretch out the time you use heat as long as you can!

I encourage you to try going 6 months without using heat styling tools in your hair. You will see a big improvement in your hair’s health.

There a other methods for stretching hair such as braids, twists, and banding, if you want stretched out hair.

Chemical Damage

Relaxers, Texturizers, and Hair Dyes will all cause some form of damage to the hair, because of the drastic changes that it does to the hair’s structure.

If you are a transitioner, you will notice that your relaxer may even be breaking off on it’s own. This is most likely due to the differences in the two hair textures that you have on your head, (the curls and bends represent weak points) and your ends are weathered from time while also being weakened from the relaxer.

During your transitioning stage, you will want to practice all of the above:  protective styles, no heat, and moisture. As time goes on you will slowly trim away your relaxed or texturized ends.

Hair dye, especially if you are going to a lighter shade is drying to the hair. Which is why if you decide to permanently color your hair you will have to be strict with your moisturizing and conditioning routine. Otherwise, your hair will become dry and ultimately break.

What to Expect

Remember you have to be consistent with good hair care practices. You cannot use heat daily, constantly manipulate your hair, and then expect for it to grow just because you slapped some moisturizer on your strands.

Give your hair a few months or so of using good hair care in order to see significantly healthier hair and growth. Progress will not happen over night.

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Comments

  1. Paris says

    Love the website. I have a question about the best style to protect my ends. I have 4C hair and I mostly keep them in box braids or Senegalese twists. A couple months ago, a stylist applied too much heat to my hair resulting in severe heat damage. I recently got a lot of it cut off, but there is still some damage. Should I try another type of protective style? Also, how should I moisture my hair when they are in box braids?

  2. sharon says

    I am natural. Been natural for 4 years now. I wear my hair straight during the winter months and no heat during the summer months. My question is, during the summer when I wash it, it doesn’t have the kinky curl I’ve had before. It this caused by the heat from blow drying and flat ironing? Would this be considered damaged hair? And if so, is there a way to get the curl pattern back?

    • Hillz says

      I think it depend on how many times you where using the heat and what temperature you used.

      I have read a few articles from bloggers who said they used heat in the past and they got back the curliness with lots of protein treatments. So I would suggest using egg yolks(no egg whites), avocado, and eating more of protein based foods. Since the hair is built on proteins, more protein in the body might help the hair to get back to its form, but if the heat damage is too much I don’t really think there is anything you can really do :( . If you choose to use protein you should always follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner.

      And yes, you can consider that as damage.

      Hope this helps :)

    • Hillz says

      Hi
      There are many causes of bald patches like Symptoms of Alopecia, over styling and the ones mentioned in this article. You can try, Warm olive oil (enough for your whole scalp) and one garlic clove crushed. Mix the two and apply on clean scalp. leave it on for 5 to 15 minutes depending on how sensitive your scalp is. rinse with warm water and condition if the smell is to strong for you. Do this twice a week for a month or once a week for a month depending on how sensitive your hair is. Don’t leave the mixture for too long or use garlic on its own because it can burn your skin..
      Or try onion juice or any oil that has garlic oil as the top five on its ingredients list.
      If it doesn’t get better you should see your doctor and follow his/her advice.
      Hope this was helpful :)

  3. Jade Jefferies says

    I greatly appreciate this site and the information. I have been natural for ten years but I find this advice most helpful. I have a problem with reducing or eliminating clumping strands of hair after washing. I have separated them with my fingers and at other times I cut them out. What can I do to eliminate them altogether? Your response would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hillz says

      Divide you hair into four or six parts. After rinsing of shampoo(if you use one) put a conditioner to you hair and let it sit for 5 minutes. untangle with your fingers and then follow up with a wide tooth comb. If your fingers or comb gets cough up in a clump add conditioner to that area and separate with care. Start from your ends going up. You should also take a look at your ends, if they are to damaged trim them off.

      Or before you start washing your hair wet your comb and comb the ends or just wet your fingers and pat your hair, then separate.

      The conditioner should make your hair feel slippery or at least when you rinse it out it mustn’t leave your hair rough..

      Hope this helps :)

  4. says

    Though I am 3mos. natural, I was struggling with keeping moisture. I did believe that using butters was a type of moisturizer. I did everything wrong because I was never raised to love and know how to care for my natural hair. I have made my own protein conditioner and gave a new life to my hair. I am so glad to read these articles and I have documented my progress and posted it on YouTube. Look up: Takingitbakmag or BLACKNAPS.ORG INSPIRED 4C HAIR CARE, it’s just a slide I made but I was so proud of bringing my hair back to life. I made this video as a “Thank You” for the knowledge and love you share in your newsletters. ;-)

  5. says

    Great article. I also wanted to add on something about protective styling. Make sure your protective styles such as braids is not very tight. This can cause breakage and also traction alopecia, which is defined as ”Loss of hair due to from prolonged pulling on the hair, usually associated with certain hairstyles or a habit of twisting the hair.’’ by http://dictionary.reference.com – See more at: http://www.hey-nice-hair.com/stop-hair-breakage.html#sthash.6d4se8Al.dpuf

  6. Funke says

    Awesome!! Thanks alot. I havent relaxed my hair in almost 5months, its difficult and verrrrry tempting, but the damage over rides that.

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