The “B” Word

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by Sawah of Discovering Natural

I’m talking about “Breakage.” We’ve all experienced this at one time or the other.  But do you know the difference between Breakage and Shedding? I was totally clueless about this prior to transistioning.

When I was relaxed, I would have a lot of hair breakage and over the years, I thought that was normal. I just thought if you comb your hair, you should experience seeing hair left on the comb or brush. I didn’t realize that there was such a thing as shedding.

Let’s understand the differences between breakage and shedding.

What is Shedding?
Hair that has been shed is one that has come to the end of its life cycle. It usually contains a white bulb at the end. This is normal. Research as shown that we shed an average of 50-100 hair strands per day.  Sounds scary, huh? Well, new hair is suppose to grow where the shedded hair was.

What is Breakage?
This is the process of the hair breaking, not at the root, but somewhere in the strand of the hair.  It is not normal because in all cases the hair has not gone through the normal hair life cycle.  Breakage can occur from mishandling of hair, lack of proper nutrients, or excessive styling.

When hair is deprived of proper moisture, breakage can occur. It is very important to keep your hair properly moisturized. Daily moisturizing and weekly deep conditioning will help you with breakage. Try to use water-based products, because these products provide the best moisturizing agents. Don’t forget to seal your hair with some oils or cream.

In addition to moisture, you will need to strengthen your hair strands. This can be done by adding protein products to your hair routine. Protein is known to help rebuild weak hair strands. There are several protein treatments products that you can use. It is important to properly follow the product application instructions.

Mishandling of hair can also cause breakage. I notice less breakage when I do not use a comb on my dry hair.  If I want to comb my hair post wash day, I spritz some water mixed with a little leave-in conditioner and carefully either finger comb it or use a wide-tooth comb. On wash days, I always finger detangle my hair with some oil or conditioning product.

When styling your hair, try not to pull too much at your edges. The edge and nape of your head are more prone to breakage. Keeping hair in a pony tail all the time can cause breakage at the point where the hair is gathered together.

When you understand the difference between hair breakage and shedding, it will help you address the problem and keep your mind at rest in determining what steps to talk to minimize breakage.

How are you handling breakage?

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5 responses »

  1. Fortunately after lots of trial and error and learning about my hair, I no longer experience excessive breakage.

    All hair breaks at some point just due to handling it (during washing, finger detangling etc). The key is to reduce it as much as possible.

    To cut down on the breakage of my hair I no longer use a comb either….not even when wet or with conditioner.

    Great article. Thanks for sharing because some ppl really don’t get the difference.

  2. My hair was doing good a few months ago, and i started trying this style using jehri curls rod, and i end up having breakage, so I had to braid my hair up. I real like this topic as you said it could be from
    exessive manipulation or mishanding of hair. And thats wht hppn to me. Thanks for this article once again.

  3. I have fine, wavy hair that tends toward dryness and frizziness. I use about a dime-sized amount of the Shielo Antioxidant Leave in Protectant on wet hair and then air-dry. I end up with shiny, wavy, frizz-free hair, which is amazing since I’ve tried pretty much every frizz-fighter around. Also, after a month I noticed my hair is breaking a lot less and overall looking healthier. Plus, the smell is amazing. Great product!

    • Hi Tina, so you know that I saw your comment and had to go investigate Shielo! I contacted them via e-mail as I was trying to find a retail/brick & mortar location. Mentioned that I have a hair blog … and they said they’d like to send the leave-in protectant to try!! Wooh-hooh! Score! I can’t wait to try it and see if it helps with my frizz … which, if you see my post tomorrow, is out of control given the NJ humidity! LOL!! Thanks for tipping me off to this line! I’d never heard of it before!

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