What to do about Shedding & Breakage
One of the many issues we face on our healthy hair journey is hair breakage/thinning. For many of us, it happens so subtly that we don’t notice it until after it’s been happening for months/years.
We need to understand that the 2 things that will always lead to breakage…an imbalance of protein or imbalance of moisture/hydration, typically caused by improper product use & our styling choices. We do a lot to our hair…heavy styling, permanent coloring, tight weaves, heat styling (without protection), chemical relaxers, improper cleansing, combing and styling.
One thing we need to understand is there is no 1 product that can solve the issue of breakage. There is also not 1 product that can work for all situations of breakage. Every scenario will require it’s own approach and product selection.
Maintaining a proper balance of protein & moisture is the key to fighting breakage. Is your hair care regimen balanced? If not, you’ll learn by the end what you need to do to fix it.
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Can your products cause breakage?
The short answer, yes.
- When your hair’s chemistry is off balance, your strands become weak and breakage will result. It then becomes a struggle to grow your hair.
- If you overuse products, use a lot a different products (aka product junky) but don’t use products specific for your hair issues in terms of protein and moisture breakage will result.
- You may have noticed that a lot of black hair products are marketed a protein-rich, reconstructive, oil heavy creams & conditioners. Using these products without the proper balance of moisture will result in breakage.
Now these protein heavy & oil rich products are not bad. They are necessary for those of us who use relaxers and to make our hair more manageable. But remember these types of products are not sources of moisture. So if these are all you’re using, you will experience breakage.
So here’s the challenge, check the labels on some of your favorite or daily products. You may be surprised to find that you are not using any real moisturizing products
How to choose your products.
Protein & Moisture ingredients should determine your product choice and usage. Knowing what’s in your products helps to know when it’s time to rotate or change up our routine. Some of us use the same products EVERY DAY without thinking about how it’s purpose for our hair. We pick product because of:
- Word of mouth
- Other’s are using it
And then we get disappointed when these products don’t have positive effects on our hair as they have for others’.
Products are not “one size fits all”
It’s like buying the same pair of cute jeans that you saw a friend or someone on social media wear. They look amazing on her but on you, they don’t fit the same, don’t compliment your body type, don’t hug your curves right, it’s like a totally different pair of jeans.
So what causes these 2 reasons for breakage?
Lack of Moisture
- Too much sun
- Harsh shampoos
- Using too much oil based products
- Heavy blow drying
- Flat ironing too often
- Not drinking enough water
These things either evaporate the moisture from your strands or stop the moisture from getting in. If your hair is hard, has no elasticity or is stiff, it’s likely lacking moisture.
Lack of Protein
- Over coloring
- Relaxing too frequently
- Overuse of deep conditioning without protein balancing
- Diet lacking protein
These destroy the hairs natural protein structure which can lead to deficiency. If your hair is too soft, stretchy, or doesn’t hold a curl or style well, it’s likely lacking protein.
Remember, protein and moisture work together (or must be balanced) to give you a healthy head of hair. One cannot work without the other. When your hair has a good protein balance it allows for better moisture absorption because water binds easier to hair with a proper protein structure.
Poor Styling Habits
- Hair Coloring
- Braids & Extensions that are too tight
- Excessive Heat styling
- Incorrect application of relaxers
- Improper cleansing habits
- Poor maintenance
- All these thing lead to an imbalance of moisture/protein which ultimately leads to breakage
Protein rich products exist for those who get chemical relaxers and need the protein to rebuild the cuticles
The creamy/oily products help improve manageability. – You know this especially if you are a natural with a courser hair texture. But you have to remember that oils are not true forms of moisture (water/hydration).
A regimen without true moisture is destructive to your hair.
1 simple change you can make to your hair regimen is ton include moisture/water/hydration so your hair can become healthier and thrive.
The Ingredients you Use
I’m all about reading product labels. Why? Because this is key to successful haircare. It’s a skill we all need to have if we’re serious about our hair.
Remember: ingredients are typically listed from highest to lowest amount in the product.
As long as your product is not an oil grease or serum, Water should always be one of the first 3 ingredients. Even if it’s listed as aloe or an herbal extract like lavender water it’s still fine.
There are a number of things to look for in your ingredients depending on the type of product you’re using.
Your homework assignment is to take a look at your favorite products and see how many of them contain water & how many contain protein.
Are you balanced?
Protein vs Moisture products. What to check for
Let’s look at what we should be checking for with protein products. If you’re looking to strengthen your hair from breakage you need proteins to reinforce your hair’s elasticity.
Most protein rich products include
- Color rinses
- Setting lotions
- Leave in conditioners
- Volumizing shampoo
- Protein treatments
The ingredients include (but not limited to)
- Wheat protein
- Soy protein
- Milk protein
What should we be checking with Moisture products.
Water water water. Inside and out….water
Who was told at some point in their life that water makes your hair dry? Or water dries out your hair?
What does dry out the hair is using harsh ingredients often, like sulfate shampoos, or other detergent rich products. Using water without sealing it in.
Humectants are also great because they encourage moisture to be absorbed into the strands by drawing water in from the air. Unlike oils, humectants are light. So if you find that using oils on your hair are too heavy, you can alternate with humectants.
The ingredients include (but not limited to)
- Oleic acid
- Palmitic acid
- Vegetable glycerin
- Cetyl alcohol
- Cetearyl alcohol
- Stearic acid
Ok, we’ll end it here, so check part 2 of this blog for more information.
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