Hair breakage in black afro hair can really be frustrating.
Not knowing why you are experiencing breakage or how to solve it is one of the worst things to experience when it comes to hair care.
Luckily, there are a few ways to deal with this.
In this article, we break down the causes of hair breakage in afro hair and how best to solve the problem.
Lack Of Moisture And Conditioning
Moisturising and conditioning are two of the most important steps in maintaining healthy afro hair and avoiding hair breakage.
Moisturising is important in your hair care routine because it ensures that your hair retains water.
Black afro hair needs moisture because it prevents the hair from getting dry and brittle.
Brittle and dry hair is easily susceptible to breakage.
A lot of the times, you’ll find that hair that lacks moisture is very weak and thin.
A lot of people are not aware of the importance of moisturizing in their hair care routine, which unfortunately leads to the issue with hair breakage.
The other important part of the hair care routine that is neglected is conditioning.
You can tell that your hair is lacking conditioner if you frequently experience coarseness, tangles and it is hard for you to style.
If you have been skipping these two steps in your hair care regiment, it’s probably a good idea to address that issue.
Everybody loves to experiment with cool hairstyles. But unfortunately, some methods of styling can be really damaging to your hair.
There are a number of ways to style your hair in a damaging way. For instance, using styling products that contain too many chemicals.
A lot of styling (and other hair care) products will contain sulfates. Sulfates are good for cleaning unwanted substances from your hair.
But when there are too many of them in your hair products or routine, they can weaken your hair strands and make them more prone to breakage.
If you have another hair care product, for instance shampoo, that already contains sulfates, having them in your styling products too will likely cause hair breakage for you.
Other chemicals/ingredients to avoid having too many of in your styling products are denatured alcohols like alcohol denat. These will dry up your scalp and cause your hair to get brittle.
Another common, and maybe the most severe way to damage your hair is to use excessive heat in the styling process.
Heat styling is popular among many black people with afro hair because it allows you to dry your hair easily and also achieve certain hairstyles or popular looks.
But too much heat on your hair is a fast-track towards hair breakage ensuing.
The science of how lack or trimming in afro hair causes hair breakage can sometimes be confusing. But it actually makes a lot of sense.
On one hand, some people just don’t want to have their hair shorter, so they avoid trimming it despite the risks of lack of trimming.
But on the other hand, many people think that trimming their hair is what will cause them breakage.
A lot of people think if they trim their hair, they can cause split ends, which can lead to their hair breaking easily.
This couldn’t be more wrong. While trimming your hair on your own can certainly cause split ends, hair trimming isn’t actually that likely to cause you hair breakage.
What actually happen more often is that people let their hair grow out without ever getting it shortened.
As this happens, your hair can start to become harder to style or manage without it experiencing stress.
Because there is so much hair to manage and it is going under this stress, the hair starts to weaken, split at the ends and break.
Ironically, the pursuit to keep your hair long or keep as much of it as possible may actually lead to a loss of it that is frustrating, unhealthy and hard to manage without the right help.
Treatments For Hair Breakage
Moisturising Your Hair
The best way to moisturise your hair is to use water-based hair products such as shampoos, hair lotions, conditioners and styling gels.
These not only aid your hair in other ways such as cleansing it and making it easy to manage. But they also hydrate it and protect it from damage.
The water in these products allows your hair relief from the dryness and brittleness that often causes it to break and get damaged.
Shampoos that are water-based are fantastic because most likely, shampooing is already a regular part of your hair care routine.
By using a water-based shampoo, you eliminate the potential extra step of having to add more hydration to your hair post-wash.
Using styling gels that are water-based is also good for the same reason.
If styling products are already part of your hair care routine, using gel forms of these products saves you the trouble of having to use any other product in your routine for hydration.
You can also moisturise your hair by using essential oils in your hair. Natural oils allow your hair to hold onto water and thus avoid brittleness.
In addition to that, they are full of nutrients that are very beneficial to your hair’s growth and health. Natural oils will make your hair toughen up and grow stronger.
Most of the best natural oils to moisturise your hair with are found in most hair care products.
Olive oil is really good for moisturising your hair. You can find this as an ingredient in many moisturizing lotions and shampoos.
You can also buy olive oil on its own as an essential oil for hair moisturising.
Other great hair moisturisers to avoid hair breakage include jojoba oil, black castor oil and avocado oil.
All these oils are found in many hair care products, or you can buy pure forms of them, just like with the olive oil.
Deep conditioning your hair will absolutely improve your hair breakage problem.
The best way to go about deep conditioning is to use leave-in conditioners or condition your hair as part of your cleansing process.
The most important function of conditioners is that they make your hair softer.
When conditioners soften your hair, they make it easier for you to style it with little effort and stress to it.
A lot of the times, the stress caused by styling hair without conditioning it first is what causes hair breakage.
Applying a good conditioner after washing your hair or as a leave-in treatment makes your hair smooth and relieves it of this stress.
Conditioners also help your hair to become thicker and stronger. Without the threat of thinning out and being weak, your hair is less likely to break.
The best conditioners are those that contain natural oils such as coconut, olive, jojoba, seed and almond oils.
These oils hold moisture in and give your hair the nutrients it needs to avoid thinning out which leads to hair breakage.
Hair conditioners that contain emollients are also good. Emollients are alcohols that soften hair, which is what you need to avoid styling problems that damage your hair.
Some good emollients in conditioners are cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol and myristyl alcohol. If you see any one of these on the label of a conditioner, then you know it is effective.
Avoiding the use of heat on your hair will probably save your hair from breakage more than anything else will.
When it comes to drying hair, the temptation to blow-dry afro hair is very real. But what you can do instead is to allow your hair to air dry instead.
When you do this, you give your hair a chance to absorb all of the moisture it has received from washing it or from the atmosphere.
Hair that has enough moisture will be protected from getting weak and thin.
Not to mention, when your hair isn’t overly exposed to heat so that it becomes excessively dry, it becomes harder for it to break off in odd places and cause horrible split ends.
Air drying your hair is also good because it maintains your natural curl pattern. This is important for avoiding hair breakage.
Afro hair is much stronger when its curl pattern is not disturbed.
Furthermore, you can avoid damaging heat by making sure your hair is always protected from excessive sun.
UV rays in the sun can damage and weaken your hair, leading to breakage if you don’t counter them.
The best way to protect your hair and allow it to replenish from heat damage is to cover it up when you are in the sun.
You can do this by wearing headscarves or hats. Or you can add extra moisturiser to your hair.
Take Vitamins And Herbal Supplements
Hair vitamins and herbal supplements are a good solution to the problem of hair breakage.
This method is great for those who don’t want to do anything directly to their hair to get to the bottom of the issue, or those who want to add minimal products directly to their hair.
A lot of good hair vitamins and supplements are made from natural ingredients.
Vitamins provide your hair with the nutrients it needs to regenerate and strengthen from the root.
There are a lot of good hair vitamins. For instance, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Another great hair vitamin is vitamin B. This is also known as biotin.
Biotin is known for its effectiveness in regrowing hair. The vitamin also strengthens and thickens hair, as well as giving hair a shiny look.
These vitamins can be bought in the form of tablets from pharmacies all over.
There are many brands of vitamins out there that you can choose that will help you with repairing hair breakage.
Herbal hair supplements can come in a few different forms. You can buy them in the form of oils, gels and even tablets sometimes.
Some good herbal supplements for your hair include aloe vera juice and rosemary essential oil.
Aloe vera juice is found in a number of hair care products as one of the ingredients. But if you want minimal product and chemicals in your hair, buying it pure can be just as helpful to you.
Aloe vera is known to be helpful with soothing your scalp so that it’s easier for hair to grow and strengthen as it grows.
This is helpful if you are experiencing hair breakage because it will give your hair that extra boost by creating a healthy environment for it to heal.
Rosemary essential oil is also good for encouraging hair growth.
If your hair has been breaking, this essential oil is good because it will help your hair grow back stronger and more abundant than ever.
Trimming Your Hair
When your hair is experiencing breakage and you’ve already tried using hair care products to fix it, a trim is a pretty effective fix.
Hair trimming can be a little scary (and sometimes messy) if you’ve never done it before and you are doing it without any help.
The best way to approach trimming is to see your local hairdresser or professional and get them to do it for you.
A trim is a very simple and routine hair care procedure and with the right assistance, it will have your hair growing stronger and healthier than ever.
If you are in a situation where you can’t get a professional to help with your trimming, there are a few steps you can follow to make sure you do it well on your own.
You will need to make sure you have good quality shears to cut your hair with, because bad quality ones can actually just perpetuate a problem with split ends.
You will also want to make sure you section your hair several times instead of trying to cut it in one or two big sweeps.
Another important thing to do is not to wet your hair. Some may think wetting your hair before trimming makes the most sense.
But you can actually acquire more split ends this way, so keep it dry.
It is also important to make sure that when you trim your hair, you trim it in a straight line and not at an angle as this can also worsen split ends.
Trimming allows you to get rid of any split ends on your hair.
This is vital for helping your hair strengthen again because if split ends are untreated, they continuously cause your hair to be thin and susceptible to breakage.
A trim also gives your hair flexibility and ease when it comes to styling and managing it. So that you don’t get overwhelmed and don’t keep potentially causing it damage when styling it.
If all else fails, a good trim can definitely help you solve your problem.
Hair Breakage In African American Hair, Conclusion
Hair breakage is certainly scary and upsetting when it’s happening. Especially when you have no clue how to address it.
But with the right knowledge about the roots of the problem, you can eliminate the problem-causing elements of your hair routine.
And you’ll have your hair growing back healthier than ever in no time.