Hair Breakage! 5 Causes & 5 Solutions
Your hair`s been breaking off more and more into your brush, your ends are frayed, and one part of your hair is longer than the other… eek! You`ve searched for a MIRACLE: a product, a hairstylist, something or someone that will get your hair back to how it used to be before it got “messed up.” All of your searching hasn`t been in vain – you found this article.
But you won’t find your miracle shampoo. Everything is a process, including achieving healthier, stronger hair. If you want long, beautiful tresses, you have to be willing to work for them!
Why is This Happening?
Why does breakage occur? Well, to understand why, you first have to know what it actually is. Hair shedding is a natural part of life; you lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hairs a day. When hair breaks however, it has become so weak from damaging techniques and poor care that it splits off before its life cycle is complete. Seeing your hair break is disheartening, but the most important thing is to get to the root (literally) of what’s actually happening.
1. Lack of Moisture and Oil
Dry, frayed ends are, to say the least, embarrassing. If your hair is very dry, you might hear that popping/crackling noise when you go over your ends with a comb. Your scalp produces natural oils that keep a certain level of moisture in your hair. The speed that these oils travel down you hair shaft will vary depending on your hair type. The curlier and thicker your hair is, the slower the process. However, even if your scalp produces plenty of oil, you may be canceling it out by washing it every day, not conditioning, and continuously straightening. The weather and your daily activities also have an important effect on the level of moisture your hair has. For example, if you’re a swimmer, the chlorine and winter weather will dry your hair out tremendously.
Here’s a diagram of what your ends may look like:
2. Over Processing
A common result of over processing is heat damage. Heat damage from excessive heat styling is a major cause of breakage, and comes from over-employing your straightener, hair dryer, and other tools. It causes the ends to “fry” and change texture. Over processing can mean more than just using your flat iron too frequently, however. Over processing can also be the result of overlapping different chemical processes. Damaging chemicals that are found in hair color, perms, relaxers, texturizers, and other treatments are stripping, breaking, and changing the bonds that make your hair the texture it is. If you used all of these combined, imagine how broken and fragile your hair would be!
3. Poor Diet
We all have a weakness for sweet treats, but you have to remember: what you put in is what you’re going to get out! If you haven’t been eating as well as you should be, there are bound to be other consequences besides unhealthy hair, but this certainly adds to it. Foods that are high in sodium, like most snack foods, can cause hair to shed. Sugary foods, according to Jamaican blogger Brenda Barrett, “can interfere with the absorption of protein… protein is very important for the structure of bones, teeth and hair.“
Whether you’re struggling to get a project done, have trouble at home, or are just going through some tough times, the situation will start to represent itself in your hair. Stress can cause you to act roughly towards your hair and do rash things that may provoke an over-processing situation. It can also drive you to neglect your hair. The stress is not good for your hair or your body. Learn how to cope with it.
Breakage and excessive hair shedding can sometimes be a sign of something that is potentially more serious. This external loss may be an early warning that something is not functioning correctly internally, and you may need to see your doctor.
So, What Can I Do about Hair Breakage?
All of the above might just seem like bad news – but it’s important to know why you’re not getting the results you want to see. Now that you’ve managed to pinpoint the cause of your breakage, you can be open to solutions, and further prevention.
For starters, you should try to limit the manipulation of your hair. Try to avoid heat styling and blow-drying as much as possible, and excessive brushing or combing on an everyday basis. Washing your hair everyday for any hair type is never a good idea; however, if your hair is extremely oily and you feel the need to wash it everyday, use a cleansing agent that conditions, while eliminating build up.
As far as diet goes, eating healthier has several advantages, stronger hair being just one of them. Foods that work well for repairing your hair are ones that are rich in protein – red kidney beans, salmon, nuts, etc. Keep foods that are high in sugar and sodium in moderation. And if anything is a miracle in a bottle, it’s water! By incorporating water into your daily life, you’re not only saving your hair, but your whole body!
2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
If you have to live and work in a competitive environment, there’s always the risk of stress and anxiety. There’s nothing wrong with being deadline driven and goal-oriented, but when you’re not sleeping enough, neglecting your body or in this case, your hair, there is a problem. Things may be tough at the moment, but you have to remember to relax every now and again. Make daily schedules in order to manage your time efficiently – you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done!
3. Feed your Hair
As you feed yourself, you must feed your hair. There are tons of kitchen remedies and treatments out there for you to experience and attempt for yourself. Many feature egg, which has essential Omega 3s and protein, oils such as jojoba or grapeseed, which are both light oils (won’t weigh your tresses down) that are great for moisturizing the scalp and relieving dandruff. Avocado does wonders for the hair, and is also very tasty!
For softer, more manageable hair, try this classic DIY Avocado Hair Mask from The Blush. You’ll need:
- An avocado
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tbsp of honey
- A shower cap
- 20-30 minutes of spare pampering time (I recommend a whole Sunday. Why not?)
1. Crush the avocado in a bowl (leaving the pit out, of course). Add the olive oil and the honey and mix together.
2. Massage the green paste into your damp hair from roots to tips.
3. Put the shower cap on and leave it there for 20-30 mins.
4. Wash the mask out, then use shampoo and conditioner as usual.
5. Enjoy your gorgeous mane!
4. Repair & Moisturize – Products
In addition to giving your hair, and body, the nutrition it needs to be healthy, you have to choose the right products that will repair your hair in its fragility. You want to find products with gentle, natural ingredients that are formulated for your hair texture. Avoid getting confused by products that contain mineral oil, which sounds natural, but is actually harsh and drying to hair. Most importantly, use products that were made for YOUR hair type. If you have finer hair, you should go for clear shampoos- try to abstain from using the creamy kind – they’ll weigh your hair down with product, and won’t lock in true moisture to prevent breakage. If you have curlier, fuller hair that tends to get drier, frequent conditioning should be a part of your regular hair regimen.
5. Regular Trims
It may be hard to let go of your ends. We all know the feeling of dreading those scissors; not to mention every stylist we go to seems to want to cut! But regular trims every 6-8 weeks will dramatically reduce your breakage. If your hair is especially damaged, it may seem at first like a lot of hair, but as you increase your trims, and follow the tips above, you will grow stronger, healthier hair.
Experiencing hair breakage and loss can be worrisome and saddening; if you take the right steps towards improving your condition however, you’re well on your way to being an overall more healthy and happy individual. Take this mishap as a chance to learn more about yourself!